The beach blitzes from Falmouth to Craigville that you could once count on in May are just a memory it seems. Now, though, the notion that bluefish are no fun because anyone can catch them no longer holds true.
I keep waiting to hear that the big specimens are tailing on the shallows around Oregon Beach, but either folks are keeping it quiet or it just isn’t happening—and I believe the latter since one of my sources for fishing info in the Cotuit area, Bob Lewis, is as honest as the day is long.
The weird thing is when I spoke to Andy Little at The Powderhorn in Hyannis, he said that the only sporadic bluefish catches he has heard of took place up inside the backwaters that empty into Nantucket Sound, as opposed to the front beaches.
That corresponds with what Bill Prodouz told me when we caught up at the Pocasset Post Office. He and some other guys have been enjoying a solid, early morning striped bass topwater bite around Cotuit and the other day a decent-sized bluefish muscled its way in, providing a nice diversion.
By the way, speaking of the salt ponds on the south side, Jim Young from Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth called to say that a prodigious worm hatch took place in Bournes Pond earlier this week, while Bob Lewis found happy fish chowing on worms last Friday through Sunday, and I suspect he got into them this week as well.
Evan Eastman has been getting reports of worm hatches in Green and Great ponds, as well as around Seacoast Shores. The fish for the most part haven’t been terribly picky, although Evan did say that they have been selling greater numbers of cinder worm flies.
I have been trying to get a read on the squid fishing this spring, but Andy said that it has been so windy that folks have been struggling to get them on a consistent basis.
In fact, given that there have been some good-sized schools of pogies in the protected waters that have been holding all of those stripers, it makes some sense that this is where a few bluefish have been caught. Next to fresh calamari, nothing gets choppers going like big, oily baitfish. In fact, if you ever happen upon blues mauling a school of menhaden, you just might think twice about going in the water.
While the bluefish news is certainly disappointing, folks seem plenty happy about the numbers of bass they are catching, even if the vast majority are still schoolies.
This might seem like a preposterous statement, but the sense I get from talking to folks is that you would have to work hard to find an inshore spot that isn’t harboring some bass, either along the southside or up Buzzards Bay way.
When it comes to boaters, Evan spoke to a couple who said the action hasn’t really started around the rips in the sounds, but Phil Stanton has been enjoying good light tackle action in Woods Hole. Most of the bass are in that same 24 to 26-inch range, although they did catch one about 30 inches the other day. Phil has been seeing small squid, about the size of your thumbnail, being harassed around the rocks, but he also said he also got a look at something he had never seen before, some river herring spraying out of the water, apparently to avoid stripers that were looking for a bigger meal.
Phil added that the fish have been moving up and down in the water column from day-to-day. He has been casting both Bombers, which run shallower, as well as white bucktail jigs with red pork rind. Although the stretch of sunny, warmer weather this week should get the mercury moving upwards, the reality is that windy weather, combined with a cool night, can change a fish’s feeding habits pretty rapidly.
One of the keys for boat anglers right now is to keep in mind that the action can be hot one day and dead the next as the schools of fish in the sounds and up Buzzards Bay are migrating through our waters right now. If they find bait, they might stick around to feed for a couple of days, but if not, they are going to scoot on their way to the waters where they spend most of the season.
Bruce Miller at Canal Bait and Tackle in Sagamore told me he was at Portugee Hole recently watching a bunch of smaller bass ripping up the surface of the water. Jigs and soft plastics were working among the crowd that had gathered, but smaller topwater plugs such as the classic 1.5-ounce Gibbs’ Polaris in white or green had fish fighting over them.
The bass around the east end have been following big mackerel that are out in Cape Cod Bay into the land cut and blasting up as far as the herring run, Bruce said, before moving out with the tide. With northeast winds predicted for the holiday weekend—remember, that is based on what I saw on Wednesday—the east end just might be worth a look.
Both the stretch of beach from Scusset to Plymouth and Sandwich to Barnstable are fishing very well, with flyrodders having a ball, Bruce said, while another contingent has been enjoying an afternoon bite up inside Buttermilk Bay.
A.J. Coots from Red Top in Buzzards Bay said there have been fish around the west end of the Canal, but it hasn’t been off the charts action. Typically, with Memorial Day weekend upon us, some schools of larger bass make their appearance and A.J. noted that there is a good amount of bait awaiting them.
On the groundfish front, A.J. saw photos of what looked to be black sea bass in the five-pound class. Overall the action has picked up quite well this week – that is, when people have been able to get out. A.J. also filled out paperwork for a couple of junior anglers who caught scup of 1.5 and 2-pounds, certainly solid fish, and we should see even bigger porgies soon.
Evan Eastman spoke to a boater who picked up his limit of sea bass fishing along the north side of the Vineyard. He also said tautog fishing is okay in the sounds, but much better up in Buzzards Bay.
On the freshwater scene, the cooler nights have kept the trout closer to shore, which has been good news for shore folks since as summer approaches, the fish will begin to move out of their range. It’s hard to beat PowerBait, but anglers seeking brown trout, especially the larger holdovers, quite often turn to shiners and swimming plugs like Rapala’s.
Largemouth are definitely on their beds, with a good number of anglers opting not to bother them during their spawning sessions; smallmouth are also doing their thing to produce more bass and the cooler it stays, the better for folks looking for smallies in skinny water.