If the striper season were a five-course meal, we’d be just about finishing our wedge salad and the server would be dropping sizzling 24oz New York Strip in front of us. Is that a good analogy? No, not at all. But it’s how I’m feeling right now. Sure, the bread was good. Soup and salad was fine. But can we get a cut of beef already? Sheesh.
Here’s the quick rundown for the season so far, for those of you who haven’t been paying attention (ie, not fishing due to other real life obligations). Micros and schoolies flooded the estuaries, rivers, harbors and beach fronts early. I’m talking two weeks earlier than last year. And all signs pointed to an early start to our entire striper season. (Check out the podcast we did with Brian of Get Tight Sport Fishing if you haven’t already. We talk about this and fish biomasses and all that fun stuff.)
The truth is that while we did find sporadic larger fish along the MA striper coast, the biomass never showed up.
That is, until this week.
The biomass of big bass, the kind we’d been in search of, showed up along Buzzards Bay, the Outer Cape, and the Canal in the past 72 hours or so.
What does this mean for you, o impatient angler? It means you should be out there targeting them. The June new moon, although occurring earlier than normal this year, is probably closest to the surest thing you can get with striper fishing. This “JuneNewMoon” (said in all one word) effect also means that other obligations need to fall by the wayside. You need to fish from right around now to the third week in June. It’s your best bet at getting in on that epic-topwater-bite-bro-yewwwww.
Long story short, TL,DR: It took them a while but the big bass are here just in time for the new moon.
We put some hours on the Mal de Mer II last week, folks. Michigan Tyler and Chuckie Boots were in town and joined the regular cast of characters on the boat. We focused primarily on The Three Bays and found excellent topwater and fly action with fish up to 28″ around Clarks Island, the Kingston Channel, Saquish, and Splitting Knife. Hot lures were Bill Hurley squids in pink, swim shads, and SP Minnows in bone. Flies of choice were the Sean Hollow in white, Ray’s Fly in Yellow, and blue synthetic deceivers in a mackerel pattern.
Mackerel were in thick and we had no issues loading up the livewell for six days in a row. Most bass were around 26″ which made the live mackerel bite a little frustrating, but we were able to scrounge up a few fish 28″-32″. The outgoing tide will always produce better in the Bay, but we did find a few bass willing to eat on the incoming.
I’m proud to say that we also got three anglers their first ever stripers. Seriously, that’s something that never gets old.
Capt. Dave Bitters had a really great observation on his recent writeup, in which he talked about the bass chowing down on sandworms. This makes a ton of sense, considering most fish we marked were hugging the bottom. A black and red fly or bucktail dragged along the bottom could be a good bet for you.
Barnstable and other CCB locales has seen much of the same. Bass up to small keeper size with the occasional 36″ fish mixed in. No one can argue the excellent schoolie bite though. If there were ever an excuse to get that fly rod going, this Spring would be it.
Buzzards Bay had some pretty wild topwater action, similar to how it’s been to the past few weeks. Blues up to 10lbs were mixed in which is a huge plus. If we get some blues back this year, I’ll be a happy boy.
Race Point has not been producing much for the boat guys who made the trip, but the shore bite seems to be very good according to our buddy Bill Hurley.
If I were to make an assessment of the current situation and recommend a course of action, I would say the big bass are going to hit Billingsgate, Race Point, Backside, Barnstable, and Plymouth on Saturday. I would do everything I could to get out there. Pack a bunch of big spooks like the Doc in bone because the bass will be on sea herring mostly. Big tides should bring the fish up and feeding in the rips and shoals. Don’t forget to load up that livewell in all of your regular mackerel spots.
If you’re new to June blitz hunting, finding the bass feeding on top is about finding the gulls and larger birds. Big birds diving will almost surely point to a blitz on big bait. Don’t be afraid to move around. Keep an eye on that sonar. If you don’t make fish, move. You need to be mobile this time of year.
But you’ll have to tell us how you do out there, because Sean and I will be joining Cynthia Harkness of Fearless Fly Fishing for a day of fly fishing the flats. Perfect tides, a fairly light wind and some sunshine should make sight fishing possible. We’ll report back how we do. If my prediction is correct, we should be seeing some fairly large fish cruising the flats.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that absolutely ridiculous black seabass and scup bite in Buzzards Bay and the sounds. Some are calling this “the best year they’ve ever seen.” Seriously. Just about any rockpile or piece of structure will hold these tasty fish. So load ’em up and get the fish tacos going. BSB are hitting pretty much whatever you want to throw at them.
Big tides will continue into next week and hopefully provide some of the best topwater action of the season. So go burn some gas or put some miles on those waders and find them!