Nov 19 2014
With the exception of black sea bass and false albacore fisheries, the 2014 season here on the Cape was mediocre, at best.
Striped bass, under enough pressure to prompt significant changes next year in both commercial and recreational fisheries, were late in arriving and hard to come by for most of the year. For 2015, regulators are reducing the recreational limit to one fish at 28 inches, and are cutting the commercial quota by 25 percent.
Like bass, bluefish also arrived late and were difficult to find at times, although good pushes did interfere with the funny fish bite and a slug of 15-lb plus slammers showed up late.
As in recent years, black sea bass fishing was superb and proved again to be a reliable, season-long target. There were plenty of fluke but most were under the 16-inch size limit.
False albacore also were late but when they got here in numbers not seen in many years. For a 2 to 3-week period in September, albies were being caught literally everywhere, including from the beaches in Falmouth.
Another bright spot, for big game fisherman, was a very hot yellowfin tuna bite south of the Vineyard. Canyon fishing was generally good while the bluefin tuna bite east of Chatham ran hot and cold.
This report wraps the 2014 season. Stay tuned for ice fishing reports if the cold weather persists and look for our preview of the 2015 season next spring.
Sep 26 2014
The epic albie bite of early September is over but the funny fish are still around. Bonito and albies are thick around the Vineyard but can also be found off Popponesset, the Waquoit jetties, down along the Islands and in Buzzards Bay. They’ll probably be gone within a week a two so now’s the time to target them.
Black sea bass is closed but 2014 was yet another banner year for one of the best table fish from the local waters. Fluke fishing will close September 30, with the 2014 season going down as less than stellar. Keepers were always available but hard to find. And doormats were very hard to bring up.
Striped bass fishing has rebounded somewhat from a very disappointing season. There still are plenty of bass just west of Monomoy (for those willing to make the boat or car trip). Big bass are being taken along the Elizabeth Islands by angler fishing fresh pogies during the day or eels at night.
There are slammer blues mixed in with the bass, including choppers between 12 and 15 pounds.
The fall migration of bass and blues is barely underway so there should be at least a month of good fishing ahead. Tight lines.
Aug 15 2014
The 2014 season continues to be one of mystery.
Big striped bass have finally arrived but only in select locations: the Cape Cod Canal, Cape Cod Bay and, for a brief time, off Naushon Island near Robinson’s Hole. Elsewhere, stripers continue to be difficult to find. One exception are schoolies between 18 and 22 inches which are plentiful, courtesy of the 2011 spawning class.
Bluefish remain plentiful (for some anglers a nuisance) with big slammers being caught regularly at Horseshoe Shoal. Snappers have moved into most every salt pond and bay.
Bonito and false albacore have yet to arrive in any numbers. It’s looking like September will be the month for the funny fish, if in fact they do show up. (There have been reports of Spanish mackerel being caught in Buzzards Bay.)
Black sea bass continues to be very good. Scup fishing is reliable, with some truly large scup being taken on a regular basis. Fluke fishing is a familiar story: shorts outnumber keepers by a large margin.
Jul 09 2014
The best way to describe the 2014 season is one of ups and downs. Striped bass are here one day and, frustratingly, gone the next. They’ll pop up again the next day, but usually in a different spot. This pattern is true of not only the local waters but in the Canal and down through Rhode Island and Connecticutt. The best bass fishing has been in Cape Cod Bay where sand eels from Stellwagen Bank have attracted the biggest schools of bass.
On the other hand, bluefish are everywhere and have been everywhere since the early spring. In a couple of weeks, the first bonito and false albecore should show ups.
Fluke fishing not great but its steady with most anglers getting their limit of 16 to 20-inch fish. Doormats are much more difficult to find.
Jun 05 2014
As the calendar changed from May to June, the delayed migration of major schools of bass finally came to an end. Perhaps it was the more consistent south west winds and the gradually warmer water, or the arrival of blueback herring. Whatever the cause many schools of bigger striped bass suddenly appeared throughout Nantucket Sound, Vineyard Sound and, to a lesser extent, in Buzzards Bay.
