Torrential Thirty Pounders

Ryan Collins

As we ease into the saltwater "off season" here on Cape Cod, I figured it would be fun to reminisce on some memorable trips of years past.

This particular trip happened way back in 2012 when I was pretty obsessed with fishing the Cape Cod Canal. This was certainly a morning I will never forget!


"Today Was Just Incredible"

May 9th, 2012

If you haven't noticed it is raining - torrentially raining! This morning was one of those mornings where you debate whether or not to get out of bed.

I am sure glad I didn't succumb to the pillows and covers because I would have missed out on the best fishing trip so far this year.

I figured I would try to keep the good vibes from yesterday's trip going by ordering the same exact thing from Dunkin' Donuts. A medium iced coffee and a blueberry muffin.

I think I even had the same employee take my order-a good sign to say the least. It was only 4:30AM and things were already off to a great start.

cape cod canal mussel bed fishing

My favorite spot for topwater plugging.

I headed down to the area where my friend Josh and I marked bass during yesterday's trip while cruising in a boat through the Canal. As the sky began to brighten I watched the surface, eagerly searching for any signs of life.

Unfortunately I wasn't seeing much. Around 6:00AM I decided to take a break and wait it out. I sat there on a rock in my waders, wearing my obnoxiously bright rain coat, just getting absolutely pelted by the rain.

However I actually found the experience quite enjoyable. I'm not sure exactly what it is but there's something nice about fishing in lousy weather-even when the fish aren't biting.

By 6:30AM with no signs of life I decided it was about time to head back. I packed up my stuff and began heading back towards the truck. The rain was really coming down good so I figured I would try one more spot before calling it quits.

Before I could get to that spot I bumped into Jeff who is a good fishing buddy of mine. We started chatting about fishing and how our winters had been. As we stood there talking a good size bass crashed a bait fish on the surface in front of us.

The talking was officially over - it was time to cast a line!

3 casts later my homemade top water plug got hammered by a decent fish. The bass missed the plug, came back and smacked it again. Still no hook up.

A few casts later another decent fish came up from below and walloped the pencil popper. Fish on!

This bass had some decent weight behind him and some good shoulders. After a good fight I eased him up onto the rocks. The bass was a chunky 34-36 inches with a huge belly. To think that I had been ready to pack it in and go home!

The first fish of the rainy morning.

We continued casting for another 15 minutes, occasionally raising a bass to the surface but not hooking up. Then something changed and all hell began to break loose.

Fish started popping and smacking bait all around us. The rain was pouring down at this point but we could still see the white water caused by the stripers crushing hapless prey on top.

Every cast was producing explosive top water strikes at this point. After catching and releasing a few more 15-20 pounders I decided to switch to a plug with just one hook.

I didn't want to do any more damage to the bass using a plug loaded with treble hooks. Surprisingly my hook up ratio did not suffer much from the switch, plus I gained a few more valuable casting yards.

Jeff and I had a few fish doing somersaults as they smacked the plugs. All of these fish were extremely aggressive and were probably feeding on a variety of baits.

I saw bait fish in the 4-6 inch range getting sprayed way out in the middle. However there were also big mackerel present in the mix.

We actually had a mackerel cruise right up into our feet and beach himself. I'm guessing he'd rather sit on the sand then face the bass that were cruising just offshore.

Mackerel were being chased right up onto the rip rap.

About an hour into the action a gaping hole opened up beneath my plug. This was unlike any of the surface hits before. I never saw the fish - the plug just disappeared beneath the surface.

My rod doubled over and line began screaming from the reel. This was a big bass.

The bass continued trucking down current, peeling yards of line as he went. After losing 100 or so yards to the fish I figured now was a good time to chase him down. The angler down current from me was awesome.

He noticed I had a big one on the line and stopped casting until the fish was by him. I owe that guy a big thank you to say the least!

With the braided line I could feel every shake and pump from the bass. This guy had some serious weight to him. I had walked 50 yards down the coast and the fish was still taking line.

Finally I decided to lock down the drag before he rubbed me off on a rock.

It took a while but I was finally able to ease the fish in towards me. As soon as I got a good look at this baby I knew he was a nice one.

This bass tipped the scale (I keep a scale in my tackle bag) at 36 pounds.

So far the biggest fish of the season for me!

But the action was still far from over. As soon as that fish was safely released it was back to casting as droves of bass continued to flow by.

For more information on the trip, the areas fished and techniques used click here.

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by Ryan Collins

Ryan Collins grew up on the beach, and has been fishing since he was 5. Ryan has great family, friends and fishing experiences to be grateful for. Just being there is enough...catching a few fish is always a bonus!

  1. You’re killing me Ryan, this report is incredible!

    1. Hey Brian,

      It was a great morning! Hopefully there will be plenty more to come, especially during the time frame that you are up here on the Cape.

      Take care,



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