September 5, 2008

Serving the saltwater fly fishing community since 1995

Fly Fishing 120x90



weekly reports
Fly Tying
Photo Gallery

Click here to make Reel-Time your homepage

Contact Us

Got an article you'd like to submit? Contact us...

Cape Cod and the Islands

September 05, 2008

Navigation Aids:



Your Mileage May Vary

In the past week, there's been a great discourse on the state of the fishing at the Canal going at the Forum. To summarize, some are making the assertion that things haven't been as bad as the reports might dictate. The problem with this is that almost universally, those that are saying it hasn't been "that bad" or even that "this is one of my better seasons" haven't been fishing in the past month at the canal. The most telling statement is this one from BB1 who made the following observation:

I did read the OTW canal reports from Mike @ M&D, Bruce @ Canal, and Red Top the last few months....along w/ people that know how to fish that went down there, the were not very impressive!

Personally, when I see the folks that have a financial interest in the fishery noting that it's slow, specifically Red Top, that says something to me. No offense meant to those guys, but they've got an incentive to put as much lipstick as they can on that pig. It's as if the Chamber of Commerce has suggested you might want to leave your wallet at home.

Bob G. notes that a saltwater license will probably cut down on the number of guys fishing the canal, and in many ways transform saltwater fishing to a local sport. I'd also add that, to large part, gas prices have already done this. Coming from Central Massachusetts, I can tell you I think twice before hoping in the truck now, and that is the absolutely unkindest cut of all.

I suspect we're going to see a huge upsurge this winter in the number of used boats for sale. The gas prices this season have definitely given us all pause, and we're undoubtedly going to see a lot of the casual boaters opting out of the sport. Luckily, that will probably create a lot of opportunity for those of us in the market.

Another thing that gas prices have changed is that I'm now even more confident that for the fly fisherman who only gets on the water a couple of times a month, chartering is the way to go. Running your own boat has become so much more expensive, it just doesn't make sense unless you're able to go out a few times a week. Chartering also gives you a few very powerful bonuses:

  • You don't waste your time and cash on boat maintenance
  • You have a pro with daily on the water knowledge of the spots you'll be fishing
  • You've got a motivated pro working to ensure your safety, success and happiness
  • You'll improve your skills as a fisherman working with a pro

In the long run, I think it's going to make a lot more sense for many of us to charter.

That's it for this week, be sure to send in those reports!

Tight Lines,

Mark Cahill



Commercial Bluefish season in MA closes on Sept. 6. The Commercial Striped Bass season will close on Sept. 10.  As of this writing, the Striped Bass catch is currently at 85.1% of quota (1,107,828 pounds)


Buzzards Bay

Capt. Joe LeClair reports from North Eastern Anglers :

School is back in session and the fish are schooling ! We were out chasing bluefin tuna with the fly rod and spinning gear this week. We hooked an average of 4 fish a day with several fish in the 50-60' class. Many were released boat side after a short battle while showed us why they are the meanest fish in the sea. For the Larger Bluefin Tuna that we have been catching this year, there really is no simple way to get them in the boat. You must with all your might pull back as hard as 60 lb. braid and 80 lb. leaders will let you, and sometimes we open up a hook, but it is much better to pop them off early in the battle than to let the fight you for over an hour and then loose them without being able to harvest them properly. We saw many anglers in June journey out after these tuna with inappropriate tackle only to kill the fish trying to land them on gear that is too light. The conservationist in us all must overcome when fishing for sport and the end game is not an end game at all. We don't chase deer through the woods with a bb gun. Be prepared to release these fish in under 30 minutes time or be prepared to harvest the fish. Once you have brought the fish to the boat and your limit is reached, think about how easily it will be to get the next one back alive. Today we had a fish early in the day, to the boat that had the fly right in the corner of the mouth. I checked with the crew and stated, "this fish is in great shape, he has only been on the line for 20 minutes, lets let him go in case we get a fish that is bleeding on takes a long time to land". The crew said, "how you gonna do that ?" I said, " simple, I will get a hold of the leader, keep the fish in the water, gently slide my hand under the lower jaw of the fish without touching the gills, and take the hook out." It took all of 6 seconds and off the fish swam. It is always great for me to see that we can practice good catch and release using the fly rod on these fish. I want to catch more of them, and as these fish start to reach sexual maturity in the next couple years we need all the tuna we can get !!!

Inshore the bass and bluefishing is also good. Little or no albies in Buzzards Bay this year.

Captain Joe LeClair
North Eastern Anglers

PeterMaxH reports:

Fished Buttermilk Bay Sunday morning and the fishing was terrible. Every other time that I've been there it has been pretty decent. Fished the areas around Monument Beach on Monday morning and all we caught was 1 2lb blue and a couple of snappers. No bird activity. Overall great weather but terrible fishing in those spots.

A guy across from us in the campground did catch 2 keeper bass using pogie in front of the campground. Nice fat healthy fish.

