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
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
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 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
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.
3) Live line mackerel at the West End of the Cape Cod Canal
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
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
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,
I’m fortunate to have grown up on the beach, and I’ve been fishing since kindergarten. I have great family, friends and fishing experiences to be thankful for. Just being out there is enough-catching fish is just a bonus!