Winter is finally over, water temps are warming and the aquatic food chain “engines of life” have rekindled themselves in our embayments and estuaries. By May, vast schools of fishes of all sizes will have migrated northward into our Cape Cod waters in a seemingly exuberant search of nutrition and procreation. Practically tripping over each other in their insatiable need to get to a better food supply or a breeding place, the herring, mackerel, squid and then later, the menhaden and sand eels expand into our nutrient rich waters. Behind them follow our beloved sport fishes, the striped bass, the bluefish and the bluefin tuna.
Cape Cod’s better striped bass fishing starts in the shallower warmer waters of Southern Nantucket Sound, moving into the Cape Cod Canal and then into Cape Cod Bay. Shallower bays and estuaries like Pleasant Bay in Orleans/Chatham or the Nauset Estuary system in Eastham/Orleans will be teeming with life at this time. Algae blooms will feed the shellfish larvae, that will feed an ever growing food chain of minnow sizes. Eels, and crabs will become active and come out of the mud. By now vast schools of smaller striped bass will voraciously swarm into these areas feeding heavily and can be caught one after another on decent moving tides. These earlier areas benefit in the early season but as water temperatures get increasingly warm in summer months, the fishing quality declines.
As the sunshine levels continue to increase daily, the ocean waters slowly warm and these stripers will move onto the outer Cape Cod beaches as they move ever northward. The sand eels, mackerel and herring have also been passing by daily. Offshore, warmer ocean currents and eddies swirl pockets of warmer water ever shoreward and northward, and schools of macks, herring and sand eels are get attacked by the stripers, and cod from below and from the gull and gannets by air. By now the bluefin tuna have entered the scene and these speedsters aren’t wasting any time in fulfilling their purpose in life either. They come to eat and to grow. Thats it. They swarm into these bait rich waters smashing and grabbing mackerel, herring and squid as fast as they can cram them down their hungry gullets. The amount of bluefin we see in June is amazing, as they are frequently seen excitedly crashing on the surface feeding. Watching 200-300 lb bluefin tuna smash a trolled squid rig on the surface prior to a hookup is the most exciting fishing we offer in the June months.
I am blessed to be able to fish from north Chatham, at the doorway to this veritable ocean smorgasbord of bait and game fishes. My harbor empties straight into the Atlantic. My loading dock is a mere 3-4 miles from the best bluefin tuna fishing in Massachusetts. We catch striped bass limits all summer less than one mile from the beach ! We have fantastic bluefin tuna fishing starting in late May. During June, we are catching giant bluefin within 5 miles of the dock. Earlier June striped bass trips involve taking a longer duration trip so we can travel to the warmer bass waters. In mid June the stripers move into the rips on the eastern or ocean side of the Cape and we catch them consistently on the shorter trips. By the July 4 th weekend, we have settled into the normal summer patterns and have a consistent steady supply of both stripers and bluefin tuna throughout the summer and into early November. By August, the waters of Cape Cod bay and Nantucket sound have warmed so much that it affects the striper fishing negatively. The bass just move out or into deeper or more shaded and cooler waters. The advantage to fishing in the Ocean, is that we have consistently cooler water all summer long. We may miss out in the months of late April and May, but surely make up for it throughout August, September and October, when the water temps are just too hot anywhere else for decent striper fishing.
Check out our website at www.sportfishingcapecod.com for an updated video gallery and photos from last years season. You may call or email for a reservation or questions. We are taking reservations at one or two per day now and we do have a limited amount of fishing trips we can do per season. Many folks wait too long to reserve a day and get disappointed. Please plan and reserve your trip early and you will have the best choices for tide and day selection and you will have a better trip.
Thanks very much,
Capt Bruce & “Marilyn S”