UPDATED ON May 31 2024

Fishing The Flats Of Cape Cod Bay During June

by Ryan Collins

Cape Cod Bay has some of the most expansive sand flats in all the world. If you look on Google Earth, you can clearly see shallow water sand flats running from Barnstable Harbor east, all the way to Eastham, and then north to Wellfleet.

The flats of Cape Cod Bay are some of the most unique environments on the east coast of America. When surrounded by miles of sandbars at low tide, one can feel as if they have been transported to an entirely different planet. 

This creek is completely covered by water at high tide, but at low tide it's almost bone dry. You can learn more about this specific area by reading the full members-only post below.

June in particular is a terrific month to spend some time exploring and fishing the many miles of flats in Cape Cod Bay. The area can produce well no matter if you are fishing from a boat, kayak or on foot. 

It’s also possible to do well over the flats using a variety of different approaches. If you like fly fishing then terrific, because you can most certainly catch fish over the flats on the fly.

Spin anglers can do well tossing large lures that imitate herring and mackerel, or they can go ultra light with small soft plastics that mimic sand eels. Folks fishing from boats can live-line mackerel, sight cast, snap wire, or troll plugs and troll tube and worm.

In this post I’ll share with you some simple strategies, areas worth checking out, and other words of wisdom from my personal experience fishing the flats.

Specifically we’ll discuss the importance of tides, safety on the flats, techniques, general areas and other advice I feel will be useful for anyone thinking about fishing and exploring this super cool area of Cape Cod. 

Plugging The Flats

Bright sunny days are great for sight fishing over the flats, but typically I find the fish are easier to fool in rainy stormy weather.

When I was younger, I always associated flats fishing with small 7 foot rods paired with small spinning reels, light pound test line and small soft plastics. I had been led to believe that bass over the flats are incredibly spooky, and usually feed on small bait such as sand eels.

While in many Cape Cod flats fishing scenarios this is certainly true, myself and some members here on My Fishing Cape Cod have in recent years “discovered” that big popping plugs and swimmers, fished on 30 pound braided line with a typical surfcasting setup, can also work - especially during May and June when herring are present in tight to shore. 

Fishing with big plugs over the flats is something worth getting excited about, however it does not seem to work very well on clear, calm and sunny days. Best success over the flats with big plugs seems to come on the rainy, overcast and generally miserable weather days.

The bass seem much more willing to attack big plugs under these conditions. 


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