The Fishing News | CAI

The Fishing News


with Steve Junker

Each week during saltwater fishing season Steve Junker checks in with the folks at On the Water magazine and others to find out who's catching what where around the Cape and Islands—and how they're doing it.  

For a detailed weekly Fishing Forecast, check out On the Water.

Jason Arnold /

Still waiting on those big striped bass to make their way to our waters? You're not alone. Reports indicate that they are coming northward and could be here any day. In the meantime, the great squid season, together with the delayed arrival of large stripers, has opened a window for excellent bluefish action - something worth taking advantage of.

Taro Taylor / flickr

With the cool spring and water temperatures slow to rise, it's no surprise that the fishing around Cape Cod and the Islands is off to a slow start this year. Immature striped bass - know as schoolies - arrived back in our waters in the first week of May, but the larger stripers have yet to make a significant appearance.  Kevin Blinkoff, editor at On The Water magazine, says there are indications that those larger striped bass - 15 to 20 lbs - are finishing spawning in the Chesapeake Bay Hudson River and are moving our way, to show up here in another week or two.  Memorial Day weekend seems, right now, like a pretty good bet for their arrival.

Tom Gill / flickr

The final week in September brings the finish of the Fishing News on WCAI - but saltwater fishing continues in our region, as "the fall run" funnels southward-migrating striped bass along our coast through October. Big bluefish are in abundance as well.

Tautog fishing will keep up until the end of November. And then?

Al_HikesAZ / flickr

The fall round of trout stocking in state ponds gets underway at the end of September. Trout raised at Sandwich Fish Hatchery will be stocked into ponds around our area. The trout make fun catching and nice eating. Kevin Blinkoff, of On The Water magazine, says heading to the ponds is a great activity for a quick  after-work fish, or for enjoying the fall foliage while fishing.

Steve Junker and Kevin Blinkoff discuss trout fishing tactics in the audio posted above.

Public Herald / flickr

The saltwater fishing season approaches its finish with a nice bit of symmetry. Just as springtime offers the spectacle of fishermen awaiting the arrival of large striped bass, September brings the same. Fishermen across the Cape and Islands are anticipating The Fall Run, when those large bass which passed through earlier in the year on their northward migration should now return, this time heading south.

Tonya Lane Rucker / flickr / CC2.0

The scientific name for the Atlantic blue crab is Callinectes sapidus. Translated from Latin, that means 'beautiful savory swimmer.'  We live at the northern end of the range of blue crabs - and they are a delicacy worth getting out and hunting for.

In Massachusetts, no permit is needed to go for blue crabs by handlining or dipnetting.  There are, however, a few rules:

Colin Gordon / flickr

From Cape Cod up through the Boston area, bigger bluefish have not shown up in-shore in substantial numbers this year. Kevin Blinkoff, editor of On The Water magazine, says the fish probably found enough to eat offshore, and just never made their way to the Coast. There's no real concern about bluefish population numbers - especially as big schools of juvenile bluefish, also known as "snappers"- are now making their seasonal appearance in abundance.

Freshwater and Marine Image Bank, University of Washington Libraries Digital Collections


"Hast seen bonito?"

Mid-August is here, bringing symptoms of Bonito Fever to anglers across the Cape and Islands. The fast-swimming member of the tuna family arrives from the south at this time of year, and its appearance is eagerly awaited by many fishermen. Already, reports of bonito catches are coming from the Hooter and the Bonito Bar, two locations south of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard known for early bonito bite.

Steve Junker / WCAI

When the water gets warm, it's time to target big striped bass down low. One of the most effective pieces of tackle for this is the tube - a curious piece of gear resembling a short length of surgical tubing. This week on The Fishing News, Captain Phil Stanton details how to fish the tube.

"Fishing the Tube," a conversation with Steve Junker and Captain Phil Stanton, is posted in the audio above.

SomeDriftwood / flickr / CC2.0

You find periwinkles in almost every rocky nook of our tidal coastline: small snail-like creatures clinging onto boulders, lining tide pools. Pluck one off and roll it in your palm for a few seconds, then watch as the periwinkle pokes out from its shell as if to get its bearings.

