MASSACHUSETTS: Large Striped Bass are Converging on Cape Cod

Well after a long winter, large striped bass are once again converging on Cape Cod. The sandy spit of land protruding eastward into the Atlantic should again play host to world class striper fishing starting in June and running through October.

The fishing now is just starting to pick up, with fish last night ranging between 26-35 inches.

Over the next few weeks much larger striped bass specimens will make thier way northward through the Cape Cod Canal into the Bay. I’m looking forward to their arrival.

To get an idea of what we are in for, here is a recap of a trip we made last year with Mark and Mike from Missouri.

Well it’s been almost a week since the tuna bonanza and I’m finally starting to calm down. Someone 20,000 miles away in Japan is enjoying some Cape Cod sushi right about now and I couldn’t be any happier.

Friday’s weather was one for the ducks, with a strong NW wind and pelting rain. We managed some fish and a few small keepers during a day time trip with Mark and Mike from Missouri (and of course Bob our lucky charm)-but nothing to write home about. It was time to do it right and head out for a nocturnal expedition.

I made an afternoon run to Maco’s Bait and Tackle and picked up 100 eels and a fresh flat of FATTY seaworms for the upcoming two nights. Had I known how good the fishing would be I would have bought another 100 eels, but unfortunately I’m not very good at predicting the future so I would find myself back at Maco’s a mere 24 hours later (which is A-OK with me).

The guys met me at 7pm at the Sandwich docks with a not-as-optimistic-as-yesterday attitude of sorts which is understandable. Mark and Mike (not Bob’s brother Mike) had flown in basically spur of the moment after hearing about Bob’s numerous 40 plus pound fish from the week before and they were eager to put some weight in the boat. They promised me that if they landed a fish over 30 pounds it was going up on the wall back at their midwestern home. After Friday’s dismal weather even I felt a little uneasy with the pressure mounting.

We cruised along for a while, tight to shore, as I glued my eyes to the sonar. It didn’t take long before I thought we had some solid bass marks on the screen. Unfortunately after beating the fish over the head with tubes and eels for an hour we still had nothing to show. Something weird was going on and I prayed that the guys’ thick southern drawl wasn’t scaring away the fish. We reeled up and began cruising east at around 15 knots, eyes peeled on the sonar for signs of life.

Again it didn’t take long until we marked fish, this time in real tight, only in 22 feet of water. The tubes went out and BANG! we were on with a nice fish! Mike eased the fish in as I scrambled around the boat, quickly rigging up the spinning setups with fresh snakes. One glance back at the sonar and I knew we were in business. Solid red and orange from 15 feet down to the bottom-we had a big school of aggressive bass under the Miss Loretta.

As soon as I sunk the gaff into Mike’s 25 pounder Bob was on with an eel, followed by a swing and miss from Mark. Bob’s fish was screaming line off the light setup. Everyone was smiling. What a difference a few nice fish make!

As Bob eased his striper towards the starboard side of the boat, Mark sank his Gamagaktsu 8/0 hook into the jaw of a cow. I lipped and released Bob’s fish, a solid 25 pounder and hustled to get Mike eeled up with his own spinning setup, while Mark’s fish burned line from his reel-reminding me of last week’s initial run from the giant tuna.

The sonar was still lit up as Mark eased his fish towards the boat. It was a big boy with an aggressive attitude. Just as I went for a lip job the bass made another bolt for the sandy bottom, peeling off another 20 feet of the 50lb braid. A couple quick pumps of the rod and Mark had him back at boatside, and I quickly hauled him aboard.

I put a quick weight on the bass and we officially had our first 30 pounder of the trip onboard and the guys were all fired up. They had striper fished for over a decade without catching anything over 25 pounds and I couldn’t of been more happy for them. I had no idea the action would only improve as the night waned on.

We followed the fish as they slowly moved east and pushed closer in towards shore. By 11pm we had boated 20 fish up to 34 pounds in water as shallow as 7 feet. It was flat calm with a nearly full moon. In between drag screams we could actually hear the bass slapping on the surface.

By 2AM we had caught 40 fish, with 12 of them over the 30 pound mark. I’m not going to lie, I DEFINITELY DID NOT EXPECT THIS sort of action. I was really hoping for a few nice quality fish to make the guys’ long plane ride worth it-this was certainly a bonus.

The guys were gassed by now and ready to head home, five hours earlier than expected, to get some rest. It had been a perfect night, with a TON of fish, a bright moon, and calm winds. The ride back was all smiles.

We departed at the dock and agreed to meet back up at 7pm later that day to see if we could do it all over again.

Catch em’ up,

Captain Ryan Collins
Miss Loretta Fishing
p: 774.313.8571

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