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Live Mack Barnstable Harbor Spring-time Bite

This guy engulfed this poor mackerel.

It's an exciting time of the season to go fishing off Cape Cod.

I heard numerous reports today of guys catching over 400 pounds of mackerel.  That is a TON of mackerel.  I can only imagine how messy their boats were!

Mackerel infiltrate the waters around Cape Cod each spring.  However some springs are far better than others.  Last year's mackerel run was rather dismal if I remember correctly.  It's great to have so many of these colorful speedsters around this year.

Sometimes I spend a couple hours trying to find and jig up enough live macks for a spring time striped bass fishing trip.  Yet this year the average time spent mackerel jigging has been less than 30 minutes.  I don't know how long this sort of action will hold up, however it is showing no signs of slowing down at the moment.

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eCourse 7 | Night Fishing during the Dog Days of Summer

During May and June the Canal sees a lot of migrating striped bass. Big pushes of bass occur every week or so, with thousands of stripers moving through the Canal. The surface and day time fishing can be extremely good during this early part of the fishing season.

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Cannibalistic Bass | May 10 Report

Cape Cod fishing reports

It has been one heck of an incredible week here on Cape Cod!  If you haven't yet signed up for the MFCC newsletter, be sure to do so by the end of the day today.  This week's newsletter will recap this past week's fishing events and highlight the dramatic increase of big bass in the waters surrounding the Cape.

I'd also like to say thank you for helping to make this first week of reporting such a success.  I've been receiving a boat load of fishing tips and reports from blog members which is really awesome.  Your input is a huge help when it comes to finding and sticking with the fish.  Thank you!

Yesterday started off much in the same way as the day before.  I spent the morning soaked to the bone sitting on a rock waiting for the tide to turn - hoping it would bring with it the big bass of the day before.  The rain was incredible to say the least.

Unfortunately I waited and waited, but nothing was showing in the area I was fishing.  I saw a couple pops here and there but nothing major.  By 8:45AM I decided to call it quits and go home to dry up.

Well I hate to admit it but that decision came back to bite me in the butt.  Oddly enough it seemed that yesterday's best action did not happen early in the morning, as is usually the case.  Striped bass are unpredictable creatures when they want to be, and yesterday my predictions just didn't line up with what the bass had in mind.

You can't expect to win every battle!

I was able to at least scoot back out fishing later in the day just before sunset.  I wasn't expecting much from the last second-late in the day-trip but I ended up cashing in with a small keeper.  At least I avoided the skunk for the day which is always appreciated.

I don't think I have much of a future in cinematography but I did mange to snap a quick video of yesterday's small keeper.  If only I was able to get some video footage of yesterday's 36 pounder - oh well maybe next time.

As mentioned there was a good bite yesterday, it just happened while I was not fishing.

My friend Jeff (who is an incredible striped bass fishermen) texted me this photo yesterday.

cape cod fishing reports

This bass regurgitated the smaller 7 inch bass after being caught yesterday morning.

Apparently bass are feeding on their own kind.  Once Jeff got his bass up onto the rocks it coughed up a 7 inch long baby striper.  I've heard stories about cannibalistic bass but this is the fist documented photo I have ever seen.  Pretty cool stuff to say the least, and I suppose that explains why juvenile stripers rarely travel with full grown adults.

Certain tides have been producing better than other tides as of late.  I think there is a great deal of potential for this weekend's fishing.  There are big bass around and they are feeding aggressively at certain times and in certain locations.  For more information on yesterday's events, productive tides and areas click here.





Top Waters During May at the Ditch

The Canal has been great all this week.  Just about every report in New England is talking about it, so I would expect there to be some congestion at the Canal Saturday and Sunday-at least in the morning.

The good news is that some of the best action has been happening during the middle of the day.

Yesterday I got word from numerous sources that the bass action was going strong from 10AM - 2PM.  Lots of fish on top hitting surface plugs.

The best tide this week has been the East turn.  However yesterday the fish fed throughout the middle and end of the East tide.  I also heard of good action coming around the West turn which was pretty much smack dab in the middle of the afternoon the past few days.

Typically the best top water action occurs early in the morning, however sometimes you just throw the rule book out the window in this sport.  Seems like the best time to fish the Canal right now is any time you are able to get down there.

Right now there is not one specific spot that is producing.  The entire length of the Canal has been producing good fish.  I was in the middle of the Canal on Thursday and had good fish.  I've heard of guys getting them by the Herring Run, the West End and even out on the Scusset Beach breakwater.

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Mack Blitzes at the Cape Cod Canal

You know something special is about to happen when adult mackerel start beaching themselves.

After releasing that 36 pounder I got right back to casting.

Each cast was producing at least a good solid whack or two.  Jeff and I continued to provoke some really impressive surface strikes for the next 30 minutes.

I decided to call it quits at around 8:30AM so I could get back home, write up this blog post and get some other work done.  The good news is that the fish were still feeding aggressively as I left the Canal.  I watched numerous guys hook up as I pedaled down the service road.

It seems as if that biomass of bass out in Buzzard's Bay is starting to trickle into the Big Ditch.  I'm really looking forward to what tomorrow may bring to the Canal.  Hopefully more lousy weather and big fish!

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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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