I had a couple awesome crews this Labor Day weekend.
They were awesome for a few reasons:
1) They came equipped with infallible positive attitudes
2) They followed directions to a T and had no problem adjusting on the fly
3) They took the good (as in 20-40 pound striped bass) and the bad (as in dogfish and rat blues) in stride
I could continue on with more reasons but that’s good enough for now. We all know that with Labor Day upon us, the unthinkable truth that summer is winding down is settling in. However the fishing is just starting to pick up. Crews scheduled between now and Columbus Day have a lot to look forward to (as long as the weather cooperates!).
Speaking of the weather, this past weekend was pretty windy. That didn’t deter a determined crew of father and son duo Eric and Bob on Saturday night. Even though the weatherman was calling for 15-20 knot winds out of the southwest, Eric and Bob showed up at the ramp-headlamps in hand.
The great thing about fishing Cape Cod Bay is that even when the wind is blowing a little, odds are you can still get out and fish no problem. It was breezy, but because the wind was blowing offshore we had relatively calm conditions.
Right off the bat we found fish in tight to the beach and followed them out to 60 feet of water. Unfortunately they gave us NO LOVE! One nice bass and a ton of blues later and we decided to call it a trip, despite our strongest efforts.
These two guys were part of an epic bite last year, in which we boated over 25 bass between 15 and 35 pounds. Needless to say we were all a bit disappointed. The good news is that I have nothing better to do than fish, so there’s a good chance we will get another shot at boating some big bass before the season is over. The next trip will be on me.
As is the fishing world, things took a 180 degree turn for the better the very next night.
I had Darren, Bob and Ryan with me Sunday night. These guys came all the way down I-495 with high hopes for catching some nice fish. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting an incredible night after Friday’s showing with Bob and Eric. However each night is different, and you just never know what to expect when fishing Cape Cod Bay.
After cruising the beach eastward we again marked fish in tight. Contrary to the night before these bass were in the chewing mood. Ryan soon hooked up fishing a conger size eel on light tackle. This bass took some nice line, and after a few grunts and deep breaths, Ryan had a beautiful 25 pounder flopping around on the deck.
The best part of it all was that this was Ryan’s first striped bass of his life! What a start to his striper fishing career. A few high faves and a picture or two later and we were back on the hunt.
Darren was next up and boated a couple cookie cutter 15 pounders-perfect for the grill. They weren’t monsters, but they were definitely a nice warm up to what was coming next.
After losing that school of bass into the abyss, we cruised a mile or so the west out into deeper water. There we found the absolute mother load of striped bass. This was a biomass of fish unlike any I have seen thus far this season. Solid marks from 20 feet down to the bottom. A few of the arches were seriously big. I didn’t initially let the crew in on the find until I heard Ryan’s drag screaming.
With Ryan hooked up, Darren pitched an eel nicely into the center of the mess of bass. As I was dealing with Ryan’s fish both Bob and Darren hooked up with a pair of big stripers. Lines were going in every which way, the guys were hooting and hollering, and the drags were sizzling.
Before we got our bearings back Darren and Bob were all tangled up and criss-crossed off the starboard side. Initially, one would think we were in trouble, but the guys remained calm-it’s all part of fishing in a bass blitz. After a few key rod maneuvers and some headlamp work we were free and back to fighting the fish.
Bob was the first to get his bass to the boat and I quickly brought her aboard. She would later tip the scales at 27 pounds-NICE!
Once we got Bob’s fish aboard it was time to concentrate on Darren’s. This baby dug for the bottom and made multiple drag peeling runs. Prior to this night Darren had only caught a few schoolies and maybe a small keeper, so this was new territory for the big guy. He did a great job though and eventually had the fish within range. Fishing Cape Cod
As soon as I got the bass in the light an exasperated “Oh my God!” could be heard resonating from the guys. This was a nice fish. She was long, fat and had a huge head and shoulders. This was a gaffable fish without a doubt and took some muscle to get aboard.
Once she hit the deck Darren knew he had a trophy. The bass topped out at 40 pounds and made Bob’s 27 pounder look like a baby.
We all breathed a sigh of relief that despite the tangle, we were able to get both fish aboard. This was no time for pictures though as the biomass of bass was still beneath the boat.
We continued pitching eels and hooking up until the guys were ready to call it quits. Within 30 minutes we had our limit of bass and a bunch of blues. What a nice flurry of action!
The crew was satisfied with what they had caught so we headed back early so they could get home and have a few cold ones before it got too late. Final tally was a bunch of stripers between 15 and 40 pounds, a bunch of bluefish and of course a few sandsharks. I’m sure we could have continued hooking up had we pushed it into the wee hours of Monday morning, but there really was no need.
As we stowed the gear and made preparations for the trip back to Sandwich we all reflected on the sheer size of the school of bass that we were fortunate enough to encounter. There’s no doubt in my mind that at least one 50 pound bass was swimming somewhere amongst that school. Knock on wood, but I hope this is the fall that we finally boat a 50 plus fish. Fishing Cape Cod
Both Ryan and Darren caught the biggest fish of their lives. Bob also caught the biggest striped bass of his life (I think..correct me if I heard wrong Bob!). All in all it was a great trip that featured some awesome weather and some of the fastest fishing so far this year.
Big thanks to Bob, Darren and Ryan for making the long trek down to the Cape. It was definitely a Labor Day to remember!
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