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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 08, 2015

The Chilly Outside Waters Heat Up

by Jerry Vovcsko

Hard to believe summer is half over…seems we‘d been waiting for it ever since the last snowstorm buried us. But here we are with water temperatures in Nantucket Sound clocking in at a tepid seventy-five degrees. And Buzzard Bay's just about the same. It's maybe a few degrees cooler in Cape Cod Bay but not very much.

Striped bass are less than pleased when the waters heat up and they tend to seek out the deeper, cooler haunts. Best bet now for topwater action is right around first light, which is the order of the day in such spots as along the Elizabeth Island chain; in the Cape Cod Canal; over around Monomoy Island and the big islands, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.

The first visitors from the funny-fish contingent have begun straggling in…false albacore catches, although sparse, have been reported along the south side of the Vineyard, around Nomans Island and in the rips south of Nantucket. Pretty soon we'll see pods of the little tunoids turning up around Woods Hole and Lackey's Bay. Bonito should follow close behind and may well already have a few scouts in the area.

Bluefish pretty much take over the action in Nantucket Sound nowadays and there'll be some jumbo blues turning up as the season moves along. It's hard to accept t6hat the days – hot and sunny now – are getting shorter, but the clocks don't lie. Before long the kids will be heading back to school and anglers will begin turning their attention to that mega-event, The Great Fall Migration! But there's still time to get in some fishing before that happens and one of the areas that typically lights up now is along the outside beaches.

The stretch from Head of the Meadow Beach in Truro on down to Chatham sees the action heating up. Sand eels and mackerel baits work wonders along with live eels and sandworms. This is also a time when big plugs tossed into the surf produce keeper-and-above sized bass. Those holes and sandbars come into play for anglers who take the time to scout along the beaches during low tide.

Nauset and Chatham turn on for striped bass and the occasional jumbo bluefish, seals and great white sharks notwithstanding. It's no coincidence that highliner surf casters ply their trade starting at dusk and morphing into the night shift. That's when the stripers are active and feeding

Over on the Cape Cod Bay side Barnstable Harbor offers plenty of action for school bass and bluefish. Bottom fishing remains excellent around wreck structure with scup, flatfish and black sea bass in numbers where the Coast Guard sunk the remains of the James Longstreet, former bombing target for pilots-in-training. Occasionally hake, Pollock and dogfish will swallow a bait in this location.

On the Sound side, Handkerchief Shoals and the stretch along South Cape Beach have been bluefish magnets lately and some jumbo blues have been trolled up on hoochies and Christmas tree rigs. Jigging around the Waquoit jetty area continues to deliver bluefish almost at will and flattening the barbs makes release less of a headache when a bluefish with a mouthful of sharp teeth is thrashing around in the boat.

There's a nice combination of tuna and bluefish action around the Hooter and the strong currents in deep water make Muskegat Channel a productive striper producer when the tide is right. Those rips behind Nantucket _ Old Man's Rip in particular – hold an active population of bass and blues right now. Just keep a weather eye peeled as the winds do make up in a hurry and they can turn mighty fierce this time of year.

The northern reaches of Buzzards Bay with all the harbors and inlets that stretch from Old Silver Beach down to Quisset Harbor offer plenty of wind-protected fishing for fly rod aficionados. And speaking of the long-wand crowd, I saw an elderly gent working out on stripers on the Brewster Flats last week. He ambled out with the ebb tide and came back in on the flood. Took a heckuva lot of small stripers along the way and released them all. But, kids, if you try this method, pay attention to the water behind you…the Flats have an unsettling knack of filling tidal channels that cut you off from shore if you aren't watching-your-six. That can be lethal to folks hoofing it while clad in waders.

I'm guessing that we hear this week about a deal between the Tom Brady camp and Roger Goodell's forces-of-darkness. And if my speculation is correct, here will be no suspensions for TB. I doubt the League wants this hag-ridden suit to stagger into a real court because the more information that emerges, the more it looks like the whole thing was concocted by Goodell and his minions to sock it to the Patriots. But I could be wrong…I remember one time when I was…I think it was back in '83.

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