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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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October 19, 2016

Trick or Treat

by Jerry Vovcsko

Took a run up to Nantasket Beach yesterday and sat in the sun watching birds diving at baitfish that were being harassed by a fairly large school of stripers. Breaking fish during the summer is fairly routine in our waters but watching bass feed on bait a week before Halloween is another matter entirely. Especially when it's happening as far north as Hull. And the day before Plymouth Beach featured a blitz of its own with anglers nailing stripers ranging up to nearly twenty pounds while casting chunked pogies and Yozuri swimmers into breaking fish so close to shore they could probably have been dip-netted from the beach.

And the action continues in several locations in Vineyard Sound. The Elizabeths are still hot with some of those genuine Large chomping down on topwater plugs along the stretch of shoreline from Tarpaulin Cove right on down to Sow and Pigs reef with the emphasis on Quick's and Robinson's Holes and around the main channel leading into Cuttyhunk Harbor. Some of the locals like to set up near the rock reef in that channel and cast into the turbulence around those rocks; but, friends, as they say, don't try that at home…or if you don't know your way around that spot, because it's way too easy to get sucked into trouble.

On the west side of the big island, Martha's Vineyard, Devil's Bridge has been hot as it tends to be this time of year. Try jigs worked deep around there or take the opposite approach and slow-troll a tube and worm rig through any and all rips that form around there. If the weather says: It's Okay, duck around the corner and work the heck out of Wasque Rip. Right now a mix of jumbo bass and slab-sided blues populate the rip and it's as close to can't-miss as an angler is likely to see. Throw just about anything into Wasque when that rip is making up and good things will most assuredly come your way.

Further east in the Sound stripers have been active from Woods Hole to Hyannis and beyond. Popponnesset, which is the location of choice for early season anglers, comes alive again here in late fall as schools of bass cruise along the beaches. The surf crowd loves this area as access is easy, parking is a cinch now that the summer crowd has departed, and bass (with some remaining blues in the mix) cruise by frequently providing great late season action. For those who prefer to work from kayak or canoe there is no better place to fish than in and around Waquoit Bay. The jetty channel is a fish magnet all season long and when the weather cooperates anglers can fish the Sound, but then duck into the bay should it get breezy on the outside.

For those contemplating a foray to the backside beaches between Chatham and Provincetown, check with the bait shops about daily beach conditions. There have been some northeast winds lately and that means mung-clogged shoreline to contend with. Make that call before you set out and save yourself the frustration of trying to fish when you can't see the water for the weeds.

Keep an eye on the winds...things change fast.

October 07, 2016

Hurricane Matthew Stirs Things Up

by Jerry Vovcsko

In some ways it has been a strange season. Typically, around this time we are chasing albies and bonito all over the Sound but this year they seem to have skipped past and headed further north which makes me wonder if rather than being a one-year anomaly, that Ole Debbil, Global Warming, is causing temperatures to creep ever higher in the northern climes. If so, it will be a real treat to add some of those tropical fish such as mahi mahi, wahoo and barracuda to our regular catch list. The downside, however, is the effect higher temperatures will eventually have on the usual migratory species, especially striped bass. It's wait-and-see time, I guess.

Striped bass continue to bite at Billingsgate and bluefish are all over the place these days much to the delight of the backyard grill crowd.

Want a quick treat? Skin a few small bluefish fillets. Place them on a sheet of aluminum foil. Layer on a strip or two of bacon, slices of onion both red and yellow, slice of tomato, with maybe some red or yellow pepper slices. In a small bowl mix a paste of mayonnaise, yellow mustard and a tablespoon or two of blue cheese dressing and spread over the layers. Seal the foil into a pouch and place on the grill over medium heat. When the fillets are cooked through hand these out to your friends along with a bottle of cold beer. Stand by for compliments.

If you're considering making a run at the outside beaches check out the beach-mung situation before you head out. Weeds have clogged some locations while others have been relatively weed-free. Take it on a day by day basis and call the local bait shops to get an idea of where to go to get away from the nasty stuff. Depending on what Hurricane Matthew decides to do, beach-mung could soon be the least of our problems. Those are hundred-and-forty-mile-an-hour winds kicking up around the Bahamas and if they veer our direction on their northward journey we could be writing finish to the 2016 season real soon now. Latest predictions say the storm should be taking a hard right turn somewhere around the Carolinas and blow itself out to sea…here's hoping.

The Cape Cod Canal has seen a lot more striped bass caught lately than during the previous week or two. Business has been best in the deeper holes and right after turn of tide at the east end. Eels are the bait of choice during night time hours and sand eels have also been effective. Jig and plastic combos do the job as well so long as they are presented down deep where the bass are holed up. Of course, that means knowing where the holes are and reading the current so as to get the lures into the zone, but there's a lot of debris down there as well which means lost lures, expensive lures at that. And that, dear friends, is one example of why learning to fish the Canal is a lifetime thing.

But lordy, lordy…some mighty big fish come out of there when things go just right. And sometimes even when somebody who wouldn't know a parachute jig from a Boga Grip just happens to get lucky, which is why the banks along the canal are pretty much always populated with hopeful anglers.

Over Nantucket way, they're catching stripers – keeper size - at Great Point during the daylight hours and scoring a mix of bass and blues over on the south side. If Hurricane Mathew makes it this far north those south-facing beaches stand to get really pummeled. Look for continued action along the Elizabeth Islands but that's another spot that could get really hammered if the storm track takes a westward turn when and if it reaches our waters. In any event, look for residual high winds and intense surf even if the storm remnants pass eastward of our location. Not a happy recipe for small boat activity.

Multiple reports of tuna in the Bay this week, and some big ones at that. Kiss those goodbye if windy, old Matthew puffs a cap-of-wind our way. By the way, those fall-delivery trucks from the Mass Environmental folks have been depositing new reinforcements of trout in our freshwater ponds and lakes so even if the saltwater scene tanks, there will still be fishing to be had. The season is winding down towards the fall, which means New England foliage time will soon be upon us, which means if all else fails, those local freshwater ponds will be pretty spectacular settings in which to catch bass and trout. I tell you truly, the Cape is a wonderful place to go and do some fishing. In fact, I believe I'll take my own advice and head down there right now.

See ya.

PS: Tom Brady's back from his four game suspension and the Patriots take on the Cleveland Browns this Sunday...Tom's got a boulder-size chip on his shoulder thanks to Rodger the Dodger Goodell's nefarious machinations viz a viz, Deflategate. This could be the Year of the Patriots. Maybe even a Super Bowl's worth of success.
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