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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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July 31, 2015

A Quick Dip In the Canal

by Jerry Vovcsko

For those wanting exercise, there's nothing quite as refreshing as an early morning swim. But it's always important, of course, to pick the right spot to take a dip. Not like the 23 year old gent who was staying at Bourne Scenic Park last week and decided to dive into the Cape Cod Canal for his morning workout. The six-knot currents of the Canal swept him away as other campground visitors called for help.

By the time Bourne firefighters could get a dive team and rescue boat to the scene, the man was able to pull himself out of the water about a quarter mile downstream. Rescue personnel transported him to the hospital for an evaluation. Bourne police forwarded a report of the incident to the Army Corps of Engineers. Kids, don't try this at home.

Also a little further north in Cape Cod Bay, the carcass of a very rarely seen whale with a long, slender, toothed snout washed up on Jones Beach in Plymouth Friday. The female whale — 17 feet long and weighing almost a ton — is thought to be a Sowerby's beaked whale, according to the New England Aquarium.

These are deep water creatures and are almost never seen especially washed ashore in a relatively shallow bay. It appeared to be fresh, in good condition, and "did not have any obvious entanglement gear or scars or obvious trauma from a vessel strike," according to the aquarium statement. The whale's weight and inconvenient location meant they needed to wait until about 5 p.m. for high tide to remove the carcass. The harbormaster's office towed it to the pier and lifted it by crane onto an aquarium trailer.

Aquarium biologists were performing a necropsy on the whale Saturday afternoon, assisted by staff from the Cape Cod-based International Fund for Animal Welfare. The results were not immediately available.

Beaked whales are "so rarely seen that New England Aquarium biologists have been conferring to determine the exact species," aquarium officials said in a statement. The whales are usually found on the continental shelf, hundreds of miles out to sea in the deep ocean, officials said.

Little is known about the Sowerby's beaked whale, which are most often seen by commercial fishermen who catch them alongside other sea creatures. New England is believed to be the southern end of the mammal's range, which extends north into the sub-Arctic. Staff at the aquarium last handled a beaked whale in 2006 in Duxbury, the statement said.

While that young gent who dived into the Canal was thrashing around in the fierce current, it's too bad he didn't have a rod and reel with him as The Ditch has been serving up some hot topwater action lately. One local bait and tackle shop weighed in a near-thirty pound striper last week and breaking fish have been the rule-du-jour in the early morning hours.

Metal slabs offer excellent results in terms of casting distance as well as fish-attracting capability. Which is why I'm never without a couple of Kastmasters stashed in the tackle box. In the Canal the ones with bucktail attached have always been a favorite of mine.

Over on Martha's Vineyard anglers dipping parachute jigs around Devil's Bridge have been doing okay for themselves while across the Sound at Quicks Hole the action has been hot and heavy at first light. The Middleground continues to produce the occasional keeper size fluke but the stripers haven't been cooperating lately.

With the month of August lurking right around the corner we can expect a dropoff in surface action before long. The bluefish will stick around for the most part but heavyweight bass will head for the deeper, cooler waters. This is when the tube-and-worm lad and lassies come into their own. The cooler waters of Cape Cod Bay make it a more attractive proposition than the south side of the Cape

Large quantities of water in movement make such locations as the edge of the Brewster tidal flats a very attractive proposition for boat anglers. Some heavy-weight bass hang out along the drop-off and ambush baitfish during tidal changes. A little time spent studying an area chart can pay off big-time for anglers working the flats.

It often gets lost in the salt water frenzy during striper season, but never forget that the freshwater environment on the Cape remains robust all year long. This is the peak of largemouth bass activity in Cape waters and a visit to one of the local ponds can be a real treat…especially when the winds blow strong out on the ocean.

The Red Sox are sinking like a stone; the Patriots opened training camp; Deflate Gate rages on around the Pats…another typical year in New England sports gets underway. Rejoice, sports fans, rejoice! It just doesn't get much better than this.

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