If our catch ratio of big fish the past two trips were a batting average, we’d be in the Hall of Fame. Batting .500 is great for baseball–but not great for fishing. Before we delve into the reports a few observations:
- The amount of pogies from Green Harbor to the Canal is out of control. But with this many schools of pogies, it’s tough to find stripers feeding on them. Marking fish isn’t the problem–it’s finding fish wanting to eat. A few times, we’d throw artificials (Hogys, Bill Hurleys, SP Minnow) and get follows from monster bass, only to have them turn away at the boat. They must be pretty stuffed with pogies.
- The fish are still spread out pretty good. The bite has been very good off Monomoy, so who knows if they’ll eventually make their way around the Cape. My guess is they don’t. If you recall, only a few years ago, the large biomass of fish we’ve seen along the shores of the Bay were out by Chatham. These patterns are changing.
- As far as patterns, everything seems off this year. Where are the blues? There was a promising report of some bluefish along the backside, so we’ll see. Hopeing they sniff out the pogy schools and we get a massacre for the ages.
- The Canal has died a bit since the historic blitzes the past two weeks. We’ll see if any of these fish made it through to the Bay.
The first trip began, as good any good fishing trip should, in the dark of the predawn over a flat-calm Bay. The plan was to head to the East End of the canal–a spot that I was positive would hold fish. Although everyone fishing the Bay probably had this same idea.
On top of this, there were two large tournaments happening. So, we were prepared for the combat fishing. First one in, first one out.
The ride to the Canal was dotted with massive pogy schools, birds, and whales. It was brimming with life.
Halfway there, we stopped to snag some pogies for the livewell. Just then, I got call from Chris G: “Mackerel everywhere. Bass underneath them. Get here.”
So, we ditched the pogies and opened up the Yammy toward the canal. We found the mackerel Chris was talking about (fairly far off the canal entrance) and had the livewell loaded in four minutes.
We began drifting the East running current and marking fish. The schools were fast moving and tough to stay with, but after a few drifts, Sean’s rod went off.
I knew it was a big fish immediately because the Penn Spinfisher baitrunner switch sticks sometimes, and when the mackerel went out the baitrunner wasn’t engaged. So, when the fish picked up the mackerel, instead of the typical muted zzzzzzzzzzz of a running baitrunner, we heard the screaming ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ of a full-blown run of drag. The rod in the holder arched to a deep U as the circle hook took purchase.
Sean picked it up and fought the fish. The bass made three deep runs before Sean could gain any line back. The fish fought hard for ten minutes in the ripping current, as we moved the boat to dodge the fleet.
Sean maneuvered the fish around the bow and moved the line off the prop twice. Finally we landed it.
The fish tipped the scale at 28 pounds, good for Sean’s personal best.
Morale was high… until this happened. We received word that a big push of fish was moving toward the entrance on the East running tide. Sure enough, we began marking fish. My mackerel was picked up, and it was off to the races.
What you can’t really see is that the fish was pulling line for around 30 seconds straight. I never even had the chance to gain any line back before it broke me off. This is why you check your leader for frays, folks. This is one will be in my dreams for a long time.
Meanwhile, Chris G was having a field day doubling up with 25 pound and up fish. The new vessel had the good mojo that morning.
And that was it for the day. The canal was filled with boats and the Harbormaster decided to pay a visit, so we decided it was best to call it.
Stay tuned for the second trip recap.