ChrisWoohoo!Wow! For decades, families and carsand minivansloaded down withbeach chairs and bicycleshave cheered upon crossingthe Cape Cod Canal. Which marks the starting lineto a Cape Cod vacation. However, for fisherman focusedon catching big striped bass. The canal is not a crossing poitbut a destination in itself. The Cape Cod Canalis a fishery like none other. It’s strong currents and rockydropoffsfunnel huge schools of herringMenahaden, mackerel, andstriped bass of all sizeswithin casting distanceof shore bound anglers. The same conditions that makethe canalsuch an incredible fisheryalso make it a challenging placeto fish. Big fish and strong tidescan test tackle. And at times, crowds offisherman will test patience. Canal fishing requiresspecialized tackleand techniques. And canal crowds call to foradherence tounspoken rules of etiquette. It can be an intimidatingplace to fishbut fisherman who take the timeto learn the mysteriesare often rewarded withbig striped bass. On a day with full moon tideshave drawn mackerel and stripersin to the canal fromCape Cod BayI met Chris Megan and Patrick O’Donnell of On The Wateron the Cape side of the Canalfor a mid summer striper bite. ♪powerful electronic music♪♪ Big thing of mackerel comingyour way guys. Oh look I just turned themOh I just whacked one. I don’t know how I’mmissing them. -This is gonna be one. Look at them beingpushed up right thereon the corner nobody’s in front of them. – A lot of bait is starting to go by nowthat the current’s moving. I think I picked up a little kublah. -You get a fish pickup that mackerel?-Yeah. I think we may stand toget bigger fish on this side. You know?-Yeah!- All of the fish I sawthis morningcoming from this areawere big fish. – It’s one of the benefits ofusing thatsingle circle hookthat you’ve got on there. Cause it should be a quick easyrelease for that smaller fish. -The nice thing aboutcircle hooks is it isbuttoned right in the corner. There we go!It’s starting to turn onnow definitely. Smaller fish butgood to see life. Try not to get you wet. (Chris laughs as fishsplashes him)-Just a beautiful fishswimming off. So it’s just starting to turn on right nowbut I can tell you with all ofthe macks that are startingto come through your gonnahave to see some bigger fishin here. -Boy, look at them blitzingon the other side Chris. -That’s what I’m saying. Jimmy’s on them. Look at them being pushedup right there on the corner. Nobody’s in front of them. You see it?-Yeah, you’d want to be there. -This is gonna be a slob. I like to toss them out and let them swim for a little bit. Give him a little bit of line. Keep the bail open. Especially if you’ve got a really fresh one. He’s gonna act as a little fish finder. He’s gonna try toscoot out. He’s out there aloneright now, so. Big, big fish just rolledon the surfaceright in front of the sailboat. See them breaking outin the middle?-Oh they’re breakingout there now!So we got big fish thatare starting to move in nowthat are breaking. They’re within casting distance. They’re gonna be out frontright behind this sailboat. Here we go Kev. -Nice Chris. -That was out in theThat might be a better fish’cause it was out in the Yeah I see head shakes. It’s taking drag. The fish in the last few daysjust have been very gooddown here. With all the mackerel that’s in the canal. This morning was just epic. Here come a lot more mackerel. You can see the mackerelpassing right in front of me. As close to shore as I can. Cause they know if they ventureout a little ways. It’s over for them. -The current’s not running that fast right now. So you don’t get the same fight. You’re not fighting the currentas much as you usually are. -That’s it. Right now we’re justturning current. -That’s a nice bass. -That’s a nice fish. It’d be a keeper. This would be the one you’d wantto eat if you want to eat a fishOh buttoned right in the corner. I think I have a feelingif we stay herethese fish are gonna getbigger and bigger. -Nice Chris-Thanks buddy!Easy fella. Yeah! It’s a better fishthan you realizelook at the bellyon them. So these things with the macksthat are in here right nowthey’re gorging. -Yeah. I think that’s a fishYeahOh that’s a nice fishThat’s a two handerTwo hander to get him inThat is a beautiful fishThere we goThat’s a nice oneTo get these up in Maine like this The strong currents, rocky bott,and crowded conditionsmake the Cape Cod Canal anintimidating placefor visiting fisherman. So I met with dedicated striper surfcasterRoy Leyva of Shimano. To get his advice for angler’slooking to make their first castinto the canal. Roy, one of the questions we getall the time from people is,”What do I need to gofish the Cape Cod Canal?I’ve heard about it. I’ve heard there’s big fish. It’s intimidating. “What are kind of the basicsof what someone needsto start fishing the canal. -Well ideally you wanttwo setups. -Okay. -And the reason why is,you want distance. Mainly when you’rethrowing pencils or surface plugs,actually with anythingbecause a lot of timesthe fish are out of reach. They’re coming down the middle. They’re chasing bait. -Usually they’re on the other side. -Yes, yes, yesThey always look like they’reon the other side. Now the guy looking for. Who can only afford one rodand one rod only. I would look at somethingbetween10. 