The fall run appears to be dwindling to a trickle, just in time for the first flakes of snow to reach the New England earth. But even while I type this, I’m checking tide stage and wind direction for tomorrow in one last foray into the back bays to search out late fall run stragglers or indifferent resident fish. We’ll be hoping for all-out blitz conditions (like we found last year) but will settle for a few micros scrounged up dredging the bottom of the estuary.
But here’s a twist: as I type this, I’m hearing of blitzes of good sized bass on the Canal and southside of the Cape! Seriously, looks like the Fall Run is still moving along. It just goes to show you that you can’t trust anything you read on the internet.
The second stage of the fall run was extremely tough to predict (for me anyways). And as you’ll hear on the podcast I just recorded with Sam Stavis, it’s a fitting end cap to a year we can only categorize as “just weird, man.” I did find a few typical (and one especially epic) peanut bunker blitzes we associate with October fall run striper action, but I can’t tell you the amount of times I dropped the yak in or drove by my favorite early spring/late fall spots and found them completely void of life.
But this didn’t stop me from at least tying. The fall run is really only over when we want it to be. And I won’t go into that long, cold winter without at least a few more stripers.
Incredibly, as of last week, albies were still making their presence known around Falmouth and the Islands. This is by far the latest I have ever heard of them sticking around. We’ll do a full breakdown of Funny SZN 2020 but overall, this has been a pretty incredible year for good old Al. I saw more numbers of fish, they were less picky than past years, and I even experienced a few Nat Geo style blitzes–real slasher fests.
I think the albies are officially gone, but you never know. You may get lucky in the big tides tomorrow and find a Hallowalbie.
If you’re going to find bass, your best bet will be tonight into tomorrow and the days following. These big tides will most likely flush out the last of the baitfish from their back bay homes. So, I’d be targeting estuary openings on outgoing tides, and of course, the Canal. But you may be able to find fish blitzing in open water and along the beaches if you catch it just right. East End Canal beaches might be a hot spot.
We made our last tuna trip of the year last week before the blow and found a huge amount of blitzing school-sized fish around the Bank and off the backside. We had a few shots on them but couldn’t connect. They were finicky, feeding on small butterfish, and I have to admit, it felt a lot like albie fishing. Huge swells and boats running right over schools of fish made for some tough fishing. We found plenty of bait off the SWC and drifted them under balloons for a while, but had to get out of there before the chop kicked up. Team Tuna 7S had some success this year. We’re looking forward to chase Charlie a little more in 2021.
Every year around this time, I suddenly have an urge to head down to the kettle ponds and throw woolly buggers for trout. It’s the perfect way to decompress after a long, more often than not stressful, striper season. A few days ago, in between the rain, I met up with a few buddies at a Plymouth Pond. As we made our way out to a rocky point, we saw them rising to midges, sometimes jumping completely out of the water. I tried a few midge patterns but eventually fished a black woolly bugger on a sink tip line and hooked up. My buddies were fishing earthworms under a bobber and catching consistently.
So often, while fishing in the kettle ponds, it’s about finding the feeding windows. I say that trout fishing is a good way to decompress, but often, it can be frustrating fishing if you aren’t getting any bites. Finding feeding windows means spending lots of time casting. When it turns on, you’ll know it. Late morning and the hour before dusk have featured good action in the ponds I frequent.
It’s going to be a chilly couple days, so I’m not sure what this will do to the striper and freshwater bites. I’m predicting it will turn it on, especially with the calm weather predicted for Saturday. I’ll be cruising a cape river tomorrow searching out what will most likely be my last stripers of 2020. If they’re uncooperative, I may hit a Plymouth pond for stocked trout. Regardless, I need to bend a rod to keep my sanity. You feel me?
Go out and catch ’em up.