Many Cape Cod fishermen said the bass would be back early this year. This past winter was more of an elongated cool start to spring than anything else. Water temps have been way above normal. Right now some areas around Cape Cod have water that is in the mid to high 50's. I'm happy to report that all of those fishermen who predicted an early run of striped bass seem to so far be 100% correct!
I recall past seasons when we caught plenty of small striped bass up in creeks, estuaries and way back in harbors. Most of these fish were extremely tiny, with a few under 12 inches in length. Catching micro-schoolies (as we referred t them) was and still is pretty common for the month of April.
On Cape Cod you usually have to wait until May to see any stripers with real size. The first few keepers are generally on the small side, barely eclipsing the 28 inch recreational limit.
I personally have never caught a keeper striped bass prior to May 1st. I do know some slick fishermen who have been able to catch fresh migratory keepers in April, however they are generally pretty hard to come by.
That's why I was extremely surprised to hear that a 32 inch keeper striper had been caught this past week in the Cape Cod Canal.
Usually a fish tale like this would bring out the skeptic in me, however the report came from as reliable a source as any-Jeff Miller from Canal Bait and Tackle.
For those who don't know Jeff, he helps to run his family's bait shop - Canal Bait and Tackle. Needless to say if something interesting happens at the Canal, Jeff usually knows about it.
According to Jeff a young angler managed to wrestle a 32 incher from the Big Ditch just a couple of days ago on April 18th. Some of the regulars at the shop said the earliest they had ever heard of a keeper taken from the Canal was April 10th, which occurred many decades ago.
There was plenty of mackerel in Cape Cod Bay not too long ago and pogies and herring have all been spotted inside the Canal. With the latest report of this keeper it seems that the stage is now set for something special to occur at the Canal. Could we see a pre-May striped bass blitz?
Of course only time will tell for sure. I think we may be in for a very interesting, and very fun spring fishing season!
If you are new to the blog and want to learn more about catching spring time striped bass at the Canal, be sure to check out this post.
Tight lines and take care,