Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Cape Weekend

When the invitation for an October wedding in Cape Cod came in the mail, my wife and I were more than pleased. The fall is a wonderful time of year to be there and the fishing is usually good too. Truro resembled a ghost town when we arrived the Friday before the wedding, which was a welcomed change from the usual hustle and bustle we encounter there every summer. All wedding guests booked rooms in a small motel on Route 6A that overlooked the expansive Cape Cod Bay. In the courtyard of the motel, there was a huge white tent for the following day's reception, which meant a short walk (read: stumble) back to the room!

Low tide on the vast Cape Cod Bay

A look at downtown Provincetown in the distance.

Once settled, we drove a few miles north to Provincetown and dined at a very nice restaurant that lived up to its hype. Their martini list was longer than most menus I've seen, but the thing I enjoyed most were the oysters on the half shell, which were plucked from Wellfleet waters that very day.

Wellfleet oysters are a must when on Cape Cod! They are some of the best in the world.
Being on the Cape in October, it was pretty much mandatory to sneak in some fishing time. So after a nice catnap, I found myself driving down an empty Route 6 to the Cape Cod Canal. It's kind of ironic because I used to drive right over the Canal on my way to fish the back beaches of Truro and Provincetown without thinking twice about it. Now I was staying right in Truro and driving over an hour in the opposite direction. It just goes to show how fishing spots and habits change over time.

A few phone calls and emails to contacts in the Cape helped formulate my fishing plans that morning. Reports weren't excellent, yet there had been some striped bass cooperating in the Canal at night and first light. With coffee in hand, I strolled down the service road on the mainland-side of the Canal by 5 AM. It was just enough time to get in position and get my bearings before the sun came up. I was far from alone however, as the easy access and consistency of the Canal usually spells competition, especially at dawn.

The first hints of day break with the Sagamore Bridge in the background.
After posting up at a spot that I had never fished before, I began rotating through the ridiculous amount of lures I brought along.  There was a good deal of bait, young of the year herring was my guess, that were getting gobbled up by cormorants working in front of me. When I heard the first pop as the eastern sky began to brighten, I made the switch to surface lures.

A super tanker getting towed through the canal. Note the cormorant in the foreground.

There was a long line of anglers on both sides of the Canal with a respectable distance in between them. Unfortunately, no one was catching anything. Every once in a while a striper would crash baitfish on the surface, so at least we all knew there were fish to be had. The next plug out of my bag was a custom Super Strike Little Neck Popper that I had won through a contest on Facebook. It was a sinking 2 3/8-ounce version that is one of the best kept secrets in surfcasting because it's a popper that swims better than most swimmers.Not only does it have great action, the plug casts like a missile. In about a 30-minute span, I hooked three stripers using it, landing two of them, both feisty fish just under 20-pounds.

The custom Little Neck Popper
I was proud to catch those fish, especially because they were the only two I saw caught all morning. They were also the first bass I had taken on that lure and it was the first time I had caught fish on the mainland-side of the Canal. After a couple of hours and my head held high, I made the trek back to Truro and enjoyed the awesome wedding festivities. The ceremony was in a historic church in Provincetown, then we partied under the tent at the motel into the wee hours of the morning. One particular highlight for me was the raw bar. The groom and his wedding party were recreational tuna fishermen and landed three 60-pound  Bluefin earlier that week. Along with the tuna sashimi, Wellfleet Oyster & Clam Co. served up their finest shellfish. It was a perfect touch for a Cape Cod wedding.

Another top-water bass from the Cape Cod Canal


  1. Thanks, Andrew! Hope all is well in indian territory.

  2. I don't know what sounds like more fun- catching the fish, or the party!