Launched the SeaCraft yesterday for the first time this year. She ran like a champ and it felt awesome to get back on the water. Went through all the systems and everything seems to check out perfectly. Can’t wait to start fishing!
On the rare occasions where all my buddies and myself have the same time off, we’ll take an afternoon and take one of our boats over to Wellfleet Harbor for afternoon of cocktails and some good food. The run from Barnstable to Wellfleet via boat is around 12-14 miles give or take. Sometimes, we’ll hug the shoreline and take a slow cruise.
There’s a handful of places that the Wellfleet Harbor area has to offer which makes for a fun afternoon. For food, there’s The Pearl, Mac’s On the Pier, and Mac’s Shack, which is a 5-minute walk from the harbor. If you end up at Mac’s Shack, make sure you get their Pain Killer. It’s a perfect summer afternoon drink, with some of their sushi as well.
After filling up on some food and drinks at Mac’s Shack, we’ll walk back down to the harbor and stop in at The Pearl for one more. Typically, there will be some live entertainment, but times change depending on which time of the season it is.
Finally, we always make it appoint to stop into the Frying Pan Gallery to check out what’s new in the shop. They have some really cool and interesting pieces of art that are all locally made. They make for perfect gifts for family and friends.
Typically, we head to Wellfleet a half dozen times or so throughout the summer. If weather permits, our last trip via boat will be during the Wellfleet Oysterfest in October. It is an absolute blast of a time, with tons of oysters, people, and partying to go along. I highly recommend going if you’re around during the dates it’s being held.T
Fishermen have to eat, right? When not fishing, you can typically find myself and my other fishing buddies hanging around the local watering holes for some delicious cocktails and sustenance for the next day. Right in Barnstable Harbor, Mattakeese Wharf is a convenient favorite of ours. The food is good, atmosphere is great, have a great drink menu, and the views are top notch.
When we’re feeling adventurous, we’ll head to the South Side of Cape Cod over to Hyannis Harbor and go to Baxter’s. They’re right on the water, provide a great atmosphere and a great place to unwind after a day on the water. One thing to note is that in the summer, it can get pretty busy in there, especially Thursday and Friday evenings while people stop in before taking the ferry to the Islands.
If Baxter’s is too busy, we’ll head over to Tugboat’s and head upstairs to the bar overlooking Hyannis Harbor. Garth makes a mean cocktail and is always in good spirits. This is a bit of a ‘secret’ spot upstairs and you can typically always find a table or a seat at the bar.
Another favorite of ours is the Black Cat Tavern where we sit outside at their Shack Out Back for the raw bar. All the seafood is very good, typically there is a band playing and has some fires going if it’s on the chillier side.
If we haven’t had enough fish and seafood in our life for one day, another place we like to go to is Misaki Sushi, over on West Main Street in Hyannis. I would say that it’s a bit of a hole in the wall place, but the sushi is unbelievable. Typically, they can get busy, so it’s best to make a reservation during the high season.
A spot that we either travel to via boat or car is Sesuit Harbor Cafe located over in Dennis. The picnic table styled atmosphere host views of the entrance to the harbor as well as Cape Cod Bay. They have an awesome raw bar as well as good seafood plates. Best of all, it is BYOB.
It’s honestly tough, because I love to catch Tautog, Black Sea Bass, Striped Bass, and Bluefin Tuna. All of them provide their unique characteristics and different tactics to catch. However, one that stands out and typically, would be one that most fishermen agree with, is that fishing for Bluefin Tuna is the biggest thrill and adrenaline rush anyone can experience.
Around 10 years ago, we were gifted by Mother Nature a ton, and I mean literally thousands upon thousands of small ‘football’ sized Bluefin Tuna in Cape Cod Bay. They were tough to catch, being tuna, but everyday we went out, we always had a shot. It was up to us anglers to be able to catch them.
Those ‘football’ tuna have since moved to other locations, but we have been left with consistent Giant Bluefin Tuna throughout the season. The season for Giant’s open up June 1, but we don’t start to fish for them until middle-end of July. It’s funny, for catching such a magnificent, powerful, and truly majestic fish, the technique of fishing is fairly rudimentary.
Pending on where the fish are: Stellwagen Bank, off the backside of Provincetown, or Cape Cod Bay (areas where we fish), we will pick up some live bait. Either we will jig up Mackerel or Whiting out on the fishing grounds or get Pogies or Menhaden, and head out to the fishing grounds. Next, we use the same tactic we use for live lining Striped Bass, but with much larger gear.
We use big 130 class size reels with 150lb line, 80/130 size rods, and beefed up 6/0-8/0 live bait hooks. Next, we will bridle the bait we are using, put a 16-ounce weight about 10-15 feet above the swivel, and count off the line to our respective depth we want to have our bait at. Finally, we will attach a balloon to the line and let it drift away from the boat.
After this, it’s a waiting game. A bunch of grown people, staring at balloons bobbing in the ocean, hoping that in a second of not paying attention, the drag starts screaming and we’re on. Tuna fishing is like scratching a scratch ticket. Sometimes you get lucky, other times you wait for days on end without a bite. It’s the name of the game, but when you hook up, it’s an experience you remember forever.
The entire fishing season on Cape Cod is my favorite—it’s tough to pick just one time that stands out. Each different aspect, early season, middle of the season, and end of the season all offer different tactics to fish for Striped Bass on Cape Cod and are all unique. However, the time of season that really stands out to me in the Spring time, when the Striped Bass make their migration North to our waters. The fish are hungry, here in abundance, and aren’t hesitant to hit anything thrown at them.
There’s two tactics I like to choose when fishing for Striped Bass early in season. Those are casting top water lures for them while they are feeding and live lining Mackerel to them around the Barnstable Harbor area.
Typically, the Mackerel show up around the Barnstable Harbor Bell Buoy in middle/end of April. Next, the Striped Bass find them in the first to second week of May.
From when the Striped Bass show, until end of June, the fishing is typically lights out. We go jig up our Mackerel, and then go back into the Barnstable Harbor Channel and live line them. It’s not uncommon to run out of Mackerel that the action is so fast and furious. The fish are aggressive and have no problem feeding up after their long migration North.
Additionally, since the Striped Bass are in feeding mode, we can expect top water feeds throughout the day, not specific to the early AM or evening times. This is particularly fun because not only are small, school sized Striped Bass feeding, but typically older, larger fish will join in them. It offers you a great shot and 30″-40″ Striped Bass on light tackle and it’s a ton of fun.