Earlier last week bass above the 20 pound mark were still being taken at the Cape Cod Canal. While big bass in November are not unheard of, good action on big fish in November off Cape Cod is certainly pretty rare.
Take last year for example. The 2011 season as a whole was much slower than usual for me. On the majority of my 2011 trips, I really had to put some serious time and effort into catching just a handful or so of big bass.
In 2011, it seemed like most of the striped bass had migrated south by around the middle of October. At least that's what I observed.
However 2012 has been much, much different. This past season was by far the most productive striped bass season I've ever had. A lot of folks from various Cape Cod areas all the way out to Nantucket have agreed. 2012 was definitely a good year for Cape Cod striper fishing.
Thus I don't think it's terribly surprising that big keepers were being caught in the Canal right up until the middle of last week. Who knows, maybe there are still a few in there, and/or a few more yet to come. I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens.
I do think we may be in for a good winter season of hold over striped bass fishing. Certain years small schools of small stripers decide to spend the winter hunkered down in Cape Cod's many estuaries. Believe it or not, it is possible to catch 20 or more stripers during January if you happen to hit the right spot at the right time.
I haven't caught a winter striper on Cape Cod in a few years. With the way the 2012 season has been going, I believe this winter could produce at least a few hold over fish. As mentioned above, I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
Peace and Quiet | Cape Cod Canal November 9
I fished the Canal Friday night for a few hours before my hands began to freeze. It was absolutely gorgeous out. A crisp and clear November night that just can't be beat.
I saw one lone head lamp way across on the other side of the Ditch around 9 pm That was it as far as signs of life, aside from the rats that were scurrying around in the rocks.
There is one particular rock at the Canal that I've enjoyed some good fishing success while standing on over the years. With it being quite possibly one of my last Canal fishing trips of the season, I figured Friday night would be a good time to give that old lucky rock a visit.
The Canal is unique in the respect that one rock can trigger a bucket load of nice memories. My first fish hooked while standing on this rock happened back in high school. I'd say I was 17, probably fishing on a Saturday night while most kids were out goofing around. Don't get me wrong, I did my fair share of "goofing around" as a teenager - just not during the fishing season!
I remember that night well because I hooked up with a half dozen or so monster bass-all hooked using a jig fished right along the bottom. Unfortunately I only landed one of the fish, a chunky 28 pounder. The other 5 buried themselves down in the rips, snapping my line on boulders each and every time.
Since then I've realized that in this one particular spot, I must put the screws to the fish immediately after hooking up. In other words, a tighter than usual drag is a must in order to prevent the bass from burying itself in the rocks.
So with all this mind I lobbed a cast out into the dark abyss of the Ditch this past Friday night. The Canal was glass calm and I watched as small bait fish touched the surface with their noses all around me. The place felt fishy.
However it wasn't. I fished for a while, making casts and jigging the bottom until the tide began to slow. No bites and no signs of life.
Keep in mind that I only fished that one area, so who knows what may of been happening in other stretches of the Canal.
My buddy Mazzola headed out in his boat Saturday morning and reported that the Canal had a murkiness to it. According to Mazzola, the biomass of sea herring that had been holding off the East End of the Canal was nowhere to be found. Same story with the mackerel - not a fish in sight.
I think last week's Nor' Easter stirred things around a bit. Maybe the sea herring and mackerel pushed farther offshore, and the bass decided that it was now time to make a move south into Buzzard's Bay and beyond. Of course this is all just speculation.
This week I'll be crossing my fingers that the 2012 season has one more surprise left for you and I. One more nice push of big fish would be incredible. With the way this season has been, I would not be the least bit surprised.
If we don't get another push of big bass, I'll be gearing up to hit the estuaries for a chance at a hold over striper. Maybe I'll even try some freshwater.
Good luck this week if you are able to get out!
Take care and tight lines,
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