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Cape Cod Fishing Report July 19-21

July 19 - Chatham

Chatham is an awesome Cape Cod town.  The place has great bars, phenomenal ice cream, great white sharks and fantastic striper fishing opportunities.

I'm no Chatham fishing expert, however I do know that Monomoy supports acres of fast moving rips, and expansive sand flats-perfect for the light tackle and fly fishing crowd.  The area east of Chatham inlet is also a prime spot that routinely holds big bass.  Big bluefin tuna also roam the area, and I heard that Charlie has made his presence known numerous times this week.

So after hearing the plethora of positive information flowing from Chatham, I couldn't resist trecking down there at 3AM Tuesday morning.

I would soon realize that I still had A LOT of learning left to do when it comes to striped bass fishing.

After making the long run around Monomoy from Harwichport, we immediately settled up on a nice school of busting bass.  Within the first 30 minutes we had caught around 10 fish, 3 of which were keepers.  It was a good start but short lived.

Soon the fleet arrived and the place turned into Disneyland.  I spent the rest of the morning dodging the 200 plus boats, catching bluefish, and landing one more corky 20 pound bass.  Not the best outcome, but a learning experience nonetheless.

Chatham looked like a floating parking lot this past week.


July 20 - Cape Cod Bay

The next day I had a trip slated for Cape Cod Bay with Kevin, a recently hired New England Patriots' employee.  Actually, it's been almost a year to the day that Kevin got word that he was hired by the Pats.  Ironically enough he got the phone call while fishing on the Miss Loretta last summer.  I was hoping the good mojo would continue!

Almost as soon as we put our tube and worm rigs in the water, Kevin was on with a monster bluefish.  Not the target species, but at least there was some life in the area.

10 minutes later, the clicker starts screaming, and Kev's on!  This was no bluefish, and after a lengthy battle, I sank the gaff into a beautiful 25 pound line sider-nice!

Kevin and I fell into a nice routine for the remainder of the trip.  Setting lines, pitching eels and boating fish.  When all was said and done, we had 16 keeper bass to our names, all between 20 and 39 pounds.

Kevin with two of 16 keeper bass taken during a trip this past week. Notice the flat calm conditions and pink sky-perfect morning!

Of course the highlight of the trip was tripling up on a lobster pot.  The first time I have ever successfully managed to hook all three tubes on the same pot.  Go me.

I forget what Kevin's personal best is for striped bass, but this 39 pounder must of been pretty close to his biggest.

Kevin with a 39 pound bass caught in Cape Cod Bay using a spinning rod and a live eel.

July 21- Cape Cod Bay

This morning was EXTREMELY windy!  However we still managed to find the bass amidst the white caps.

Tubes were the ticket today.  For some reason the bass ignored the eels-go figure.  Finaly tally was 7 keeper fish between 25 and 35 pounds.  I forgot to take pictures so you'll just have to take my word on it!

There seems to be a nice class of fish moving into the area right now.  I have next Friday night, July 29th available for anyone who would like to get a shot at these beautiful bass.

Good luck and tight lines!

Captain Ryan Collins




Cape Cod Bay Giant Tuna Time

This giant tuna article was published in June of 2011.

With reports of seriously big tuna being spotted by planes flying over Cape Cod Bay, it may be time to start thinking about drifting a bluefish off Sandy Neck.

A plethora of mackerel invaded Cape Cod Bay over the past few days.  Some nice bass and blues have been caught by anglers trolling tube and worm rigs around the mackerel schools.  However you can be sure that stripers and bluefish are not the only predators that have taken notice of the large amount of bait currently present in Cape Cod Bay.

The stickboats have been having good success off the backside of the Cape and around Provincetown.  I would not be surprised if we soon hear of giant tuna being harpooned inside the Bay sometime over the next few days.

Giant Tuna

Beefy tackle in the form of 80 and 130 class reels are a necessity for rod and reel anglers set on catching giant tuna.

The nice weather predicted for this weekend presents a great window of opportunity for small boat tuna fishermen hoping to hook up close to home.

Recently fishermen departing from the East End of the canal have reported bait balls of tinker mackerel extending from the Sandwich shores, well eastward off Barnstable.  Odds are this is not the only area in the Bay holding mackerel.

Areas to Check Out

The Fishing Ledge, which sits almost smack dab in the middle of Cape Cod Bay, could be a prime spot to take a look for Charlie (tuna) this weekend.  If the seas are glass calm, keep your eyes peeled for giant tuna cruising just underneath the surface.

