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A Trip Around Cape Cod

Cape Cod

June 28, 2006
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For the past year or so, it’s been a goal of mine to circumnavigate Cape Cod in two consecutive days aboard my Jones Brothers 1910 Center Console. Last Thursday a friend and I set out on a journey around the Cape.

The weather forecast for the day was for fair weather with fresh SW winds predicted in the 15-20 mph range with strong possibility of afternoon thunderstorms. We departed Barnstable Harbor at 7am opting not to dilly-dally on our home turf and sped on over to the east entrance of the canal in an effort to be well into Buzzards Bay before the SW wind reached its afternoon fortissimo.

A few casts in the wild current at the east end of the canal produced nothing, so we headed on through the canal. Just outside the west entrance of the canal, near Onset Bay, we discovered a nice 3-4 foot deep weed bed hosting a bunch of hungry schoolie stripers. We each caught 6-7 pups, before heading out to discover what Buzzards Bay had in store for us.

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Diving birds lead us to our first school of Buzzard Bay schoolie blues on a flat outside of the canal entry channel. We continued onward, stopping to save the sea animals from yet another one of the way-too-many mylar balloons that I’ve pulled off the surface of the sea this spring.

Off West Falmouth Harbor we found a school of larger and even more voracious blues. We had a blast teasing them with poppers. I’d much rather watch bluefish trail poppers like “Jaws” than catch them any day, even though they do always give a good tug. A trip into West Falmouth Harbor found a lot of eel grass, shallow water (didn’t detect any shadows on the flats) plus a bold red fox hanging out on the beach in the late morning sun.

Onward to Naushon Island the first in the chain of the Elizabeth Islands and famous for the large stripers that frequent its shores, my Jones Brothers comfortably cut through the Buzzards Bay chop. It was high noon when we got there and although we were on the sheltered shore, the wind was blowing a good 12-15 mph with gusts up to the high teens. We discovered a mixture of schoolie bass & blues but no big mama fish. After an hour or so of catching schoolies and a scenic tour of Hadley’s Harbor (boy, I wish my family owned an island), we headed out to Vineyard & Nantucket Sounds.

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Bracing for the seas that the So’ westerly produces in the sound, we donned our foulies and headed out. As we came out to the sound we found that the predicted 15-20 mph winds had diminished to 7-10 mph on down to almost nothing so we decided to check out Middle Ground.

Now although I’ve fished around Martha’s Vineyard quite a lot, it was my first trip to Middle Ground, and I can’t wait to go back. Six feet of water with those big MV Steamship ferries a 1/2 mile away is pretty cool. Oh, and the fish? Each drift across the flat produced a fish on each of our lines, and best of all, the first big fish of the day. Nevertheless, Nantucket Sound can be an uncomfortable place on a windy day and we still had 21 miles to travel before our mid-point destination of Hyannis Harbor. We took our last casts and headed on across the sound.

We were still 3-4 miles out of the harbor entrance when true to form, the So’ westerly returned with it’s full steam. By 7pm, we were happily on the hook, enjoying a tasty rum drink and reveling about the first half of trip. Unfortunately, the weather forecast did not bode well for Day II (Hyannis- Monomoy – Race Point- Barnstable) of the circumnavigation of Cape Cod, so we trailered the boat back home to Barnstable for some great fishing in local waters where, unlike the outer Cape, easy shelter is little more than a mile away.

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