June Striper Update: Casting ’til your arms fall off

Well, that was not the June we’ve grown accustomed to. Remember when Cape Cod Bay in June was pretty much as sure a thing as you’d ever get in this whole fishing thing? I do. And I’m bummed she didn’t produce much at all this month. The good news is the big bass are around, namely in one massive biomass up “North of the Wall” in something that will henceforth be called “the bite that shall not be named.” Cape Cod Bay–From Sandwich to Billingsgate to the Backside, remains inconsistent, even desolate of large stripers.

We found the big fish in the early part of the month down in the “other” Bay, but by the time it really materialized for us, the fleet was on them and they shut right down. A good buddy, when telling me about the style of fishing that was required to catch them, said: “just head over there and cast Docs at them until your arms fall off. Give it around 8 hours. You might catch one fish.”

Billingsgate had big fish for a day or two, but since has turned into schoolie central. We haven’t put much time around the Race and the Backside, and some are reporting some small pockets of good fish around the pogie schools.

The amount of 22″-26″ fish we’ve found in Plymouth and the surrounding areas is INSANE. This all just makes me hate this slot limit even more. Imagine if we had the 1@36″ that we all wanted? Picture all of these 25″ fish growing to the beautiful size of 30″ or 32″ in the next few years. Light tackle and fly paradise! But that won’t happen now unless something changes.

Do I sound like a miserable old salt? Yes. Am I ever going to stop complaining? No.

We’ve found these fun-size, chunky stripers rolling and tailslapping, with or without bird shows most mornings, regardless of tide (as long as it’s moving). The real locales of intrigue have been the Browns Bank, Cowyard, and Nummet flats and subsequent current rips. We’ve found some of best fish on the incoming right off the flats in these areas. 60-70 fish days have been the norm. Some days, they’re a little wary to strike, so an unweighted soft plastic or a swim shad fished slowly is the way to go. Otherwise, Jumpin’ Minnows remain the most consistent lure.

The mackerel were late this year, but we’ve had no problem loading the livewell in a few drops of the Sabikis lately. The only issue is we can’t find any big bass to eat them.

Pogies are loaded up throughout the Three Bays and all along the South Shore. We had a few tastes of hot and heavy bass on pogie violence last year. My prediction for July? We have a much better bite in the next few weeks on these hordes of pogie schools. We’ve jumped schools a few times in the past week or two and have come up empty. This will change soon. Keep plugging away. It’s frustrating fishing, but when it hits, boy, it hits.

MVP Lure: Pearl Albie Snax. I don’t what it is, but “finicky fish” seems to be the buzzword on everyone’s tongues so far this year. Blitzing fish have been very wary to eat our offering in both Buzzards Bay and Cape Cod Bay. So what do you do when you drop one on their heads and come up empty? Toss on an un-weighted Albie Snax of course. We’ve been burning them across the surface and mixing in short pauses to draw reaction strikes.

Runner-up: 1oz Hogy Pro Tail BABYYYYY

MVP Fly: Sparkle Rays. Simple and sparse Ray’s Fly with a little Angel Hair Wing. It looks dope in the water, as those young kids say. She is much sparser now around a hundred fish later but she’s got that good fish mojo on her.

Googan of the Month: Me, for not jumping on that little bite to the North of us sooner. Runner-up: Chuckie reel-through-the-drag

Billy Mitchell

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