We dodged yet another tropical storm, as Ophelia veered to the west and made landfall in North Carolina instead of staying offshore and heading to our neck of the woods. I’ve spoken to a few boat owners who have been watching this pattern take hold over the past few years. They tell me that with increasingly threatening weather in September they are planning to pull their boats out of the water earlier going forward.
As this trend settles in, it could have a serious economic impact on the Outer Cape’s waterfronts. Our season is short as it is. Stormy Septembers will only make it shorter.
Bluefishing remains pretty good in the south end of the bay and down back on the ocean side from the Ranger Station to Head of the Meadow.
Striped bass are still here, too, but their numbers are dwindling. There hasn’t yet been any sign that the migrating fish north of us are traveling through our area as they head south. That’s something we can look forward to over the next couple of weeks.
Commercial fishing for the giant tunas has been closed but will reopen in October. Word is the giants are in the bay now. Time will tell. Meanwhile, there is fantastic albacore fishing taking place up Cape on the south-facing beaches and even around the Canal. Albacore are fun to catch, but I find the fish relatively gamey tasting.
You never know what’s going to happen in the course of a day at sea. That’s one of the joys of heading out to go fishing. The pleasant surprises bring levels of excitement you don’t get to feel every day.
A good example unfolded this week when Capt. Vaughn of the Cee-Jay and Capt. Nico of Cape Tip’N took a private boat out to do some fishing and see what’s around for upcoming trips. They cruised out around Peaked Hill Bar, stopped on some striped bass they’d marked on the finder, and began fishing.
Soon after they started, Nico hooked a striped bass and was bringing it to the boat when suddenly a giant bluefin tuna inhaled the bass. Now Nico was fighting a bluefin tuna on gear not meant for it.
The tuna actually let the bass go at one point. Then it then came back and took the bass again. Vaughn and Nico fought the fish for a good half hour before the giant finally parted the line. That brought the fight to a disappointing but predictable end.
Whale watching lately has been over-the-top good, with huge numbers of humpback whales bubble-cloud feeding and breaching on Stellwagen Bank. It seems to me we haven’t seen a concentration of humpback whales like this in quite some time.
Whale watch boats are still going out and watches will continue until mid-October. Now is a good time to get on an uncrowded boat and see some whales before they depart for the season.