Cape Cod Saltwater Fishing Report for May 24, 2013


Just got this in from Mike at Cape Cod Tackle

Tonight Mike and Felicia went to the cape side of the canal to go fishing. They were at a grade crossing called half way gate and were still not permitted to cross. There was a man putting up these signs all along any and all access to the canal that crosses over the tracks. So let me understand this we are about to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the building of the canal and we will have no access basically to one whole side because the train tracks block access and if you cross it you can be issued a public trespass citation along with a $100.00 fine. This is no joke. No walking, biking, rollerblading, fishing, and also viewing any of the boats that will be coming through for the celebration, etc. Oh and to my Wareham friends that will also mean no fishing out back on Merchants way as they will be posting that also.

This is an incredible loss of fishing access to some of the best striper waters in the world, and it comes just as we celebrate the Cape Cod Canal Centennial!

I’m trying to get confirmation right now that this was the rail company.  If so, I suggest we organize protests in front of their offices.  If we don’t fight this now, we’ll never get our access right back.

We’ll have more information in the forum on this issue as it comes in.

*end update*

Welcome back to the 2013 FishWire report, our Cape Cod Saltwater Fishing Report.

A lot has happened over the past year.  As many of you already know, I bought during the off season.  That puts this site back in the hands of a fisherman.  It ensures this site is going to remain a community site, owned by a community member, run by a community member.  As such, there’s a lot going on.

First off, we need writers.  I’d like to get a few community members to write these reports – for Cape Cod, Boston, Southern New England and NY/NJ to start.  Also how to articles.  We love this sport, and part of that love is sharing it with others.  Help people understand the sport, speed up their learning curve.

Secondly, we need sponsors.  Guides and shops who are willing to spend a little money and offer up reports.  I can assure you this site isn’t about making anyone rich, it is about providing the best to the saltwater fishing community.  In return, we get your name in front of the your hardcore customers. There are a lot of guides who’ve built their businesses on – just ask them!  You can find out more about sponsorship by emailing me or by going to our advertising page.

Thirdly, but no less importantly, I want to hear from you.  What can we do to make better.  Even more important, what can YOU do to make better.  Many of you learned a good part of the craft here.  I still remember a lot of you coming in and posting  that first “I want to learn to catch stripers” question.  The truth is, our answer to that question of yours came with a price.  You need to pay it forward.  Help us, help the sport and be a positive force in this community.

Okay, soap box mode is now off.  Let’s talk fishing!

Memorial Day weekend – it’s traditionally when most of us return to the water, but its also the time when a lot of the morons return as well.  Pay extra attention to the clowns on the water, and remember that Hurricane Sandy made a lot of alterations to the coast line.  The sandbars, inlets, etc. have changed, and you need to re-learn a lot of the places you spend time, not just to be safe on the water, but also to find the fish.

Cape Cod Canal

Word from the canal is the slack tide is producing.  There is plenty of bait in there so it ought to continue to produce.

Buzzards Bay 

Capt. Bob Paccia of Shoreline Guide Service didn’t actually report.  He just sent this picture and the words “Big Fly Patterns”.  That says something, doesn’t it…


Capt. Shaun Ruge reports:

Today I have Howard and Dick out to chase the Cape Cod Salties crown. The night before I was between 2 game plans. The wind shift and fog from the day before made what was a good bite virtually disappear, so my attention started swinging south to find a new body of fish, albeit unreliable. With the dying North wind switching to SSW and a clear forecast I couldn’t ignore the North plan so a last minute decision last night sent us Bay side. At 6am we pulled back on terns and gulls picking away. I had rigged larger Hogies and X-raps for the Mackerel expected but nearshore sand eels cause constant refusals. A quick switch to smaller 7” Hogies on swim hooks changed that situation and shortly after we had the first 30” fish to the boat.Seemed like more bait and terns than fish so after several drifts and short fish we moved on to greener pastures, after all this is a tournament so size is key. Even with leaving 30” class fish it didn’t take long before that decision proved to be the right one. Once in deeper water, the Raymarine lit up like a Christmas tree. HUGE groups of birds, so much that I started to think I had the gain set a bit high when a mile and a half out turned green to yellow, even some red thrown in for fun.Didn’t take long to cover that ground. When we got close we stopped to watch for a bit, reaching for cameras before rods. The Gannet show was stellar. Some of the best I have seen. Large birds raining down. No signs of surface fish at the time, but switching to sonar showed the story. Mackerel filling the water column and Bass all over mixed in. It wouldn’t surprise me if I marked gannets under the boat several times.A quick re-rig to 10” Hogies on heavy weighted swim hooks got the plastics down into the Mackerel with a 5-10 count before the Gannets swam back up with them. Relatively fast, erratic retrieves. What happened next didn’t stop…. for hours….

