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Matching The Hatch & “Lollipops” In The Dark

A few weeks ago Ryan Turcotte published a report about a fishing trip he took with fellow MFCC members Ryan Collins and Kris Magnotti. The title: “60 Bass In The Middle Of The Night, From Shore” quickly got my attention.

As I read the report I thought, “I know where that place is.”

One of my favorite pastimes on MFCC is playing the “Where’s Waldo” game by following the breadcrumbs that Ryan Collins leaves in his reports. Having spent many years exploring and fishing the Cape, I can more often than not figure out where Ryan is talking about, and this was no exception.


A Spur Of The Moment MFCC Group Trip

A quick check on told me that a night time, full moon high tide would soon be upon us. This is what caused MFCC members Brian Dongelewic, Mario Quijada, and myself to organize a group fishing trip for this past Thursday, July 2nd.

We hit the beach and began our walk at around 10pm. The trail out to the beach appeared to be obvious and we were excited to get to our destination. However we later realized that the entrance to the trail  would not be so obvious on the return walk back to our cars in the wee hours of Friday morning.

This is where the "Lollipops" come into play, pictured below in the side compartment of my back pack.

Lollipops in Backpack

Lollipops are driveway reflectors that I had sawed off to about 18” long.

When getting off a beach at night it is often difficult to find the path that you came in on. This is especially true when you have walked a long way down the beach in pursuit of fish.

There’s nothing worse than not knowing how to get off the beach at the end of the night. A Lollipop placed at the entrance to your chosen exit will serve as a beacon when hit with the beam of a flashlight.

We placed our first Lollipop at the bottom of the path, another where we left the main path, and a final Lollipop where the path emptied onto the beach.

All were placed so we could obviously see them when we made our return trip.

The Bait (and predators) Are Here...

Once on the beach we spread out and started the “leapfrog” technique of moving past each other so each person gets a chance to fish new territory.

Mario soon noticed a small inflow cutting through the beach and checked it out with his flashlight.

“Guys, come see this, it’s filled with baitfish!”​ Mario exclaimed in the darkness. 

The bait looked like large (4 - 5 inch) Silversides, also known as Spearing.

silversides spearing cape cod

Figuring that something might be pushing these baitfish on shore we bracketed the inflow and started casting. I kept getting hits but couldn’t keep them on.

Mario was the first to hook up. I imagined it was a decent bass, but to my surprise it was a bluefish!

night time bluefish on cape cod

I then stated getting hits with consistency.

Finally I was able to keep a fish on long enough to bring it to the beach.

schoolie striped bass dex chadsey

As I looked down at the small striper I realized why I had been "popping off" so many of these fish. The treble hook on my plug had started to tear the mouth of the bass.

These were small fish and when I set the hook I probably tore the treble out of the fish’s mouths. This was a combination of my level of excitement and too tight a drag setting for this size fish.

A turn of the drag and some self talk to “calm down” fixed the problem. I then landed several small stripers in succession.

Matching The Hatch

​After catching a few more fish we re-grouped, and chatted about what was working best. Fortunately I had several of the "hot baits" on me which I happily shared with Brian and Mario.

Soon we were all “matching the hatch”. This proved to be just the ticket for Brian who took this nice 13 pound keeper bass under the light of a bright full moon (and his headlamp!).

brian dongelewic keeper striper

Rather than carry the fish with him, Brian stashed the bass in the dunes with a Lollipop marking his hiding spot. This made it easy for us to find the fish when we returned at the end of the night, but remain unknown to anyone else who might happen by.

We fished the remainder of the tide with Mario losing a large fish after a 4 minute fight and Brian getting bitten off by what must of been a bruiser Bluefish.

After a long walk back down the beach we saw our little Lollipop shining bright to show us the way home. These reflectors sure do work well!

​We returned to our cars with memories of great fishing with extraordinary company, and pledges to do it all again very soon. 

This is what MFCC is all about-the opportunity to make connections with quality people, and learn fishing skills and techniques that will improve your fishing experience.

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

  1. Great article… very informative, Dex thank you so much for make us part if this great fishing trip, and YES, we should promote the fishing trips for MFCC MEMBERS so everybody can learn from each other.

    1. Thanks Mario,
      I agree, it was a great trip. I enjoyed fishing with you and Brian. One of the best parts of our MFCC trips to Cuttyhunk was the down time between morning and night fishing times. We would all be out on the deck, talking fishing and sharing techniques. Great stuff!

  2. sounds like fun was had by all, way more important than size of the fish.

    1. That’s how it is with the people on this website. Nice people who enjoy fishing and being outdoors!

  3. Good detective work Dex! I suppose I better start making the “clues” in my reports a bit more challenging. lol

    1. Don’t do that! I was just starting to get good at it!

  4. Thanks Ryan,
    They work great. There’s nothing that can ruin a trip like not knowing the way home. Those paths thru the dunes all look the same from the beach in the dark. I saw the idea in a fishing magazine article many years back.

  5. Great that you guys were able to meet up and fish together; sounds like it was a very good trip. Smart idea using the reflectors!

    1. I ditto the reflector idea. Genius!


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