There is no mistaking it: the fall season is upon us. Unrelenting winds from northerly quadrants have been buffeting us for days on end, and, as of this writing, the remnants of Hurricane Teddy were supposed to give us a substantial groundswell along with gale-force north winds of up to 40 miles per hour on Tuesday.
Commercial and recreational fishing boats have been tied the docks for a few days, so reports are nonexistent. The day before the winds started, some really nice striped bass catches took place in the rips at Race Point, and there were a lot of bluefish down back off the dune shacks.
Water temperatures are slowly declining and were mostly in the mid to high 50s, but I am afraid that after these north winds subside we’re going to be looking at temperatures in the high 40s to low 50s. This could be the catalyst that makes both striped bass and bluefish begin their southern migration. Bluefish head to the Outer Banks of North Carolina and striped bass go to Chesapeake Bay.
We won’t know, of course, what’s around and what has departed until we can get out there, which currently looks like Thursday at the earliest.
Tuna fishing very close to home was hot before the blow, as the deep waters off Beach Point and Long Point yielded some giants. This attracted commercial tuna fishermen from out of our area to Provincetown Marina to stay for a few days and try and get in on the action. Even a few of the Wicked Tuna heavy hitters showed up to the party.
Recapping the season, it was a much better year for bluefish, as a rather large body of small- to medium-size fish stayed in the bay for most of the summer, providing great light tackle action. Striped bass came in June and stayed for the entire summer, something they don’t typically do.
The most consistent hot spot for bass unquestionably was Race Point. Both surf casters and boaters were able to catch them, but the vast majority of these fish were shorts in the 25-to-27-inch range. This bodes well for the next few years. Flounder fishing was very good off Wellfleet for the entire summer, and it remains extremely underfished recreationally. Fluke were pretty much a no-show again, for the sixth consecutive year. Mackerel were in and out, but mostly in, which made bait fishing for stripers easy to accomplish. There was an astronomical number of pogies in the bay all summer long as well. Tuna fishing was pretty good for giants, both in the bay and up on Stellwagen Bank, but there do not seem to be a lot of smaller bluefins in our area.
This a bit worrying.
A few weeks ago I wrote about a few young local boys and men keeping the fishing tradition alive in Provincetown and showed a photograph of young Mason Santos with his first nice-sized bonito. Mason appears to be fast tracking his way up, because now he has helped his Uncle Jimmy land a giant tuna. Good job, Mason.
Well, for me it’s now time to put my boat “on the hard” and head north to my mountain home for the winter, with hope that next season we are not still dealing with Covid issues and the fish are here and biting. Until then, stay safe.