Howard struck first with what would prove to be the longest fish of the day, but not the heaviest. At 37” Howard tied the leading fish in the Salties tournament. Fish after fish from 34-36” came over the side but we could not best the 37” mark.

When the birds proved to be a bit much we switched over to deep diving X-raps. Getting down under the birds to 10-15 ft picked up Bass with angry aggressive strikes on relatively quick retrieves.

As the tide slacked off the Mackerel came up and the gannets got more aggressive. Bass started rolling and slapping mackerel into the air around the boat. The slack tide show gave us the best drift of the day with double after double. One of which gave up this fat, healthy fish, although not as long as the 37, it was the largest fish of the day.

As the tide started moving again and the wind shifted to the North the bite started to wane. Still plenty of fish on sonar, no shortage of mackerel, only the birds settled down. We decided to move off and play up on some nearby flats for some sight fish.

Once we hit shallow water the radar gave the activity away and we were on it. Switched over to 4” Hogy sand eels on small swim hooks fished slow and erratic. With 26” being the larger fish there, its always fun seeing the fish you are casting to and having hoards of healthy schoolies jumping on sand eels to watch from the bow. All of them bright, healthy and blond.

Seemed like a great wind down from the earlier tug of war. I lost count on a final tally for the morning but it was more than two and I had a lot of fun. Howard and Dick were a pleasure to fish with. If you are thinking of heading out soon… now wouldn’t be the worst time

  — with Fish Shimano and Hogy Lures

BonefishDick had this report:

The plan was to meet at 7:00 am at my favorite beach. I cheat and try to get there early, but my friend Rod cheats more than me and called me while I was still on the road to give me a report on the water conditions. Huge rollers coming in and we were baffled by that because we had SW winds which should keep the water flat. Some event occurred during the night to cause these rollers that forced a change in our plans of fishing the beach early and an estuary later after the turn.

We moved to the Buzzards Bay side and hit a favorite we call the Barrel and did get some fish but it was not as productive as we had hoped. The wind was not the most user friendly for a RH caster. Rod is a LH caster and was ok with the wind, especially since he got a 28 inch fish. I know he is prone to exaggeration , so I made him measure the fish. The fish was a very fat and healthy specimen and was released to get fatter.

Since things were somewhat slow we moved back to the other side of the cape and hit our estuary and had a good day. My best fish was a fat 30 inch fish that at first totally fooled me. I was fishing a real fast outgoing flow that dumped into a big hole with a 300 grain shooting head and a Chartreuse and White Clouser and when the fly was coming up the face of the hole it just stopped and would not budge. I thought for sure I was stuck on the bottom and even lowered the rod tip to the water to pull directly on the line to pull it free. After about 15 seconds of pressure the bottom started to swim away. It was a fish that then just hung in the current and would not move. It would eventually come in only to run back out and hold in the flow again. After three runs like that he finally came to the shore. This was a very fat fish and I was very happy I finally got a good fish to pose with my new hat..

As the tide dropped we moved to the mouth and the fish were right in the flow, nothing real large but some respectable fish that in the flow made for some good fun. When the tide slowed the fish left and so did we shortly after for some coffee.

The South Side

Reel-Time Community Manager Bob Parsons reports:

I was out fish a south side harbor this afternoon. I caught the last hour of the outgoing tide and the several hours of the incoming tide. Nothing on the outgoing tide. Worked the incoming fishing and moving around a bit. When I started stripping in what felt like 5# of weeds, I though one more cast and I switch to the spinning rod. Got the first hit of the afternoon and landed this 28″ striper. Needless to say I delayed switching rods. Caught two more on the fly and sat to take a break. I couple of men showed up (father and older son) Dad pulled out a whole herring and cast it out. A minute later he is tight with a decent size fish. Into the bin goes the fish and out goes another herring. Sure enough he is tight again. The son is not doing as well since he is using cut bait on the bottom. I managed one more fish on the spinning rod, and they are up to five fish.

