Cape Cod

Discussion in 'Trip Reports with Pics' started by wadin' boot, Aug 4, 2014.

  1. wadin' boot

    wadin' boot Donny, you're out of your element...

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    My wife and I finally figured out the way to visit all of her relatives in Boston. Rent a place on the Cape, family and friends- can come stay. I can fish, she can talk, it works out pretty well. Thing is Cape Cod fishing, late July, generally gets what's called a summer doldrum and can be wildly hit or miss. So I got to renting a kayak and exploring some of the warm water kettle ponds that hold decent bass, pickerel, yellow and white perch. Mostly I'd fish with my son Jack, who is a big fan of reeling in anything he can, but here's a photo of my buddy John trying to land a perch with his good hand
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    He put his other hand through a window pane and could very well end up with a permanent extended middle digit, which is probably the real reason he is laughing here, 'cos I am being a bastard and making fun of him.

    This year I worked the salt a little harder. One of the estuaries dumps a prodigious run of herring from some of the above ponds into a small bay in an incredibly predictable manner. It is pratically a food conveyer belt and just when the tide changes the fish go absolutely apeshit. The predominant fish this year were a ton of snapper bluefish. In the past they've been hickory shad and in May and late September this place is mobbed with stripers, both schoolies and mature fish. But for now, in the doldrums, it was snappers.

    Here's my niece Ari catching one of dozens, which will generally reduce my finest flies to shreds in minutes. Note to self: marabou and bluefish is a bad idea. These greedy bastards would vom up 3 or 4 two inch herring smolts just to attack a fish skull and a silver hook...Ari loved it. Kept score, reminded me of how few fish I was catching and remained oblivious to the reason she caught so many more directly related to the fact I was the one taking her barbless fly out of a mouth full of what could easily have been lined with glass shards. Not that I cared. Watching kids catch fish is always awesome.

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    Later, I tied on a crappy octopus squid popper for giggles and a swirl far larger than a snapper blue appeared behind it. Intrigued, I waded out onto a oyster and mussel shelled verge and cast into the deepest part with a staging coho dart Constructeur gave me. This coho dart was taken by this fella,

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    a cute schoolie striper, who was lurking the deeper waters below the snappers. he gave the six weight some curve and the fight was immediately distinct, the striper has a beat to its run, a kind of thrum or thump thump thump. I caught a few more but managed no 28 inch keepers. Too hot, too shallow, too July. But on light fly gear a fish of perfect size...

    Some days we were stuck with heavy wind and on those days we were lucky enough to see one of these moving through the shadows which absolutely terrified a man in a mankini in a beach close to Provincetown.
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    Here's the real reason for the shadow, and probably the best reason to always have a solid gear rod ready with kids. If the fishing sucks, and the wind is good, it makes playing a kite way more fun. Don't forget a quality swivel...


    photo 3.JPG

    One day Massachusett's Bay was flat as could be, like the water had been steam pressed. The sky and the sea had no horizon, and the heat left everyone wanting to hang in the water rather than out of it. I got the job of towing the kids in the floats, which is fun for the guy paddling for maybe five minutes and then degenerates into kids shouting at you not to splash them. Oh well.

    photo 4.JPG

    That got a little boring after a while and armed with a gear rod and a surface popper I started paddling towards Plymoth. About a third of a mile off shore, where the waters finally got deep enough to no longer see the bottom, the whole world was so silent and serene, and there was nothing to suggest fish. No seals, no birds, no frightened sprays of baitfish making their way into the air. Nothing. I stood in the yak and tossed the popper in a 360, without any play. I decided to paddle on, a distant run of fishing boats was another mile off. As I made my way out, I saw something I had never seen.

    There, on the water's surface were small fins moving slow, almost circling, every now and then. They were behind me, in front of me, off to either side. They'd appear, and then disappear, almost like when carp mouth the surface, though this time there were just tail fins. They looked like small fish, maybe a school of pogies or menhaden.

    What the hell, might as well cast.

    I launched the popper, and I'll confess up front that I launched it with a a gear rod bound to a serious penn reel lined with 20lb test. That line ended in a 45cm jet-black wire leader and a white/brown and red 3/8ths ounce popper. The goal of which is to launch and retrieve in small jerks that throw splash a foot in the air and generally create a ruckus. They can be deadly at twilight. But this was mid day. no tide movement, no current, nothing. Launched, arcs, lands...

