Weekend Warrior: Monday morning quarterbacking

Well, it happened this week. Every season, there’s a moment you think back on and wish you did something just a little differently. A little Monday morning quarterbacking, if you will. Well, this one hurt.

The blitzes this week in the Three Bays were pretty ridiculous, lasting almost two entire tides each day. The fish were on tiny, tiny bait, and they were finicky as hell. But that’s why you should learn to fly fish! Spooks got some bites, but 3/8oz epoxy jigs and small swim baits were most consistent. On the fly, a 2/0 pink and white clouser was the winner. Fish ranged from 18” all the way up to, well…

Early on, I made a cast and let the clouser sink. Up from the depths, a big bass bolted on the fly and turned on it. I felt pressure but missed the hookset. Gone. Conservative estimates had her at 36”. But now she’s a fish story. Oh well, I’m over it (no I’m not).

Something I’ve noticed about striper behavior during blitzes: When attacking bait during a blitz, stripers will either boil, tail slap, slash, or slurp. You can get a good sense of what the bass are on by observing this behavior. When they’re on smaller bait, you’ll see bass slurping on the surface. It’s not quite as violent as the other types of feeding behaviors and will give you a heads up as to what to throw to get them to eat.

This is useful information as we enter the Fall run and surface blitzes become more prevalent. The great thing about these blitzes is they can happen at any time throughout the day. Dawn and dusk become less important. As long as there’s moving water, there’s the possibility of a blitz.

Speaking of blitzes, the bonito fishing around Buzzards Bay, Woods Hole, Southside and the Vineyard has been about as good as it’s even been. The amount of bone reports I’m getting this week is insane. They’ve been hanging in some specific spots, but typically, if you find the birds, you’ll find the bones. Look for the “slashes” as opposed to splashes to differentiate the schools of bones from the hoardes of baby bluefish in the area. Some decent stripers have been hanging around these areas too.

Bones have even been caught around Billingsgate, Wood End, Race Point, and around the backside. And big ones at that.

Hey, have you heard that the albies are here early? This week, there were whispers of albies. Then pictures. Then a buddy texted me and said he went out for bones and couldn’t stop hooking up to albies.

You’ll find these albies in pretty much any of the areas where you’ve been finding bonito. And right now, they’ll hit just about anything. Who knows what this North wind will do to the bait patterns but it should be some wild first-wave albie fishing this weekend.

The plan

The wind is going to suck this weekend. I have no idea what it’s going to do to the Cape Cod Bay fishing and I’m sure as hell not going to be up there to find out. Instead, you’ll find me South of the Cape in the lee. It should be relatively calm down there—well, calm enough to spot feeding albies and bones.

I dropped in at Falmouth last week and missed a nice bite along Buzzards Bay. This week, I’m going to drop in around the Canal and make my way South looking for bird activity. We’re well equipped with epoxy minnows up to 1oz, mostly in pink, olive and silver. But again, these fish haven’t been super finicky.

The Canal remains slow, but we’re in between moon phases so that’s to be expected. With the North wind, I would have to think East End all the way down to Barnstable will produce. Pogy schools around Plymouth and the South Shore should be pushed up against the beaches, which could lead to some fantastic bluefish feeds.

Regardless of wind, we have lots of options this weekend. Catch ‘em up.

Billy Mitchell

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