We have fallen into what used to be the normal summer pattern, but which we haven’t seen here in eight years: striped bass have all but disappeared in our local waters.
There are still a few around, staying tight to the bottom, and trollers who can put the lures right in front of their faces are catching them. But, for the most part, the stripers aren’t interested in our offerings these days. The water is starting to be too warm. We recorded 70- to 72-degree surface temperatures this week. The bass fishing is OK down the ocean side from the Peaked Hill Bar to Cahoon Hollow Beach, but for our local waters, it’s pretty much over for now.
Bluefish, however, are everywhere — just like the old days. At first, they were just in the Race and down the backside beaches, but they have since come into the bay in force and can be found off the cottages and south to the mouth of the Pamet. They are hitting jigs and swimming plugs as well as cut bait. Trollers are catching them using umbrella rigs.
We had a significant giant bluefin tuna bite right in the bay between the Wood End bell buoy and the Pamet, with some big fish being taken. Tuna have departed the southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank for now. Commercial tuna fishing is closed until September, as the quota was met and exceeded. The yelling and cursing on marine VHF radio is on hiatus, now that the fishery is closed.
Whales have also disappeared locally as of last week. The fin whales haven’t been around the Race for a few days, and the humpbacks have left the southwest corner of Stellwagen along with the tuna. I have not seen any white-sided dolphins this summer; by now, I have typically seen them multiple times. We have plenty of squid in our waters at the moment, a favored food of dolphins, so their absence is rather perplexing. As we often say, it’s a big ocean and they can easily be here tomorrow if they choose to be.
The big news on the waterfront last week was Capt. Tom Smith of the F/V Sea Wolf setting his gill net gear on Peaked Hill Bar and somehow getting it wrapped up in something very heavy. He got it to the surface and discovered it was a huge anchor from an ancient shipwreck.
Because of intense weather, treacherous currents, and rapidly changing water depth, Cape Cod and the Outer Banks of North Carolina have historically had more shipwrecks than anywhere else on the East Coast. It’s not unusual to find a relic from these wrecks. But this find was over the top. Some online research on the anchor led me to conclude it is likely from the late 1700s to mid 1800s. A whole tree trunk formed the stock piece. It is in remarkable shape for something that old, and Capt. Tom has himself one heck of a souvenir from the ocean floor.