Fishing the Cape Cod Canal | S16 E4

Woohoo!Wow! For decades, families and cars
and minivansloaded down with
beach chairs and bicycleshave cheered upon crossing
the Cape Cod Canal. Which marks the starting line
to a Cape Cod vacation. However, for fisherman focused
on catching big striped bass. The canal is not a crossing poitbut a destination in itself. The Cape Cod Canal
is a fishery like none other. It’s strong currents and rocky
dropoffsfunnel huge schools of herringMenahaden, mackerel, and
striped bass of all sizeswithin casting distance
of shore bound anglers. The same conditions that make
the canalsuch an incredible fishery
also make it a challenging placeto fish. Big fish and strong tides
can test tackle. And at times, crowds of
fisherman will test patience. Canal fishing requires
specialized tackleand techniques. And canal crowds call to for
adherence tounspoken rules of etiquette. It can be an intimidating
place to fishbut fisherman who take the time
to learn the mysteriesare often rewarded with
big striped bass. On a day with full moon tides
have drawn mackerel and stripersin to the canal from
Cape Cod BayI met Chris Megan and Patrick
O’Donnell of On The Wateron the Cape side of the Canal
for a mid summer striper bite. ♪powerful electronic music♪♪
Big thing of mackerel coming
your way guys. Oh look I just turned themOh I just whacked one.
I don’t know how I’m
missing them. -This is gonna be one. Look at them being
pushed 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 to
get bigger fish on this side. You know?-Yeah!-
All of the fish I saw
this morningcoming from this area
were big fish. –
It’s one of the benefits of
using thatsingle circle hook
that you’ve got on there. Cause it should be a quick easy
release for that smaller fish. -The nice thing aboutcircle hooks is it is
buttoned right in the corner. There we go!It’s starting to turn on
now definitely. Smaller fish butgood to see life. Try not to get you wet. (Chris laughs as fish
splashes him)-Just a beautiful fish
swimming off. So it’s just starting
to turn on right nowbut I can tell you with all of
the macks that are startingto come through your gonna
have to see some bigger fishin here. -Boy, look at them blitzing
on the other side Chris. -That’s what I’m saying.
Jimmy’s on them. Look at them being pushed
up 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 to
scoot out. He’s out there alone
right now, so. Big, big fish just rolled
on the surfaceright in front of the sailboat. See them breaking out
in the middle?-Oh they’re breaking
out there now!So we got big fish that
are starting to move in nowthat are breaking. They’re within casting distance. They’re gonna be out front
right 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 days
just 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 mackerel
passing right in front of me. As close to shore as I can. Cause they know if they venture
out 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 current
as much as you usually are. -That’s it. Right now we’re just
turning current. -That’s a nice bass. -That’s a nice fish. It’d be a keeper. This would be the one you’d want
to eat if you want to eat a fishOh buttoned right in the corner. I think I have a feeling
if we stay herethese fish are gonna get
bigger and bigger. -Nice Chris-Thanks buddy!Easy fella. Yeah! It’s a better fish
than you realizelook at the belly
on them. So these things with the macks
that 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 go
That’s a nice oneTo get these up in
Maine like this
The strong currents, rocky bott,
and crowded conditionsmake the Cape Cod Canal an
intimidating placefor visiting fisherman. So I met with dedicated
striper surfcasterRoy Leyva of Shimano. To get his advice for angler’s
looking to make their first castinto the canal. Roy, one of the questions we get
all the time from people is,”What do I need to go
fish the Cape Cod Canal?I’ve heard about it. I’ve heard there’s big fish. It’s intimidating. “What are kind of the basics
of what someone needsto start fishing the canal. -Well ideally you want
two setups. -Okay. -And the reason why is,
you want distance. Mainly when you’rethrowing pencils or
surface plugs,actually with anything
because 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’re
on the other side. Now the guy looking for. Who can only afford one rodand one rod only. I would look at something
between10. 5 to maybe 12ftand a medium to medium heavy
fast action. And then you want a reel
that 1. is fast in line per crank so. –
So pickup line quickly. -Yeah pickup line, you want that
to bereally fast at least
40 inches per crank. And why’s that important
on the canal?-Well you’ve got a lot of rock. You have an extreme
fast drop off on the edgesAnd if you’re jigging or you know you’re fighting a fish
and you’ve got to get him up. Over that ledge real quick. It’s that fast pickup, it
just helpsbecause you can get it
right back inwithout hanging up
into those rocks. -What about a leader
and clip setup. -I tie straight usually fg knot
is what I prefer. I like long leaders. I’m usually fishing anywhere
from 50 to 60lb leader. -Okay, flurocarbon or?Flurocarbon yes, yup. And if bluefish show upthen I’ll go to 80
just cause-Right. -It saves some lures. -So you mentioned, good to have
two rodsone being more of a plugging rodand the other one
would 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 rip
as much as 9 knots. -Right. -That’s a lot of current. -And on top of how heavy
of a jig, I mean. -I think at slack tide you
can get away withlike three and a half,
four ounces. But as that tide progressesYou know you’re gonna need five
or six ounces on a normal tide. I mean I’ve thrown as much
as 8 ounces in here. Just to be able to bounce thebottom twice before I can’t
do it anymore. -So what do you look for in
a 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 more
powerful reel or anythingto match that heavier rod
for jigging?-Yeah so we recommend starting
at Spheros, SaragosaTwin Power and even Stella. And I know Stella
a lot of people. You look at that price tag
and it’s like, “Whoa”. But you ride up and down these
bike 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, the
etiquette that comes with it. That is something that
can be intimidatingabout fishing the canal
is you get down herelike we did this morning andthe bites been good
so there is guysevery ten yards or soand you don’t want to
cross 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 of
emotion 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’s
not catching fishdefinitely doesn’t want
to be bothered. and you get a lot of that, you ?But I’ve always told peopleYou know, If you’re gonna come
down 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 all
the secrets. But to know if I’m jigging
or if I’mthrowing a popper or if I’m
throwing a metal lip swimmer. That all is relevant because
we’re fishing current. If you’re jigging you’ve got
to wait for one guy to castand then the next guy and the
next cast. And you all go in sync. So if somebody’s trying to
jig in the middle offive guys throwing a plug. It just doesn’t work
because you’ve gotlines crossing at two
different speeds. most guys down here
are friendly. -Yeah. -I mean all of the old timers
I mean. But a lot of us have put in
our time. It’s kind of hard. When someone comes down and
wants to muscle through. When none of us mind
anyone fishing. Just as long as everybody
plays fair game. And I think that’s what it is. I mean especially now
all 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 to
learn 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 stand
watching the bass blitzingon the other side.
