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Cape Cod Canal Stories

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 
O.K. it appears that a lot of us like to fish the Cape Cod Canal! How about some Tips, Spots, Techniques, maybee even a funny story that all of must have about the wonderfull, sometimes frustrating place we all call the DITCH.
post #2 of 38
my canal expertise is limited but i have managed a few bass over the last couple of years. for me, a neat thing happened last september down at the sandwich marina when i got to see my first school of albies (maybe bonito, not sure)blow through the big school of peanut bunker hanging around the bulkhead area. i couldn't get my line in the water quick enough but a guy next to me hooked up and got spooled...very cool. this year i've got to hook up at least once.
post #3 of 38
One funny story goes back a few years. My crew at the time (the "Leper Colony" but that's a story in itself) hung out on weekends at the Maritime Academy, and if you stay there long enough, you'll see it all. This was on July 4th weekend, I think. Some guy pulls up in a Volvo, and he's wearing the "Harvard Professor" look, right down to the tweeds and pipe. He must have stopped at Red Top and asked them what they were getting fish on, and bought a whole bunch of tackle. He took a 2 piece rod out of the trunk that still had the price tag on ot, put a new Penn 704 on it, and rigged the thing up with a fishfinder bottom rig. He put the sinker where it belonged, and then tied a 7" Gibbs pencil popper onto the line and cast the rig into the Canal, sat on the rocks and waited for his bite--which, of course, never came.

We learned the hard way not to make fun of some of the tourists. Another day, some hammerhead came down and attached a whole, frozen mackerel, I mean a big horse-mack weighing about 2 pounds, to the hook, and lobbed it all of about 40" out. We were splitting our sides laughing at the "dumb tourist". Of course, you can guess the rest--20 minutes later, the dumb tourist was walking a 36# bass back to his station wagon.
post #4 of 38
I told this story on the Main Board once before but I think it's worth repeating.

I was banging jigs out into the middle of the canal from the service road near the Cribbin. I was just probing for fish. If I get a hit , then I walk down the rocks and fish the spot. Well, on this particular morning just as a fish hit the jig way out in mid-canal a seagull came flying low over the water and " clotheslined" itself on my braid ( He got the braid wrapped around his neck - in mid air). Just as this was all happening, a small band of girlscouts and cubscouts, scoutmasters in tow, came bicycling by on the service road and stopped to watch the man catch a fish. By now the fish is tugging at his end - the bird is a sreaming banshee in the middle- and I'm just trying to figure out what to do at my end.

I overhear one of the little girlscouts ask one of the scoutmaster " Is the man catching birds" ?

I look over and just know that if I yank on the rod, this bird's head is coming off in an amazing gush of blood in mid air as my braid decapites it. I'll be left to explain this horror to the kiddies , now assembled all around me.

I cut the line. Fish gone - bird gone - kids sleep nightmare free.

What strange cosmic disharmony causes this stuff to happen ?
post #5 of 38
you should have taken the albino buzzard's head off. me and my buddy started bringing wrist rockets with us during herring season because we were tired of those creatures plucking our bait out of the water.
post #6 of 38
Many years ago while fishing the Ditch with a very good friend of mine we were both bothered by seagulls who would swoop in after we threw in our carefully chopped up chum. They not only scooped up the chum but also hit upon our chunks as we proceeded to drift our cut pogies.

My buddy, a resourceful and innovative person, came up with a noval idea to deter the pesty birds.

Being one who was plauged by an upset stomach most of his adult life he always carried a good supply of alka-seltser tablets on his person.

Breaking the tablets in half he inserted the tablets neatly inside a half-dozen chunks of chum and threw them on the water.

As usual 5 to 6 gulls swooped down and took the chum. Not knowing what would happen we naturally observed the gulls after they flew off.

Let me tell you, no more than a minute had passed and these gulls were doing cartwheels in the sky....diving, screeming, soaring, screeming, zigzaging you name it. They were going crazy, just PLAIN CRAZY!!!!

