Originally Posted by numbskull
20 years ago I used to catch them in late Oct off the floats in Onset. I fished by day and was lousy at it, but would get 6-8 fair sized ones some days in about an hour. The regulars did way better, and god knows what went on at night. The floats would be pulled by now,but if you snooped around up there I think you might find some spots.
I also knew an old timer who claimed he caught plenty in the Sandwich boat basin about 10-15 years ago. I'm not sure how reliable he was, and I think they may have blocked access to those floats for fishing, but it is probably worth a look if you are serious about smelt on the cape.
What numbskull said. However, I need to preface things by saying my frame of reference was back in the mid 1960s.
When I was a kid, I regularly heard the old timers talk about catching smelt, often in large quantities off the docks in Onset, and in the Sandwich baot basin. Only at night.
Another hot spot was the dock are behind the old Caldara's bait shop (now East Wind Fish Mkt). There used to be a group of old timers who'd play cribbage inside, and drink adult beverages. In between hands, they'd take turns keeping a vigil on the smelt action out on the dock. When the smelt would show up, they all run out and try their luck.
Besides the liquor, they usually have a pot of venison stew going. I was there one night to buy some eel skins. It was early Nov, scallop season in those days. Someone had a cast iron skillet going on the stove top, fukll of oil, and they were deep frying fresh bay scallops and passing them around.
I also heard the bridge at the Pocasset River was another well kept secret among the smelt cropwd back in those days.