My next trip won't be until the end of September pending the reports.






Falmouth & the Elizabeths

LightTackle reports:

Went fishing with my good buddy Kevin M. to look for some bonito and albies down at the Cape/MV. OTW at 6 am and wind was already blowing 10-15 mph from the North. Was calmest along shore of Cape/Falmouth side. Ran to Woods Hole, nothing, then down to Robinson's pass - nothing.. Ran back to Woods Hole then to Waquoit hoping to see signs of albies. Nothing there either. Went into Waquoit harbor and played with some snapper blues.

Then we decided to bite the bullet and motor over to MV looking to land at State Beach. About half way across the Sound the wave height was already 2 to 3 feet. By the time we got to SB the waves from the North wind grew the waves to 3 to 4 feet. Would probably had taken my little 18 foot CC back across but then we saw some birds in the distance way out from SB. Got to the birds (about 9 am) and sure enough, it was breaking bonito.

We stayed around the SB area till 5 PM chasing the bones in the 3 to 4 feet waves. Crazy but it was still fun. Wasn't a LOT of action but just enough fish to keep us busy and only one long dry spell around noon that lastest about an hour. NO other boats..actually saw maybe 4 other boats come by to try but the rough water drove them off eventually.

Did land one bone for the cooler (looking to try some of the recipes mentioned in previous post). Caught it on a green mariah. That one fish caught at 2 pm made the day/trip worth it. Had about 6 to 8 really close oppurtunities including the last fish that busted 5 feet from the boat.. WOW!!

Headed back at 5 across the sound and was happy to see the calm water again. Ran back to Waquoit first (saw nothing) before pulling out at Falmouth @ 6 PM.

Hoping to get down there (from NH) again this weekend - weather depending... C'mon Albies..

Bob Parsons reports:

Started at Waquoit and headed west. Winds were as predicted so as a kindness to my guests we stayed near shore to stay in protected waters. Nary a bird diving or a slashing splash along our route to Woods Hole. Once at Woods Hole we worked the rocks at one of the ledges and had good action on schoolie bass and an occasional bluefish. Eventually it was time for a change of scenary and we headed west along the islands. Lackey's produce a snapper blue and we saw three seals loafing around in the protective waters. Worked various rocks on the way to Robinsons Hole. I think it was there that Tom got a smaller snapper blue. Quick's hole we had some follows but no hook ups. The rocks by the channal at Cuttyhunk yeilded a 7# bluefish. AS mentioned in someone else's post there were a lot of birds sitting around. Headed back but stopped off at Woods Hole to see what the falling tide looked like. Much less birds action and fish splashes. Regardless we managed to pull a few more bass and blues from the rocks and ledges. A long day with a very good kind of tired.





The Cape Cod Canal

Bill Downing reports:

Some signs of life on the early east tide pre-dawn. Although I got only schoolies, I had many hits and muffed landing a couple of nicer fish. All on plastics fished deep. Saw some larger bait around, not sure what it was but from the pattern it looked like macks. Well after sunup, there were small bass and blues (mostly 2-3 lb blues) on top east of Sag Bridge, not widespread but concentrated in specific areas. Guys were getting them on topwater plugs much of the morning.

Keepah had this:

Bill, one of the worst tides I have ever fished this year last night. With the success of the past few days leading up to last night, I figured it would of been a slam dunk. I lost about a dozen sluggos to the blues and only landed one 25'' fish throughout the whole west. Lots of schoolies and blues popping on small bait but I couldn't find a decent fish to save my life. Well, there is always tomorrow. I think I may try one of them beaches to the north tomorrow.

Ditch Jigger reports:

I had about 40 minutes of action with small fish at the west end UDL where we last fished with BG. They were hitting when I got there, after drawing blanks farther east. Tons of schoolies breaking in their usual spot, too.





The South Side

No specific reports, but I'd expect this week we'll start hearing about funny fish from Falmouth out along the South Side.





Martha's Vineyard

Capt. Phil Cronin at Capawok Charters reports:

Marthaís Vineyard Fishing Report Ö September 1, 2008

Hard to Feed!

Bonito remain the primary target for light tackle fishing but boy are they hard to feed. We have been throwing into some fairly good schools of bones but getting them to eat our artificial offerings is an entirely different matter. Scoring one bone on a trip is a successful outing but be prepared to come in empty handed as these tunoids are finicky as hell. Perhaps as the water cools we will start meeting up with friendlier fish.

The real trick seems to be finding larger bait and to do that it means passing up breaking fish and searching different areas. For several days this past week we have joined in the boneyard fleet between Oak Bluffs and Edgartown and kept the adrenaline flowing but frustration levels have been high. There are plenty of blitzing bones but they remain targeted in on the inch long bait thatís all around. I decided to concentrate on a drop off that had larger bait and found that the fish were more apt to hit our lures and flies. This will be the tactic until things change for it is certainly more productive to throw to fewer but friendlier fish that we can feed then throwing to larger schools of breaking fish that are tuned in to the rain bait and ignore all your offerings.