5 to maybe 12ftand a medium to medium heavyfast action. And then you want a reelthat 1. is fast in line per crank so. – So pickup line quickly. -Yeah pickup line, you want thatto bereally fast at least40 inches per crank. And why’s that important on the canal?-Well you’ve got a lot of rock. You have an extremefast drop off on the edgesAnd if you’re jigging or you know you’re fighting a fishand you’ve got to get him up. Over that ledge real quick. It’s that fast pickup, itjust helpsbecause you can get itright back inwithout hanging upinto those rocks. -What about a leaderand clip setup. -I tie straight usually fg knotis what I prefer. I like long leaders. I’m usually fishing anywherefrom 50 to 60lb leader. -Okay, flurocarbon or?Flurocarbon yes, yup. And if bluefish show upthen I’ll go to 80just cause-Right. -It saves some lures. -So you mentioned, good to havetwo rodsone being more of a plugging rodand the other onewould be a jigging rod. What do you look for in a jigging rod?-Um, definitely heavy. Heavy and fast. On a huge moon,you’re looking attides that can ripas much as 9 knots. -Right. -That’s a lot of current. -And on top of how heavyof a jig, I mean. -I think at slack tide youcan get away withlike three and a half,four ounces. But as that tide progressesYou know you’re gonna need fiveor six ounces on a normal tide. I mean I’ve thrown as muchas 8 ounces in here. Just to be able to bounce thebottom twice before I can’tdo it anymore. -So what do you look for ina rating on a rod. To handle something like that?-Something that’s three to six definitely in the least. -Okay. -Um, and higher depending on if you want to go throwsix and eight ounce jigs. -And do you need a morepowerful reel or anythingto match that heavier rodfor jigging?-Yeah so we recommend startingat Spheros, SaragosaTwin Power and even Stella. And I know Stella a lot of people. You look at that price tagand it’s like, “Whoa”. But you ride up and down thesebike trailsthere is a lot of Stellas. -There is a lot of them. -There is two things,the gearhas to be quality gear. Two, you know, theetiquette that comes with it. That is something that can be intimidatingabout fishing the canalis you get down herelike we did this morning andthe bites been good so there is guysevery ten yards or soand you don’t want tocross linesyou don’t want to make anybody angry. So how do you handle that?What’s the kind of canal etiquetteWhat are the unwritten rules?-That’s it. There’s a lot ofemotion that comes with fishing. -Right. -And it goes both ways. I mean the guy who’s catching fishdoesn’t want to be botheredand the guy who’snot catching fishdefinitely doesn’t wantto be bothered. and you get a lot of that, you ?But I’ve always told peopleYou know, If you’re gonna comedown and you’re gonna fishright next to me, at least say hello. You know?And 2. Ask questions. Find out what I’m throwing,what I’m doing. I don’t have to tell you allthe secrets. But to know if I’m jiggingor if I’mthrowing a popper or if I’mthrowing a metal lip swimmer. That all is relevant becausewe’re fishing current. If you’re jigging you’ve gotto wait for one guy to castand then the next guy and thenext cast. And you all go in sync. So if somebody’s trying tojig in the middle offive guys throwing a plug. It just doesn’t workbecause you’ve gotlines crossing at two different speeds. most guys down hereare friendly. -Yeah. -I mean all of the old timersI mean. But a lot of us have put inour time. It’s kind of hard. When someone comes down andwants to muscle through. When none of us mindanyone fishing. Just as long as everybodyplays fair game. And I think that’s what it is. I mean especially nowall the social media and stuff. There’s just so many people here. -Right. -On the banks and there is so many peopleYou know, everyone has tolearn somehow. You start somewhere. No one comes hereand knows exactly what to do. But that’s a good start. Just be courteous. You know, be friendly. Find out what’s going on. You know?That’s it!Most guys will, will behappy to share a tide with you. ♪upbeat acoustic trumpet♪♪ When we could no longer standwatching the bass blitzingon the other side. We decided it was time to move. -They got them pinnedright there man. We hopped in the truckand crossed the Bourne Bridgeto the mainland. Hoping to intercept the fishas they move east. – Earlier we were getting somefish on the Cape side. But not as consistentand across from us we sawthat there was mackerelbeing pushed literallyup on the shore. Steady action for about two hou. So we fished the cape sideand picked up a few fish. We were across from theradar tower. Decided to make the callof coming across here. That’s what is nice about thecanal bikes. It makes us very very mobileso when you’re riding along. -There’s one!-Nice Kev!As you’re riding along-I dropped him. -You can cover a lot of ground. -Almost pulled me off the rocks. -Yeah, they’re hitting hard. – I wasn’t ready for that. – Oh! Right there!-There you go Kevin!Oh it buttoned him in the tail. It’s funny, you can go allalong the canaland you can have stretches wherethere is nothingthen you can have stretches where it’sjust on and this is clearlya spot that’s on. Got some nice moving waterthough and these fishare hitting it-Chris that’s-Really healthy. That’s a beautiful fish Chris. That’s a gorgeous fish. Look at all the mackerelcoming in front of us right nowchasing bait. -I’m gonna go ahead and walkthis guy right upNot gonna put himway up on the rocks. It is treacherous on this. This is where a nice set ofpliers comes in very handy. Alright buddy you justsoaked me. -You never get warningwith that. It’s always when you leastexpect it. Beautiful striped bassguys, huh?