Weekend Warrior: Gettin’ ready to get down

I know I’ve been saying this every blog post. But things are going to blow up this weekend. For real this time.

Warm nights, heavy South winds, and big tides are the harbingers of the arrival. And we’ve got all three. Schools of stripers–big schools–are going to be arriving in the Cape Cod area in the next few days. You’d best go out and find a few.

The report

We’ve had our pick of holdover and newly migrated fish the past few weeks, especially during warmer mornings and evenings. The rivers around Wareham and the harbors and estuaries in other upper Buzzards Bay areas have yielded some pushes of fish–some up to 26″.

The 7S crew found some of these mid-20″ stripers around the mouth of a local river a few days back on the yaks. The fish were present but it was tough to get them to eat. Swimming plugs–like the SP Minnow– had the most consistent hook-up rate.

The bite has still been a little tough and inconsistent, relative to our expectations for an extra early spring run. But today is May 1st. We have officially entered the throes of the Spring Run. Silversides and other smaller bait will be swarming in the estuaries. Herring will reach a peak in the next few weeks with big bass on their tails. Big bass may even find those schools of pogies.

The fishing has yet to pick up in areas other than Upper Buzzards Bay, but that will change this weekend. I expect we’ll get our first consistent topwater action of the season, and a few keeper sized fish may even find our lures or flies.

We most likely won’t have consistent stripers North of the Cape for a few days, but I wouldn’t be surprised if small schools of migratory fish end up around Barnstable, Sandwich, and the Three Bays this weekend.

The Plan

The tides look prime south of the Cape for the predicted feeding fest. If you’re shore bound, your best bet will be to target further up the river or estuary at high tide, and fish your way down as the tide ebbs. Look for chokepoints and deeper pockets, especially if there’s structure present, like sod banks or boulders.

Inlets will also produce on both sides of the tide–just make sure you’re fishing moving water.

You’ll want to be out at these spots at pre-dawn and around dusk. This is when the fish will be feeding more actively. I’ll be throwing bone Jumpin’ Minnows, Bone SP Minnows, Bill Hurley Sand Eels, and Hogy Pro Tails. This will be a great opportunity to throw the fly. I’ll be tying on a Ray’s Fly almost exclusively this weekend.

Schools of fish should be feeding on topwater throughout the Bay this weekend–but you’ll have to be mobile to find them. Look for those birds or troll through current rips if the birds aren’t showing.

That’ll do it. Go catch a striper. We’re counting on you.

Billy Mitchell

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