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3 Ways to Catch a Cow Striped Bass this Spring on Cape Cod

About a month ago, the crew at the Buzzard's Bay Anglers Club asked me to give a talk on 3 Ways to Catch a Cow Striper this Spring on Cape Cod.  I had a great time, met some awesome people and even bumped into a few My Fishing Cape Cod members which was very cool.  Thanks again to Stephen Madden from Boating Local for having me down, introducing me to the group and providing a few free pints of Guinness.

During the presentation we talked about 3 specific ways to target big striped bass this May and June on the Cape.  If you plan on fishing Cape Cod this spring, you may want to give these three methods a shot.  They are:

  • Springtime plugging and jigging at the Cape Cod Canal
  • Live-lining mackerel
  • Tube and worm trolling Cape Cod Bay

I chose these three tactics over others because they are extremely familiar to me and are a lot of fun.  It's hard to beat the sight of a big bass crashing a pencil popper - especially after a winter of no fishing.  Live mackerel are arguably the most effective bait to use for striped bass during May and June, and the tube and worm is a good back-up method for those days that the mackerel are scarce.

This past week I released a video replay of this same presentation to MFCC members.  If you are a member and would like to tune in, you can do so by clicking on the image below.

If you are not a member and would like to tune in, simply sign up as a member by clicking here.

cape cod fishing spring

Here's an overview of the information that we cover in the video.

Springtime at the Cape Cod Canal

fishing the cape cod canal in the spring

Click here for the latest Cape Cod Canal fishing report.

The Cape Cod Canal has morphed into a major migration conduit for striped bass of all sizes.  When bass migrate north during the spring, many schools choose to use the Canal as a shortcut into Cape Cod Bay and beyond.  Fortunately for anglers, the Cape Cod Canal is also chock full of bait during this time of the season, which often produces some pretty good fishing.

Some things we cover in the above video include:

  • How to time your fishing trip to give you the best odds of encountering a blitz
  • How to use the behavior of migrating biomasses of stripers to increase your odds of success
  • The types of baitfish that are present in the Canal during the spring
  • How to position yourself in a prime spot
  • How to find rips, holes, gulleys and ledges that attract fish (and are perfect for jigging)

To sum it all up, if you are hoping to hook into a decent fish at the Canal this spring, then this video should help.

Live Mackerel Fishing

fishing cape cod bay live mackerel

I love catching striped bass with live mackerel, especially on light tackle.  Atlantic mackerel are fast and furious and can be extremely challenging for a striper to catch.  This means that the bites are often times explosive and really fun to watch.  Fortunately for anglers fishing Cape Cod Bay, the South Shore and around the Outer Cape, live mackerel are readily available during the month of May and the first half of June.

In this video we cover:

  • How to find mackerel using specific sonar techniques
  • How to catch mackerel quickly and easily
  • How to locate prime spots to catch stripers with live macks
  • How to fish live mackerel using light tackle
  • How to troll live mackerel for big bass

The mackerel will be here in around 4 weeks.  Can't come soon enough!

Tube and Worm Trolling Cape Cod Bay

cape cod bay fishing tube and worm

The tube and worm is a reliable, sure-fire way to catch stripers just about anywhere on the East Coast.  Inside Cape Cod Bay, the tube and worm is hands down the most popular way to catch large striped bass.  During the spring, if I can't find mackerel, I typically troll tubes in the depths for those first keeper-size migrating bass.

I don't recommend simply tossing some tubes behind the boat and trolling aimlessly.  I used to do this, and I would enjoy catching a fish here and there - but for the most part it was a lot of waiting around, hoping for a rod to bend.  Now, with the techniques explained in this video you will learn:

  • How to use your sonar to find striped bass with consistency
  • How to use the "15 Minute Rule" to stay with the school
  • How to maximize trolling efficiency and effectively troll 3 tubes at one time
  • How to zone in on the most productive tube, and trolling depth

I always have tubes and at least a few dozen worms on hand when I head out onto Cape Cod Bay during the spring.  If I can't find the mackerel or run out of live macks, the tubes get put to work.  Tube and worm trolling is not the most exciting way to catch striped bass, but it is certainly one of the most consistent striped bass fishing techniques out there.

Looking Forward

Over the next month I'll be focusing on creating more premium Cape Cod fishing content for MFCC members, that relates directly to spring-time fishing here on the Cape.  I think we are all in for some great action this spring, so definitely stay tuned.

And as always if you have a question, please feel free to chime in below by leaving a comment, or leave a post within the forums.

Tight lines and take care,


how to fish on cape cod

  1. Ryan,
    Great information as always. Your information on fishing the Canal is invaluable for anyone interested in actually catching fish. Keep up the great work.

    1. Thanks! I’m glad you are finding the info on fishing the Canal so valuable.

      Getting stuck on the bottom, losing gear and not catching a damn thing down there is pretty common. Awesome to hear I’m helping at least a few folks hook up with a few nice fish.

      Have a great weekend and keep in touch,



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