Migratory striped bass are moving up the East Coast of the United States, and it's an exciting time of the year to be a fisherman.
I would estimate that the first migratory stripers will arrive in Cape Cod waters within 3 weeks.
However, you don't have to wait for the big schools of migratory fish.
I found holdover stripers while fishing this week on Cape Cod, and some of the holdovers were surprisingly big.
This trip began with a pit stop at a new breakfast and coffee joint, located just a few miles from the Cape Cod Canal.
This was my first time purchasing an iced coffee from Mark's drive N dine. I had a good experience, and Mark's ice coffee is amazing.
Mark also cooks all his breakfast sandwiches to order, using real eggs, bacon and other ingredients. This is a welcome change from the generic, microwaved breakfast sandwiches at Dunkin' Donuts.
I feel that Mark's drive N dine is a nice addition to the Canal area. With coffee in hand I continued my drive east, over the Sagamore Bridge, and down the Mid-Cape Highway.
Traffic was light and the skies were clear. The air temperature was a comfortable 50 something degrees.
However, before any fishing would take place, I had a presentation to give at the Cape Cod Salties about my 27 mile surfcasting trek along Cape Cod's Great Beach.
On my way to the presentation I made a pitstop to pickup up my buddy Garet, who you may recognize from his easy-access reports here on MFCC.
By 7:30pm Garet and I were ready to start the presentation which included photos, videos and helpful tips for hiking and surfcasting the beaches of Outer Cape Cod.
Garet and I had a good time presenting, as we always do when we visit the Cape Cod Salties.
If you are interested in seeing this presentation, then swing by the MSBA Sport Fishing Expo next weekend (April 2nd -3rd).
For the first time ever, My Fishing Cape Cod will have its own booth at this show, and I will be giving presentations Saturday @ 3:30pm and Sunday @ 10am.
It was nearly 10pm by the time I was ready to go fishing.
A full moon was rising high into the sky, shining brightly through occasional cloud cover.
I had an entire night ahead of me and I was determined to spend as much time as necessary to find Cape Cod's elusive population of holdover striped bass.
I quietly walked through woodlands and dense briar patches en route to the marsh. I spooked several buzzard-like birds along the way, and heard a group of raccoons fighting amid the dense brush.
Finally I made it to the water's edge, and carefully began to wade through the mud and muck, trying my best to not sink in up to my knees and get stuck.
I really do not recommend wading in an estuary. The mud can act like quicksand, and you could get stuck. Often there is a strong current, and steep drop-offs into deep water.
There are huge tides in some estuaries. Places that are bone dry during low tide could be covered by 10 feet of water during high tide.
Plus the water is frigid this time of the year. It would be easy to get yourself into trouble if you do not know the area intimately well.
It was not long until I saw my first signs of life - baitfish, worms and eels were stirring in the shallows.
I figured there was a good chance of predators in this area, so I stopped and made my first cast of the night.
I had only been fishing for 5 minutes! The bass bit very hard too, which meant he was probably in full-on feeding mode.
He fought well for his size too.
It was a good start!
I could not help but think about the dozens of fish-less hours I spent during January and February.
All those skunkings had brought me to this very spot, at this very moment, to intercept this school of feeding stripers.
If you never give up, then you will eventually catch fish!
I released the bass and watched her swim away into the inky black water. Quickly I cast the plug back into the same exact spot.
One or two cranks of the reel is all it and took, and BOOM!
The topwater hit was ridiculous, and the bass thrashed on the surface, before peeling line from my reel.
That was when I knew for sure, that this was a much, much nicer fish.
I’m fortunate to have grown up on the beach, and I’ve been fishing since kindergarten. I have great family, friends and fishing experiences to be thankful for. Just being out there is enough-catching fish is just a bonus!