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Cape Cod Holdover Striped Bass Report | March 26th

Ryan Collins

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.


Wednesday Afternoon

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.

Wednesday Night

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!

Holdover striper cape cod ryan collins
schoolie holdover striper

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.

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  1. As a member of off cape crowd I’m enjoying your reports and this salt dog is getting antsy. All rods are spooled and ready to go!!
    See you at MSBA

    1. It is an exciting time of the year!

      Looking forward to catching up at MSBA.

  2. Hi Ryan I want to know when starts the bass blitz?
    Thanks Katia

    1. Hey Katia, I would expect the first bass blitzes to occur during the month of May, once the migratory stripers begin showing up in good numbers.

  3. Nice Ryan! I can’t believe how productive that spot has been! No luck for me yesterday but there was an osprey working hard and I found some small type of herring washed up on shore. I’m hoping that by the next time I’m down there are migratory fish at least in RI

    1. Good news Brian because I heard that there are fish with sea lice beginning to show in CT, so RI won’t be long now. Hopefully some migratory fish on Cape within 3 weeks. Keep at it!

  4. Nice work! Always enjoy your reports!

    1. Excellent! It is great having you as part of MFCC!

  5. Nice report, I took advantage of the warm weather a couple times this week and looked for some fish, but no bumps or sign… maybe today. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now then.

    1. Good luck Drew and keep at it.

      I lost track of how many times I got skunked during January and February, before finally finding the fish.

  6. Nice fish ryan , thanks for keeping our spirits up.Just renewed saltwater license this morn. Hopefully fishing first weekend in April. Any tips for the orleans area
    Thanks , Chuck

    1. Very nice Chuck! April is right around the corner.

      Nighttime has been the right time. I have only been skunked during the day.

  7. Excellent report…I am excited to get in the water over the next week…working out of Falmouth…I will report back of similar success, if achieved.

    DJ Decker
    Burnt Hills, NY

    1. Good luck David, and it was good catching up with you this past week.

  8. Excellent report Ryan-See you at the Mass Bass Expo!


    1. Yes I will see you at the Expo!

      I see you are hosting seminars Saturday @ 3:30pm and Sunday @ 2:30pm.

      What is the topic of your seminars?

  9. Great article. I actually live minutes from where your presentation location. My plan was to attend and hopefully meet you guys but was held up at work. I’m an electrician and have large jobs on camp Edwards and in Eastham. I spent some time scoping out the herring run to West Reservoir early in the week. Looked promising and was even more excited when another angler was doing the same thing. He gave me some great tips and locations to hit in the river for the stripers…..again, Google earth, sand bars and current…

    1. I’m sure we will be able to connect soon Warren.

      If you are able to attend our upcoming breakfast then it would be terrific to have you there >

      Sounds to me like you are starting to “figure it out” with regards to locating places on Cape which hold stripers during the season.

      There is certainly no shortage of great spots!


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