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Lauren’s First-Ever Keeper Black Sea Bass

ryan collins my fishing cape cod breakfast

On Tuesday my wife Lauren and I headed out in our 12 foot Lund aluminum boat in search of black sea bass, scup and tautog.

Fishing from the little boat is a completely different experience then fishing from my 21 foot Hydra Sport, and I could tell Lauren was slightly skeptical about the whole idea.

Nevertheless we ended up having an awesome time, and in this post I will recap the experience, as well as share with you some updates, tips and friendly advice for fishing right now on the Cape & Islands. 🎣


Small Boat Safety

Lauren was all smiles yesterday after landing her first-ever keeper black sea bass!​

Fishing for black sea bass and scup lends itself well to small boat fishing. Right now both species can be caught relatively close to shore which is ideal for small boats and kayaks.

However, I really want to stress how important it is to be careful and cautious when fishing from small vessels. Especially right now during the spring the water is still very cold and the wind can kick up without warning. 

You also need to keep an eye peeled for larger boats...

Growing up I was taught to give small boats and kayaks a wide berth, and to slow down whenever I had to pass by someone in a smaller vessel. It's common courtesy to not send a big wake towards people fishing from a small boat.

I believe that whoever was driving the center console shown in the video above simply didn't know any better. They have probably never fished from a small boat before, and were never taught common courtesy. 

Fishing Structure

Yesterday Lauren and I focused all our fishing efforts around areas with structure. For example we didn't spend much time fishing over sandy or muddy bottom. Instead we invested our day fishing around rocks and what looked like some sort of coral. 

I am not a marine biologist so I'm not sure if what you see in the photo above is actually coral, but it sure does look similar. If you know what this is then please let me know by leaving a comment below! 👇

I don't have any sonar on my little 12 foot boat, so I need to rely on prior research, past experience, and the Navionics app on my iPhone in order to find rock piles and structure which bottom fish congregate around.

For me this is part of the fun and adds to the challenge and excitement of bottom fishing. Fortunately the Navionics app and any good fishing chart has rocky areas marked.

Whether you are fishing Buzzard's Bay, Vineyard Sound or Nantucket Sound, you can easily find rocky areas of structure by investing just a few minutes into the app or chart. 🐟

Mixed Bag Fishing

One of the best things about bottom fishing right now on Cape Cod is the variety of species which can be caught. 

For example, on Wednesday I caught on camera a "mixed bag" of female tautog, male and female black sea bass, as well as plenty of scup.

I'm also noticing an abundance of empty shells on the bottom in a lot of the areas where I have been finding good bottom fishing.

Again if you invest some time into studying charts you will no doubt begin to discover your own bottom fishing hot spots. Of course sending a GoPro or Spydro camera down to the bottom is also a good way to verify you are fishing the right areas!

To watch 4 more minutes of underwater bottom fishing footage, members of My Fishing Cape Cod can click here to view a new video.

In Conclusion

Lauren and I did not "limit out" on black sea bass yesterday, and if I had been fishing from my larger boat which is fully equipped with all the latest electronics, then I might feel as if it was a slow trip.

Our final tally for the trip was one keeper sea bass, about 4 sub-legal sea bass, a half dozen keeper scup and a bunch of smaller ones.

However, the fact we were fishing from a smaller boat made the trip feel a lot more productive. Lauren and I also worked well as a team which is necessary when sharing such a small space on the water. We didn't take any unnecessary risks and were able to enjoy a fantastic five hours on the water.

Best of luck if you head out fishing this weekend. Have fun, be courteous and be safe!

Tight lines 🎣

What do you think?

Let me know by commenting below.

  1. Caught my first ever keeper Black Sea bass today, it was around 21-22 inches, awesome colors, plus the big head hump. As for that boat and any other boater who wakes you out is solely responsible. Plus if it causes any damage to persons or property report it to the USCG, take pictures or video if you can for documentation.

    1. Thank you Mike for your comment, and congrats on that sea bass!

  2. Guessing that photo is an octopus.

    1. Hey Matt 👋🏻 It does look similar to an octopus! I believe the photo is actually a type of cold water coral found here in Massachusetts.

  3. Love these videos Ryan. So nice to see what is actually happening when you feel the bite and get nothing on an attempted hook set. It would be so interesting so see a view of the luer from above. A squid strip vs gulp tipped bucktail/flukie experiment would be so interesting to watch. In my limited BSB experience, it seems I set more hooks and drop less fish with squid strips but on average probably get bigger BSB with gulp. Some guys do well with just luer, no additional bait. That may avoid strikes on bait without getting the hook.

  4. I was in Buzzard’s Bay last week and the Harbor Master boat (looked like young kids driving it) drove rather fast right past a bunch of us and caused huge wakes…so much for the those in the know following good rules of the sea.

  5. Ryan – here is a link to a great talk by one of MBL’s leading experts on Cape Cod Coral – might be of interest to folks

    1. Awesome, thanks for sharing that link Jon!

  6. Great blog! Love the somewhat “back to basics” in a small tin boat. Nice catch Lauren! It was cool to see, scup, sea bass and tautog all hanging out together! Thanks Ryan

    1. Pumped you enjoyed this report Leslie. Catch ’em up! 🐟

  7. Go Lauren!!
    For the second time, I’ve heard of a boat deliberately buzzing around kayakers, nearly swapping them. Last week here in the forum, and then again on Tuesday from another kayaker. Who do you call to report something like this? Local harbormaster, coast guard, both?

    1. If someone is intentionally waking someone and being intentionally reckless, then I think a call to the Coast Guard would be a smart move.

  8. I am always responsible for my wake, and more as I captain a vessel.

    1. Thank you! 🙌🏻


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