We finally got our first legitimate heat wave this week and, true to form, the striped bass reacted the way striped bass do when that occurs. They hunker down close to the bottom and get a serious case of lockjaw.
We sat on top of huge numbers of fish with hardly a bite, as did most of the other boats in the area. The trollers seem to have fared a little better, but the fishing was far less successful than it had been leading up to the heat wave. What these fish will do when the weather cools off a bit is anyone’s guess. Typically, a heat wave shuts them down for a while.
The water temperatures are ridiculously warm for this area and time of year. I recorded surface temperatures of 74 degrees at the Race and 76 degrees in the harbor, and I heard of an 80-degree surface temperature recorded down by the Pamet.
The good news is all this hot weather has brought the bluefish into the bay in solid numbers. Fishing for blues was good last week from off the cottages at Beach Point all the way down to the Pamet. Most of the fish have been in 40 to 60 feet of water. They are good-size fish. Bluefish are also currently thick down the ocean backside around the Race Point Ranger station and beyond as far as Head of the Meadow.
It’s been a quiet spell for whale sightings in the bay and around Race Point lately, and we still have not had our first dolphin sighting around the harbor, which is a bit unusual for this time of year, especially given the numbers of squid in the harbor. Squid is one of the dolphins’ preferred foods.
Shark activity has suddenly ticked up along our beaches. The number of alerts I am receiving on my Sharktivity App increased quite a bit last week. Most of the sightings have been down around Nauset, but a few were up our way on the ocean side. We did see a Great White lazily swim by the CeeJay while we were fishing at the Race a few days ago.
There have been a few 911 calls for injuries sustained by people walking the West End breakwater out to the beaches at Wood End Light and Long Point.
There are some things you need to know and do before attempting this challenging hike. The first is wear a good pair of shoes. Flip-flops don’t cut it. Also, check a tide chart before venturing out. The breakwater is completely covered by some high tides, particularly the ones that occur on the full and new moons. This could leave you stranded out there for a few hours.
The surface of the West End breakwater is not smooth asphalt like many others. Quite the opposite: prepare to walk on uneven rocks with gaps between some of them. When the wind is blowing hard, waves can break over the rocks making them slippery, too.
If you start across the breakwater and realize you’re uncomfortable walking it, do everyone a favor and just turn around and go back. Making it across on foot is not worth getting injured, and rescues out there, if it comes to that, can be difficult for the EMS people.