Although, the majority of the attention paid to Black Sea Bass and Tautog is on the south side of Cape Cod and Buzzard’s Bay, Cape Cod Bay has a thriving fishery for both of these fish in the Spring and Fall. I would say that the population is not as thick (at least not yet!), but if you know where to look (typical rock piles, jetties, etc.), there’s a good chance you’ll find some of these fish.
I use the same setup for both fish. On the conventional side, I use Avet SXJ’s paired with a Tsunami Trophy Series Slow Pitch Jigging Rods. My preference is the 6’6 in the medium heavy size, however others may want a stiffer rod. I’ll run 40lb Power Pro braid on these.
The braid is a bit on the heavier side, but it’s important to get the fish out of the rocks and debris they’re typically hiding in. In addition, it provides a bit more abrasion resistance.
Again, people’s preferences are all different, but these setups are quality products that will get you setup on the fish.
I was recently turned onto Danco for terminal tools such as pliers and knives and have to say I’m very impressed with the quality vs. price. Being that my office is on the boat, surrounded by the ocean, things tend to, let’s say…fall overboard.
These tools come at a great price point where I can appreciate the quality and the service they provide me, but won’t be broken hearted if they’re accidentally knocked overboard.
I go with the Tournament Series – Stainless Steel for my everyday usage ones. The ones I’m currently using are the Shocker and Throttle, depending on what’s closest, but have used all of them and they perform great.
For split ring pliers, the Riptides are the way to go. There are the typical split ring pliers that start to bend after some usages. These are heavy duty and highly recommend.
For knives, Danco also has a ton of great options at a great price as well. For bleeding fish and just generally having a knife handy, I use the 4″ Fillet – Tournament knife. They way I figure, for the price of $7, if I get a season or two out of it, great!
For fileting fish, my go to is the 7″ Pro Series Flex Knife. I personally hate long knives to cut fish. This one is perfect for the Striped Bass and Bluefish we see around Cape Cod Bay.
A bonus to all the Danco products for the most part is that you can select from a bunch of different colors. On my last order, I went with pink for everything; mainly because it’s the easiest to see and won’t get lost in the clutter of stuff on the boat.
I’ve grown up being told you need a specific tool for each situation. I took that philosphy and brought it over into my passion for fishing. Take a peak below at my favorite lures for Striped Bass on Cape Cod for different situations.
Rapala Skitter Pop Saltwater in Red Head, Mullet, and Blue Chartreuse.
Musky Mania’s Doc and Lil’ Doc top water plugs in 7″ and 9″ in the bone color. We will either fish them unpainted, or paint mackerel patterns, or red head patterns.
Spro Bucktail Jigs. We use every size and almost every color for all different types of situations. They even double as good Black Sea Bass jigs. These are the only types of bucktails we use for light tackle fishing and fish very well with half of a Slug-Go tipped on the hook to provide a “tail”.
Slug-Go’s. We use anywhere from 4″ to 9″ and an array of colors. My favorites are Smoke Pepper Shad, Arkansas Shiner, Bubble Gum, Albino Shad, and Black. However, pair the colors to type of bait you have around and they all work well.
RonZ Lures are probably our go-to favorites and provide the most options/species of fish to catch. We get Striped Bass, Bluefish, Bluefin Tuna, Black Sea Bass, Fluke and even Flounder on these. They’re simply awesome. Specifically for Striped Bass, we use the 6″ Original Series in all of the colors. When the Striped Bass are on larger sand eels, we will throw out the 8″ Original Series out there in all different colors. For some reason, Ron Z’s are dialed in and are a favorite amongst the majority of fishermen on Cape Cod.
Hogy Epoxy Jigs are awesome and very versatile for Striped Bass, Bluefish, and False Albacore on Cape Cod. For the smaller ones we use 5/8-ounce jigs in Olive, Anchovy, and Rainbait for favorite colors. However, I’ve used all of the colors and they all produce, pending on the bait around. Additionally, we use the 1 ¼- ounce and 2-ounce for larger baitfish. Again, match the color of bait around to the color of Hogy and you’re going to be dialed in for fish.
