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Lots of Keepers and Tons of Macks | May 8 Report

Cape Cod Fishing Report | May 8

Cape Cod Fishing Report

Josh with a beauty on the line.

I had a good feeling about today.

It all started last night when I was rigging up gear for this morning's live mackerel striped bass fishing trip.  As I tied up hooks in my basement, I heard a "pitter-patter" noise just outside the screen door.  Naturally I was curious as to what was causing the noise so I walked over to the screen door to have a look.

As I approached the door I was greeted by a behemoth of a skunk.  Immediately I froze in place, hoping to not startle the basically lethal creature.  The skunk took a good hard look into my eyes, turned around and pitter-pattered away.  Phew!

This morning I met up with Josh who is a local policeman.  Josh is a great fisherman with tons of experience and is easy to get along with, so I had high hopes for his and my first boat trip of the season.

We departed from Taylor Point Marina in Buzzard's Bay at 5:30am and cruised through the Canal towards Cape Cod Bay.  It was a gorgeous flat calm ride through the Canal.  As we cruised over the many holes and rips of the Big Ditch I kept a close eye on the sonar, hoping to get a gauge on where the majority of the bass were hanging out - which could come in handy if I am able to fish this afternoon's tides.

Cape Cod Fishing Report

We marked a few nice schools of bass this morning as we cruised through the Canal.

Fortunately we did mark multiple nice size schools of bass in the Canal.  It was really great to see those big orange globs registering on the sonar again - it's been a while since I've seen that!

We did not see much surface activity, however the bass were certainly there.  Most of the fish were holding deep in holes and behind rips, which is ideal for jigging.

We'll talk more about what areas of the Canal had the greatest concentrations of bass in the members' report.

Once we made it through the Canal we proceeded to the regular mackerel hot spots and were able to quickly stash the live well with 2 dozen colorful speedsters.  I would classify this morning's mackerel fishing as "lights out."  There were a good amount of macks out there this morning.

Instead of fishing the macks right in the spot we caught them (which is often a pretty good strategy) we opted to transport them to a few spots that usually fish very well during the month of May.

Cape Cod fishing report

Josh with a pair of keepers caught during our first drift with live macks.

On our way to live-lining destination #1 we managed to mark a few more globs of orange which were most likely decent size schools of striped bass.  All good signs of what's to come.

Lines went in the water immediately upon arriving at the first location.  Within 5 minutes both Josh and I were on to some nice fish.  Nothing crazy but two very chunky 34 inch bass.  Both of these fish bit and fought very hard and were extremely aggressive.  It was a very promising start to the trip.

We repeated the same exact drift and got the same result-another couple of beautiful keepers.  These next two fish were slightly smaller at around 32 inches but we were certainly not complaining.

As the tide slowed down the main concentration of fish moved north just a bit.  Fortunately it did not take us long to find the bass again, which is all too often an issue.  Macks went in the water and rods bent over, great stuff!

Most of the fish I have caught this year have been on the smaller end of the spectrum.  This is expected as it is still very early in the striped bass season here on Cape Cod.  However the bass this morning were slightly larger and much fatter than the fish I have been catching.  My guess is that these bass have been gorging themselves on sand eels and mackerel since arriving in this area.  Hopefully they'll stick around for a while because the action was very good.

We continued live-lining macks on light spinning and conventional setups for the next 1.5 hours.  We probably had about 24 takes which resulted in 13 bass brought to the boat.  All of the stripers were keeper size with the smallest around 30 inches and the largest around 35.

By 9am we were out of live bait and decided to head back off shore to catch more.  I got a great tip from a blog member about a nearby area that has been consistently producing mackerel so we decided to give it a shot.  I owe a thank you to Paul because he was right on the money with the location of the macks!

Cape Cod fishing report

It's nice to be on the water again!

We found mackerel feeding on the surface, gulping down 1-2 inch long bait fish.  At one point we had schools of mackerel feeding off the bow, starboard and port - all on the surface.  Of course we also had macks feeding below the boat which we were able to jig up and store in the live well.