There have been worm hatches as well.  This report from Islemaniac gives you the idea:

Worm hatch #5 on Sunday evening took place an hour later at 7 pm. Again disappointment that it didn’t happen sooner. Dejected and heading back I saw several rises in a tide pool. Then a few more in a cove. Then a lot more and the hatch was on. It was raining by this time. My buddy and I were catching a few in the cove, then I turned around and saw about 25 fish in the tide pool going through there like a vaccum cleaner. The tide pool was about the size of a tennis court. It took the bass about 20 minutes to clean out all those worms. All totalled there were about 30-40 more or less fish in the cove and tide pool. After an hour they were done, gobbled up all the worms. A nice cocktail hour for the stripers. I caught another 6 or so today. My buddy caught 4.

I have made a dozen or more worm hatch inspections since 4/29. Each evening checking 3-5 different locations. So a result of 5 hatches to date. As you can see you need to put in a lot of time. You could find more hatches if you like to fish at night, I don’t. I find/look for mine from/between 4pm-7pm and fish until sunset. A lot of research and exploring, taking notes, water temp checks, tidal planning, and weather watching etc goes into it. Pretty magical when it happens.

NausetDog reports from last week:

Left the house at 1:30 AM to arrive at 3:30 AM at the first Cape Cod Bay side beach. Wanted to be in the water wading at first light and catch the last few hours of the incoming. Started out with my 9 wt Intermediate line w/ a 1/0 black deceiver. Learned I’d damaged the tendons in my forearm more than I tought casting 14 hours staright last weekend. Wicked sharp pain on every back cast. 5 minutes in I felt a strong resistance on the line and strip striked to set the hook. Something really solid on the other end, clearly a nice heavy fish. Very weird fight, no runs, just weightand steady swimming back and forth. No head shakes, clearly not a striper. Turned out to be a foul hooked bluefish. Took one more 18″ striper on the black deceiver after this.

Sun was just up now, specatular sunrise. Switched over to a charteuse / white clouser half and half that I tie with red Real Eyes. I like to tie mine with 4 strands of gold flashabou on each side. Can’t beat this fly for spring stripers, fresh from migration that haven’t seen a fly in months. First cast had a nice hit from, and like an idiot swept the rod HARD instaed of stirp striking to set the hook. So fast and so hard I heard “SNAP” as I turned my four piece rod into a five piece one. DAMN! Walked all the way back to the car to grab my 6 weight.Took 3 more stripers with my forearm on fire at this point.

Left mid morning to CVS to get one of those tennis elbow straps and load up on Ibuprofen. The comination of the two reduced the pain quite a bit to where I could keep fishing. Moved farther down the Cape to another beach and started wading in and around the jetties. Casting into 4-5 feet of gin clear water. Sun was bright at this point and I watched two stripers zoom out from the jetty in a race towards the fly. FLASH, fish on! What a rush to watch them nail the fly. This one was 20″. Combination of sight fishing and blind casting for the next couple hours in between the jetties. Fish EVERYWHERE competing for the fly, I could watch 3 or 4 fish rush the fly on a single retrieve, hit it, spit it and compete for it. Each fish on resulted in 3-4 more fish shadowing the one on the line trying to steal the fly away. Wow, what an amazing time. Only landed one or two of them and dropped a bunch more but what a show.

Moved over to the mouth of an inlet to fish the tail end of the outgoing and a nice rip that had formed. BAM, nailed what was clearly a large fish. i saw it flash when i set the hook. Started head shakes right away and made multiple runs. What a great fight on my 6 weight. When brought to hand it measured 28″, ?My first keeper of the season. Landed one or two more after this.

Rounded out the morning moving upstream. Changed over to a #6 charteuse/white clouser and landed several more schoolies. Finally wrapped it up around 1:30 PM to head home, sadly to cut the grass. Have told the wife I’m ready for a condo any time she is.

All in all a great outing!

Martha’s Vineyard 

Capt. Phil Cronin at Capawock Charters reports via his new Facebook page:

Wednesday – Nice day today with Patrick F.. Always a pleasure to fish this accomplished angler

May 15 – Excellent reports coming in from around the island. I still have some dates around the last week in May. My first charter is the 22nd and then it’s gangbusters till October. Call, text, message, email me for a trip. Don’t get stuck at the dock!


Mark N. Cahill has been writing and editing for since 1995. He started fishing in the mid-1960's and caught his first striper off World's End in Hingham in 1966. From there on in it was an obsession. He loves fishing for tuna, and fly fishing for striped bass. In a pinch, anything with fins will do...

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