Grab your gear and hit the beach!
By Craig Cantelmo, Van Staal Corp.
Cape Cod has so many fishing opportunities to take advantage of from late April to the end of October. One of my favorites is surf fishing the outer Cape around Nauset Inlet during late Spring and early summer where large schools of striped bass can be found feeding along the shore line. So close at times that your hook ups can be startling!
The outer Capes sand beaches stretch for miles and gives the surf caster miles of shoreline to discover. The shallow bars and gullies channel the bass close to shore and during higher tides these fish can be found swimming just a few feet to sometimes inches from the shore line. Learning the structure of bars and troughs will show you the channels that allow the fish past the shallow sand bars to feed along the drop off that runs along the shoreline.
Surf fishing the open beach is not difficult to learn and relies on only a few tackle choice’s to be successful. The staff at Goose Hummock can show you the rods and reels that fit into your budget. Remember that you’ll be fishing in an area that will test the durability of your gear so choosing a reel that is sealed from the elements is important to reduce maintenance and will not be effected by the sand to eliminate problems when you hook up with a nice fish. The staff can also show you where to access the beach locally and which beaches have had the most action.
My gear requirements for fishing the Capes outer beaches is a 9-10’ light action rod capable of throwing lures from 1/2oz to 3 ounce and a large capacity surf reel that can hold at least 300 yards of 30lb braided line. Since your fishing the sand beaches you don’t have to worry about getting cut off by any rocks or other snags using the lighter line allows you to cast considerably further. Casting distance is critical when surfcasting the outer beaches because your covering ground to find out where the fish are feeding and the more water you can cover with each cast the better. The Van Staal VS150 is an ideal choice for this type of fishing.
The striped bass are feeding predominately on sand eels and occasionally larger fin fish so a selection of thin profiled lures will be most effective. You tackle bag doesn’t have to be complicated and would recommend carrying two thin profile swimming plugs like the SPMinnow in both yellow and white and bone white. This lure comes out of the box ready to fish, casts well and does almost all of the work for you with just a steady retrieve. The SP Minnow lure is most effective in low light situations like dusk and dawn and really performs well at night. For day time trips walking the beach you would want to make sure you have to “tins” or metal lures that imitate sand eels and are shaped to catch the sun to flash and attract the fishes attention and also surface poppers like a Pencil Popper. My favorite daytime activity is throwing surface lures and ‘whipping the fish into a frenzy”. There’s nothing more exciting then watching a nice big bass chase down a pencil popper worked across the surface. Remember to pack a quality pair of pliers to quickly and easily unhook your fish this will make your outing that much more enjoyable.
I like the last two hours of the incoming tide and the first two hours of the dropping tide because it allows for enough water to pass over the outer sand bars to make fish feel more comfortable moving over and around them to feed along the shoreline trough. That’s why I like to fish a stretch of beach during the daylight hours to learn where the sand bars start and end and where the channels begin and end. You’ll find that much of you activity will be found around the channels that move the water back out as the waves recede. It is around these “dumps” that I would concentrate as the fish feel more comfortable and this is where many of the baitfish will be trying to exit and it is a great ambush point.
It’s more important to go fish when you can, keep a journal of your successes so you can start to piece together the reasons a certain stretch of beach is successful and when. Get out there and Good Luck!