The dog days of summer blaze on, bringing water temperatures up to the mid to high 70s. The lack of rain also contributes to the almost tropical feel of our surface waters.
The heat has brought some changes to what’s here and what’s not. Striped bass on the bay side remain sluggish and elusive. There was a good bite going on way down the backside beaches from Longnook in Truro to Cahoon Hollow in Wellfleet, and these fish were of the bigger variety. But on the bay side, the bass remain scattered and small.
Race Point seems to be the most consistent place to catch bass right now. Drifting mackerel or herring in 25 to 40 feet of water works best. The mackerel and herring baitfish are both easily caught on the deepwater side of the Race Point rips.
Bluefish remains white hot in our area in a large swath from the cottages at Beach Point to the backside beaches by the Ranger Station. There have also been large schools of bluefish offshore of Pamet Harbor and on down to the north edge of Billingsgate Shoals. The sizes of these fish range from small to jumbo, and casting or trolling swimming plugs as well as vertical jigging remain the best method of catching them.
Pogies (menhaden) are still very thick in the harbor and on out to Wood End. This has brought the giant tuna right in here chasing and feeding on them. A few big tuna have been taken mere minutes from the dock, including a 95-inch 685-pound beast caught by my neighbors in the Provincetown marina on the Pure Vida just off Long Point. After hooking and losing a fish on each of the two days before, the third time was the charm for them. This must be the only place in the world where you can push off and be fighting a giant tuna within sight of your dock.
The group of fin whales we had been seeing seem to have vacated the area for now, perhaps pushed out by these warm water temperatures.
Bonito are being caught more and more, and they are much bigger than what have been seen in past late summer runs. We caught a few on the Beth Ann this past week, and one was immediately prepared as sushi. They are in the tuna family and make great sushi and sashimi.
Black back flounder with a mix of some good-sized black sea bass have been caught around the entrance buoy to Wellfleet Harbor, and we caught a keeper-sized fluke on the Cee-Jay last week at Herring Cove. Are the fluke back and we’re just not trying for them?
We are also starting to see ocean sunfish here and there on the bay side. These large, very slow-moving, prehistoric-looking creatures have a floppy dorsal fin that can look like a white shark to the untrained eye.
Speaking of white sharks, activity along the beach has ramped up, with beach closures all along the back shore. Please do not swim with seals, do not swim alone, and do not swim at dawn or dusk in low light.