I feel like now is a good a time as any to actually carve out some time and type out some of the fishing experiences we’ve had this month. Let me be the first (or seven-hundredth) to tell you, May was packed with fishing stuff. Good trips, great trips, insane trips. Absolutely brutal and fishless trips. Cold and warm and cold again. Kayak and shore and boat. Whew, it’s been a month. Here’s what we found while wandering the shorelines and oceanfronts in search of our seven-striped friends.
Quick pushes 2015-class migratory fish in Buzzards Bay
May started with a bang. Huge schools of stripers chasing micro bait pushed through Buzzards Bay and moved up into the rivers and harbors. Most evenings and mornings featured acres of screaming birds. All was right in the world…for about four days. But when it was on, it was on. We had a few mornings from the kayak with fish every cast type of vibes. It was all Jumpin’ Minnow and Albie Snax (of course). But then, they disappeared.
If you’re fishing Buzzards Bay around the Canal channel proper by boat, (Hog Island, all the way to Cleveland) you know the transient nature of the fish here. We can have incredible fishing for two hours in a tide, only for those fish to run straight through the chute and never be seen again. The Bay seemed to really dry up for a week or so until…
Cows, we’ve got cows. A week after the fish drought, fish up to 30-pounds moved into a few very specific areas to chase down pogies, mostly under the cover night. For the first few tides, the bite was excellent on docs and big soft plastics. But then, as more boats moved in, it turned into the typical stalemate. Strategy in these areas is rather interesting–cruise around until you see scattered pogie schools or mark singular fish on your sonar (or just spook the bass laying in the sun on the surface), and then cast Docs at them until your arms fall off. I swear there were days where we casted for two hours straight, only to get a few follows and one half-hearted swipe. Then at two hours and one-minute, we caught three fish. It’s bizarre.
This bite is still going on, by the way. Recent reports have them moving away from this area the past few days. Let’s all hope they make a quick dash through the Canal and end up around our Cape Cod Bay locales. I’d kill for a couple of these fish up on the flats or shoals this coming moon. But with our luck, they’ll sit in the slaughterhouse of the Canal or run offshore never to be seen again.
Remember what I said about the haddock never really showed up early season? Well, that proved to be a lie. It seems they just moved inshore a little later this year. One calm morning toward the middle of the month, we set a plan in motion. Fish mid tide outgoing around the rips and flats, find bass on the fly, then move offshore an hour before slack to load up on haddock. Now let me say, this is the type of plan we often conjure in our heads and illustrate in manic groups text chats the days leading up to a trip. It’s kind of the perfect day of fishing, if you were to ask me. Get your sporting light tackle and fly striper fix in, sight casting to breaking fish or working flies off soft structure points. Then move out and load up a few coolers of some of the best and freshest fillets in the sea.
I don’t have to tell you that these types of plans rarely work as you envision them. But on this day for whatever reason, it did. Big bird piles spread out across the bay on the rips and flats, and porpoising stripers chased tinker mackerel and silversides out of the water. At the haddock ground, we dropped light jigs to the bottom and caught big haddock on every drop. We didn’t even need the clams. This haddock bite has seemed to dry up recently, but you can still pick away at them West of Bank.
Right where we left them in the Three Bays
A few weeks back, I had a few buddies from high school book a charter. They wanted to fish Plymouth regardless of the great big fish and seabass bite going on in Buzzards Bay. It would be early, I thought, for any type of really great action on fish up to slot size in the Three Bays, and for any number of mackerel to fill the livewell. I wasn’t as hopeful as I would have been if it were booked for a few weeks later in early June when the Three Bays really gets into form. Well, an early low incoming and a light West Wind forecast proved it’s meddle as one of the most sure-fire conditions for surface feeds. Huge schools of terns and gull moved in picking off big baitfish. We chased fish around and sight cast to slot sized stripers with big loud poppers and Albie Snax. One of the guys had only cast the fly a few times at bluegill and pickerel. He wanted to cast at stripers. As he stripped in to change flies, a bass rocketed out of the water and grabbed his Ray’s fly.
We caught as many fish as we wanted all morning on soft plastics, live mackerel, and flies. Neil Young played through the speakers. It was a good morning. Bring on June.