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7 Secrets to Catching More Fish this Spring on Cape Cod

Cape Cod fishing will be in full gear in just a couple of months.  If you are like me, then you have a serious case of cabin fever that can only be cured by a day spent on the beach, in the rocks or on the water.  Warm weather will be here soon trust me.

I know that once the bass, blues and tuna return I will be hitting the surf and launching the Miss Loretta as often as possible.  Considering you are reading a Cape Cod fishing article right now, during winter, I am going to assume that you will most likely be doing the same.  With that in mind I am going to divulge 7 secrets to catching a few more fish this spring on Cape Cod.

As always, please let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.

7) Toss topwater plugs to bluefish off the southside in early May

fishing for bluefish on cape cod

There are times when I can’t stand bluefish, but early May is not one of them.  Each season I eagerly anticipate the arrival of our yellow eyed finned friends at the Cape’s southside.

Bring your sand spike, a topwater plug with 1 hook and start casting off a southerly facing Cape Cod beach.  Many Cape Cod fishing reports will notify you of the arrival of the blues, so once you get word the fish are in I recommend getting down there as soon as you can.  These blues are feeding primarily on squid so the action can be downright insane at times.

If you use a plug with multiple hooks, don’t be surprised if you catch two bluefish at one time.  I’ve even heard of folks catching one bluefish and one striped bass on the same plug this time of the year off the southside.  Keep in mind that a southwest wind can really push a lot of life in tight to the southside beaches.

6) Use Google Earth to find a productive boulder field

fishing boulders cape cod

I write a lot about wading and fishing around boulders because I have a great time catching bass this way.  I love watching and casting to stripers when they are among the boulders, scavenging for whatever prey items they can find.

Google Earth is an amazing tool that can help you zone in on productive boulder fields.  Simply open the program and start zooming in on productive looking areas.  As mentioned in my last blog post I really like the incoming tide when fishing these areas.  Soft plastics and topwater plugs are the way to go in my opinion.

With Google Earth you can not only discover boulder fields, but you can locate drop-offs, sand bars and virtually any other type of shoreline structure on the Cape.  Of course keep in mind that anything made out of sand may have shifted considerably since the Google Earth satellite images were taken.

5) Focus on fishing Buzzards Bay May 1 thru May 15

buzzards bay fishing spring

Click here for the latest Buzzards Bay Fishing Report

Buzzards Bay fishing can be lights out during the spring if you time your trip right.  Biomasses of striped bass migrate north through Buzzards Bay this time of the year on their way to the Cape Cod Canal.  If you can intercept one of the schools you will be in for a treat.

If fishing from a boat with radar, try using radar to locate the flocks of birds, which could mean a topwater feeding frenzy is underway. From shore any boulder field, estuary or harbor has the potential to produce good action.

I enjoy fishing Buzzards Bay during early May because the water is still cool and the action steady.  This will change once the Bay warms up during the summer, when most big striped bass have moved on to cooler environments.

4) Take the kids mackerel fishing on Cape Cod Bay

cape cod mackerel fishing

Atlantic mackerel inundate Cape Cod Bay during the month of May.  I believe most of these macks are here for spawning purposes, but they still eat with vigor.

Mackerel can be found throughout all of Cape Cod Bay, but popular fishing spots include the East End of the Cape Cod Canal, off Barnstable Harbor and in the deep water off Billingsgate Shoal.  Move around the 50 -80 foot depth contour using your sonar until you begin marking mackerel.

Hayabusa Sabiki Rigs made of at least 15 pound monofilament is the way to go.  Sabiki rods can help make life much easier, especially if you are fishing with kids.

 3) Live line mackerel at the West End of the Cape Cod Canal

cape cod mackerel fishing

A fun and productive thing to do early in the season is catch mackerel in Cape Cod Bay, bring them through the Canal and fish them in Buzzards Bay at the West Entrance of the Cape Cod Canal.  We have done well in past years fishing macks along the edges of the Canal from the West end, past Hog Island all the way out to the end of the spit.

Just be sure to continue to circulate the water in your live well, and make sure the macks can swim freely in a circle.  If they can’t do either of these two things, they will die relatively quickly.

And of course remember that legally you are not permitted to fish the Canal from a boat.  So if you plan on giving this a shot just be sure to remain on the edge of the Canal, well away from any boat traffic, barges and tankers.  The Army Corp will eventually chase you out of the Canal if you spend enough time fishing it.  Plus if your boat was to lose power, the last place I’d want to be is in the Canal with a tanker or barge closing in.

2) Toss topwater plugs at the Big Ditch

fishing cape cod canal topwater

Click here for the latest Cape Cod Canal fishing report

The first big schools of striped bass will be entering the Cape Cod Canal during the first part of May.  By far the most exciting way to catch these fish is by casting topwater plugs early in the morning.

Get to the Ditch well before sunup to claim a good spot on a mussel bed or rocky outcropping.  This is especially true if you plan on fishing the Canal on a Saturday or Sunday.  If you aren’t quite sure what you’re doing at the Canal, remember to implement the strategies and tips discussed in the Cape Cod Canal eCourse.

1) If you miss the blitz – fish after dark

cape cod canal night fishing

If you miss a huge blitz at the Cape Cod Canal, try fishing the Ditch after dark.

This happened to me a few years ago.  I completely missed out on an incredibly epic morning where bass were crushing pogies on the surface.  Fortunately enough of the fish were still around (or returned) to the Canal once the sun went down.  The nice thing was that there was basically no one else fishing – whereas during the morning I would imagine there were hundreds of people on the rocks.

