flyfishvt

Cape striper prognosis

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Our group will be making our annual pilgrimage to the Cape in early June this year...14th year.  In all years but the last, our time there has been in early June.  Last year, we went for the last week of June in hopes of getting into bigger fish.  It was a total bust...relatively few fish and fewer large ones.  We're all flyfishermen and only C&R...we don't keep any fish.

 

Not sure if it was timing or an overall lack of fish, but it was pretty dismal...probably 20-30% of the hookups we normally have.  Still a great trip but we really had a tough time finding fish....

 

Thought I'd ask the group what the prognosis is for this June...are we feeling the dramatic results of the overall striper decline or are things looking up???

 

Bruce

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Posted (edited) · Report post

DK about this year.

But I've been going to Ptown area for 20 yrs.  Mid-May-Mid June always the best. Late June - not so.

Sept terrible.

Herb

 

Edited by HL

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Posted (edited) · Report post

The thing I have found with the cape is that it is very dynamic and with the status of this fishery it can make even more so and therefore challenging.

When I go,  I fish or scout every tide day and night until I figure it out.  I am not a numbers guy and enjoy  having to to work for fish equally to having blitz conditions.

 

I am not a believer that a time of the year is much different than another as there are always bass to be found somewhere on the cape.

If you stick to only fishing spot X on a certain tide stage, then yes....there may be crappy results.  Bait patterns can definitely make certain spots shine at certain times of the year.

 

One thing to consider is that overall in the Northeast, there has been a spike in Bunker(pogies).  Even for plug fishing this type of feeding can be challenging to convert big fish.  I can say from experience that sometimes if you are not throwing very large plugs....like 10" 6 oz....the fish will not touch your offering.  This is both big fish and schoolies.  Just as stripers can get keyed in with small flies, they can really get keyed in on oversized profiles, which may be a handicap for a flyfisherman.  Bunker is not as predictable or as easy of a presentation as a sandeel.

Edited by puppet

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I'm boat fishing, basically coastal, between Boston and Gloucester. I've been doing it for 25+ years and it fell right off last year. Small fish inshore. Larger fish were off shore about 2 to 4 miles generally aligned with the tidal flow in and out of Boston Harbor. Cell phone sized pods of boats, often numbering 50+ units. A lot of pogies around and that may have had something to due with it.

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fly

 

The resource is in dire trouble. No surprise you found it tough last year.

 

I fish mostly spring Late May to mid June. Last few years it gets harder.

Seriously if you want reasonable fishing night time is vastly superior. Best to do say 20:45 to 07:00. That way you get dusk full night, False dawn ,dawn and early morning. You can then sleep in the day. Trying to mix day time stuff with night and dawn will turn you quite loopy and you start making mistake.

Switch go nocturnal and you will do better.

Dont ever ignore wind in face. Mostly wind in back is poor with nice hero casts but few fish. I only shore fish.  I travel around a lot to.

 

Mikey

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Count backwards and you get your answer.

 

2001:  Big year class.  The fish that survived so far will be in the 50-pound class this year, but even from a big year class, there will never be what you'd call a lot of bass.  But you'll have a better shot at a 50 than you'll have 5 or 8 years from now.

 

2003:  Another big year class, with fish in the mid- to high 40s.  Otherwise, same comments as above.

 

2004-2010:  Generally below-average to average recruitment, so expect below-average numbers of fish in the 20-40 pound class, although there may be some 2007s from the Hudson, which had its best-ever recruitment that year; if so, they'll be in the 30s.

 

2011:  Big year class, but didn't seem to recruit into the fishery in the expected numbers.  Still, the numbers of 20-pound-class fish should be a bit above average.

 

2012-2014:  Below-average recruitment (2012 being the lowest Maryland YOY ever recorded), so don't expect to do much with teen-sized bass.

 

2015:  Big year class.  Expect decent action with bass just entering the lower end of the slot.

 

The bottom line is that you just can't catch bass that were never spawned.  

 

The correlation is never exact; during the collapse, when there were few bass of any size around, there was some of the best big-bass fishing ever experienced for a brief period in the Nauset area.  Wind, bait, and water temperature will sometimes provide episodes of strong local abundance, even when the rest of the coast is in a deep drought.

 

The boittom line:  Go with low expectations, and hope that you luck into something better.

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Fly fishing the upper Cape this year has been similar to last year. A mixture of fish from the low twenty inch mark down but most in the mid teens. No keepers. The fish in the estuaries seem to be on some kind of worm hatch or maybe shrimp this week. I have caught a couple on the Bayside beaches. Adult pogie are around. June almost always produces the most fish for me. A couple hours around sunset is when I get out.

 

Enjoy your stay here.

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Frank D. Got into the last of those big Bass. When it’s mostly only big being caught you know it’s Armageddon.

When you read Frank’s book about his life on the Cape it is just staggering the amount and size of the fish they  caught. To the extent it came to the notice of the Inland Revenue. I think Frank paid for a new truck from the proceeds.

He ran it like a commercial operation with his wife and kids looking after rods and fishing them to. The gang as he called them were doing similar.

I wonder if they ever felt remorse. They had what most following them can only dream about from the beach.

 

Mike

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I don’t know if people fully understand Mike’s reference to Frank D(Daigneault) who recounted in several books his time fishing the backside beaches commercially in the sixties and seventies before the crash, a time when  every fish was money at the market and there was zero thought to the limits of the resource. There needs to be context here.

jC

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Thanks for that Jon. I was being lazy. 
 

Like many destroyed fisheries mind it was nearly always the case that those prosecuting them for gain believed that it was an unending supply.

Wether this was to justify their actions or because  they really believed it made no difference to the outcome.

This happened a while ago. But others took up the mantle as can be witnessed on the Cape Cod Canal every year and at other places after the recovery and the moratorium was lifted.

This latest crash had been partly caused by taking too many fish from the resource. It is so sad.

 

mike

Edited by Mike Oliver

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Not to side track too far...

 

It is hard to blame any fisherman to do what he/she is wired to do.  Hunt and catch fish.  I feel what we all do is a grey area (catch and release or not).

 

What is a shame is the lack of environmental management and enforcement after what happened in the 80s....now history repeating.

 

It is a known fact that C&R has a mortality....different studies range 5-10%. 

Often fisherman brag on 50-100 fish days. Just hammering bass.  If you do the math, one has to consider our C&R footprint over a season. We are part of the decline.

 

Which is worse the catch and keep fisherman who poaches two fish, or the C&R guy who releases 100?

 

We are all Brothers and Sisters in this sport.  What needs to be changed is the management of the resource.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by puppet

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Here in Maine we have schoolies early May, nothing big in numbers till mid Sept. and drop backs. But there are areas just north of me that's always have big fish, but caught by boaters live lining.

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Gloom and doom and the negativity gets old after a while. Become a better more informed angler and make the best out of whats out there. Lead by example. 

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My money for fly guys is June-September Boston and points north to NH border. There is wade fishing, sometimes you may need a kayak or a boat. Less anglers you may need to fish at night. Instead of Cape Cod, consider Cape Ann. 

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3 hours ago, JonC said:

I don’t know if people fully understand Mike’s reference to Frank D(Daigneault) who recounted in several books his time fishing the backside beaches commercially in the sixties and seventies before the crash, a time when  every fish was money at the market and there was zero thought to the limits of the resource. There needs to be context here.

jC

Same thing happening here from the west end all the way to Montauk and Block Island back then. I started surfcasting in 76 and there was no respect for the fishery here either...just wasn't as plentiful as the Cape so wasn't as well written about!

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