Hello everybody! I hope you had a great holiday season, and have been able to get on the water!
Despite the cold temperatures, the freshwater fishing on Cape has been very consistent. Small minnow-style lures and metal spoons have been producing trout on the stocked ponds of Cape Cod.
Normally, I prefer to use lures when targeting any fish, but lately I've decided to try a new strategy for catching predatory fish during the winter months: live bait...
Using Shiners for Winter Fish
By no means is this revolutionary information, but shiners fished under a float have been producing fish consistently as the temperature drops. Additionally, live shiners will catch just about anything that swims in Cape Cod's kettle ponds, making for great multi-species fishing!
The rig is simple: a 2/0 Gamakatsu Octopus Hook with a bobber about 16" above it. Any style bobber will do! I haven't experimented much with other hooks, but I've had consistent hookups and zero gut-hooks with the Gamakatsu 2/0.
Additionally, any functional freshwater setup will be just fine for this style of fishing. No fancy gear required!
This is also a very easy form of fishing. If you're in the right place at the right time, it won't take long to get a bite.
Targeting areas in close proximity to deep water will also increase your odds. The state of Massachusetts provides topography maps of it's major ponds to help you find deep water. Simply Google any pond stocked by the state, and it should be among the top results.
Below are some video recaps I've made of my recent outings using shiners. The past few days have been solid, catching rainbow trout, brown trout, and very well-fed yellow perch.
Despite the cold temperatures, there's still a real opportunity to put a bend in the rod on Cape Cod.
One thing I've noticed over the past few days is the fish aren't very responsive when the sun is high in the sky. We had a spell of relatively warm weather (by warm I mean not freezing LOL), and as I mentioned in the video, the trout are most willing to bite as the light fades.
In fact, during these trips most of the action occurs within a 45 minute window around dusk.
As for pond choice, the larger the better. Ponds that have a reputation for producing holdover brown trout are your best bet, considering they have the resources to sustain larger fish through the winter.
In all, this is a very simple technique you can use to catch fish during the winter months. It's not the most exciting form of fishing, but it certainly feels good to have a tight line!
Hope you all had a wonderful New Year! Excited to see what 2017 has in store for the fishing community on Cape Cod.