Often times it seems like the bass will stick around for a few days in the Canal during the spring before moving on.  Bouncing a big soft plastic on the bottom after dark can be a good option for those mornings when you have to work and miss the bite.

 Fishing the Canal soon? Click here for the latest Cape Cod Canal fishing report.

Do you have any tips for fishing Cape Cod this spring?  I’d love to hear them so please leave a comment below or post your tip in the forum.

Tight lines and take care,


may cape cod fishing spots

  1. Hi I don’t think my other comment got through I wanted to ask you what spot or where I should try in the next few weeks

    1. Hi Nolan! What area of the Cape do you intend on fishing and what would you like to catch?

  2. nice piece

    1. Thank you!

  3. Hi Ryan,
    Great site, good read.
    I’m a Bass angler from the UK that makes the jump over the the pond to fish for stripers and Bluefish and maybe largemouth. My mate and I are over on the Cape from 23rd May to June 7th, not long now. Maybe you would like to meet two light minded Brits?.
    Keep up the good work with the blog.


    1. Hi Dave,

      Thanks! I think May 23 thru June 7 is a great time to be coming to the Cape. There should be a nice body of fish around then.

      I am either fishing or sleeping that time of the year, so my schedule is usually pretty tight. However be sure to reach out when you arrive, and if I can sneak away to grab a cup of coffee and meet you guys I definitely will.

      Tight lines

  4. Ryan I might be back in business. But when I go to the site I wind up somewhere in the canal handbook

    1. Hi Art,

      I’ll send you an email so we can figure out the issue.


  5. Nice inforamtion

    1. Thanks Bud, did you ever end up making it down to Panama?

  6. Good post w/the seven secrets.
    I also have no problem if some blues are around early on, they help to ball the bait up for the bass. I think the bass become more reckless when the blues are feeding with them.
    I have had lots of doubleheaders under those conditions. I just wish we had better squid runs near the beach in n.y.
    I’ve been on the google earth link for the canal quite a bit “love it”.
    Looks like I’ll be at the canal on or around the 17th o may.-art boyd

    1. Thanks Art. Where abouts in NY are you fishing from shore?

      I’ve always wanted to give Montauk a try. Looks like a nice place to cast a plug from shore.

      1. Hi Ryan.
        You’re right Montauk can be a great place to throw a plug.the only catch is that it’s hit or miss. I never seem to time it right. But when it’s on it can’t be beat. To even THINK about fishing the point and surrounding areas a fisherman HAS to be comfortable fishing from some very nasty rocks. Your best bet is during the fall with a good nor’easter wind on a high incoming tide . As you might have guessed corners,pullover top, surf belt are a must.
        No no novices here. No go organs either as you must be in sync. With everyone as the current sweeps big time. Check out Montauk rocks on DVD. In tackle shops or thru the fisherman. Anyway I mostly fish the south shores of fire island ” democrat point”,gilgo, the sore thumb and jones beach. These beaches were slammed by sandy so access will be tough to say the least. We are planning lots of cleanups and dune grass planting this spring with the Long Island beach buggy assn. much to do!-art boyd

        1. Hi Art,

          Hit or miss sounds about right – story of my life pretty much. I will say Montauk does look treacherous, I can only imagine how nasty it must of been in that area during Sandy, or any NE’easter for that matter. I would imagine there are some sad stories of guys being swept from those rocks.

          Best of luck with the beach clean up this spring. Many beaches up here are a mess as well. The beach down the street from where I grew up is completely changed, due to the wild winter weather.

          Thanks for the tips on areas to fish as well down there. Someday I’ll cast a line down that way.

  7. This past weekend while that snowstorm was piling up snow outside, I re-organized my saltwater tackle box one more time, loaded up 40lb braid on a new surfcaster, checked the calendar to make sure it was really March and then re-read one an article I had printed, on fishing with eels. Spring cannot get here fast enough…

    1. Ryan – forgot to add two thoughts:
      1) I love this site – the info., hints, suggestions, pictures…all of it.
      2) Google Earth – never thought of it, excellent idea! I’m on my way there right now…

    2. Sounds like a solid weekend to me Tom! Looks like you are light years ahead of me as far as gear prep is concerned. I have quite a few reels that need some serious TLC.

      Seems no matter how well I try to protect the reels, salt always finds a way in. Glad you are enjoying the site, and yes Google Earth can help a lot if you are fishing from shore. Bring on spring!

  8. Any kind – mostly rainbows, some brookies.

    1. Very nice, that must be fun Dick. I’m not a huge freshwater guy but I would like to get back into it at some point. I’ve always found freshwater to be very relaxing.

  9. Great blog and site. Had a good time at the RI fishing show this weekend. Can’t wait to start fishing again.

    1. Thanks Dino, I’m having a blast building this site out as we gain more and more followers and members. So far so good!

      I heard the RI show was a good time. Plenty of folks suffering from some bad cases of cabin fever. Spring will be here soon, like you I’m chomping at the bit big time.

      Take care,


  10. I like your site and your blog. I am a die hard canal fisherman who, like you, wants to express my love for fishing on Cape Cod by sharing my experiences and news from the area. If you haven’t checked out my site yet go to and give it a peak.

    Tight Lines & Fish On!

    1. Thanks Jamie that is great to hear. Do you have any specific plans or goals for your new site?

  11. Great blog. Can’t wait. But, it will have to compete with my trout fishing in the Deerfield River and the Westfield River. Thanks.

    1. Hey Dick,

      That trout fishing sounds pretty good to me. What species of trout do you target in the Deefield and Westfield?


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