We decided it was time to move. -They got them pinned
right there man. We hopped in the truck
and crossed the Bourne Bridgeto the mainland. Hoping to intercept the fish
as they move east. –
Earlier we were getting some
fish on the Cape side. But not as consistentand across from us we saw
that there was mackerelbeing pushed literally
up on the shore. Steady action for about two hou. So we fished the cape side
and picked up a few fish. We were across from the
radar tower. Decided to make the call
of coming across here. That’s what is nice about the
canal bikes. It makes us very very mobile
so 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 all
along the canaland you can have stretches where
there is nothingthen you can have stretches
where it’sjust on and this is clearly
a spot that’s on. Got some nice moving water
though 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 mackerel
coming in front of us right nowchasing bait. -I’m gonna go ahead and walk
this guy right upNot gonna put him
way up on the rocks. It is treacherous on this. This is where a nice set of
pliers comes in very handy. Alright buddy you just
soaked me. -You never get warning
with that. It’s always when you least
expect it. Beautiful striped bass
guys, huh?-Nice fish Chris!-This guy is gonna take
right off. -It’s the middle of august
right now. You can feel how cold
this water isCause it all came in from
Cape Cod Bay. And that’s why
you’ve got mackereland you’ve got fish feeding. Wheras the rest of Massachusetts
right now it’s likesummer doldrums. It’s tough to get a striper
from shore anywhere else. -Fishing Shimano. I’ve got an IMX 11ft
medium heavy. With a Saragosa 8000. I’m a little bit heavier
on my line. I’ve got 65Just cause it was all I had in
my bagwhen I broke one off
earlier this morning. I had toput on a topshot of 65. And Kev’s got the exact
same rod. I think he’s pretty much
with am IMX as well. But, I think he’s got a 10 foot. -There’s a lot of days here
on the canal whereespecially in the springtime
and the fall where the fish arecoming to the surface out
toward the middle. and you really need to cast far.
Cast long to reach them. And that’s when having a long
cast outfit11ft rod really makes
a differencetoday they’re chasing mackerel
right 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 grab
one of his fish. -So a lot of guys talk about
Canal etiquette. And basically what you do is
you justthe most important thing is
you nevercast over the person who-This guy’s going for a swim
up top. -This is a magical place. A lot of guys in
the summertime willthey’ll travel up to the mountas
of Maine or New Hampshirefor the beautiful splendor butgive me the canal any day
I mean. You don’t see things like this
anywhere else. -Give me the freshwater coming
down fromthe maritime academybeing pumped out on
the outflowand just you know,
enjoy it. It’s not only discouraged,
it’s actually illegal, butHey! -I’m not sure he’s actually
swimming, he’s bathing. Which I’m not sure. –
It’s true he might be
in the loophole. That was an on purpose
swim right?-That was absolutely, he took
his shirt off and everything. -So we got, some
canal etiquette. You got three guys
fishing in a row hereand you let the downstream guy
cast first. He starts swinging
right 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 is
the guy usually upup current starts bathing firstand then you let the soap
float down to the next guy. He’s gonna use the soap. The key there is not to push
the bar of soap out too farso it’s easy grab. Then once you’re done with the
soap 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 to
him when he’s upstream. -Ah, I guess you’ve
got different strokes. Looks like some shampoos
coming down. It seems like some of the best
spots on the canalwhen this mackerel
bite is going offtoward the center of the canal
you 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 the
mackerel in this area. And it also looks likeas far as the mackerel
are concernedthey don’t really want to
go into Buzzards Bay’s water. They like staying in the
colder water of Cape Cod Bay. They’ll work their way
on the west tideall the way down to
Buzzards Bay. They’ll kind of make their
way 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 mackerel
right in front of you Chris. -Yeah. -Look at that!-I got to get right back
at that spot. He took a swing at it but I
think 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 in
right 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 of
nothing for five minutes. Then all of a sudden the
next thing you knowjust breaks loose. Mackerel being pushed right
out of the waterjumping all over the place. fortunately I made a long castand they were really
right at my feet. ♪ gentle upbeat acoustic music♪♪
By late morning, the increasing
boat traffice had scatteredthe bait. After debating a move to
another location. We decided to stay putand see if another wave of bait
and striperswould come through on the
east moving tide. -Alright so Kev just castand he was gonna wait for
me to cast. So, I’m in the penalty box
for a couple of minutes. That’s part of that etiquette we
we talkied about earlier. –
I think work etiquette over ruls
canal etiquette. -I think it does. -The bass are just right behindmNice Chris!Come on. There he is!
Look at that.
For catching stripers from
shore in the middle of summer. There is no better place
than the Cape Cod Canal. Put in some time. Learn what you can from
the regulars. And before you know it
you might becomea dedicated canal regular
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