Fishing has looked like the old fall runs we used to get around here. It’s as if we’re making up for all the fish we’ve missed out on over the past three years.
Striped bass fishing has been outstanding this past week. The fish are here in huge numbers between Race Point and Peaked Hill Bar to the east. We have a ridiculous number of hand-sized bonito virtually everywhere, and catching them for bait is very easy using mackerel tube rigs or Sabiki rigs.
Striped bass and bluefish are hitting rigs baited with these small bonito very well, but trolling umbrellas and throwing diamond jigs and swimming plugs have also yielded good results.
That said, the combination of northeast winds and the swells from an offshore hurricane passing way to our east really muddied up the water and cooled it down a bit over the last few days. It was challenging finding clear warm water. So, as good as the bluefish and bass fishing has been, patience has still been part of the game.
The bluefish have been huge, with many weighing in at 10 pounds or more. The striped bass have also been sizable, with many fish too big to keep. The idea behind that rule is to preserve the breed stock.
Tuna fishing has taken a step back in the bay and up on Stellwagen Bank. The full moon usually has a dramatic effect on fishing, and this last week was no different. The giant tuna were around but very finicky and not taking baits very well at all.
Whale watching has slowed down. There has been an occasional fin whale around the Race, but for the most part sightings have been scarce. Tons of mola mola are here — they’re also called ocean sunfish. Their floppy dorsal fins are the telltale sign what you’re seeing is not a shark.
Speaking of sharks, we had a rather sobering sighting on the Cee-Jay the other day. There was a small sailboat race going on in front of Beach Point, and we had to go around them to get where we wanted to go. As we did, we spotted the dorsal fin of a great white just ahead of the pack of sailboats.
Nothing happened, of course, but it was a reminder that these creatures live here among us. And that won’t change as long as we have the number of seals we have in our waters.
Whiting fishing has gotten better year to year, and this summer the fish are bigger and more plentiful than they have been in a long time — good news for those who target these very tasty deep-water fish. They can be caught in depths of 160 to 200 feet off the Herring Cove bathhouse to the Race. Small strips of squid or clam or mackerel on a high-low bottom fishing rig work best.
Although the weather has been very good this September, we all know that at this time of year the weather and the fishing can change in a heartbeat. Now is the time to get out here, when the backdrop to the fishing includes sunsets that are explosive in color. This is really the most beautiful time on the Outer Cape.