IT"S OVER Southway has closed off. [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: IT"S OVER Southway has closed off.

Rip Ryder
11-27-2006, 10:20 AM
Hi Guys,

Was getting my coffee in Chatham this am after work and ran into one of the Assistant Harbor Masters, he told me that South Beach had finally attached to South Monomoy and there is only a little water at very hightide all other times it is driveable, in the truck that is. It was close when I was out a few weeks ago (OCT 31) with Mike Brady, but the new sand was to unstable to walk on to cross over. I tried but sank up to my knees in a flash in the 50/50 mix of sand and water.

I am hoping to get some photos and or get out on Wed with Mike Brady and the crew. I have some photos from a few weeks ago, but couldn't get them to post on the forum. I'll send them to Juro and see if he can get them to shrink down.
My computer is on its last leg and isn't letting me do to many things

What shocked me most last trip was how thick the end had become. The tip over the summer is nothing but a little finger of this giant sand pile. The tip grew to the south width wise and covered up the B buoy on the outside. There is also a sand bar just off the SouthEast of the tip that was holding about 2 inches of water and ran from SB to SM, so the surf hit that before entering the little channel that was left. So that means there was no wave action trying to keep it open back then. There was also some piles of sand about 3-4 feet high in the middle of the small channel then. Last weekends NorEaster was long lasting with gusts up to 65 and sustained as much as 40 out of the NE.

I will let you know as soon as I know more.

Capt Keith

PS Happy Holidays to everyone.

11-27-2006, 11:26 AM
Keith, Thanks for the update...but it is sad news. Hopefully it will break through somewhere else and we are not stuck next season with South beach warm water marsh :-) If it stays the same...our only option to get tocold/ moving water will be the need for a SM drop off.

11-27-2006, 11:45 AM
Keith -

You can either mail a CD to PO Box 58 Groton MA 01450 or email me, but I will send a different email that can take big files.

thanks looking forward to seeing them.


spring trappage should be at an all time high although summer is going to be very differnt indeed

11-27-2006, 12:24 PM
If this stays the case over the winter do we need to start rethinking the plan for the Big Brother event?


11-27-2006, 12:51 PM
Thanks for the update Keith.

This raises all kinds of issues for the SM refuge. The land bridge will make it all the more accessible to Coyotes, Foxes, Ferral cats etc.

In terms of the fishing, spring & early summer could be interesting. This year in late July I recorded a water temp. of 75F inside and there were still fish holding over the eelgrass beds. You just never know how nature will respond. Maybe the inside will become a major shrimp factory and attract Squeteague up from futher South? Just don't try lipping them if they do :lildevl:

The new structure outside the tip of SB sounds interesting too....

There's still a lot of 'winter' left so its going to be interesting to see how this shapes up between now and May.

Rip Ryder
11-27-2006, 06:28 PM
Just got the photos from the USCG and there is a substantial land bridge between the two now, dry around the clock it looks now. Photos were taken by USCG helo over the weekend.

Ron, your right and I have begun working out a plan for South Tip shuttle services for you guys, just waiting to get things settled on the Privateer before I can make another boat move. I have a couple picked out just got to get in the position to make a move on one.

Adrian is right, still a whole winter to go. The Chatham Break had some major changes during last weeks storm also. The Cape like arm that was growing off the north end of South Beach is only about 6ft away from completing the loop around and attaching back to the beach and creating another pond in the middle of the beach, like the previous one. I also saw the Harbor master boat out today trying to move the buoys in the surf line to adjust for the sand movements over the past 7-9 days. It was really amazing to watch the changes in just 24 hours during last weekends Nor Easter, as I was able to get to the over look both mornings same time of the tide.

Look for the article on the Cape Cod Chronicle webpage after Wed.

Capt Keith

11-27-2006, 06:33 PM
Juro, I agree...Spring will be fine but by late June????? Wonder if the "land bridge" that was beginning to form from J buoy towards Monomoy has expanded as well with this past storm...although I think that that "bridge" was primarily formed when the dunes near "L" were breached. Maybe we should just stay at Stage harbor inlet (point) and net them as they go by :-) Adrian's hypothesis re breeding grounds for shrimp etc, might happen...certainly the grasses will flourish next year if there is no significant change in flow. Always interesting!