Many of the macks were very big.  Last year most of the mackerel we caught were "tinker" size.  So far this year the majority of the mackerel we have caught have been at least 12 inches in length.  I believe this is a great sign and is an indication of the staggering amount of marine life currently present around Cape Cod.

So with a full live well we proceeded to hit up a few more areas that have fished well for us in the past during May.  For more information on the areas we fished and the techniques we used click here.


Cape Cod fishing report

Josh working on another nice spring time bass.



I certainly won't get lost in the fog wearing this outfit.

cape cod fishing report

All in all a really nice morning to go fishing.


Full Moon Top Water Action | May 6 Report

cape cod fishing report

Lauren with a nice sunset micro-schoolie.

Last night was just spectacular.

After days of overcast skies the weather finally broke and we were provided with a gorgeous, crystal clear evening.  The wind was dead calm and on top of all that we had a full moon.

After a little coaxing I convinced Lauren to tag along with me for another surf casting expedition.  Lauren is  an awesome sport and a rookie striped bass fisher-woman, so I chose an area where I figured we would have an excellent chance at some bass - no long casting required!

Actually, almost all of the bass I have caught this year have come on casts of less than 30 feet, which is pretty amazing if you think about it.  That means that all of the stripers I have managed to catch so far this season have been in less than 5 feet of water (except for the Canal fish).

fishing cape cod

So far it's been a great start to the season for Cape Cod surf casters.

This is the ideal scenario for folks fishing with beginner striped bass anglers.  I would never take Lauren down to the Cape Cod Canal, hand her an 11 foot surf casting rod and expect her to toss a plug 200 feet to a 35 pound bass in the middle of the land cut.

Same goes if you are fishing with a beginner or a little kid.  There are certain areas on Cape Cod conducive to fishing with beginners.  When just starting out I'd recommend concentrating on these areas, instead of taking a complete novice to more challenging spots like the Canal.

The month of May is prime time for novice striper anglers on Cape Cod.  Right now there are plenty of nice fish roaming around extremely close to shore.  This is the ideal time to catch a fish if you are just starting out, so if you can get to the beach ASAP!

We had a real nice steady pick of bass last night.  Nothing huge but nice consistent action from the time we arrived right until we left.

The incoming tide fished really well as bass poured in from Cape Cod Bay and rode the tide up into the creek we were fishing.  We actually watched as bass passed over a sand bar in 1-2 feet of water and cruised into the estuary.

The top water action on 12-24 inch fish was superb.  An ideal scenario for Lauren and other beginner anglers.

cape cod fishing

Lauren with a perfect release!

The action only got better as the sun got lower in the sky.  The best action pre-sunset was out around the mouth of the creek.  I actually had a few nice surface strikes from bass in the 30-35 inch range out by the mouth of the creek.  Unfortunately the bass completely missed the plug and the hook - oh well maybe I'll get them next time.

As the sun sank lower on the horizon and as the tide began to flow in, we retreated from the mouth of the creek back up into the estuary.  This was when we noticed bass cruising over the shallows, riding the tide into the estuary.

We picked off these fish one at a time with needlefish lures and pencil poppers.  Even small bass no more than 18 inches were smacking 6 inch long plugs.  These bass were aggressive to say the least!

Once it got dark we were treated to an incredible moon rise.  If you weren't able to scoot outside last night to check out the full moon I would highly recommend getting out tonight.  If you are able to, get down to the ocean around 8pm and watch it rise over the horizon.  The moon was so full and orange that it kind of looked the sun - absolutely incredible.

The saction only improved as night fell.  We could hear bass slurping down bait left and right in the dark.  Tail slaps and splashes could be heard all around us.  Once the moon rose we could just barely make out the silhouettes of striper splashes and surface strikes.

The bass continued smacking our surface offerings however our hook up ratio plummeted once the sun set.  Nevertheless the overall action only improved as the tide and darkness progressed.

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striped bass fishing cape cod

Lauren releasing another fish just before it got too dark to take pictures.




Targeting Stripers from Shore in Sandwich

Last night's fishing was a lot of fun to say the least.

