Report: Funny fish and fifty-pound stripers got me feelin’ some type of way

What a wild time of year. This past week saw an influx of funny fish action (the bonito are still around in big numbers and in very unexpected locations, and there were at least two reported albie catches). This means we’re most likely less than a week away from the initial invasion of Albert.

We also saw a return of the schoolies in a BIG way. The full moon brought the small bait in and the bass up. Acres of surface feeds were a common occurrence Friday-Sunday throughout the Canal and Cape Cod Bay. It would only be a matter of time, and Sean got his first fish on the fly during one of these massive surface feeds. I think as of last count, he may have been up to 29 fish on the fly. It’s that good for the fly rodder and light tackle enthusiast.


While the fish were mostly on the small side, there were some big girls mixed in.

Up North of Boston, pogies were being destroyed by bass up to 50-pounds. Even a couple 500 pound tuna joined the party, as Capt. Will found out when a hungry Charlie blew up his Stradic.


Will got in on the once-in-a-season blitz and boated this 49″, 50-pound monster.


Blues also made an appearance in a big way from Plymouth to Scorton (and possibly beyond). The mackerel all but disappeared, and we can most likely attribute this to the arrival of those yellow-eyed devils and possibly bonito. When this happens, these aggressive toothy critters tend to scatter and decimate the bait more so than our striped friends.

What does this all mean? The bitter-sweet Fall run is starting, friends. Don’t miss it.

Bonito Bonito

Saturday morning, we made good use of the later sunrise and arrived at the East End well before the sun peaked over the East horizon. We drifted for mackerel and found nada. Radio chatter confirmed our doubts. The macks had disappeared completely.

We drifted the East running tide outside of the channel and found sporadic boils of stripers feeding on silversides and peanut bunker.IMG_5711 They were finicky but they couldn’t resist a slow-retrieved Guppy. We fished the schools a got a few more before heading down to Scorton Ledge.

An unexpected catch

We joined the troll Congo line at the Ledge and began marking big schools of bass (or so we thought). Not having any mackerel or seaworms for a T&W spread, we reluctantly dragged around umbrella rigs.

Within the first half hour, one of the rods got hit.

“Small fish,” Captain Bill said, as is customary with any fish he reels in.

But when we got it to the boat, it wasn’t a striper. It was a bonito. In Cape Cod Bay. And a big one at that.


We couldn’t believe it. We continued trolling around and saw only a few boats hook up. Most were smallish stripers but there were some blues mixed in, which is exciting.

Back closer to the East End, we trolled around SP minnows on light spinning gear. One of the rods got hit and Jonny Mack grabbed it. The fish went went on a scorching run, and it was immediately clear this one wasn’t a striper either. Jon worked the fish to the boat but it made another run straight down, bending the rod into a U.


I grabbed the bonito by the tail and we had a second one in the fish box. Then it was time to do the bonito dance.


It’s the start of the Fall run and we’re pulling bonito out of Cape Cod Bay. What a time to be alive.

Billy Mitchell

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