11-28-2006, 05:10 AM
This could be a blessing in disguise. Now we'll be able to access the whole of Monomoy on foot . However, it's all about the nesting of the birds which will limit access . Time will tell if this is a good thing or not. Looks like I'll take a mid-winter walk and check it out . FishHawk

11-28-2006, 06:08 AM

Thanks for the update. What next? Piping plovers deciding to nest on the land bridge? Then the whole area will be off limits......In my mind it's really too early to start wondering what if, by spring it could all be gone. Keep the updates coming.

Happy holidays to you and The Admiral.

See you next year

11-28-2006, 09:34 AM
While we can prognosticate the results of the closure for 2007, my hat's off to Keith for forecasting this two years ago.

If the terrain remains constant thru next spring, I can think of a couple of scenarios that could make this a dynamite fishery. On the turn, the currents from the sound side should increase significantly.

So, with the southway closure, who has jurisdiction on SB, Chatham or Monomoy Wildlife Refuge? Would it make a difference to the wade fisherman?

The Chatham Cut is also intriguing. This past year the fishery was marginal at best. The days when Juro, Striblue, et al fished the Big Girl may resurface as the sands continue their southward migration.

Spring 2007 should be interesting on the elbow of the Cape.

11-28-2006, 10:27 AM
Chatham is more than just a comfort zone as some would suggest... it's not just a simple angling obsession either. It's a lot like my life - a relentless turmoil bringing change that is foreign but stranglely familiar; yesterdays treasures churning away forever with the tide while the promise of tomorrow rises like a red sun over a flat calm sea.

Keith I need a place in Chatham this spring-fall so if you come across any good places I would be obliged.

11-28-2006, 10:38 AM
This will give a whole new meaning to the DEATH MARCH! Chatham Light to Monomoy Tip and many miles is that??? Would make a great day trip, provided the tides are right...

11-28-2006, 12:11 PM
I'll make the hike, I just need to be assured that you will be with me to perform CPR along the way. As a matter of fact, do they make a waterproof AED?


11-28-2006, 06:48 PM
Great idea Chris....may I suggest a Death March Clave with Flydoc as the meister...I do believe that this anticipated march would certainly qualify as a "stress test"...maybe we can check our HMO's and Doc can even get reimbursement for his efforts :-) I've been telling Keith to add to his income by having an EKG at the top of his 67 stairs....but if he's not going to take advantage of the opportunity, then someone else should. :smokin:

11-28-2006, 10:39 PM
Anyone up for doing this march of death Christmas week sometime? Burn a few holiday cals. Tracy and I will be out there that week and are talking seriously about doing it.

11-29-2006, 05:19 AM
Light to Monomoy point and back is about 22 miles. I'd be game but I don't think Donna would be up for it. I had trouble covincing her to walk out to the north end of SB Sunday.

October Caddis
11-29-2006, 11:03 AM
Ahhhh,#*? 22 miles, NE wind at 20 knots for the 11 mile walk back to the light! How about to the new land bridge and back. Looking forward to seeing you and Donna soon.

I think Adrian may be right about a new warm water fishery. Over years if the inside fills in it may become the perfect flats to pole a flats boat for Squeteague.
Does anyone have any history of what the inside was like many years ago when Monomy was connected? I thought that part of the cape did have a good August and September Squeteague fishery many years ago.

It's cold here in the NW with snow, wind and ice just like you NEer's will have soon.


11-29-2006, 12:14 PM
That sounds like a weekend adventure not a day trip!! Big question in my mind, IF it stays closed and becomes one, who will control access? Should we start paying more attention to those "po;itics"? In the next 3 to 4 months Mother Nature may provide us with answers.

11-29-2006, 12:57 PM
The control question came up a couple of years back during one of the CCP Process meetings (see the "stickies" at the top of this forum).

Whilst separated, The Cape Cod national Seashore (and South Beach) came under the jurisdiction of the National Parks Service whilst the Monomy refuge came under jurisdiction of Fish & Wildlife Service.

Officials at the meeting made clear that even though both organizations come under the Deprtment of the Interior, only one could have jurisdiction over a particular area once they became joined.

My guess would be that National Parks and F&W will decide on an arbitrary demarcation point on the land bridge and manage their territories as before. I would be surprised if pedestrian access to SM was permitted during the "season" since at those times certain sections of the beach are totally closed(in these areas the signs clearly state "Beach Closed - No Boat Landing"). These areas are highlighted on the F&W access map. We'll have to wait and see.

