Henry Gilbey
Cape Cod - 1010.jpg


Henry Gilbey blog

Cape Cod - I can feel another love affair starting

Bearing in mind that I know essentially squat about the striper fishing out here, what little I have seen is enough to have lit the fires of obsession. It could of course take several lifetimes to get to grips with an area as large and diverse as Cape Cod, but I have seen enough to see that this is one hell of a fishery. As much as I enjoyed my time in Martha’s Vineyard a few years ago, it was a trip that was out of my hands and the knowledge levels involved were let’s say somewhat lacking - and whilst Matt and I know next to nothing about the shore fishing for stripers in this part of the world, holy cow did we get a taste of this fishery when we went on a couple of boat trips out of Truro. Utterly insane……

We hooked up with a skipper called Bobby Rice who runs a charter fishing company called Real Deal Fishing Charters, and we fished a couple of long half days out of Truro on the north east part of Cape Cod. The first afternoon we went out was hot and calm and we just hammered a heap of striped bass, and it was pretty cool to see Matt’s Crazy Sandeels working really well on the fish. Give me some decent light and a bunch of good looking fish and I am a happy camper, but of course it was always going to help if we could nail some larger stripers on these Fiiish lures, so early the next morning a plan was hatched to meet Bobby at 6.30am - which was fine for me because I am still not on US time and woke up at 3am. Poor Matt who was sharing a room with me!! I don’t do quiet early in the morning……

As per the previous afternoon, we started smashing a heap of stripers again, but as the thick fog started to lift, Bobby gave us the option - did we want to take a bit of a gamble and head somewhere different to see if we could find bigger bass that could well be feeding near the surface on mackerel and herring? What do you think? Seeing such numbers of stripers was hugely impressive, but this trip is about more than that, and of course we had to take that gamble - and it kinda helps when Bobby’s boat is cruising with ease at over 30mph.

Honestly, this is some place out here. Sure, we seem to have caught it right with the migration of these striped bass out of Chesapeake Bay and on up the east coast, but the sheer numbers of bait fish, stripers, seals, birds, whales etc. that are present is seriously impressive, and whilst our own bass are of course not a true migratory species, yet again it makes my heart bleed for what we could have back home if we had a seriously healthy (sea) bass fishery. Loads of good fish has such beneficial ripples. Anyway, I digress…….

We are bombing across a bit of chop and we are starting to see a lot of birds and then a bunch of smelly slicks on the surface which had been stripers feeding hard on bait, and in no time at all we are where Bobby reckons the fish might be. Was the gamble going to pay off? I can’t resist whacking out a surface lure amongst all that bird activity, and first chuck it gets absolutely nailed by a striper around the 25 to 30lb mark, and Matt is also straight into a good fish on the Crazy Sandeel. Sometimes we can see stripers boiling on the surface as they drive the bait right to the top and smash into it. I may well be a shore fisherman at heart, but casting lures at feeding fish is about as good as it gets to me, and this is some serious stuff however you do it.

In between shooting photos, we absolutely hammered them. I have dreamt many times of seeing striped bass behave like this, and to get the chance to see so many good fish on the feed was something else. Matt landed one that was easily 35lb+, as per above, and the average size was around 20lbs I reckon. Of course we can’t prove it yet, but it does seem that the larger stripers do seriously love these Crazy Sandeels, and that’s accepting of course that as awesome as it was to see stripers like this, in reality they are nowhere near as big as this species can get. I had one classic take on a surface lure when a striper kept on coming and coming and then opened it’s big mouth and inhaled the lure right next to the boat. Many times when you have a fish on you will see other stripers following it as they look to mop up any bait that is ejected.

It looks like there’s some bad weather coming, but whatever happens now we have got the shots we needed - good stripers on Fiiish lures. I am here for work, but holy cow do I want to come back and start trying to get to grips with some of the shore fishing. Whilst the size of fish of course requires a step up in gear from what we tend to use for our own bass fishing, it does seem that we share a lot of the methods and where we might go looking for fish etc. - and I really like that. A degree of familiarity if you like, except that the fish get much, much bigger, and there is the chance of catching a heap of them as well. I think about all those good fish we landed out of Truro and I can’t help but dream about hooking them from the shore out here, and by hook or by crook I am going to get myself back here soon and get to learning a bit about this fascinating part of the world. I have various love affairs going on with various parts of this quite wonderful earth, and the Cape Cod area is now firmly on that list - help!!