Fishing heated up with the weather this past week. Striped bass have not gone into their summer doldrums and are feeding during the day in large concentrations all along Beach Point to the Cottages in 25 to 40 feet of water. They are also sporadically found off the Twin Hills on the back side of Long Point.
But the overall best area by far has been the waters between Wood End Light and Race Point Light, along the lobster pot line just before the edge drops off to much deeper water. Trolling umbrella rigs has been effective, as has drifting live bait like pogies (menhaden) and mackerel.
Schools of pogies have returned to our harbor. Look for dark patches on the water with little splashes coming from the dark spot. You have to snag them with snag hooks, essentially big weighted treble hooks, as they eat plankton and algae, not fish. Mackerel have been in and out for the past couple of weeks, but they are currently fairly thick around Long Point, in the Horseshoe Cove, and off the Twin Hills.
Bluefish are here in numbers not seen in a long time, mixed in wherever striped bass are. With surface water temperatures reaching a toasty 72 to 76 degrees, bluefish should maintain their presence, but time will tell.
As I noted last week, the seal population in our harbor has grown exponentially. The other day I counted three large groups of seals from the Horseshoe Cove to Long Point; the total was 145. No matter where you are on the issue of the Cape Cod seal population explosion, I think we can all agree this rapid growth around our harbor is going to change the ecosystem and balance of marine life substantially. The cormorant population is also rising rapidly. Seals and cormorants both have voracious appetites. It’s going to be interesting to see where the end point is here.
Sometimes I think I have seen everything in five decades of working offshore, but last week I saw something truly mind-boggling. A paddle boarder placed himself in a large group of seals in the Horseshoe Cove and then, with a scuba mask on, dove in to swim with them.
If you are a white shark wanting to eat a seal, being the smart predator you are, you’re going to look for the slowest moving seal in the group, as that gives you the greatest chance of success. Guess who the slowest, least agile animal in that group in the cove would be? If you guessed the human, you are correct.
Why anyone would tempt fate that way is beyond me. White shark sightings continue to be way down compared to last season for unknown reasons. By this time last year I had seen them at least a dozen times. This year I have not seen my first one yet.
The fin whales are still cruising and feeding right off Race Point and one occasionally finds its way into our harbor to feed on the enormous numbers of pogies here. Watch for the tall narrow spout of the fin whale’s exhalation. We had a single humpback breaching off Wood End Light as well last week, which was an exciting bonus for all the charter fishing boat customers that day.