11-29-2006, 04:20 PM
Usually I bite my tongue and say nothing, but I couldn`t let this go. Are you people crazy? You have no idea how far your talking. It`s like going from the light to the end of south beach and back again and you still won`t be to the tip! Being that the board has a lot of younger and better shape members, I`m sure that some will try and succeed. Most of us would be getting picked up off the beach by the CG, with chest pains. This isn`t somthing that should be undertaken lightly!
I knew it the second I saw the first post about the beach joining up. You could see people get that look, like Lawrance of Arabia heading to .... wherever. Why, the meer thought has Juro getting all emotional!

11-29-2006, 04:28 PM
I prefer "deeply introspective" or "suddenly reflective", even might go for an occasional "waxing poetic" but all emotional is way over the top Steve :tongue:

11-29-2006, 04:55 PM
Steve, its good to know someone has a bit of common sense:hihi:

I was going to suggest an "Iron Man" style cardio flyfishing clave where shorts, trainers and hydropacks are substituted for waders.

The beach is to be worked "at a jog". Stopping as the opportunity arises to cast to migrating fish. Time bonuses for fish caught/released. :smokin: Otherwise you just lose time so you need to pick your shots carefully. Travelling 'light' would also be a good idea :wink:

Come on guys, 22 miles isn't even a full Marathon! The Iron Man triathletes do it after an 8 mile swim and 100 mile bike ride :lildevl:

We could invite Jillian Michaels .... :smokin:

11-29-2006, 05:51 PM
I did the google earth measure/path thing, with a realistic path (not as the crow flies)and came up with 10.56 miles from the stairs at the light to Monomoy point. A mere 4 or 5 hour power walk with breaks for a pull on a bottle of single malt and a smoke.:smokin: :wink:

The Cape Cod Chronicle website has an article, as Keith said there would be, with a couple of pics.

11-29-2006, 06:41 PM
Good for you Fred we won't let young guys like Slinger put a downer on a power walk of great interest. Beside we can say we did it long before the summer runs shows up next May. Who else wants to do it right after Christmas? I know Juro will he never lets a challenge go to waste!

11-29-2006, 06:57 PM
I'll do it! Can't be any harder than a day of running for gamblers cars at work which I do five days a week. Going to have to pick the day though.. in short notice. We should arrange for a boat on standby for everyone's safety.


11-29-2006, 07:00 PM
CC Chronical article is very interesting...a good read, I highly recommend it....thanks Keith!
Walk...drink...smoke...chest pains....sounds like a good rythem to me :-) OC....dependent on the schedule of events for Christmas week...I just may give it a go.....I can do all of the above activities :-) Will write if I am coming down.

11-29-2006, 07:07 PM
If you guys are going to walk there, I will paddle there. Maybe I will even catch a few stripers along the way. I'll point them out to you as you trudge thru the sand. Two miles maybe three is my limit walking on the sand. In a kayak I can almost go forever. Maybe me and FishHawk will finally get together for the paddle. This one sounds neat. I like OC's idea about the Weakfish.


Rip Ryder
11-29-2006, 09:12 PM
Check out for the whole Southway story and aerials in this weeks edition.

Capt Keith

11-29-2006, 10:04 PM

11-29-2006, 10:05 PM

11-29-2006, 10:09 PM

Here is a couple of Google Earth pics of that area my question being that I have not been up there in quite awhile is where exactly is the land bridge??? I understand that this pic is probably a bit dated but where in relation to everything else would the bridge be located on these pics. And as far as I know it is legal to use these pics as they give you the ability to copy the pics directly from the Google Earth application. If someone knows otherwise please let me know if this is not acceptable.

11-29-2006, 10:18 PM

11-30-2006, 01:53 AM
Here's what it looks like today.

11-30-2006, 04:18 AM
Striblue(aka Frank) can do it he did it in Burma:hihi: ,the Penguin can do it he's Air Force Special Ops. and Adrian can do it he's SAS. Like Frank said I'll be watching from my yak. :hihi: :chuckle: FishHawk

11-30-2006, 08:51 AM
Hey, I recognize that, hit most of those sandbars in the boat, might even be responsible for digging a few guzzles. :chuckle:
Good luck with the walk, I remember the trip from the rip to the cut when we couldn't get picked up on the inside. That included coming around the tip but I think that was ~10miles. My GPS showed something like 12.7 miles which included drop off to rip to drop off then around the point and up to the cut. It's got to be at least 4 miles from the light to the end of SB right?

11-30-2006, 08:53 AM
Here's what it looks like today.