Periwinkles - the common species is littorina littorea - also make good eating, and they are an often overlooking shellfishing resource.

Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk

Fluke are a flatfish. They're also known as Summer Flounder. As the waters warm around the Cape and Islands, it's a great moment to go for fluke, and Jimmy Fee of On The Water magazine shares tips in this week's Fishing News.

grendelkhan / flickr

As the water temperature rises, those larger striped bass that have not gone offshore are likely to be hunkering down in cooler, deeper spots. One way to entice them is to fish with live eels. But if you've never fished eels before, the prospect can seem intimidating - just take a look into the bait tank at those writhing critters... On The Fishing News, Kevin Blinkoff of On the Water magazine, gives a primer for getting started with eels. Here are the bullet points:

drain / fickr

Hard clams, quahogs, cherrystones, littlenecks, chowders... call them what you will, these clams are delicious and not difficult to harvest. Here's a quick rundown of quahog pursuit.


Holly Ladd / flickr

Yes, it was windy this week - too windy for many fishermen to get out casting in the surf or on a boat. But wait, there's more to Cape Cod fishing than saltwater! Consider your freshwater options.    

Jay Erickson / flickr

Getting out on the water to fish may be easier than you imagine, thanks to the great number of charter boat options available across Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket. If you've never taken a fishing charter, and aren't sure how it works, or how to find the right charter, here's a rundown for you.

The Choices

Fishing charters come in many configurations.  There are 2-person charters on small boats, 6-pack charters (six people or less), and party boats on which fishermen pay per head (sometimes called head boats). 

Steven G. Johnson / Wikimedia Commons

Every striped bass fishermen imagines landing The Big One. Recently, from New Jersey to Boston Harbor come reports of catches of 50+ lb striped bass, with a few 60 pounders in Connecticut. For Cape Cod anglers, this means the big fish have finished their spawn down south in the Chesapeake and have migrated north. They are out there.

So you want to catch one of those Big Fish? There are no hard rules to follow (this is fishing, right?) - but here's how you can increase your odds:

Lindsey Jene Scalera / flickr

Introducing children to fishing can be more tricky than you might expect. What if you don't catch fish? What if a child gets frustrated with the complications of rods and reels and hooks? What if it's icky?

One key to making fishing with children fun is to adjust your expectations. Children are ready to enjoy the experience in its entirety, without the need to focus on catching fish as the "goal." Here are some ideas to keep in mind:

Put away that heavy trolling gear. A new generation of spinning reels make it possible to fish for tuna similar to fishing for striped bass, by casting lures. The place to head to do it right now is the backside of Cape Cod, from Monomy up to Chatham, where large groups of 200 - 300lb tuna have been sighted. More info in the audio posted above.

Also this week:

Kevin Bryant

While striped bass garner most of the sportsfishing glory this time of year, there is another bass in Cape Cod waters which ought not to be overlooked: the black sea bass. It is a type of grouper - and doesn't it look like it, with its stout body and large mouth? Still, the black sea bass is not without beauty, acquiring bright coloring lines and long tail filaments as it ages. A bottom dweller, it's not hard to catch; try fishing around structure with a bucktail baited with squid.


No really. If you've got a houseful of guests arriving for the Memorial Day weekend, bluefish may be the way to go. Consider these reasons: this time of year (as opposed to later in the summer) bluefish can be caught from beaches; if you hook up with one, there's likely to be plenty more nearby; and won't your guests be pleased to be eating fish fresh-caught from Cape Cod waters.

Diane Rome Peebles


For anglers fixated on the arrival of striped bass, cool temperatures slowed the start of this year's fishing - especially when compared to the last few years with their above-average warm spring seasons. But the fish that's caught a lot of attention this spring is an unusual visitor to our waters - the weakfish. The Fishing News looks at the strange historical cycle of weakfish in Cape Cod waters.

Audio of the conversation posted above.

Here's a few weakfish facts: