Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Big Ditch

While I'm grateful to be able to catch striped bass close to home, most storied haunts along the Striper Coast are a decent drive for me, the Cape Cod Canal being one. I try to make a couple trips to the Cape each year and there was a time when I blew right over the Bourne or Sagamore Bridges without giving much thought to the striped bass super highway below me. All that has changed in recent years, as I am trying like hell to learn the ins and outs of "The Big Ditch," which isn't easy when you live nearly 200 miles from it.

This year's trip was planned a little earlier than in the past, trying to time perfectly the annual run of big striped traveling from Buzzard's Bay through the Canal into Cape Cod Bay. When you can only go a couple days a season, this is essentially like rolling the dice. However, the more times you play, the better chances you have to win. So one of these years our educated guesses will become more precise and we'll hopefully "hit it right"; that or we'll just get lucky and step in shit! I'll take either...

Aaron, Derrick and I made a commando run one Sunday night in mid-May. Aaron purchased a brandy new bike rack to hold our three "Canal Cruisers" and we crossed the Canal just before midnight. That gave us nearly five hours of alone time in the dark before the masses would show for first light. For all the stories you hear about overcrowding at the Canal, in our limited trips there at night, we luckily haven't seen many anglers at all.

I wish I could say the fishing was on fire, but it just wasn't the case. We landed a few striped bass in the 15-pound range right away and missed some others, though it was pretty slow overall. The morning bite was rather nonexistent too, at least where we were, but that's the way it is sometimes. Of course in the days and weeks following our trip, when we couldn't free up our schedules, the Canal reports went off like crazy with 30 and even 40-pound bass eating mackerel like Tic Tacs.

Big fish or not, we still put our time in and banked experience at one of the most productive striper locales in the Northeast. We just have to keep going up there, do our homework and one of these years we'll hit it right. It's an awesome place to learn that's for sure.

Maiden Canal voyage for the new ZeeBaaS.

My ninja surf fishing bike in all her glory.

Derrick with the typical size bass that seemed to be around that night.

A 17-mile Striped Bass Super Highway
A view of the Sagamore Bridge from the mainland.