What a difference a week makes. We went from a November-like Memorial Day weekend storm to a blistering July-like heat wave.
Fishing has improved somewhat. Striped bass are filtering in slow and steady, and the area off the cottages on Beach Point has had numerous schools of bass from 25 to 40 feet deep. The fish are getting bigger. The Cee-Jay, Beth Ann, and Lisa Z charter boats all reported keeper bass being taken this past week. Drifting fresh tinker mackerel has been the ticket, although trollers had success dragging umbrella rigs as well. Vertical jigging and casting swimming plugs have so far not been as effective as bait fishing. Mackerel are virtually everywhere, but particularly up in the Horseshoe Cove in the harbor.
Commercial striped bass fishing opens on June 16, with some new rules and regulations in place for this season. The fishery will have three consecutive open days for the catch: Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. On Oct. 1, provided that the quota has not been taken and the fishery is still open, the number of open fishing days per week will increase to five.
The commercial fishery will close for sure on Nov. 15 if the striped bass quota has not been taken before that date.
The commercial quota has been set at 735,240 pounds, which is essentially the same number as last year. But the minimum size required for commercial sale of a striper is 35 inches, and I think that is going to significantly affect the commercial fleet here. We have hardly seen any striped bass of that size.
This was a major issue among commercial striped bass fishermen here last year. Let’s hope that situation changes soon and we start seeing more big fish.
Bluefish remain very close to our area, but they are not quite here yet.
The whales have done quite the disappearing act. There were a few whales up on Stellwagen Bank, but further north than the Provincetown whale watch boats like to go, and now even those have left the area. We usually have a group of fin whales at this time of year, feeding between Herring Cove and the Race ranger station, but they have yet to show up. With as many mackerel, herring, sand eels, and pogies as we have around, I believe it’s just a matter of time before the whales find all this food and hang around within sight of the beaches.
We had our first cruise ship arrive here since the start of the pandemic. The visit last weekend fired up people on both sides of the question whether these ships should be allowed in Provincetown Harbor at all.
More kudos to the dudes at TowBoat, who rescued a large sailboat that went aground off Wood End Light. From what I understand, the sailors thought it was Long Point Light and inadvertently steered right toward the beach.