With the new My Fishing Cape Cod site successfully launched, it's now time to get back to blogging about Cape Cod fishing spots, fishing techniques and all the other "fun stuff." Thank goodness nothing was lost or broken during the transfer to the new site - what a relief! Of course if you find something that looks funky or is not working, by all means please let me know.
I received an email today from a gentleman asking me what kind of fish he could catch during March off the breakwater in Provincetown. My response..."I have no idea!" Well actually he could probably scrape up a winter flounder, stray cod or some other bottom fish. However it is still pretty early for most of us, especially if migratory striped bass are on your mind.
Nevertheless I give this hardy soul a lot of credit. He has the fishing bug and a bad case of cabin fever. I would imagine that you too may be feeling a bit like this guy. Believe me I need to get back out on the water ASAP. The good news is that in less than 2 months many Cape Cod fishing spots will see their first batch of migratory stripers.
Do you have a plan for finding and catching one of these late April Cape Cod striped bass? If not then no worries, because I am going to help you develop one in the remainder of this post.
When to Get off the Couch and Go Fishing
Usually by April 15th rumors start trickling into tackle shops and online forums about fresh line sides being caught. You can tell if the bass are migratory because they will look bright, clean and often have sea lice crawling all over them. Holdover striped bass on the other hand generally look more dull and typically do not have sea lice.
These fish are moving up from the south, so if you start hearing about a good bite happening down in Rhode Island you can rest assured that a biomass of fish is on its way to Cape Cod. These first striped bass will be on the small side with the average fish well under "keeper" size.
The good news is that most of these bass will be very aggressive. I remember when I was younger having days in late April and early May when my father, my buddy Jason Mazzola and I would catch 50 or more schoolies from the beach. All these bass were in less than 6 feet of water and quite literally paved the beach front.
Things recently have not been so hot and heavy, however during 2012 there seemed to be a pretty good amount of small fish in many fishing spots on Cape Cod. I didn't have any 50 fish days from shore but I was able to locate and catch plenty of early season fish. The key as usual was finding productive spring-time Cape Cod fishing spots.
Early Season Cape Cod Fishing Spots
If you are looking for a place to catch an early season striper while fishing the Cape, I would recommend hopping on Google Earth. You can use Google Earth to zone in on productive estuaries, channels, harbors and boulder fields. These are all good surf fishing spots to check out early in the season.
Estuaries in particular are proven spring time hot spots. For example, below is a screen shot of a typical Cape Cod estuary.
This particular estuary is on the southside of Cape Cod. If you look closely in the image you'll see two jetties which would make nice casting platforms. There is also a deep channel entering the bay surrounded by shallower flats.
More often than not, especially if the tide is cranking, your best bet in a spot like this one would be to fish right in the current. Think deep for the most part and use lures that will sink down a little in the water column. When fishing a new estuary, I always like to time my trip during the outgoing - at least for the first trip to a new Cape Cod fishing spot. It's OK you can call me superstitious!
The beachfront to the left and right of estuaries can also be a good area to cast. This was the case back when I was a kid, when we used to regularly catch 50 or more schoolies during a single spring time Cape Cod surf fishing trip. Back then we actually did better fishing the beachfront to the left and right of the estuary, as opposed to the estuary itself.
The flats areas which are more brownish/greenish in the above image are good places to cast top water plugs and lures. This rings especially true during sunrise and sunset.
My #1 Most Favorite Spring Time Lure
I vividly remember fishing with Mazzola one day back when we were maybe 15 years old. Of course we made the fishing trip into a heated competition by keeping tally of how many stripers we caught.
I was tossing my favorite spring time lure combination back on that fateful day 12 years ago. If you are looking for a go-to spring time lure then consider using a white curly tail grub on a quarter ounce lead head, with a Red Gill teaser tide to a swivel a few feet in front of the curly tail. This is what I was using this particular day, which I still remember very well.
I don't usually toot my own horn but I was smoking the fish with the Red Gill while Mazzola went almost fish-less. The great thing about the Red Gill is that you can catch two bass at one time. If the fish are in thick, you can hook one on the curly tail grub and another on the Red Gill. It's pretty cool and a lot of fun.
At the time I was convinced that I did not have any extra Red Gills with me. Believe me I would have given Mazzola one if I thought I had an extra. I searched my tackle pack and came up empty. Only problem was as soon as I got home I found an extra Red Gill right there in my pocket.
I still think he holds that one against me. Sorry Maz!
If you can get your hand on some Red Gills this spring I would highly recommend giving them a toss around an estuary. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, then click here for some images of Red Gills. For early season bass, I would recommend using the smaller or mid-size version. The larger Red Gills work well once the bigger bass move into the Cape Cod area.
Bringing it all Together
Of course there are about 1,000 more ways to catch a striper during spring time on Cape Cod. Which means I have plenty more content for blog posts!
Before we know it spring will be here and it will be GO TIME once again. Until then, please feel free to leave a comment below. It's always great hearing from blog readers.
Tight lines and take care,