Best bets for 20 to 30-lb bass were the Woods Hole passage, all along the south side of the Elizabeth Islands, off East and West Chops on the Vineyard, the deep water holes near Nobska Point and Halfway Shoal. Most guides and anglers this week went from settling for a half dozen or so of bass to catches of up to 20 fish on a tide.
Bluefish of all sizes continued to dominate the south facing beaches along Nantucket Sound. A surface plug or metal lure cast at first light or dusk was almost guaranteed to produce a blue.
Black sea bass fishing continued to be superb, although of the densely packed spawning schools are starting to break up. There are fluke to be caught but not many anglers are targeting them.
For the offshore crowd, there are Bluefin, Yellowfin and Bigeye tuna, as well as swordfish, at the canyons. A large ocean storm kept most boats home this past week but there are many anglers planning the 100-mile trek this weekend.
May 15 2014
It took awhile (at least three weeks later than usual) but we can confidently report that fresh schoolies have arrived in Nantucket Sound and Buzzards Bay. Numerous (and reliable) anglers have reported taking schools for the past two days Waquoit Bay, Great Pond and West Falmouth Harbor in Falmout; and inside and off the spit at Popponesset Bay in Mashpee and Cotuit. Based on those reports we sure there are other anglers doing equally well around the upper Cape.
At this writing, we haven’t received any reports yet of larger striped bass but they should be here any day, perhaps even as you read this. And it history holds true, the first bluefish should be here within the next week.
So stay tuned, as the 2014 fishing season finally gets underway.
Nov 21 2013
Hardcore anglers will probably be on the water well in December, but for most of us the tackle has been stored until next spring. Looking back, 2013 followed the pattern of recent years: great spring and early summer fishing, not so great late summer and fall fishing.
The swing between early and late season success was true of striped bass, bluefish (although some big slammers were taken late in October), scup and fluke. The one notable exception was black sea bass, which for the second year in a row provided quality fishing from early May until the end of October.
Oddly, given the water tempertures, the bonito and false albacore were late — very late — in arriving. The albies did make a several week visit to the Sounds during September but the bonito stayed at and beyond the Hooter.
Notable catches during the year included a spring run of weakfish in Waquoit and Popponessett Bays. And the most notable catch of all was the sail fish taken by a relatively inexperienced angler in the Cape Cod Canal.
This concludes the 2013 reports. See you in 2014.
Sep 19 2013
After weeks of looking and waiting, multiple schools of false albacore showed up September 18 off the Cape-side beaches of Nantucket Sound. Pods of breaking fish were spotted from the entrances of Waquoit Bay to Falmouth Harbor. Even the Vineyard Derby crowd came over to chase the funny fish. Here’s hoping this is not a one-day wonder. Stay tuned.
Aug 22 2013
It’s been about a month since a bonito was caught off East Beach on the Vineyard, but they and their cousins the false albacore have yet to make a sustained appearance in the Sounds or Buzzards Bay.
Bonito continue to hang out at the Hooter and Nantucket’s Bonito Bar where large schools of sand eels and other small bait are the attraction. Inshore there is plenty of small bait so we expect the funny fish to show up any day.
For something different, there weakfish have moved into Waquoit Bay. Cape Cod is the northern limit for weakfish which this year are present in very good numbers. A word of caution: weakfish have to be 16″ and the daily limit is one.
Striped bass fish is still slow but is slowly improving. Night fishing, particularly with eels, is still be way to go.
Big bluefish anyone? Slammers have moved into Vineyard Sound, with fish of 12 pounds and up being taken off Quick’s Hole. Bass anglers were’t happy but for the few who target bluefish that’s the place to go.
Bottom fishing continues to be decent but with sub-legal fish outnumbering the keepers.