Outer Cape Cod Beach Migration Tip's:
I pulled this article - report out of last years archives and revised it with photo's. Thought you all might enjoy it.
2001 Outer Cape Cod Beach Migration Tip's:
(5/10- 6/10 Approx.)
With the incredible beach migration happening I'd like to discuss sight fishing points off a beach or sand bars running out into the sea. These are some of the simplest types of structure to fish.
These fish travel the same route day after day taking all the guess work out of it once you've put your time in to study it. Many times
fish will use the current and structure to navigate. If the water is high enough you will see them travel over the top of the bar. The dry
sand directly over this point is a prime location to stand to spot fish as they will stand out over the lighter colored sand and crystal clear
water. Many times, just standing anywhere on the beach is fine as they will be traveling almost at your feet at the high.
(Here is a picture of a sand bar taken at low tide, facing East towards the ocean)
At high tide (this sand would be covered) the fish are easy to see as they cross the bar. At the low, work your way out.
As the water drops further you will then see them hesitate when they come in contact with this bar or point. Then they slowly swim
around this sand structure until they have made it completely back to the beach on the other side. By moving out onto the bar as the
tide drops gives you an opportunity to cast on all 3 sides of the point. If I miss them on my first shot, I can always get them as they
round the corner. If you are in an area where there are more bars, channels and troughs further out and the tide is still dropping then its
time to continue moving out with the fish. (BE SAFE!! NOT STUPID- remember your compass, fog, audible clues, never turn your back on the ocean, directions of waves, wind, etc... and when the tide will turn. I dont want to read about any of you in the morning paper! Same with flats!!) They will use these channels to navigate until it gets to shallow.
(Im now standing further out on the same bar looking towards the beach, West.
At this spot you can see the fish from 100 yards away. Swimming at you (North) along the beach. They hit the shallow bar and swim around it.
Sometimes the sand creates a cove along the beach with one way in and out as the tide drops. You will see them enter it, swim around
and exit where they came into it. Again, giving you ample opportunity to present your bait, lure or fly.
There is another common occurrence that happens when you have a jetty, big out reaching bar, point on a flat or beach. (Natural or man made) Any fish
that is traveling between the beach and point of structure will compress and round the tip of this structure. I often use these bars, jetties on the
flats, beaches to give my guests the best shot at seeing all the fish.
Another very important aid that these types of structure allow you when sight fishing is a height advantage. The higher up you are the
greater your visual cone will be. The more fish you see, the more shots you will have. The further away you can see them coming the
more time it allows you to prepare.
Fish relate to structure as we and every other species does. Having an intimate understanding of the relationship between structure,
comfortable travel water depth and fish migration will help open up this incredible world of surf sight fishing in the Spring time to
Bass River Sand Flats:
Worked the afternoon incoming tide with the bright sun over head and saw about 350 Stripers and 12 Blues in about 3 hours. Schools
of 5 to 50. All within casting range with fly rod in 3-5 feet of crystal clear water and light colored sand. They would not eat the squid
so I finally started to get them on a 5 inch sand lance pattern. (See Photo's - This is the same pattern that was featured last year in "Fly Fishing in Saltwaters" magazine, along with another 5 New England Guides "go to fly" -In my opionion, the top wade, surf, fly, spin guide in New England is Tony Stetzko, his fly was in there)
Sand Lance or more commonly referred to as an eel. (They are actually a member of the lance family)
This 22 lb. , 40 inch Bass ate it good in 3 feet of sight fishing water!
Outside Cape Cod Beach:
Walked to the outside and WOW, some interesting changes have taken place. It was fun to explore some brand new bars, points,
bowls. As the tide turned and started to rise I saw approx. 1500 stripers in 2 hours within casting range. Schools of 50 to 200 swam in
as little as 1 foot of water. Some keepers were in the mix. They ate the squid fly reeeeeel good! Bright sun, high noon, crystal clear water and
nothing but the sound of the surf to keep me company.
Today I waded an outside Cape Cod Beach with the sun and counted no less than 2,000 bass migrating by me within casting distance in
1-4 feet of water. Today was not a day about simply catching, but also a day of learning. With all the new bowls, coves, bars and
channels I was more interested in figuring out the exact route they were taking at all parts of the tide. It was interesting to discover how
their migration route changed as the tide rose and fell. At exactly 2 hours before the low until 1 hour before the low I did not see a
single fish.? Then it was like someone opened the flood gates. I had to rush to release each fish as I could see another school moving
towards me down the beach. At one point I missed a fish in one school, so I just jogged down the beach and got in front of the same
school. Cast out and got one.
Both days I enjoyed throwing the two hander. Its an Orvis 9 weight, 14 footer. Its nice not getting whacked in the head with a clouser
5/12 and 5/14
Notice the dark spot in the center of each photo. That's a school of about 200 Bass. This is a normal occurrence during the month of
May. This week they have all been mostly schoolies with a few Blues. As each day pass's you will notice a slow increase of size of
Bass and more Blues. All are within casting range of a fly rod in 1-4 feet of crystal clear water! These fish are on fire and not easily
spooked I love this type of fishing. Its visually exciting and also relaxing while you get absorbed into this incredible habitat. I never blind
cast in these situations because if you don't see them, then they are simply not there. Some of these schools have been spotted over
100 yards away as they travel shallow, slow and can at times be in schools as big as your house or bigger! Even I can catch these fish!
My good friend Bill O’Mally caught and released this 39-inch'a on a fly last year during the migration!. He saw it swimming in 2 feet of
water on a sunny day at high noon on an outer Cape beach. He choose to release it, so it could produce more offspring for all of us
and our children's pleasure (Personally, I have nothing against keeping an occasional fish for the dinner table)
We all need to remember that we are the stewards of our environment. If it were not for conservative minded people 20 years ago,
we would not be enjoying the fruits of their labor today. Please remember that: "A fish is to valuable a resource to only be caught once."
"The fish you release may be a gift to another fisherman as it may have been a gift to you."
For the next 2, 3 weeks expect 500- 2000 stripers per day migrating along the outer Cape beaches with-in casting range. Expect there
size to increase every few days until most will be in the 30 inch and above range mixed in with Blues. If sunny, sight fishing for them as
they cruise along the beach in schools of 50-200 (Average) within 30 feet of the shoreline will be an optional treat. Expect blues to be
mixed in. For the Blues I enjoy working a surface popper when sight fishing. (One year I was throwing a white gurgler with a 6 inch tail on
it for Blues. It was fun to watch their heads come out of the water and see their teeth chomp down on the tail of the fly. But, it was not fun watching them
swim away with out getting hooked? Then it hit me, go back to your beginnings. Remember when you were in "want-a-be" school and you
learned that Stripers normally hit the head of their bait and Blues normally hit the tails. With a gurgler, the hook was at the head of the fly
and that's why I was missing them. I excitedly switched to a popper. Problem solved, FISH ON!!)
I personally have found that most of these outer beach Bass migrating cruisers do not like surface poppers or gurglers. Instead keep your
fly sub-surface with any type of line.
What I find to be the most visually exciting is to fish a big fly (Herring, Squid) on a floating line. Watching them break from the school to chase your perfectly cast (ahemmmm) fly to the surface with reckless abandonment, inhaling it with eagerness as if it was to be their last meal.
www.yankeeangler.com - Fishing Reports
Thank you all for your words of encouragement, kind words and your continued support. Ill continue to do my best in sharing what I've learned through, experience, experimentation, borrowed ideas and taught techniques.
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