Time to R.E.F.L.E.C.T, and find out what it means to me (points if you sung that in your head). Considering this weekend is right around the midpoint of the striper season, the weather is going to be crap, and I’m just about reaching that point of total frustration with striper fishing where I thought seriously about going for bluegill yesterday, I think now’s as good a time as any to take a step or three back. A little decompression time will do us good, I think. So let’s reflect, shall we?
But first, let me rant. There’s this myth surrounding fishing that it offers some type of “relaxation.” In my experience, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Sure, when the fishing is good, you feel exuberance, almost manic. You’re giddy, like when you were a kid. That feeling never really leaves us, does it? When your work and time spent searching and reading and hunting pays off, it makes all the sacrifices, the strains on relationships and lack of sleep, worth it.
Further, when you find that blitz of the year, that one day where you’re left with busted tackle, a torn up hand and a sore rotator cuff, it makes you feel alive. There’s nothing like it. You realize this is what it’s all for.
On the contrary, when things don’t go according to plan, the feeling is quite the opposite–frustration beyond belief. This has been the story of the season thus far. It seems we’ve been a few days behind every bite–that once in a season blitz just barely out of reach.
I’m trying not to hate all you Instagram folks up in the city and those of you finding those “pelagic bass” (to steal phrasing from Capt. Coombs) in Cape Cod Bay, but if there were a broken heart button, I’d be double tapping that on your feed. Just kidding. I’m just jealous. I’m happy your guys are finding the big bass.
This season has just been weird, man. And I’m really feeling it as we hit the midway point.
Despite all of this, I have optimism for the second half. Looking back at my “records” (really, camera roll), all of our largest fish came in mid-July or later. I still think we’re going to find our big fish. Like so often happens in fishing, you have to make your own luck. Will it into existence. It’ll happen eventually.
Or you can just go bluegill fishing. You’ll find me out on the pond.
Some positive news here: the action on smaller fish in Cape Cod Bay, and more specifically the Three Bays, has been the best and most consistent we’ve seen in a long time. A very steady southwest wind pattern and huge schools of juvenile sea herring and squid that have taken up residence around the Bay have made the bite pretty ridiculous. We’ve found some type of surface or sub-surface action every day we’ve been out. This is as long as the tide is moving. At slack, the bite has completely shut off.
Hot spots have still been the Browns Bank rip, around Clarks, and in the “Bug Bowl” (the deep water and abutting flats around Bug). Fish have gotten finicky, so flatwing flies and white Albie Snax are producing the tough bites. But most mornings, they’ll eagerly hit anything you throw their way. The fish out past Browns have trended larger, up to 30″ or so, but most are right in that 25″ sweet spot. The flats fishing has been excellent around the Bay as well. Calm winds and low tide make for ideal sight fishing conditions.
There are similar size fish around Barnstable, at Billingsgate, and around Race Point as well. Recently, big blues have moved into Race Point and along the backside. Big fish are occasionally popping up along the backside feeding on the pogie, mackerel and herring schools.
Here was a weird thing that happened a few days ago. Seanie Two-Fish was casting his beloved Hogy Pro Tail of the 1oz pearl variety into one of the aforementioned rips, hooked up, and felt some pretty weird head shakes. The fish made a few screaming runs, and we got it to the side of the boat. Guess what? It was a bonito. In Plymouth Bay! And a big one at that. So strange. But hey, we’re not complaining. Here’s hoping the bonito fishing this year stays as hot as it’s been.
It seems the only ones finding big bass inside CCB have been the ones burning the gas and cruising around early morning searching for rolling cows. Locations don’t mean much, as they change from day to day. It’s all about the location of the bait. Blitzes have been intense, but moving very quickly. They aren’t always marked by bird activity, so you need to be vigilant and keep and eye to the horizon. Tuna continue to roam the bay and feed on the same schools the stripers are on.
Pogies pretty much disappeared from the Three Bays, but there are millions of them along the South Shore. We cruised up to Scituate and found plenty of schools, just not many bass on them yet. We did mark a few fish and one or two of the schools were densely packed and moving quickly, so I don’t doubt there were bass on them. Here’s hoping these schools move back to our Bay where the bass can trap them.
This is my prediction for the next month. After this storm, pogies end up all along the Plymouth coast and the stripers find them. Let’s will that prediction into existence.