In the last decade, the waters off the tip of Cape Cod have produced what is arguably the best light-tackle fishing for striped bass on the eastern seaboard. Indeed, the fishery, which remains consistent from May through July, is almost guaranteed to produce trophy bass on plug and fly gear, with many of these fish hitting topwater lures.
Several years ago, I confirmed the area’s reputation on a late May trip with Capt. Jeff Smith of Fin Addiction Charters (sadly, Smith no longer guides). I met Smith in Pamet Harbor, where he had just launched his 26’ Albin diesel center console. Despite the thick fog, we were able to find the fish within 30 minutes of leaving the harbor, and the action continued for several hours.
We took bass up to 25 pounds on everything from soft-plastics to butterfly jigs, the latter working well whenever we marked piles of fish near the bottom in the deep water just off the beach. For the most part, however, we followed the fish as they occasionally popped up on the surface below diving birds.
Top surface lures were long Got Stryper soft-plastics in pink and pearl, although we also used a huge Zara Spook to tease fish within fly-casting range on occasion. Speaking of fly gear, we found the bass eager to pounce on a large Deceiver fished on a fast-sink shooting head. In fact, I landed what was then my best-ever fly-rod striper—a 25-pounder! Thanks, Jeff!