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My First Cape Cod Canal Stripers Of The Season

Andrew Burke

Hello everyone! I hope your spring has been going well, and you've been able to land your first striped bass of the season. The action at the Canal has not been red hot by any means, but more and more fish are funneling into the region by the day, with keeper-sized stripers beginning to show up sporadically.

Over the past several days I've made two trips to the Cape Cod Canal. Yesterday I fished for several hours with Joe D'Agostino from JoeBaggs Tackle, and on May 17th I embarked on my first canal trip of the season, with MFCC member Hayden Gallagher.

I am currently working on putting the finishing touches on some video I shot yesterday with Joe. We caught a few fish and I will have an update ready for you hopefully very soon.

In the rest of this post I'll focus on my first trip of the season to the canal. This past Thursday morning I had my alarm set my alarm for 3:45am, and I planned to meet MFCC member Hayden Gallagher bright and early for some early season action. 


Late Arrivals

It's no secret the striped bass migration is certainly on the later side this year, due to the long winter. Last year, many 40+ inch fish had already pushed their way into Cape Cod Bay by this time. I kept this in mind as I drove to the spot, and wondered if Hayden and I could encounter some of the first larger fish of the season. 

I always look forward to fishing with Hayden. Last season we had some pretty amazing days along the banks of the Cape Cod Canal. Regardless of slow reports, I was hopeful about our chances of catching. 

Sure enough, we got into some solid action on this morning...

First Casts of the 2018 Season!

Hayden and I met around 5:15am, and started our search for fish around the middle of the Cape Cod Canal. 

The fish in the canal have been quite finicky, so I loaded my bag with 6" SP minnows and 2oz Guppy plugs in a mackerel pattern. We arrived at just about slack tide, and planned to fish the start of the east tide heavily. 

Regardless of the outcome, I was just happy to be fishing saltwater. This winter was far too long! With our surf bags loaded and fresh leaders on our setups, we took to the bike trail and began scanning for signs of life. 

It didn't take long for the fish to reveal themselves. Small schools of breaking fish were visible, pushing small baitfish towards the surface. 

I quickly fired out a cast and began working my 2oz Guppy through the commotion. Sure enough, a fish boiled on my plug and I was on! I was ecstatic, as this was my first fish of the season!

  1. Awesome thanks for the advice gona get me some small plugs now and give it a go…

  2. Andy Thankyou for this excellent report with all this information . Now I have no excuses !

    1. Thanks for the kind words David! Sometimes it’s just a matter of hitting the water and exploring!

  3. Great article as usual Andrew! Big fish will be here soon. Last year we had that run of big fish the week before Memorial Day. See you out there.

    1. Thanks Dex! Looking forward to fishing with you this season!

  4. Sounds encouraging. I am headed out from Conn. to Eastham with, of course, a stop at Canal Bait & Tackle and the Canal, as well as Sunken Meadow in Eastham and maybe even race Point…ever the optimist.

    1. There are certainly fish on the stretch of beach you’ll be fishing during your stay! Small topwater plugs like spooks have been getting it done.


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