Albies are coming in greater numbers and I expect that this coming week will see some impressive schools around the island. The water is cooling and bait levels remain high. If we see half the amount of false albacore that we had last year it will be a good fall run. By this time last year we were throwing to huge blitzing schools of albies around Woods Hole and hopefully that will start soon.

Bass fishing is starting to heat up again as the linesiders are making their fall appearance in the shoals. Waters off Gay Head have been productive for the chunkers and the rocky points and coves throughout the Elizabethís are holding impressive numbers of schoolies. If tunoids are not your thing then now may be the time to target bass on fly and light tackle.

The fall run has started and the Vineyard Derby is right around the corner. Itís a great time to fish so donít get stuck sitting on the couch.

Tight Lines and Singing Drags,

Captain Phil Cronin
Cell: 617-448-2030


PAx reports from his MV trip:

Launched out of Falmouth Sunday at sunrise. NW wind picked-up quickly. Sloppy seas at best most of the morning. White caps all over the sound. Nothing happening on top that we could see so decided to troll. Landed one speedster on a Rapala. The rest of the catch was all bluefish. Out of the water by 1:00pm to take familly and friends tubing on a Plymouth pond. Great day overall.






No reports this week.





Chatham, Monomoy and the Outer Beaches

KCassidy reports:

Out Nauset Inlet by boat yesterday afternoon. Marked lots of fish throughout the water column to 30 feet. Caught only blues but never could get to the bottom where we were hopeful there were large bass lurking. I'm sure there are many sick blues today from eating the tails of my rubber eels.





North Side

GKC44 reports:

It has been a tough tuna year for us but we finally landed a fish! A ethanol blown engine grounded us for the June feast, once we were back on the water a series of equipment failures kept the fish out of the boat and in the water. As everyone has said these fish are a lot bigger than last year and really tested our equipment.

Last Thursday we ran to the NWC in good conditions, we worked our way down the east side of the bank until we found an intense surface feed around middle bank. The tuna had trapped a school of bait on the surface and were pounding it from all sides, just as we drifted into casting range a big whale exploded into the middle of the feed and gulped down the bait scattering the tuna like tuna scatter bluefish, pretty intense. We drifted in the area jigging green 3oz Ronz in about 160 ft of water. After about 1/2 hour I had a hookup but the hook pulled after 20 seconds ... another lost fish ... aargh!! This was a pre-work run so the plan was lines in at 8:30 for the run home. At 8:25 I hooked up again about 60ft below the surface and this time the hook set held and the fight was on. We tag teamed the fish for about an hour on a trevela rod and a avet jx reel. My buddy was on the rod when the fish came to the boat, when I moved to gaff it it gave a final kick towards the boat, the trevela bent suddenly and touched the gunwale and snapped. The fish started going under the boat. I reached under the boat with the gaff and gave a hard, blind yank and luckily hit the fish a few inches above the tail or else we would have had a heartbreaking loss at the boat. The fish taped out at 56". A big thank you to Rippy for pointing us to the east side of the bank!!

As a followup we hit the south east corner this morning and again found sporadically feeding fish and got some good casts off but they weren't interested in the surface poppers or Ronz we threw at them.

Capt. Terry Nugent of Riptide Charters reports:

I've been remiss in my reports as of late. Several reasons have kept me from posting. First I've been super busy and I have not had a ton of time. Second several of the trips I've done have been for TV and or DVD so the outcome in my reports would negate the goal of the sport.

We've been doing very well with the big tuna and the new Prototype combos are proving to be VERY solid. We had a 60" class fish to the boat (est. 130# class) in under 20 minutes with the new gear. Another fish in the 140-150# range came to the boat in just a few minutes more. We are still tweeking the setup and trying to find the best drag settings for both fight and end game all well not killing the angler. We have fought fish with this rig with 30# of drag (on a scale), its not fun for a skilled angler and it tires you out faster than you can imagine without a harness. So far 20-22# is the most drag the average angler can hold for a sustained fight. We are still working out the bugs but the combo seems to be a success.

We have been using allot of white rubber, but as with the rods and reels we've been experimenting. I had Mike Hogy of Hogy's lures on the boat (You can see that trip on DVD when it comes out this fall) And Mike had some great insight with rigging the rubber for tuna. His stuff flat out works, as you'll see in the DVD!!!

Besides awesome catches we have also had EPIC losses. We have broken off several huge fish. Some early on and some after long fights and some right near the boat. The good news is we are finding these fish consistantly and we are getting them to eat. The new gear should help up the landings.

With the big wind and seas we have had I got a few minutes to put together an HD video of Shaun "Steady" Ruge and his Monster tuna. I hope you like it! It's a pretty good example of what we have been doing for the last few weeks overall.