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Secrets of Upper Cape Cod’s Beaches

Over the past 8 Cape Cod surf fishing seasons I would estimate that I have purchased roughly 11,520 sea worms from Jeff, Bruce and Sheila over at Canal Bait and Tackle.  Along with the worms I would add in another 1,440 Gamakatsu circle hooks, 1,000 yards of leader material and couple rods and reels here and there.

So needless to say I've had the pleasure of getting to know the Miller crew pretty well - which has been great!

The other morning I received a text message from Jeff about a few folks who were in his shop this past week.  Apparently the customers had mentioned they had been reading Cape Cod Canal fishing articles here on the MFCC blog.

upper cape cod surf fishing

A bright a clean striper taken from an Upper Cape Cod beach this past summer.

"That's awesome!" I texted back.  It is always nice to receive some positive feedback.

Jeff went on to mention that these folks were looking for more information about Cape Cod surf fishing-in particular surf fishing the beaches of Upper Cape Cod.

Well this got me thinking about fishing the Cape Cod surf, despite the fact that it's now December, and we have roughly 5 months to go before we see the first fresh striper of the 2013 Cape Cod surf fishing season.

If you are like me, you don't stop thinking about Cape Cod striped bass fishing just because the fish have migrated south.  The winter is prime time to read up on new Cape Cod surf fishing areas and techniques.  These next 5 months represent an opportunity to craft a lifestyle that will allow you to fish as much as possible once the bass arrive.

So with that in mind I can't blame those folks for wanting to learn more about Upper Cape Cod surf fishing.  Right now is certainly the time to learn as much as possible.

Thank you, whoever you are, for mentioning such a good topic to Jeff.  I appreciate your input!

Upper Cape Cod Surf Fishing | A Love-Hate Relationship with Big Striped Bass

During the spring and again during the fall, large schools of striped bass migrate through the Cape Cod Canal.  When the bite is on just about everyone and their grandmother puts on their boots and heads down to the Big Ditch.  If you joined us for this past week's Cape Cod Canal fishing webinar - you already know why.

Having big bass up to 50 pounds within reach of a cast is not common by any means, along most stretches of the striper coast.  However at the Cape Cod Canal it happens each season, as is evident with the many photos of trophy stripers on the wall at Canal Bait and Tackle.

Yet where do these enormous schools of striped bass go after the big Cape Cod Canal fishing blitzes end?  Do they simply disappear into the abyss?

Well, sometimes it sure seems as if they do disappear in to the abyss.  I will be the first to admit that I have been overly confident many times when heading out in the Miss Loretta, following a nice push of big bass through the Cape Cod Canal-expecting to hit the mother load but coming up empty.

Then there are those other trips when we do hit the mother load, and I feel like a genius!  But with all due respect, hitting the mother load from the Cape Cod surf is much, much more challenging than hitting the mother load fishing from a boat.

Yet from the information I have gathered fishing this area since the age of 5, I know for an absolute fact that the same giant schools of bass that migrate through the Cape Cod Canal do, on occasion, venture into very skinny water along Upper Cape Cod's beaches.  It does not happen often, so you want to do everything in your power to be there when it does.

Encountering one of these massive schools in the Cape Cod surf is an experience that will never be forgotten.

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  1. Hey Ryan,

    im headed to the cape for the weekend and was wondering if you could point me in the right direction for any spots in the hyannis/barnstable area? Surfcasting from shore is how I am fishing.


    1. Hey Robbie,

      I’d be happy to help! Due to the volume of questions I get asked, I have to reserve 1-on-1 guidance like this for members of My Fishing Cape Cod. 😉

      Join as a member and then reply back here > and I would be happy to help you with spots etc.

      Tight lines! 🎣

  2. Concerned about seals and sharks around Wellfleet Oceanside. Any reports of surf casters being attacked by sharks- especially at night? I was there last year around mid September and I did not see anyone else fishing there. I was not out at night however. Figured the seals discouraged everyone.

    1. Hey Joe, no reports of surfcasters being attacked, but I personally won’t be wading any deeper than knee deep. Those GW sharks do come in amazingly close to shore…not worth the risk.

  3. Hey Ryan, I want to go back to the Cape. I fished there hard with Daignault and Hoecher from about 1973 till 1985. All we did was cast eels and plugs from Hatches to Chatham. Race Pt. to Ballston was the usual circuit. I quit when the National people got real involved. I need info on when and where you can drive. Back then we fished all night and slept all day. Now I here about the Great whites and seals. We had neither when I fished. My e mail is and I would love to establish contact with someone that knows the deal now. I’m not into walking and carrying 300lbs of tackle on my back. Please touch base with me, cause I wanna head up there this Sept. or Oct. Thanks. Oh, and I pay my way. Info is worth money and I understand that. So please help me put a trip together. Thank you

    1. Hey John, thanks for leaving a comment!

      Unfortunately I really don’t know much about driving on those beaches. I’ve done a little ORV driving up at Race Point and High Head in Truro but I was contained to small stretches of beach, which I feel I could have just easily have walked.

      There are definitely a lot of seals out there but I have caught fish with the seals around. However most guys say that the seals have had a negative impact on the fishing. I was not even alive when you guys were fishing those beaches so I don’t really have much to compare it to! LOL

      This September I plan on walking and fishing the stretch of beach from Nauset Inlet to Race Point. It will probably take me 3 days to complete the trek and I’m sure it will be challenging but I’m looking forward to it.

      Would you, Daignault or Hoecher have any words of wisdom for me?

      I wish I had more information on driving the beach for you….I will see if I am able to scrounge anything up. Keep in touch though, happy to continue to bounce ideas off one another.

  4. Hi Ryan,
    Very nice and informative website! I was wondering if you had any advice for surf fishing the Oceanside of Wellfleet? I saw that you have targeted sharks off the lower cape. Can sharks be caught in Wellfleet Oceanside in the surf?

    Thank you in advance!

    1. Right now I would definitely say that night time is the right time Nick. You could needlefish plugs with a teaser, or swimming plugs like the sebile magic swimmer and have a good chance. Live eels too very soon.

      I have never heard of anyone catching sharks from shore there, however I have heard of people catching cod from shore there during the winter!


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