The Search is On...
By: Capt. Hap Farrell
There is a school or small number of schools of big stripers swimming around Cape Cod Bay. At times you can find them off Barnstable Harbor. Either on the East Bar or, most likely, the West Bar. If not there look to the "Fingers". The next are in off the north edge of Billingsgate Shoals in the deep water. That is 45 feet or deeper. You will mark them on your fish finder but that doesn't mean you will hook up. They are acting finicky, very finicky.
The boats that do well in the deep water off the shoals find that just after the tides starts in for about 2 to 3 hours is the best time. Jigging with 450 foot wire works best. The umbrella rig will have some results but mostly big bluefish. Once the tide has started in a while, like two hours before high water, the fish seem to spread out. Where these big fish go is anyone's guess.
For those who just want to have some fun catching bluefish go up on the flats East of the #3 and #5 cans in about 13 to 18 feet of water and troll small hootchies or swimming plugs around at 5 knots or so and you'll find some small bluefish to play with. These fish are the good eating size and fun to take on with lighter tackle.
We are having a special event at Rock Harbor this coming Sunday, the 28th. At 8:30 am. the Rock Harbor Charter Fleet will be taking some our veterans out for a half day of sportfishing. This is being set up by "Cape Cod Cares for the Troops" and being sponsored by the Rock Harbor Charter Service and the Elks. It is not really a tournament but I'm sure we will keep track of the biggest fish caught that day. I believe the whole fleet is involved so come down and give the troops a good send off and come back at around 12:30 pm to see them return with their catch. It is the least we can do for someone who puts the life in jeopardy in our name.
What to do for this next week? It's hard to say. If you are fishing over the lower water and want to check out the West Bar off Barnstable Harbor I think I'd take the ride. If not there go out to the deep water off the north edge and stay in 40 to 50 feet of water and troll up towards the Path. If you see fish on the bottom with your fish finder set out a long wire (450 feet) and jig in that area. The bluefish should be in by the Path and, during the flood tide, in off the Eastham shore.
I had some local folks our on a half day trip last week. It was Erin Shupenis and her father Ray. Erin works for the town of Orleans during the week and waitresses at the Land Ho on weekends. Erin landed three bluefish on the umbrella rig she was fishing with. We did have a striper on but it got off right at the boat. The Luau landed two striper and the Fair Lady landed a bass that was almost 36 inches. Both boats also landed some bluefish also.
Erin and Ray with their fish...
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!