It's hard to beat fishing under a full moon with flat calm conditions.  On top of that I had a great fishing partner!

We were fishing the Boardwalk in Sandwich, also known as Old Harbor.  This is a great spot to take rookie anglers, and it's basically where I learned how to fish for striped bass.

I love fishing the incoming tide at this location.  The bass ride in from Cape Cod Bay and hunt in the estuary during the incoming tide.

The best fishing here usually happens around dusk or after dark.  An incoming night tide is ideal.  Top waters work wonders when cast all throughout the estuary.

Because the water is generally pretty shallow, most of the feeding occurs on or near the surface.  Needlefish and small pencil poppers work very well here.  Small rubbers skipped right along the surface and floating swimmers also get the job done just fine.

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eCourse 6 | How to Avoid Losing Gear

A lot of folks, myself included, have lost tons of gear to the Canal's bottom.

In some areas the bottom of the Canal is a jumbled mess of rocks, marine vegetation and who knows what else. I've seen pictures of entire tug boats sinking in the Canal, so one can only imagine the strange things that are down there.

The incredibly strong Canal current also makes fishing the Canal difficult for beginners. Without even realizing it a lure or bait can be swept right into the rocks and buried down deep in a crevice. The result is usually the same - a lost plug, rig and sometimes an entire spool of line.

Some people get discouraged early on by this. If this has happened to you I can certainly empathize with how you are feeling.

However fishing the Canal does not have to be a nightmare. It's very possible to efficiently fish the Big Ditch without losing a single plug, lure or bait for weeks on end.

To avoid losing all your tackle at the Canal, be sure to keep the following in mind.

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Night Shift at the Cape Cod Canal | May 4 Report

Cape Cod Canal Fishing Report May 4

cape cod canal fishing report

Mazzola got the first Canal keeper of the season, but I finally chimed in late last night with a fat 33 incher.

Sometimes you just have to stay up for 24 hours straight!

Yesterday was one of those days.  I woke up at 5am for a meeting on Friday and finally finished filleting and cleaning up just before 5am on Saturday.  I guess I better get used to this whacky schedule because I think it's going to be a very busy and very fun summer.

Also add in the fact that it's date tonight for this guy tonight - which most likely means I won't be fishing the Canal from 11:30PM to 1:30AM again.  Although Lauren has come withe me on plenty of 14 hour Cape Cod Bay night fishing excursions before, so who knows - maybe I can convince her to head down to the Canal with me.

I'll keep you posted on how that goes.

cape cod canal night fishing

It was a beautiful night last night at the Cape Cod Canal.

So with the tides perfect for night fishing I decided that I just had to get down to the Big Ditch last night.  I know there are some really big bass around (at least from what I'm hearing) so I figured the Canal was my best shot at one from shore.

I don't think there is a giant biomass of big fish in the Canal just yet, but I know that could change at virtually any moment.  For all I know the Big Ditch could be going off as I sit here on the couch writing this!

The fishing was not "lights out" last night but it was still very good in my book.  The weather was absolutely picture perfect too.  The air was still a bit nippy but there was no wind and the Canal was as smooth as a pane of glass.

I was quite surprised by the lack of angler activity down there.  On such a perfect night I expected to see at least a few hardy souls.  For the most part however I had the entire Canal to myself.  Just me, a coupe fish and the occasional skunk or two.

It took a little while for me to zone in on some decent action but finally around 12:30AM I had my first real good whack!  The current was running full steam, the bass hit hard and I actually ended up in the water!  Yep, the fish pulled me right off the rock I was standing on, right into the Canal.

I'm still trying to break in my new pair of boots so I'm going to blame it on that.  Luckily I ended up in just a foot or so of water so it wasn't a big deal.  After a few minutes I had the bass on the rocks.  A whopping 24 incher!

I must be becoming extra clumsy because I never would have imagined such a small fish causing me to lose my balance and fall into the Canal - eh well I'm not as strong as I thought I was.

I spent the next 30 minutes working that same rip with no action.  I was debating whether to move when at around 1:10AM I got a much heavier and powerful take.  This fish felt much better than the first bass and put up a great fight in the heavy current.

