Cape Cod Gamefish
Trolling produces striped bass and bluefish in Cape Cod Bay, while cod roam the bottom on nearby Stellwagen Bank. And if you really want to test your strength and stamina, head for the deep waters around Provincetown for bluefin tuna.
“The captain was sincere, competent, very resourceful, and polite with a good sense of humor. Not to mention an expert who know where the fish are and how to catch them.” Doug Fisher, Columbia, SC
The fabled striped bass has made an amazing comeback since the days when pollution in the spawning grounds and overfishing threatened them with extinction. They have returned in unbelievable numbers and sizes, with fish over 30 pounds commonplace and 50 pounders not even rare any more. The captain may choose to troll, or to drift with live or ‘chunk’ bait. And if you are a proficient angler, he’ll find a spot where you can cast to the fish. The excitement of seeing a striper swirl behind a popping plug should be experienced by every serious fisherman.
Bluefish invade the Cape a little after the stripers arrive, and sometimes they are so numerous that finding bass becomes more difficult. No matter, for the bluefish is one of the best fighting fish in the world. They have been described as piscatorial chopping machines, so when one comes aboard, stay away from the business end and let the mate handle things.
Cod have made a comeback in recent years after a long period of decline, caused mainly by foreign fishing fleets in the 1960s and 70s. The 200 mile limit, which took effect in 1977, and serious regulations, have worked. Now you can drop a line to the bottom on Stellwagen Bank and catch cod most of the year, though the fish tend to move to deeper waters off the bank in the summer. For this fishing, jigs are particularly effective. Bait will work also, but in the summer there tends to be an influx of spiny dogfish (sand sharks) that will interfere with the cod fishing. Dogfish rarely go after a jig.
If you’re looking for the consummate challenge, book a full day trip for tuna. These are the bluefins that are so highly prized for sashimi. For this fishing the captain may employ several methods. Trolling with “squid bars,” an arrangement of about a dozen artificial squids with a hook in the trailing one, is the staple for bluefin fishing, but live bait sometimes works better. And for those who want the ultimate sport, Captain Joe can maneuver close enough to the wary bluefins to cast artificials. Keep this in mind: bluefins come in sizes from 20 pounds up, but the fishery is currently dominated by a particular year class, and these fish are now in the 200 pound range.