Needless to say they must have told their buddies because we were not bothered by them for the rest of the day. Joe G
post #7 of 38
FYI on the can go to jail for that. Even if your a minor
post #8 of 38
JoeG, not trying to start anything, but if you are going to kill the seagulls, you should at least do it humanely. Just carry a .22 or a good pellet gun. exploding stomach can not be comfortable for anything, even if it is a seagull. Alka Seltzer most definitely kills birds, seagulls included. As for the wrist rocket, I have seen it done, and do not recomend it; I am not sure what is worse, getting harrased by birds, or watching one suffer and screech about a broken wing, leg, neck, etc while you are trying to fish. They seem to have the habit of going just out of your reach and staying there after they are wounded. My approach is to either put a little lead in the bait so it sinks out of reach a little quicker, or switch to artificials. Just my .02, but I think even the flying rats deserve a little respect.
post #9 of 38
Hey guys---Dave Winfield had to pay a fine once because he ACCIDENTLY killed a seagull with a thrown ball during batting practice. Granted this was in Canada, but they're protected in both countries. If you "do" one on purpose, they'll at least cramp your new tackle budget if they see you doing it.

I don't like them stealing my bait any more than the next guy, but you have to be careful about who sees you doing nasty things to the dump-ducks. And, they serve a purpose in the grand plan.

[This message has been edited by Ditch Jigger (edited 01-17-2001).]
post #10 of 38
i'm not looking to hurt anything out on the water, not even the gulls. i just want them to leave my bait alone. i've heard about the alka seltzer but i thought it was some urban legend, i didn't know it really works.
post #11 of 38
The first tip if you use bait is to put the whole pogy head on the bottom if you want a big fish,does not matter if it is fresh or old. When live lining herring,place the hook in the nostral area,less apt to tear out when casting. Make sure your drag is clean and working properly. This year any fish placed on a rope must be cut and of course legal size 28 inches. Be innovative in the colors you use on jigs,plugs. If you use dead herring for bait fillet one side of the herring ,but do not remove from head section.

Experiment where you fish,do not get locked into where every one else is fishing. Work your surface plugs slow motion and change the direction you cast. Cast against the current and work your plug back. I will leave this for now Supper is waiting Baked cod fish and red potatoes. Angler
post #12 of 38
Thread Starter 
My first lessons on how to fish the Canal was from my dad, he loved to fish from the docks at the Sandwich Marina, we would buy a whole flat of seaworms from Red top or some other Bait shop in the area. My whole family would go, my mother staying in the station wagon reading a book, while me, my brother and two sisters would have a good pincher sea-worm fight! We would spend hours catching Sea Robins, flounder, and occasional Cod. I can still remember how exited my Father would get when the Mackerel would be running, he would throw out his Christmas Tree rigs and catch bucket loads, he would bring them home and make my Mother fry'em up! (I still can't eat Mackerel!!)(Thank god it's a great Striper bait!) I don't remember catching any Stripers! We either never fished for them or they just weren't there! My father got older and I started to fishing more on my own, let me tell ya, catching Sea Robbins got OLD fast! I saw a lot of seasoned salts catching Stripers, and I wanted to learn how! Most of the time I would fish the bottom with Mackerel and caught a lot of Blues instead, it was fun but they weren't Stripers. I headed out to a place called The Old Stone Church, I heard it was a hot spot to catch Stripers. I got there at day break on an East tide, I fished the bottom with Mackerel and lost most my bait and a lot of lead! I was about to leave when a guy came down to the rocks and asked how I was do"in, I told him I was leaving and only got one run that, I lost. He said don't leave now they will be coming in an a half an hour! I had one Mackerel left and no more lead, who is this guy Houdini? While we waited for the Stripers to come in, he told me about drifting the bait without weight into the pools and backedies? What is this guy talking about? Oh yea, he gave me some fish called pogies, and told me how to chum? Well that half hour came and I watched this guy catch a Striper! not schoolie, a KEEPER!, Ok maybe this guy was on to something! My first run on my Pen 704Z zipped off my fingers as fast as I ever seen before! I heard my new friend say drop and point the rod close the bail and set the hook! Another CANAL RAT BORN! Oh by the way this same guy later bought out Cape Cod Charlies under the Bourne Bridge! ool:
post #13 of 38
Stories about fishing the Sandwich Marina takes me back to my roots, catching flounder in the boat basin, between choggies, and macks from the bulkhead, where the old Corps station was. Some of those old Corps guys were characters. They could also fish from the little wharf where they tied up the patrol boat, too, where we couldn't. Later, I moved up to bouncing sea worms for bass, on a bait rig we tied ourselves, along the bottom just like a jig. We did that at the west end, from the point at Bell Rd down to Aptuxet. Some guys might remember a handicapped fellow named Chalie Desmers from Worcester, who had free reign of the point. Charlie had huge Luxor reels and liked to feed a LOT of line out on the west tide--we often said he fished the stern of the Bay State on that tide. He used to drive the guys on the mudflats, like Floyd Roman, nuts, they'd always tangle with his line. I remember one night, everyone was going nuts over about a 5 lb bluefish my dad caught on an Atom Jr, the first one they'd seen in years. Later on, when they built the power plant, I got my first blue ever there, on a mackerel chunk. The next morning, my father caught the biggest blue a lot of guys had seen in years, 17 pounds, in the same spot. I remember, he had his old Harnell 552 and a Squidder with 36# braid--he had a knot in the spool a little below where he hooked the fish, and couldn't let it take drag. He had about a 15 minute tug-of-war with that gator and that Harnell bent farther than I ever thought it could. Later on, when I was in my early 20s, I took my first-ever "30" on that rod, which didn't bend it as much as that blue. Dad actually had it converted to a spinning rod when I got my first 30, it fell off the roof of his wagon and the Squidder bent its frame. Rather than spend the money to fix it, he had Charley Murat re-wrap the rod so he could use his Mitchell 302 on it.

