Weekend Warrior: Save us, O mighty schoolie

The bass fishing has been as good as it’s ever been, according to some. Just not in Cape Cod Bay. Big bass found the pogie schools along the South Shore up to Boston in open water a few weeks ago and they have not relented. Charter captains and those lucky enough to get in on the bite have called it the craziest topwater feeds they’ve ever seen. And in July, you best believe they’re feeding on pogies.

Striper Report, Cape Cod Bay

Billingsgate and Race Point to the backside continue to be the only consistent spots for shots at large bass in Cape Cod Bay. Although these spots have been spectacularly inconsistent in their own right. Bigger fish tend to show up one tide and leave the next, leaving us in somewhat of a yo-yo pattern. Smaller fish have taken up residence in both of these locations, and there have been some YED spottings, so at least action will be consistent for anglers making the run across.

Pogie schools have invaded–and I don’t use that word lightly. Similar to last year, in the past week or so, schools of mehaden flooded into Plymouth Bay, along Duxbury Beach, and along the South Shore beachfronts. This is frustrating fishing at its finest. You have to “jump” schools to find one with fish shadowing it. I’ve had my best luck trolling SPs or Magic Swimmers around the schools to get the fish to bite. Docs fished slow, softbaits fished under the school, and of course snag and drop will work too. But if you’re not marking bass under the school, move on to the next one. The good news is, if you find fish around a pogie school–especially in schools with pogies of the foot-long-plus variety–you know it’s going to be a 25-pound and up fish.

Last week, Rob from Duxbury joined me on a guided trip. His goal was to learn the ins and outs of fishing the Three Bays. With an outgoing tide beginning at dawn and a West wind, we had an opportunity to target prime areas and fish a bunch of different techniques, all the while catching fish.

Well, catch fish we did. The schoolies were eating, mostly on bay anchovies and squid, and we caught on small spooks, unweighted Albie Snax, Hogys with weighted swimbait hooks, and Bill Hurley Sand Eels. We found fish in almost every spot we jumped to (and we jumped spots a lot), including a few big blowups from keeper-sized specimen.

Next, we shot across to Race Point and found fish in both locations hanging just off the drop-off. We ended the day with a nice 34″ fish, the biggest that we found. Not bad for a half hour of fishing over there.

If you’re interested in a trip like this, let me know. It’s a great way to get acquainted with fishing the Bay on light tackle. I may even give up a few of my top secret spots.

The Plan

Weak tides doesn’t give me great hope for finding feeding frenzies this weekend. But those pogie schools do. This weekend, I’ll be hitting those menhaden with everything I’ve got hoping to pull a big girl out of them. I’ll be working from the Powerplant, to Plymouth Bay, and up to Scituate.

Incoming tides around dawn should give us some topwater feeds around the flats in Plymouth and Duxbury Bay. This is the perfect time to gain some confidence with the fly rod. Clousers, Deceivers, and of course the Ray’s Fly have been my go-to’s.

There’s still mackerel out across the Bay along the dropoff at Race Point. If you want to catch large on a live mack, drift it along the potline around Peaked Hill or Herring Cove. There has been some topwater action, so make sure you have a few Docs and Guppys ready to go.

Tuna have been spotted around Peaked Hill, down the Backside, and along the aforementioned South Shore locales, so if you have the stout spinning gear, best to bring it along. You’ll be able to see a tuna thrashing through schools of pogies a long way off. Best to not be under prepared when Charlie decides he wants to take your lure.

One Reply to “Weekend Warrior: Save us, O mighty schoolie”

  1. Rob from Duxbury here. Just wanted to endorse what Bill said. I had a great time fishing with him this week and he helped me a ton. I would highly recommend it for anyone looking to learn more about the 3 Bays and CCB.

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