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The West End

This bass put a decent bend in the rod so I knew he was a keeper. He took a little line which was nice, but I really had the drag locked down because the area I was fishing has many jagged rocks and structure that bass in the past have used to break me off.

A few minutes later I had the fish on shore.  Another beautiful 32-34 incher!

It seems like there are quite a few of these size class fish kicking around Cape Cod.  I'm certainly not complaining one bit, it's been a great start to the season.

I would imagine that soon these 32-34 inch catches will be replaced by bass around the 25 pound mark.  I'm looking forward to that day, and I think it could happen for me this coming week - as long as I continue to get out fishing every day.

The Canal last night was picture perfect.  As mentioned before I am surprised I was the only one down there in the areas I fished.  It is still early in the season, but I figured on a Friday night I would have more company.  I guess most folks chose to stay home and watch the Celtics, which is of course A-OK with me.

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Boulder Strewn Bass | May 3 Cape Cod Fishing Report

Cape Cod fishing report May 3

Cape Cod striper fishing report

This killer spot features a calm bay, a deep navigation channel and a boulder field.

The cool thing about Cape Cod (which I alluded to in the last report) is that you can fish one environment one day and then fish a completely different environment the next.  Striped bass are amazingly versatile creatures that regularly feed in a variety of different environments.

Two days ago I found some fish in tight to the beach on the southside of the Cape.  These fish had very small bait fish pinned up against a long, sandy, almost featureless beach front.

Yesterday's trip was basically on the complete opposite end of the spectrum.  I chose to fish an area in Buzzard's Bay that I have been frequenting for the past decade or so.  It's hands down one of my favorite places to fish from shore.

This area is unique because it features an incredibly rocky, boulder strewn coast.  A rocky shoal of sorts jets out towards a navigation channel that leads into a calm bay.  It's basically like combining 3 awesome spots into 1.

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Old Silver Beach

Based on what I've been hearing through the grapevine I would expect the Canal to catch on fire over the next week to 10 days - knock on wood of course.  Believe me I've been wrong about 100 times before, but from what I'm hearing we have some seriously nice fish trucking our way.

There may already be some big bass in the Canal as we speak.  It seems like there are good size fish in the 20 pound class just to the north of the Canal, so it makes sense to imagine that there a few already in there somewhere.  I'm planning on heading down to the Ditch this evening if I can clear up some land-based commitments - which I always seem to somehow manage to do!

Last night's fishing occurred at Old Silver Beach in Falmouth.  Now Old Silver is good for a couple of reasons.

1)  It has a herring run

2) It has many different kinds of structure

To the right of Old Silver is the boulder field that I was fishing.  Be warned it is a long walk from the parking lot.  Directly in front of Old Silver is a sandy beach with a herring run.  I don't know how the herring run fished last night but there were a few guys fishing it which is always a promising sign.

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Seals Lead the Way to Good Fishing | May 2 Report

Cape Cod Fishing Report May 2, 2012

cape cod fishing report

This was one of the most aggressive bass I have ever caught!

One of the best parts about fishing Cape Cod during May is the solitude.

Last night I had an entire beach all to myself.  Just me, a few nice fish, seals and the birds.  I walked up and down the beach for around 2 miles without seeing anyone else.  Pretty cool!

The weather was slightly better than the night before which was a relief.  It was still overcast but the rain had subsided along with the wind.  The Cape Cod Bay beaches were still getting hit by a brisk northerly wind, so I again decided it'd be best to wait to fish some of my favorite CCB spots-at least until the wind changed directions.

So I hopped in the truck and made the drive to the southside of the Cape.

As I had envisioned conditions on the southside were much better.  There was next to no wind and a nice, slow rolling surf.  I instantly had a pretty good feeling about this trip.

cape cod striped bass fishing report

Can't beat having the entire beach to yourself.

An overlooked aspect of fishing Cape Cod is the versatility that this sandy peninsula offers saltwater fishermen.  The Cape's unique geographical shape makes it possible to find a nice area to fish no matter the conditions.  If the wind is blowing hard from south, then the beaches to north will be more comfortable to fish.  If like yesterday the wind and rain is blowing in from the north, then the southside beaches will be more comfy.