Yeah, I can make it through there, not much worse than the bump between the Z/Z bouys on a moon low:hihi:

11-30-2006, 12:49 PM
Mike, I think the bridge would look something like this from an aerial view.

Google Earth pulls maps from MassGIS, your tax dollars at work.

October Caddis
11-30-2006, 01:21 PM
Hope a few of you will join us on the walk to the old channel and back. All that fresh cold air is going to add color to your lungs. Date later.

Looking at the sat pics one can see the deepness of the old channel going out to open ocean. When that fills in it is going to make one heck of a great surfing point break for those long fetched north and northeast swells that show up every once in a great while. Nice left indeed. Anyone going to lug their board out on the walk? I'm feeling young!:smokin:

11-30-2006, 02:22 PM
Fred -

More info please... where / when and which direction are we looking? I have assumptions but my mind is playing tricks I thinnk

11-30-2006, 02:28 PM
Juro, you still on those painkillers? The pic I posted, from the Cape Cod chronicle article, is looking due north, right into what used to be the southway channel.

Hope all went well with the surgery and that you're on the mend.

11-30-2006, 02:36 PM
thought so but now I am thinking there is going to be a break through midway from the light looking at that

meds? what meds I can neither confirm nor deny...

the surgery was the easy part, a week gone by and about 8-12 left to go :Eyecrazy:

11-30-2006, 02:39 PM
A little better angle...

I already know where I am going to stand :)


12-01-2006, 05:22 AM
Surgery:confused: Wow, hope it wasn't too serious and your doin' o.k:wink:

By the way, tell Nikki she has a great future on the TV :smokin: - almost choked on my coffee watching MSNBC the other morning

12-01-2006, 07:44 AM
Thanks Adrian,

She does shine on camera but then I am a proud papa for sure. :)

Ligaments (radial collateral MCP) torn in the casting hand.. a real damper on casting, guitar, the gym, uechi ryu training, shoelaces, LIFE.

But two things - even an extra week of hesitation could mean cutting one out from somewhere else to use in place of a retracted ligament, and the rate of failure in older years is so high it's about a given that my dreams of retirement prowess with a fly rod would be shot so I had it done in a timely manner after the injury.

Hopefully I will be casting strong again by March, if not I am putting the damn cast back on to stabilize it and going for it ;)

12-01-2006, 09:06 PM
When did the "Southway" last "open up", within reasonable past time frame and what type of storm caused the breach? Hurricane, prolonged S/E or E storm, or what? Are we really just experiencing a cycle of opening and closeure or is this like a "50 yr happening"? Before the "Southway", was South Beach permanently breached in some other location, again within reasonable past time frame? Hopefully there is someone that remembers or that can tell me where to go to get answers. Thanks


12-01-2006, 10:40 PM
Juro....sorry to hear that you damaged your thumb/ won't like it, but I highly recommend the casting strap that I use to keep the wrist from flexing backwards (it makes the rod act as a splint and really takes the stress off the wrist)....even's a pretty weak area unless you are a carpenter.
The stupid plastic thumb brace, while it looks like it doesn't do anything, in fact really supports the joint at the base of the thumb and limits the range of movement, thus pain.
Just remember....there is only one "man with white plastic thumb" you'll need to get another color! :-)
Hopefully it will heal for you and you won't need any adaptive devices.
Best wishes,

12-02-2006, 06:10 AM
For those of us who don't fish the area, could someone explain the impact of this closing in simple english? Thanks in advance.

12-02-2006, 06:56 AM
The Southway was the major entrance from the Atlantic Ocean to an estuary tucked behind a barrier island called South Beach. There was and still is flow from Nantucket Sound on the west side of the estuary, but not as much as from the ocean side. That is, the tidal influence from the ocean side is greater than that from the sound side.

Eliminating the flow from the ocean side reduces the exchange of water and predator/prey in the estuary.

12-02-2006, 07:03 AM
For those that fish the flats on foot you can surmise closure chokes off the cool water flow from the atlantic that made the fishery productive, even in the dog days. For those fishing the outside by boat, launching from the southside (stage, harwich), the only access is, now, is around monomoy point.

12-02-2006, 07:57 AM
Who likes blue crab? :D

Anyone else notice how cold the flow has been into Pleasant Bay the last couple of years?

12-02-2006, 04:18 PM
probably a dumb question, but rather than the incoming flow moving through the southway and splitting - some going out through the crib, some going along SB to the tub; won't the whole flow just be forced around and in over the crib ?

