It’s funny how the weather goes around here. Day after day, we hoped all these northeast winds would go away so we could get out there and fish. And it finally quit blowing. But it was replaced with no wind, which, along with super-humid air, created pea-soup fog that didn’t burn off with the morning sun. The fog covered the Cape, from the tip to the bridges, on the bay and ocean sides.
The fog hampered the daily aerial survey done by National Marine Fisheries to determine the locations of the whales. That threatened to delay the opening of the commercial trap season, but fortunately the skies cleared in time for them to do a survey that showed the right whales were gone. In the end, it was just a one-day delay. As of May 16, traps could go out and the guys and gals could commence lobstering.
We really need a few days of warm air temperatures and southwest winds to get things percolating around here.
Water temperatures are still below what they should be at this time of year, running in the mid to high 40s, and on a quick ride from Sesuit Harbor to Provincetown things looked very quiet to me. Not a lot of sea birds or surface slicks from baitfish. It just didn’t smell productive.
That being said, striped bass are filtering into the bay and right now the hot spot is Billingsgate Shoals. Capt. Nico Pace of Cape Tip’n charters looked around Wood End and Race Point for fish and after not finding anything took off for Billingsgate, returning to Provincetown with the first 40-inch fish of the season for our port. The fish was caught drifting a live mackerel.
Mackerel are very plentiful from the Horseshoe Cove in the harbor all the way around to Wood End Light. The fish are on the edge, where the water goes from very shallow to very deep.
Capt. Rich Wood of the Beth Ann went out and caught a few flounder around the Pamet over the weekend. That fishing should steadily improve as waters warm. Tautog fishing remains good, too, along the harbor breakwater.
For those who like to venture out of the bay and fish Stellwagen Bank for haddock, it has been slow on the south side and is better to the north. But like every other species this season, the haddock are a bit behind schedule, feeding in shallower waters — though it has also been too rough to get out there for a real accurate picture of how the haddock fishing is.
No sign of the seasonal seal invasion in the bay yet, but it’s probably only a few days away. Soon they will be all over Race Point and Long Point.
A dead humpback whale washed up at Race Point this last week. IFAW, along with the Center for Coastal Studies, anchored the whale to the beach so that the next morning they could conduct a limited necropsy. Due to the tides and the remote location of the whale, they couldn’t bring in the heavy equipment needed to do a comprehensive investigation. The waves flipped the whale over the next day, however, allowing the team to examine its other side. They hope to determine the cause of death, but it doesn’t appear to be from entanglement.