-Nice fish Chris!-This guy is gonna takeright off. -It’s the middle of augustright now. You can feel how coldthis water isCause it all came in fromCape Cod Bay. And that’s why you’ve got mackereland you’ve got fish feeding. Wheras the rest of Massachusettsright now it’s likesummer doldrums. It’s tough to get a striperfrom shore anywhere else. -Fishing Shimano. I’ve got an IMX 11ftmedium heavy. With a Saragosa 8000. I’m a little bit heavieron my line. I’ve got 65Just cause it was all I had inmy bagwhen I broke one offearlier this morning. I had toput on a topshot of 65. And Kev’s got the exactsame rod. I think he’s pretty muchwith am IMX as well. But, I think he’s got a 10 foot. -There’s a lot of days hereon the canal whereespecially in the springtime and the fall where the fish arecoming to the surface outtoward the middle. and you really need to cast far. Cast long to reach them. And that’s when having a longcast outfit11ft rod really makesa differencetoday they’re chasing mackerelright up to the side. So it really doesn’tYou don’t really have to cast far. We’re just lobbing baits out. -I like landing next to Kevand then trying to grabone of his fish. -So a lot of guys talk aboutCanal etiquette. And basically what you do isyou justthe most important thing isyou nevercast over the person who-This guy’s going for a swimup top. -This is a magical place. A lot of guys in the summertime willthey’ll travel up to the mountasof Maine or New Hampshirefor the beautiful splendor butgive me the canal any dayI mean. You don’t see things like thisanywhere else. -Give me the freshwater comingdown fromthe maritime academybeing pumped out onthe outflowand just you know,enjoy it. It’s not only discouraged,it’s actually illegal, butHey! -I’m not sure he’s actuallyswimming, he’s bathing. Which I’m not sure. – It’s true he might bein the loophole. That was an on purposeswim right?-That was absolutely, he tookhis shirt off and everything. -So we got, somecanal etiquette. You got three guys fishing in a row hereand you let the downstream guycast first. He starts swingingright to left. I go second right to left and tnthird guy would go. And then everybody gets to fish. Nobody crosses. -The other thing you do isthe guy usually upup current starts bathing firstand then you let the soapfloat down to the next guy. He’s gonna use the soap. The key there is not to pushthe bar of soap out too farso it’s easy grab. Then once you’re done with thesoap and the shampoo-Now see I always thought youthe guy downstream bathes first. So you don’t get the filth from the guy upstream. -But you can’t get the soap tohim when he’s upstream. -Ah, I guess you’vegot different strokes. Looks like some shampooscoming down. It seems like some of the bestspots on the canalwhen this mackerelbite is going offtoward the center of the canalyou get thesekind of sharp bends. -I agree with you. -Cause when you get the strong current running east or west-it will actually hit those bend and deflect. You get more eddies. You get a little more current. It stirs the water up. It seems to trap themackerel in this area. And it also looks likeas far as the mackerel are concernedthey don’t really want togo into Buzzards Bay’s water. They like staying in thecolder water of Cape Cod Bay. They’ll work their wayon the west tideall the way down toBuzzards Bay. They’ll kind of make theirway down there. As soon as the current turns. They’ll come back to the sweet spot is right where we are kinda-There he is. -There he is cap’-Oh one just hit a mackerelright in front of you Chris. -Yeah. -Look at that!-I got to get right backat that spot. He took a swing at it but Ithink he came up on itand I had a little weed. Kev’s tight. I’m gonna be tight in a secondbecause they are right here. Gonna let that guy swing inright to the sweet spot. I can not stay clean. -You know I took off every treble hook except the front one. And maybe you miss a few more fish butyou don’t get as many weeds. -Boy right in front of us there. and that’s the canal. It goes in waves. We’re sitting here kind ofnothing for five minutes. Then all of a sudden thenext thing you knowjust breaks loose. Mackerel being pushed rightout of the waterjumping all over the place. fortunately I made a long castand they were reallyright at my feet. ♪ gentle upbeat acoustic music♪♪ By late morning, the increasingboat traffice had scatteredthe bait. After debating a move toanother location. We decided to stay putand see if another wave of baitand striperswould come through on the east moving tide. -Alright so Kev just castand he was gonna wait forme to cast. So, I’m in the penalty boxfor a couple of minutes. That’s part of that etiquette wewe talkied about earlier. – I think work etiquette over rulscanal etiquette. -I think it does. -The bass are just right behindmNice Chris!Come on. There he is!Look at that. For catching stripers fromshore in the middle of summer. There is no better placethan the Cape Cod Canal. Put in some time. Learn what you can fromthe regulars. And before you know ityou might becomea dedicated canal regularyourself. We want to bring you the best content possible. 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