Lots of good memories in that Ditch, and it's been almost 20 years since Dad passed on. Plenty of warm memories, though.
post #14 of 38
A few years back Russ had a daily routine of jumping in his truck, placing Lil'Tyke his mini-smooth dachshound beside him and drive to the Canal just before first light. Along the way he would pick up a coffee at John's Diner and grab the Boston Hearld. A nice morning to sip his coffee, read the paper and walk the dog while experiencing the dawn break over the Ditch.

This morning Russ headed for the parking area on the bulkhead Cape-side down from the Coast Guard Station. Russ position was intentional---he knew that Gary would soon launch his 21 CC out of Sandwich marina for a morning of fishing off the Plymouth area. Russ wanted to wish Gary well as Gary would be passing him on the way out of the basin anchorage.

Russ exited the truck and proceeded to place his coffee on the vehicle hood before reaching in to grab the leash Lil'Tyke sported around his small neck. The dog was quite old and his eyesight was failing. Diagnosed with cateracts in both eyes Lil'Tyke had to be picked up and placed on the ground.

Russ then reached for his newspaper and in a flash the dog bolted and ran towards the Ditch. This area has no restraining area on the edge of the bulkhead, it's a complete dropoff over the bulkhead and down to the water. The poor dog not being able to see the edge plummeted to the water below.

The current was just starting to flow east. Russ saw his struggling pet but had no effective method of reaching him. Russ then thought about Gary.

Rushing to the launch area Russ found Gary in the process of shoving off. Russ hurriedly jumped into the SeaCraft, told Gary the problem and, they both proceeded to do a search and rescue for Lil'Tyke.

Steaming out of the marina and bearing hard to starboard they searched the bulkhead area down to Joes' Fish Market. Then they covered the area from Murphys Beach down to the end of the jetty.

Russ, using a flashlight, caught the shimmering eyes of something near the rip-rap. Closer investigation proved it to be a raccoon searching for food among the rocks.

The sun was coming over the horizen by now and the water was flowing a mite faster when, ahead, Russ saw a distinct V shaped wake ahead bearing east between the first green can and the end of the jetty.

Russ heart was was Lil'Tyke!!
While instructing Gary to steam towards the dog, Russ saw what looked like a small Trident sub trying to surface to the rear of the dog.

The wake approched the dog at a fast rate of speed and in an instant the water exploded in a thunderous crash and slap of white water.

Lil'Tyke yelped and whined in pain as he was thrown into the air and arched over five feet before hitting the water. A sickening sucking and slurping sound was heard as Lil' Tyke disappeared from sight. The east flow water soon smoothed the turbulent scene.

A few days later at the shop I offered my condolences to Russ as he sat in the high-backed chair behind the counter. Gary was in the large chair with his dog, Buddy, on his lap.

As tears welled up in Russ's eyes I looked over to Gary. Gary prophetically said that Lil' Tyke was sacrificed to the Canal Gods a few days ago.

Saddened, I slowly exited the shop and shed a few tears outside. Joe G

[This message has been edited by Joe G (edited 01-18-2001).]
post #15 of 38
Joe My eyes are all misty after reading your post on Russels Dog. It reminds me of my Lab Maxine that I had to put down after I moved down here from cancer. She gave me comfort when I was recovering from my cancer and I was unable to do the same for her. Very disheartning to say the least. I am reminded of her love and companiship every time I go by her place of rest in the back yard. Angler
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