If thats the case I would have thought that on a incoming tide it would push through the crib and around NM with increased flow than before ?


12-02-2006, 07:32 PM
Mark......we all have questions and hypotheses.....maybe we should have a "marine scientist clave"...the guy quoted in the Cape Cod Chronical article....a few beers, steamers, some info and discussion would be fun as well as interesting.
My guess is that L bouy area on SB will break through as it has done in the recent past, but this time, stay open....if it does, maybe we will have a land bridge to Monomoy as well.
Maybe we are just going to have to wait till spring and see what happened, find out if there is a flow.....does the opening between NM and Morris get larger due to the push of the dropping tide??????? A ton of questions and no answers.

12-03-2006, 12:43 PM
Didn't this thing break opem many years ago on a flood tide and a strong SW blow?

I would think if it were to break open again a little further north that is what would have to happen first. A lot of water pushed higher than the ocean side by tide and strong wind and then blow through. That would creat a deep channel right off the bat. If it breaks through from ocean side it will have moving sand filling it in from the surf and never get deep enough channel to have the daily tides velocity to keep it open for long. But you get the bay side 4 feet higher than the ocean side a strong south or SW and if it breaks its going to really push through to the ocean side and make one hell of a deep channel.

That would be my guess how you get a deep enough channel to remain open for years.

Jeff Sod
12-06-2006, 02:11 PM
A friend of mine set out from the Chatham lighthouse Saturday morning with digital camera and GPS. The distance to the 'old' Southway channel entrance was about 5 miles one way. The total distance from Chatham Lighthouse to Monomoy Lighthouse and back again was 18.2 miles. So the 9 mile estimate using Google Earth is was pretty darn accurate. This is a good time of year for such a trek as the sand was pretty hard making for easier walking.

Rip Ryder
12-09-2006, 05:17 PM
Hello from sunny and WARM Florida. (sorry just had to say that:hihi:)

It sounds like the southway closure is holding its own, and in fact the channels to the northside of the connection are choking off. Heard the two are attached in a couple of places now at lowtide.

The news to listen for now in the local papers is the stronge surge for dredging of the Morris Island channel from Stage Harbor to the Morris Island flats. The towns
coastal resource manager and Outermost are pushing hard for it. Got to talk to a few of the locals too see what there thoughts are on that and the effect it would have on Southbeach and future movements or breaks. All I know is that could send my old honey hole right over the top for stripers in the spring and fall:) .

Found a great tool to keep the tourists from crossing the land bridge onto South Monomoy today. A 12-14 foot alligator!! I figure between him and few more Great White Shark stories people will stay away!!!

Make sure you guys pay attention to the wildlife during your death march, I hear the four legged mammals are marching down to the light 2X2 skunks, coons and coyotes.

Capt Keith

12-11-2006, 04:31 PM
I think that would help fill the crib up to join north to the new mega-south island

12-12-2006, 05:28 PM
Has anyone got any photos of this yet?

btw - Merry Christmas to one & all from Blighty.

Jeff Sod
12-12-2006, 07:49 PM
Here is a shot taken by my friend Jeff Brown recently

12-13-2006, 03:50 AM
Great memories of that channel; caught my first ever striper from there and also one of my most memorable catches from a boat.

It was like fishing in slo-mo as a nice striper obligingly opened wide and took my green and white clouser which I had cast upstream of the oncoming fish; as the fly drifted in the current almost directly into it's oncoming mouth, I gave the fly a little twitch just a foot away from the fish which spurred it into action.

When I was fishing down there by myself I would chat with the seals sitting on the opposite side of the channel.

Bloody hell; getting misty eyed about a geographical feature; think I had better go and have a cup of tea.

12-17-2006, 06:25 AM

12-17-2006, 12:02 PM
When I was fishing down there by myself I would chat with the seals sitting on the opposite side of the channel.
The seals having been previously exposed to "the accent" by Adrian, they knew exactly what you were blathering on about:hihi:
Don't fret though, at the rate things change around here (see the link in the previous post), by the time you come back there is just as likely to be a new channel somewhere that will draw the stripers AND your bewhiskered buddies...

12-18-2006, 12:25 AM
Did anyone see the Boston Globe this morning..... all is predicted.... the Southway is history.....front page then an expanded article on page C39... so what else is new? we really all knew this was coming...

12-18-2006, 07:18 AM
Yes, I read it today John. It was only a matter of time really.

It could get busy on the remaining fishable areas?