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5 Picturesque Places to Kayak Fish this Spring on Cape Cod

Spring is hiding out there somewhere beneath the frost and ice. Some say spring is a long ways away, but I can feel it just past the tips of my fingers.

And when spring arrives one of the first things I will do is splash the kayak, and start pedaling. I'm new to kayak fishing and I'm excited to fish and explore the places I typically fish on foot.

Here's 5 picturesque places I plan on fishing in the kayak this spring on Cape Cod.​


Hidden back bays

hidden back bays

My first striped bass of each season for the past "I have no clue how many years," has been taken in the hidden and protected back bays and upper reaches of Cape Cod's estuaries.

I'm not exaggerating when I say these places are "hidden."​ A great deal of effort is required to reach these spots on foot.

hidden back bays

This spring I can use the kayak to transport me to these hidden back bays without having to concern myself with private property restrictions or parking challenges.

There is a chance that striped bass have wintered over in some of these back bays. Some years the bass winter over, and some years they do not.

Last year bitter cold temperatures killed dozens of holdover stripers in one area I frequent. I never caught a bass, but I found plenty of evidence.​

dead holdover striped bass

At some point in early spring (and on warm winter days) these holdover stripers "awake" and begin to feed, albeit rather sluggishly at first. Not long after, usually sometime during April, small migratory stripers join the party.

At this point the Cape's back bays are filled with a mix of holdover and migratory spring stripers. It's a terrific experience, being in a hidden back bay and experiencing all this fresh life.​

Check out the below posts and videos for more ideas for finding holdover stripers Cape Cod's hidden back bays: 

Unfortunate Evidence Of Holdovers

Searching For Rare 40in Holdovers

January 2014 Holdover Striper Fishing

Where to Find Holdover Stripers

Glacial kettle ponds

Geology tells us that Cape Cod came into form as ice age glaciers melted. About 25,000 or so years ago, some of these glaciers melted to create kettle ponds.

You can find these kettle ponds scattered throughout the interior of Cape Cod. Some kettle ponds I've fished and explored are like deep, dark blue oasis in the middle of the woods.

kettle ponds nickerson state park brewster

My favorite strategy was to first find as remote a stretch of shoreline as possible. Google Earth is a useful tool for this task. ​

Then I would ​walk or wade the shoreline, casting as often as possible, with a small Rapala. This is basically the same approach I typically find myself utilizing when surfcasting the beach for stripers.

rainbow trout cape cod

One time during 2014, while fishing the ponds of Nickerson State Park, I exited from a pine forest onto a white powder sand beach, which made me feel like I was in Florida. 

Last April I devoted a couple of weeks to fishing these ponds for trout. Each spring the state stocks the kettle ponds of Cape Cod with a variety of different species.

This spring I hope to troll for trout from the kayak. I feel the kayak will increase my catch rates, and give me a new way to explore the Cape's glacial kettle ponds.

Here's a few of my favorite posts from 2014 about fishing Cape Cod's kettle ponds:​

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Tropical sand flats​

tropical sand flats cape cod

I remember the scene very well.

The sun was shining brightly on the aqua colored shallows on the horizon. Bright green eel grass and deep brown mud, lined the shoreline to my left.

This was my first trip of the 2014 season in search of skinny water stripers.

cape cod flats fishing striped bass

​Even during the month of May, the flats of Cape Cod can feel nearly tropical. During low tide beaches of fine sand extend out into the ocean for miles. Six hours later, during high tide, these same spots are covered by up to 15 ft of water.

I most often fish these flats on foot, and because of the drastic tides my fishing time is very limited. I need to make sure to get off the flats before the tide rolls in. This can be difficult to do at night or if caught in a fog.

This spring I would like to fish a few key areas with the kayak. I will probably use the kayak for transportation to and fro holes and troughs.

One of the most productive holes I'm aware of is located more than 1/2 of a mile from shore.

The kayak ought to be a valuable tool for extending my fishing time at these far off cuts, troughs and holes. Perhaps I'll even catch a few more big striped bass like the one pictured above.

Click play below to get a sense of what it feels like to fish Cape Cod's flats.

I think fishing spots like the ones in the above video will be a terrific experience in the kayak.

Herring laden estuaries

ellisville estuary

Things get interesting once the herring arrive on Cape Cod. Herring are silvery fish which make an amazing journey from the open sea to the Cape's freshwater ponds to spawn.

Striped bass take notice and can be found marauding the schools of herring​ whenever the situation and timing is right. Lots of the best action happens far offshore, but every so often a feed will occur in surprisingly skinny water.

striped bass feeding on herring on Cape Cod

Estuaries are naturally a good place to look for this type of activity. Herring very often pass through estuaries ​to get to the next stage in their journey.

Estuaries also provide protection from wind and waves which is ideal for kayak anglers. Calm conditions, plus the chance of finding herring crazed stripers in skinny water, make estuaries a nice place for kayak fishing.

kayak barnstable harbor cape cod, ma

Slow trolling large swimming plugs and sight casting poppers ​will be my go-to techniques this spring. Once spring arrives I'll definitely talk more about herring, and fishing estuaries for striped bass.

It'll be here before I know it...

If you can't wait that long, check out this new page all about surfcasting on Cape Cod.​ I think that many of the areas I surfcast, will also be awesome places to fish via yak.

Tight lines and take care,


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

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  1. Great article Ryan,
    You’ve got me pumped for this summer – l love fishing from my yak. Wished I lived on the Cape to invest time on the flats – seems like a perfect opportunity for a yak fisherman. Especially with the incoming tide pushing the wading fishermen back. Gluck this year!

    1. Summer is coming George! Glad you are excited.

      Like you mention, I feel the kayak will be a terrific tool over the flats this season.



  2. Considering how the great whites have reappeared in the past couple of decades, do you ever get visited in the kayak and if not, is it in the back of your mind?

    1. A GW bit a kayak off Plymouth this past summer, so yes Jay the sharks are definitely in the back of my mind!

      Fortunately I have not yet been visited by one…

      1. Yet!…..just kidding, be safe! Great info keep it up!

        1. LOL…If it does happen, at least I will probably have a GoPro camera running and might catch it all on video!

  3. Great article. I can’t wait myself to start the kayak fishing adventure this spring. Looking forward to get together and take some fishing lessons from a master like you!

    1. Spring is coming quick Emil! It’ll be here before we know it.

      I have a feeling 2015 will be a great season.


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