The inconsistent weather has continued to affect fishing at the tip of the Cape, making it very difficult to get a handle on where the fish are and what they’re doing from one day to the next. We’ve had an unusual amount of north wind, which isn’t our friend when it comes to fishing. And even when the wind has come from the south, that shift has been only for a day and then it’s right back to the north again. We seem to be in an early fall pattern already.
Water temperatures have settled into a mid-60s range practically everywhere. The cooler water has the striped bass more actively feeding, and there have been some nice catches down the back side, especially in and around the Peaked Hill Bar. But striped bass being striped bass, you can also be sitting right on top of them and they won’t bite for love or money. Mackerel baits seem to be working well, and they are finally hitting swimming plugs like Bombers and SP Minnows, which have been strangely ignored most of the season.
Mackerel have finally dispersed off Stellwagen Bank and are being caught in the rips at Race Point as well as in the deep water off the bathhouse at Herring Cove. Pogies came into our harbor, as they usually do in late summer, as thick as I have ever seen them. But only for one day. Then they disappeared and haven’t been seen again.
Bluefish are moving around quite a bit. The bluefish in the bay seem to be going north to south from the Pamet River all the way to the Brewster flats; on the ocean side, they are moving up and down from Head of the Meadow all the way up to Race Point. Food movements and water temperatures are probably the motivations here, but the fish are driving the charter boats crazy with their here-for-this-tide-and-gone-for-the-next antics.
The whales also have been affected by the shifting winds and currents and for the moment have vacated the area around the Race, where they had been providing outstanding whale watching for boaters and beachgoers for weeks.
One thing I have noticed that is very different from other years is the amazing clarity of our harbor water this summer. Clarity of sea water means the water is clean, but it also can mean that it is relatively lifeless. As our sea water warms each summer, certain algae and plankton typically percolate along. This can at times cut down on the water’s clarity, but at the same time it provides needed nutrients for sea life.
While it’s very pretty to see the water looking crystal clear in the summer, that sight also worries me and makes me want to know the reasons behind it. Perhaps that is why the pogies, which eat plankton, came in for one day and then left. Our waters, though cooled down this week, have been warming, generally, along with the rest of the planet. Is the harbor becoming too warm for these plankton? And what of the animals that come here to consume it? Everything in the ocean is connected, and warming will have a domino effect.