By: Capt. Hap Farrell
It's about time... We missed having a good amount of striped bass up on Billingsgate Shoals. Up until recently the striped bass have been noticeably absent from the shoals. Most of the summer we'd run out to the shoals and be able to get a few keepers for our anglers. At times we could get more than just a few. We'd do quite well as a matter of fact. Then they just vanished. Well, they're back...
In years passed Billingsgate Shoal has been a gathering place for the striped bass in Cape Cod Bay. We could find schools down by Barnstable Harbor and up by P-town but why travel that far when they were in our back yard. As of a few days ago there was not much activity on the shoals. A few bluefish here and there was the best we could find. As the weather in New England is, so is the fishing. Wait a while and it changes. Right now using the umbrella rig on 200 feet of wire works very well. Troll it at around 4 to 4.5 knots and slow down a bit when you mark the fish on your fish finder and you should hook up. Jigging will also work well. Jigs with red in them and the black and purple seem to attract legal size bass.
The bluefish are in abundance along the flats in by the Eastham shore. Get in 12 feet of water and troll either pink or orange or even reddish hootchies around 5.5 to 6 knots on 250 feet of mono and you should do well. You may not find them until you get up by South Sunken Meadow or Lieutenants Island, but should run across some really good action in that area on the flood tide.
As for the striped bass, I'd look to the north edge of the shoals until the last of September. Barnstable Harbor and especially P-town should stay active into the first part of October. The bluefish will stay in by the Eastham shore up to the last of September and then you'll see them move into the deep water after that. The only thing that will change this is a prolonged warm spell and things will last a bit longer or if we get a lot northeast winds and cold weather and the fish will leave a bit earlier.
There are two fisher persons I want to mention. They both have shown the most enthusiasm and real feel for the sport of fishing. First is Emily Ewen. I have written about her before. She and her father have fished with me for the last 6 years. Emily was eleven then, this summer she was 17 and trained to be a mate on my boat. Because of her fishing expertise she will be an excellent mate. She did a few trips on her own this season and will be here for much of next season and I will put her to work. She loves the work.
The second is Anne MacDonald. She learned to mate back in the early eighties aboard the Flying Mist. We became friends in the mid eighties and since then I've gotten her fishing now and then. In the past few years she has been able to spend more time at her mothers cottage in Eatham so She's been out with me more often. Because of her skill I've had her test some of my new tackle and she's given me advice on how well it works. Her opinions are invaluable and she too loves to fish...
Stunmai II - 508-240-8267 for information.
About The Author: Captain Hap Farrell
Company: Stunmai II Charters
Area Reporting: Cape Cod Bay - Rock Harbor, Orleans
Bio: Captain Hap Farrell has been fishing the waters of Cape Cod Bay for 27 years. His intimate knowledge of the Bay and all it's idiosyncrasies guarantees that your day on the water will be an enjoyable one. Whether a novice angler, or a seasoned pro, the captain and crew of the Stunmai II will do what it takes to get you "tight" on a big striped bass or bluefish!