Giant tuna will often create a V-shaped wake as they cruise just inches under the Bay's surface.  If you plan on targeting smaller tuna on spinning gear, it may be smart to gauge the size of the tuna before casting.

Last year, around this time, tuna in the 150 pound range could be found a few miles north of the Fingers outside Barnstable Harbor.  This class of fish would be much better suited for spin fishermen, compared to some of the larger specimens being caught by the stickboats and anglers utilizing heavy conventional tackle.

The area referred to by old timers as the Square off Billingsgate may also be an area worth taking a ride too.  A smart tactic would be to spend the early hours of the morning catching bluefish over the shoal, and then drifting the blues in the deeper water west of Billingsgate in the afternoon.

The bluefish I have seen so far this week in the Bay have all been monstrous.  We had good success on fat, 34+ inch blues on Thursday.  These larger specimens of the bluefish population make prime bait for giant bluefins.

Techniques to Try

Kite fishing is one of the most exciting ways to catch a giant tuna.  It's essentially the same thing as topwater bass fishing, except the fish is about 100 times bigger.

Details matter when kite fishing.  Using braided line on Penn 80 or 130 conventional reels can really help a kite to fly high and strong even in a light breeze.  Dropper lines set at intervals from the line running off the kite rod will help to decrease the severity of the angle of the main line running from the reel to the bait.  "Bridling" baits can help to increase the longevity of precious live bluefish, pogies and mackerel.

Check out Kite Fishing for Giant Tuna 101  for more information.

Giant Tuna

Nothing beats seeing a giant tuna at boatside. Photo courtesy of TR Schilb.

Balloon fishing allows a tuna fisherman to strategically place live baits at specific depths.  An appropriate size egg sinker, say 8 ounces, is attached a distance up from the live bait on the main line using an elastic band. If the depth you desire to place your bait at is 80 feet, then 80 feet of main line is paid out.  A balloon is then attached 80 feet up from the live bait.  Float the balloon away from the boat and start the drift.

We'll discuss the finer details of balloon fishing in subsequent articles.  Until then, tight lines and good luck in your pursuit of giant tuna!

July 12 Report

Well the tough streak continues for another day.  I've got to report the good and the bad.

Things started off fantastic.  Marked A LOT of nice fish.  Put the tubes out, and BANG - 30 pounder.

And then the wind started blowing.  The predicted 10-15 out fo the Southwest turned into a howling 20-30mph.  A bit too much for the Miss Loretta.

This pic was taken last fall. It wasn't quite this bad out there last night, but it wasn't all that much better either.

We spent the rest of the night trudging back to the canal.  A long, wet sloppy ride.

The weather for tonight looks better though, and with the amount of fish marked on the sonar last night, it's just a matter of time until it breaks wide open.

It's 7am, time to go to bed!

Catch em up!


July 9th and 10th Weekend Report


Well sometimes it's best to just suck up your pride and throw in the towel.  Problem was that none of us were willing to quit Friday night, and we got absolutely drenched to the bone because of it.

To make a very long, wet, and dry as a desert night story a heck of a lot shorter, we just plain didn't catch anything.

I give Bob, Pat, and Sean Cassidy a lot of credit for sticking it out.  Don't worry fellas I'll make it up to you guys later this summer.  Let me know when you want to go.


With clear skies, light winds, and no rain in the forecast, I had a lot more confidence coming into Saturday night.  I had a powerhouse crew from Taunton-Randy, John and Brian.  All three were experienced Capt. John bottom fishermen, and were looking for some corker Cape Cod Bay striped bass.

Right off the bat we began marking bait and the tubes went in the water.  A few hours later we still hadn't hooked up, and I'm starting to think that we may have a repeat of Friday night.  Dreading the rare and infamous "back-to-back skunk" I got us on the move and headed east.

Finally, after a lot of searching, we marked a small pile of bass and dropped the lines back.  A half an hour later and the clicker started going off on John's starboard side rod.  Thank god, I quietly said to myself.!

A few minutes later and we had a nice, fat, 32 pounder flopping on the deck of the Miss Loretta.  It was John's first ever striped bass-what a start!  It took me over a decade of trying before I beat the 30 pound mark.  John broke into the 30 pound club after just a couple hours!

John with his first ever striped bass-a nice 32 pounder.

With tubes back in the water and a sense of renewed energy we trolled onward.  An hour later and the clicker started clicking again.

This time it was Randy's turn, and he battled what would turn into his largest striper of his life-a healthy, sea lice covered 22 pounder.  Nice fish!

Randy with his biggest striper to date-a 22 pounder.

