October 21 2015

The Fall Run: 20# Bass Blitzing in Shallow Water


Ryan Turcotte
2+ year MFCC member

As I opened the door the crisp cool air hit me. The wind was blowing, leaves sliding across the pavement. The feel of fall was finally in the air after a warmer than usual September. I grabbed my jacket and winter hat and was on my way.

It seemed strange making the drive from Quincy in the dark at 5am, thinking back to the many summer days leaving the house at 3am just to arrive for sunrise on the Cape.

I still had about 2 hours before sunrise…where would I fish today?


I had contemplated on fishing the surf on a Cape Cod Bay beach, trying the canal, or venturing down to the south facing shoreline which I am much less familiar with.

The decision was made for me as I crossed the Sagamore Bridge; the strong northeast gust of wind shook my car and I immediately eliminated the option of any north facing Cape Cod Bay beach. Casting would be impossible in this wind.

A quick glance down revealed white caps on the waters of the canal, so I decided my best option would be somewhere out of the wind. It might not be the most productive, but it would at least be comfortable!

They're Here!

I arrived at my first location just as the sun began to peak over the hill behind me. It consisted of a point of land with a boulder field and lots of current, but after spending two hours battling the wind with nothing to show for my efforts I decided to make a move.

By the time I arrived at the second location the sun was starting to get high in the sky. At this spot the swift current and great structure makes for good fishing in the spring and fall, when the waters are cool. My plan was to walk down the beach and fish a point; however as I hit the beach that plan quickly changed.

Huge dark clouds of baitfish consumed the shoreline. For as far as I could see there were big schools of peanut bunker pushed up into the shallows.

The water was dark with dense schools of peanut bunker corralled against the shoreline.

I hustled down the steps to the beach and immediately saw fish breaking about 3 feet from shore.

One angler was already there, hooked up, his rod doubled over. I quickly jogged down the beach. I had a popper tied on but didn’t want to waste time to change out plugs. In my excitement I made a quick cast that flew well beyond where the fish were! My retrieve passed right through the school. Fish boiled on the plug but wouldn’t commit to hitting it.

The other angler landed a 20# fish on what appeared to be a large Sebile. Quickly I decided to make a change from the popper to a small white Sebile, more of a match for the peanut bunker that were present.

The slow sinking white Sebile Magic Swimmer is always a reliable bet.

I cast my Sebile into the mayhem, made three cranks and a bass slammed the plug. I lifted my rod to set the hook but somehow I missed the fish. I continued my retrieve for a couple more seconds and got another solid hit only a few feet from shore, this time firmly hooking what felt like a good fish.

Full of energy, the bass thrashed on the surface, then made a long first run, peeling off line from my reel. I worked the fish back to shore, but each time I had the bass close it would make another run. The fish eventually tired and I was able to slide a nice striper onto the sand.

The fish measured 39” and was an estimated to 22.5#.

ryan turcotte keeper striped bass

Little did I know at the time that the guy down the beach from me had already landed 12 fish this size!

The other angler had also landed a bass of his own that appeared to be in the low 40” range. The fish that had been breaking were all in the 20# range.

Fish continued chasing bait and breaking sporadically in spots up and down the beach. I released the bass and chased the breaking fish for a bit, however as quickly as the large pod of fish had appeared, they seemed to disappear.

If I Was Only There Earlier...

After a while I took the time to stop and talk to the other angler who happened to live in one of the oceanfront homes on the beach. He said that the large school of fish had been feeding since sunrise and the fishing had just begun to slow down.

It was now 9am and I had caught the tail end of an epic morning. He told me how he had followed the fish up and down the beach, all by himself, as large stripers harassed the peanut bunker.

He had landed at least a dozen fish over 20#!

We continued fishing and I landed a handful of fish from schoolies to small keepers.

schoolie striper with white sebile magic swimmer

Most of the striper looked to be around 20 pounds, but there were smaller fish mixed in.

The other fisherman also landed both stripers and the occasional bluefish.

Both bluefish and bass were feeding together on the pogies.

The morning began as a frustrating one, battling the wind, and ended up being very successful. I could only imagine how much better it would have been had I started on that beach.

While at work the next morning I received word that epic blitzes in the area had continued. Great fall fishing is happening now, so go out and make the most of it before they’re gone!

What do you think? Let me know by commenting below.

About the author 

Ryan Turcotte

Ryan joined MFCC back in June of 2013 . Ryan's always willing to help, and you may notice his many posts and threads in our forum. This season Ryan will be primarily fishing from shore and sometimes via boat. We're happy to have him contributing!

    • Any south facing beaches, especially around inlets can be productive. The fish are migrating so stay mobile and look for the birds!

  • Very nice Ryan Turcotte, it would be nice if you could give me a hint as to where you were fishing. I haven’t caught a decent fish all year. Thanks, Rick Schiltz

    • The fish this time of year are moving a lot! These fish were feeding while migrating…there one day gone the next. Your best bet would be to move around, stay mobile, and look for the birds! There are fish all over the Cape right now. If one area seems dead, move on to the next! Good luck!

    • Thanks Jim! This happened in the beginning of the month. I haven’t found big fish since, only schoolies. Hopefully I can change that soon before the month is over.

  • Very nice! I need to get a hogtober striper before the MFCC tournament ends! Just schoolies and small keepers have been my deal since it started.

    • This was the only day I found big fish since October started. Seems like there are plenty of small fish around, but very few big fish mixed in. Put in 12 hours straight last Friday and only managed a handful of schoolies. Hopefully we find some big ones before the month is over!

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