It's hard to beat those kinds of options in the striped bass fishing world.

At first glance yesterday the beach looked rather lifeless.  Fortunately after walking for about 45 minutes and casting fruitlessly, I noticed a seal playing around just offshore.  This was the first seal I have ever seen at this particular beach, so I was not necessarily thrilled.

However I figured that the seal must of been here for a reason.  Maybe he was searching for the same species of fish I was in pursuit of.

I continued walking another 100 yards or so down the beach when I noticed another enormous seal bobbing around just out of casting distance.  I was in the process of trying to get a picture of the mammal when I caught a swirl out of the corner of my eye.  There were bass right at my feet in no more than 2 feet of water!

Of course by the time I put my phone/camera away and got a line in the water the fish had disappeared.  Nevertheless it was a good sign and with the sun about to set I figured I would get another chance.

I walked another 50 yards down the shoreline as the seal curiously watched my every move.  I continued casting as I walked and was able to provoke two half-hearted follows and swirls from what looked to be schoolie bass.  Another good sign!

I had seen some small bait skipping around on the surface so I decided to tie on a slightly smaller pencil popper.  I was initially hoping to find bass and blues chowing down on squid in the surf but it seemed like they were on small bait last night.

A few casts later and POW! A nice bass absolutely hammered the smaller top water plug and came flying into the air.  This fish jumped three times, cartwheeling in the air as if he was a tarpon!  I have only seen a bass jump like this a few times in my life - boy was that an aggressive fish!

For his size this striper put up one heck of a fight.  He took a little line which felt nice - nothing like the 30 and 40 pounders of last September but just as exciting.

I got the bass up onto the sand and he taped out at 30 inches.  Not a monster but perfect for this weekend's clam bake (wasn't planning on having one but I guess I have to now).  The 28-32 inch class fish are by far the best eating size in my book.

It was getting dark and I had a decent walk and drive ahead of me so I decided to make the trek back.  I wouldn't say the action was incredible, but I will say it was very promising especially for May 2.

I watched bass swirl no farther than 10-20 feet offshore throughout the entire walk back to the truck.  I'd say I saw a bass swirling every 50 yards or so.  The activity definitely increased as it got darker.

All in all another really fun early season surf casting trip.  Can't wait to see what tonight brings!

Interested in learning more about the area fished and techniques used?  Consider becoming a MFCC blog member by clicking here.

Existing members can access the extended report by clicking here.


Spring Stripers at South Cape

Last night was a lot of fun.  It really is awesome having an entire beach to yourself.  Catching a fish or two is really just a bonus.

South Cape beach in Mashpee is a great spot to check out during the month of May.  I always venture down to South Cape at least once each spring.

The fishing at South Cape can be absolutely incredible during this time of the year.  Last night's fishing was great for sure, but we have had trips to South Cape in the past that have produced dozens of big fish.

Small pencil poppers are a favorite lure of mine.

This beach is most known for its incredible bluefish blitzes.  Nothing beats those days when the blues get schools of squid pinned up against the beach.  The top water fishing can be lights out and it is not unusual to catch 2 bluefish on 1 plug.  In the past I have actually caught a bluefish and a bass on the same plug at the same time!  Can't beat that for spring time excitement.

Last night I chose to walk down to the West towards what I believe is Waquoit Bay.  It's a long stretch of beach so don't try to make the trek to Waquiot unless you are feeling extra ambitious.  I found the best action about mid way from the parking lot to Waquoit.

All of the bass I saw were swirling on small bait in the 2-4 inch range just a few feet off shore.  Every fish I saw was less than 30 feet from the suds.  The cast that I caught the fish with was maybe a 30 foot cast.  It seemed like the bass had these small bait fish pinned in tight to the shore.

As mentioned, the action increased as the sun set.  I saw quite a few bass on the walk back to the truck.  I would estimate seeing one or two swirls every 50 or so yards.

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