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Jerry Vovcsko

First dunked a worm in Otsego Lake (upstate NY) some 68 years ago and began pursuing striped bass in Cape Cod waters 40 years ago. Pretty soon I should be able to get it right...maybe.

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August 16, 2012

Sharks Are Pelagic Creatures and Water Temps Influence CC Canal Success

by Jerry Vovcsko

Cape Cod beachgoers at Newcomb Hollow Beach spotted a 12-foot shark close to shore last week. The cluster of seals in the area probably drew the shark in for a chance to peruse the seal-menu before making his selection but whatever the reason beachgoers were impressed.

This is the first confirmed shark sighting in Wellfleet this summer, but it comes not too long after Cape visitor Chris Myers was attacked July 30 off the coast of Truro, next town up from Wellfleet. And, of course, the bulk of the shark sightings took place earlier around Chatham when a dozen or so great whites were spotted, tagged and monitored. That pattern of sightings tells us the sharks, pelagic creatures that they are, are showing up the full length of the Cape from Monomoy to P'town…which isn't all that surprising but happens to be a fact the Chamber of Commerce is likely to continue downplaying in order to keep the tourist trade alive and flourishing on the Cape.

But bathers should know these creatures that inhabit the top of the food chain are real and they are definitely present in our waters, Chamber of Commerce notwithstanding. Keeping a good distance from seals is a no-brainer and anyone who's bleeding staying out of the water is another obvious necessity. But in the end, the sharks hold most of the cards and would-be swimmers have to decide how much they value a dip these days. For myself, I enjoy a bracing swim on a hot day but that's why God invented freshwater ponds and that's where I plan to immerse my somewhat portly self. At least until they start importing shark nets from Australia and cordoning off the beaches.

Water temperatures still hover around the mid-seventies in Nantucket Sound and that's just too warm to make for good striper fishing. But some locals have been employing a tactic that frequently results in catches of keeper size bass. That is, fishing the Cape Canal when the tide runs westerly from Sandwich down to Buzzards Bay. The theory behind that is based on the slug of cooler CC Bay waters pouring into The Ditch and stimulating feeding activity by previously lethargic stripers.

Later in the season that strategy will reverse itself and local anglers will fish when the Canal fills up with the current carrying warmer waters from Buzzards Bay toward Cape Cod Bay with the fish following those warm currents. It's a small detail in the scheme of things but it's those small details that often make the difference between the impressive catch and an empty creel.

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