Unfortunately Brian left the party empty handed, however he'll be sure to have the lucky stick next time.

All in all, still a very slow trip, but a heck of a lot more productive than the night prior.

The fishing in the Bay will only get better from here forward.  A year ago this coming week produced two 15 plus keeper striper trips, with the largest topping the scales at just under 40 pounds. Can't wait to see what tomorrow night brings to the table.

Catch 'em up!


We'll get you a nice fish next time Brian.

Lot of Bait, Few Nice Bass – July 7 Fishing Report

A report!  Finally!

With all the website work, other shenanigans, and recent Fourth of July activity, it's been a while since I've been on the water-and even longer since publishing a fishing report.  Nevertheless here is the first of what should be many more to come.

After a very slow showing off Barnstable during our previous Cape Cod Bay night trip, things seem to be picking up, at least for the moment.  Waxing moons seem to produce better than waning moons in our neck of the woods, so with flat calm seas and a waxing moon at our backs, my confidence was riding high.

A "just before dark" striper.

Not to mention I had the man, the myth and the legend Jake Collins at my side.

Like previously mentioned, with all the Independence Day nonsense going on it had been a while since I had a trip.  With a full weekend of fishing ahead, I figured a little recon couldn't hurt.

The first surprise of the night was the water temperature.  My Humminbird was reading a balmy 70 degrees, much warmer than the low 60 degree temperatures encountered during my last expedition.  Tons of bait, birds and schoolie bass had infiltrated the East End of the Cape Cod Canal.  It was a welcoming, and encouraging site.

As soon as I had the Miss Loretta clear of the last of the canal's green cans we began marking bait.  Before I knew it, we were pretty much surrounded by bait balls.

A nice Cape Cod Bay 25-30 pound striped bass.

The bait was extremely skittish.  From the looks of it I'd say they were tinker mackerel.  Skittish or not the baitfish were everywhere.  Individual bait balls could be seen across the horizon to the east and to the west.

About a half hour later we had our first definitive marks on the sonar-a school of around a half dozen bass.  Tubes in!

A half hour into the troll and the clicker started clicking.  4 colors and a 24 inch long red tube proved to be the ticket for a nice 25-30 pound striper.  Great start!

Jake with his first bass of the year.

Tubes back in, and twenty minutes later, "click, click, click CLICK!" fish on!  The bass put up a healthy fight, and a few minutes later we had another 25-30 pound bass flopping on the deck.

The stinger hook on the tube was responsible for both hookups.

A few bluefish later and it was time to head for the docks.  Lots to do tomorrow morning.  A few hours of recon is certainly better than none at all.  All in all a beautiful evening on the water, and a lot of life out there on the Bay.

Hopefully the bait, bass, and good weather will stick around.

Check back this weekend for more reports.

Tight lines and catch 'em up!


Tube and Worm Advanced Techniques for Big Striped Bass

The tube and worm is one the strangest, yet most effective methods of catching striped bass in the waters surrounding Cape Cod.  Three foot long tubes routinely catch two foot long striped bass.  18 inch tubes often catch bass pushing well into the 40 pound range.

Needless to say there is a lot of mystique surrounding this deadly technique.

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My Fishing Cape Cod Articles

These articles are for your benefit.  I have written them with you in mind.  From the beginner, to the seasoned veteran, I hope you can all take at least one piece of information with when you go.

None of us have all the answers!  I am also continuously learning, and believe me, I have a long way to go.  But learning is what this site is all about.  I wish you the best, and urge you to continue improving, and enjoying your time fishing Cape Cod.

Take care and tight lines,

Captain Ryan Collins

Tube and Worm Trolling for Big Striped Bass

Often time’s anglers become puzzled as to what bait or lure to use in a certain scenario.  There exists today hundreds of different ways to catch a striped bass.

Bass can be caught by fishing with mackerel, pogies, squid and herring.  Stripers are hooked by surface plugs, diving plugs, darters, shad bodies and jigs.  Linesiders are trolled up by bunker spoons, umbrella rigs and swimming plugs. The list goes on and on.

All the above mentioned methods will catch bass.  The problem is that not all of these methods always work.  If an angler is casting a bulky surface plug, but the bass are honed in on small sand eels, he is more than likely out of luck.

The choice is then left to the fisherman to decide what bait or lure will work on a given trip.  But is there one single method that will catch big bass all the time?

If there is, I am yet to discover it.

But by structuring a fishing trip around a single, proven “go-to” presentation, a fisherman can leave the docks with confidence, and easily eliminate half his tackle box.

