Three days in the Three Bays

There’s been a common thread the past few weeks in our fishing excursions. We haven’t ventured from our home waters much. This is due to the fact that the schools of bass have been ridiculously hard to place around CCB, and I’d rather lower expectations and fish in the Three Bays instead burning a half a tank of gas trying to find that rogue 30# fish or blitzing school.

Another reason we’ve stuck around Plymouth is because, well, the fishing has been absolutely lights out in our little bay. Topwater feeds and hungry bass has been the norm in the past two weeks. Nearly every tide has produced blitzing fish on bay anchovies and squid, mostly small, but with a few keepers mixed in.

So really, why leave?

This brings us to last weekend. Two charter trips and two impromptu afternoon trips led to some of the best fishing of the year.

Incoming Dawn Bite on the flats

If you’ve read anything I’ve written on the subject, or if you’ve fished with me, you know I prefer the sweet sounds of an outgoing tide to get the striper juices flowing. But this year, that’s mostly changed. The dawn incoming tide has produced some of the best and most consistent topwater action we’ve seen in the Three Bays. We’ve found fish on the flats by the Kingston and Cordage Channels, Saquish flat, Clark’s Island and all around Browns Bank.

Top producers were small spooks (Jumpin’ Minnows, Rapala Skitterwalk, Yo-Zuri Sashimi) fished slow with pauses.

These blitzes happened both Saturday and Sunday and lasted close to the entire tide.

Everyone was just fine with the smaller fish and we abandoned the search for mackerel when string after string came up empty. I think we may be falling into the old pattern of mack disappearance around the middle of July.

“Get out here now”

Sunday afternoon, I was just settling in for the big sleep after two long days of fishing when I got an Insta message from my buddy Rick. The phrases “30-pound fish,” “blasting pogies in the air,” and “best fishing I’ve ever seen,” may have been thrown around.

So, I did what any logical person would do and texted Captain Bill to meet me at the ramp. In 30 minutes we were cruising out of the harbor (again).

We found the same massive pogie schools that we’d been seeing all week, but this time, every few seconds, it would sound like a whale was breaching right next to the boat. Big bass had found the schools.

They started eating right at slack and fed the entire tide. We did have to jump around to find the fish and oddly enough, we didn’t always mark the bass on the sonar before we hooked up.

Some quick tips I’ll reiterate when fishing the pogie schools:

  • Keep moving. If you fish a pogie around a school for 10 minutes and don’t get any takes, move on to the next school
  • Always fish the pogies on circle hooks. If you catch a bass around a pogie school, it’s going to be 36″ plus. These bass have no issue inhaling your weighted treble which can lead to lots of dead breeders. We’ve been using 8/0 inline Gamakatsu circles and our safe hookup ratio is close to 100%
  • Find the schools that look “uncomfortable.” If they’re flipping around happily on the surface, there probably aren’t bass around them.

If you’re an angler fishing the Three Bays, get out there. Or, book a guided trip and we’ll show you how to catch ’em.

Billy Mitchell

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