Daddy Mac Lures are also a favorite of mine. They’re made with high quality components and are awesome for Striped Bass, Bluefish, and False Albacore. We typically use the 1.4-ounce Elite Casting Jigs in Chrome, Squid, Sand Eel Green, and Sand Eel colors and they produce very well. Additionally, they cast like a bullet and can get you the extra distance you need on fish that are moving around quickly.
I have to admit I’m a huge gear junky. It’s safe to say that the majority of my fishing buddies are as well. Whenever people ask, “Why do you have over 30 different rods?”, I always respond that there’s a specific tool for each type of fishing we do on Cape Cod Bay.
For example, when we are live bait fishing for Striped Bass on Cape Cod Bay, my go to setup is a Shimano Tallus Blue Water Casting Rod in the 7’2 length with medium action.
I’ve found this paired with an Avet MXL is an awesome combo that can tackle all sizes of Striped Bass. The best thing with the Avet reels is that you can get most colors you can think of. So you can customize your outfits however you’d like! Typically, I run 30lb Power Pro braid on these reels. These outfits will handle anything from 14″ school sized Striped Bass, to 50lbers.
When casting lightweight surface plugs, soft plastics, metals, etc., to school sized Striped Bass and Bluefish, I like to use a Shimano Stradic‘s in the 2500 size, paired with a Jigging World Nexus Spinning Rod in the 7′ length. This is an ultimate lightweight killer that can cast 1-ounce metals and plugs a mile, while still being able to get some solid distant with soft plastics. In addition to school sized Striped Bass, this setup also works awesome for when the False Albacore run in the end of the summer along the south side of the Cape and Islands. I run 10lb Power Pro on this setup.
The past couple of seasons, we’ve had a really large class of Striped Bass around Provincetown in the beginning of the season. They’re only here for a short time, but when they’re around, the name of the game is top water and it is insane fishing. With this type of fishing, I use Shimano Stradic’s in the 5000 size paired with a St. Croix Tidemaster Rod. Everyone’s opinions differ, but my favorite is the medium heavy, fast action rod in the 8′ length. This gives the added distance to cast larger plugs and a ton of backbone to wrestle 40lb Striped Bass to the boat.
This is just the start. These combos cover most of my light tackle inshore setups for Striped Bass, Bluefish, and False Albacore on Cape Cod. Take a peak over at our other blogs for what we use for Black Sea Bass and Tautog.
Obviously, one of the most important things is to take care of the tools of the trade. It’s pretty easy and simple, but increases the longevity of both rods and reels and keeps them in good, functioning shape.
After every use, all rods and reels (and lures that were used), get washed down with freshwater. For the rods and reels, after I’m finished washing the boat with Orpine boat soap, I’ll take a cloth and just quickly wipe down all of the rods and reels with the sudsy water. This provides an added measurement of getting all the salt off the tackle, but helps with removing Mackerel scales that quite frequently end up everywhere you touch.
When putting the rods and reels away for the season, I’ll mix up a batch of soapy water, and wash everything again. Next, I’ll dry everything with a rag. All the reels are removed from the rods, and line stripped off. Next, I’ll spray all rods and reels with Corrosion X. This helps prevent any corrosion from salt that might’ve ended up in sneaky places. After I do this to the rods, I put them away for the season.
For the reels, I’ll break them down and re-grease all the gears and drags with Cal’s Universal Drag and Gear Grease. This is the most time consuming, especially with 30-40 reels to do. Usually, I’ll take a handful a couple night’s a week and do them after dinner while watching some television. Every couple of years, I’ll bring my reels into Goose Hummock in Orleans and have them break them down and completely go over everything. This isn’t as necessary for folks who don’t use their gear as much as I do, but it’s always good to do to make sure your gear is in good shape. The last thing you’d ever want, is to have your drag seize up with you have that 50lb. Striped Bass or 800lb. Bluefin Tuna on the end of the line.