Like many of you, I rely upon a $2 piece of surgical tubing to consistently put big bass in the boat.

Tube and Worm

Tubes work at night, as well as during the day.

The Tube and Worm

The tube and worm is no secret and for good reason.  Tubes are inexpensive and can be easily made at home.  Tubes catch inactive striped bass and also catch stripers that are actively feeding on baits that the tube does not imitate.

A tube will often work if bass are feeding on mackerel.  A tube will also work if bass are feeding on sand eels.  Obviously a tube will work if bass are feeding on two foot long worms.  Which leads to the debate around what a tube and worm rig actually imitates.

I firmly believe striped bass mistake tube and worm rigs for ribbon worms and large sandworms which reside in our area, and can grow to a length of four feet.  These worms are often reddish-pink or orange in color.  Ribbon worms also swim through the water in a spiraling motion.  Sandworms do more of a wiggle.

A 24 inch long ribbon worm, gyrating through the water, has an eerily similar resemblance to a properly trolled 24 inch long red tube.

If you are a striped bass accustomed to chasing speedy mackerel and ink filled squid, then catching a worm must be about as easy as it gets.  It may be the human equivalent of hitting up the drive-thru over expending the energy necessary to prepare a turkey dinner.

In this sense, I think bass possess a “why not?” attitude towards tube n’ worms.  I believe that even if bass are honed in on different bait, they will still eat a ribbon worm because it is so easy to capture.

Maximizing Time Spent On the Water

Enough time is spent on the water searching for fish, as discussed in Developing a Strategy for Finding Big Striped Bass and Tuna.

The last thing I want to do is waste time experimenting with different techniques and lure options when I finally locate an area holding big bass.  Rare are the days that a tube n’ worm will not catch a fish, when trolled through productive areas.

This makes it easy to feel confident knowing that the tube will more than likely prove interesting to a passing striped bass, no matter the weather conditions or the presence of particular bait.

Trolling three different tube and worm rigs at three different depths through an area holding fish will quickly tell me what length/color tube and what depth will be most productive.  Once a few fish are caught, I will have a pretty good sense as to the most productive tube and depth.  A quick adjustment to the other two tubes is all that is needed.

Thus we have three proven fish producing tube and worm rigs, all fishing at the proven fish producing depth.  It is a lot easier to consistently put big fish in the boat this way.

It is also much more fun experimenting with different methods after a few nice fish have been boated, such as utilizing light tackle.

Catch More Bass by Keeping Things Simple

There are endless theories bouncing around about what striped bass fishing techniques work best under certain conditions.  I understand how easy it can be to get bogged down by the seemingly infinite supply of information on the web, in tackle shops, and in fishing books.

An important thing to remember when heading out on the water is to keep things as simple as possible.

Find the fish and give them something they want to bite.

If a specific technique consistently catches fish under a broad umbrella of variables, then consider making that technique your personal “go-to” presentation.”  You will feel more confident knowing you are at least starting your fishing trip with a proven killer.

This year one of my go-to techniques will most definitely be trolling the tube and worm 

Surfcasting South Cape Beach for Blitzing Bluefish

fishing spots on cape cod

This article was published during the spring of 2011.

This particular afternoon, now a full decade into the past, was unusually warm by Cape Cod standards.  I recall driving into the South Cape Beach parking lot and noticing how the sun reflected nicely off the white caps that were heaving in at the beach from Vineyard Sound.

The weatherman had nailed the forecast on the sunshine, but had dropped the ball on the wind, which was cranking at around 30 knots.  Grains of sand propelled by the strong breeze stung my cheeks as I made my way down to the water’s edge.  It felt good to hear the waves and smell the salt after such a long harsh winter.

There were birds diving about 30 yards offshore down to my right.  After a quick jaunt I was greeted by hordes of squid and some very enthusiastic sea gulls.  The scene was set for my first bluefish blitz of the year.

Within minutes acres of bluefish had invaded the beachfront.  The fish slashed and crashed through squid in water as shallow as six inches.  Each cast provoked a catastrophic top water hit, followed by a lengthy fight on light tackle.  Some casts even produced two bluefish-one fish on the plug’s front hook and one fish on the tail.

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Cape Cod Tuna Time

 Click here for the latest Cape Cod tuna fishing report

The following excerpt originally appeared in the May 2011 edition of "On The Water" magazine.

"There was a slight chop developing on the ocean’s surface as I eased the Miss Loretta into a slow drift on Stellwagen Bank’s legendary southwest corner.

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