    The splash frightened whatever was finning, and from the wakes generated, it was clear to me that these were no tiny fish. And then the attack came, a monstrous bluefish absolutely crushed the popper, blasting from below like a trident missile, twisting and unleashing great angers and energies. the hook set, the real ran and it was game on. These tiny fins evident on the surface where the tips of schools of bluefish, their tailfins just peaking out.

    They were probably in the 5-10 lb range and for the next half hour I could cast pretty much wherever I saw this behavior and have an attack occur. Sometimes I would lose them for a few minutes, but they'd reappear within 100 yards and a brief paddle would get me back into range.

    Here's the one time I coulda used a gopro. It was probably the most fun I have ever had fishing. And rather than experience this alone, I went back and got my son Jack and took him out.

    Jack doesn't talk, he's 11, but there's one thing he loves it is fishing. Normally his attention span is a little limited so most of our father son fishing time is spent chasing stockers in lakes. Well you do what you have to right? I got no apologies for anybody, I enjoy it, he does to.

    Anyway, this was a whole different ballgame. 10 minutes out we were back in the gray quiet world looking for the fins, and there they again were. No birds betrayed them, this was pure sight fishing. I cast for Jack, reeled as fast as I could and it was like some kind of sci fi movie, like we had crept into the alien sanctuary and poked the eye of mother alien vampire squid or something, the entranced minions suddenly awakening and intent on absofuckinglutely destroying the popper. Jack visibly flinched. He shouted, started laughing, I reeled as fast as I could more interested in the behavior than the hooking, they were seriously angry, intent on crushing the popper. I slowed the retrieve when it was apparent that fish were launching themselves towards the popper, in the air, and the possibility of a flying 8lb bluefish- all teeth, yellow eyes and muscle- landing in the Kayak with Jack and I was not appealing. I cast again for him, a strike followed, we were hooked up and I handed him the rod.

    Jack's not a big dude but he has a grip strength to rival an intern at JP Morgan. Only Jack will not let go. so consequently I did a lot of leaning forward, adjusting the drag, trying to get him to reel when line was not going out and so on. It was a long battle, he was laughing and or shrieking his happy sounds and I helped him land this guy below, the only fish we kept all break. Jack was not that cool with blood dripping off the kayak, but in fairness we did bleed it well aways from the swim beach, and if you don't bleed a blue they eat bad.

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    Anyway I took another friend of the family out, a 14 year old girl named Ali who hooked a freight train of blue that would not be horsed. We tried paddling him back in to tire him out, but Mr Seal saw our plan and made the reel sing. We got a seal sleigh ride, the creature pulling us sideways. We had plenty of line out and we were in no danger, but messing with a seal ain't legal so the drag was spun down and the rod tip pointed towards the creature and off went or fish, the popper, the wire leader and so on.

    So this finning behavior has me puzzled. I had always thought of the bluefish as a feeding machine, a fighting giant, but here it was as though they were in a torpor, and in among this calm school, the popper provoked the killer instinct. There was a point I had tied on a big rubber sluggo sort of thing, part eel, part mackerel, but they totally ignored it, rather surprising. I got to find John Hersey's book on blues and read up on it and see what he says... curious if any of you East Coast guys have seen this before. It truly was fun. Fish jumping to get themselves hooked, fish jumping when hooked, just damn well awesome...
     

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  2. waterworker

    waterworker Member

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    Nice report.Made me smile more than once.I recognize a few spots in your pic's including the Wellfleet dike.There's no mistaking that house.If you ever make the trip again,drop me a line.Maybe hook up.
     
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  3. triploidjunkie

    triploidjunkie Active Member

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    Awesome report 'boot! Stripers on the fly are fun. I gotta ask though, what's up with your buddies tats? It looks like a three year old did them with an etch-a-sketch.
     
  4. wadin' boot

    wadin' boot Donny, you're out of your element...

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    You know its weird but I barely notice them now. One is the Welch Griffin. Who can fathom Celtic motivations?
     
  5. triploidjunkie

    triploidjunkie Active Member

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    As I'm currently dating one, that is the million dollar question.
     
  6. Porter

    Porter Active Member

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    Cool trip, for a moment as I read your report, finning, circling, never seen before, ....... I thought Sheriff Brody was going to be joing your story!
     
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  7. Freestone

    Freestone Not to be confused with freestoneangler

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    Great report, Boot! I loved the part about the blues - wow! Sounds like you found a brilliant way to balance family visits and fishing. I'll be out on the Cape next weekend to do some work around my dad's place and hope I can fit in a little fishing while I'm home.
     
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