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Fishing The Cape

A guide to when and where to go

By Bill Hubbard

The nice thing about fishing Cape Cod is that about 90% of the waterfront is open and accessible to the public. If you can get to a beach without trespassing private land, you can fish it. That includes the Bay and the Sounds as well as the Great Outer Beach and Nauset. You may have to walk at times or even be dropped off to fish, but you can fish it. Another nice thing about the cape is that there are very few rocks or rocky shore. So, what are you waiting for?

Outer Cape Beach Access

Provincetown to Nauset Inlet in Eastham is within the Cape Cod National Seashore (CCNS). Access for ORV’s is limited to the northern 1/3 and permits are available from CCNS for a fee. Walk-on beach parking permits are available free for CCNS beaches and allow fishing-parking from dusk to dawn. During daytime, regular parking rules/fees apply. Contact: http://www.nnps.gov/caco for more information and a free map of the seashore with access points.

Nauset Beach, Orleans to Chatham ORV permits available for a fee from either town. Walk on to fish the Spit, north to Nauset Inlet from Priscilla Landing in Orleans 1.5 m. Walk on to fish Pochet Island and south from Orleans Beach parking lot.

General: Nauset affords great fishing at times throughout the season but especially in Fall. Excellent for fly-fishing except when wind is strong from NE or E. When that occurs, try the west-facing beach at Herring Cove in P’town or fish the inside of Nauset Inlet Spit from Orleans which is also West Facing. The outer beach is not a safe place for the uninitiated in small boats and access is limited.

Chatham, Monomoy and Nantucket Sound

Pleasant Bay & East of Chatham affords protected fishing for small boats with all-tide launch at Ryders Cove off Rte 28 in North Chatham. Some limited shore access here also. Ryders Cove also offers access to the Atlantic east of Chatham and produces good fishing from late June through Fall. Chatham Inlet can be dangerous and you should check the storm warnings at the Chatham Lighthouse.

Monomoy Islands are a National Wildlife Refuge (USF&WS) in Chatham. Information from Visitor Center on Morris Island in Chatham. 24 hr. fishing access around Morris Island with access from visitor center. Access to North and South Monomoy Islands and the Flats is by boat only. Water Taxis operate from USF&WS and from Outermost Harbor in Chatham. Private boat access is from the all-tide launch ramps in Stage Harbor off Barn Hill Rd., Chatham or Saquatucket Harbor in Harwichport off Rte. 28. Many fishermen use the water taxi daily ($15 round trip) Visit  http://www.riprider.com to find out more information. 

The flats around Monomoy are world-class for sight fishing Striped Bass. Many guides operate here out of both harbors and fishing can be excellent from early July on throughout season. Fall often brings Bonito and False Albacore to the edges of the west-facing flats and Bluefish are here all season.

Bass River area divides the towns of Dennis and Yarmouth. There is an all tide boat ramp $ on the Yarmouth side of the mouth of the river. The estuary provides excellent wade and boat fishing from May until waters warm above 70 in June and again in Fall.

Outside, along the beaches provide excellent fishing for large Blues and Bass in June and again in Fall.

Cape Cod Bay

Sandwich Marina - Sandwich offers all-tide access to the West end of CC Bay and the Plymouth Area.

Sandwich & Scorton Creeks, in Sandwich afford good wade fishing from late April through late fall with access from town parking lots

Barnstable Harbor, Barnstable access from Blish Point - all-tide pay ramp at Blish Point off Millway Rd. from Route 28. Sheltered from the north by 12 mile long Sandy Neck, the western harbor affords flats fishing in any wind other than the strongest west or east. To the east are the Barnstable Flats running 5 miles to the Bass Hole/Chase Garden Creek. Can provide some great sight-casting to Stripers all season long. Access the beach along the north side of Sandy Neck down to Scorton Creek from the harbor. 

Brewster Flats actually run from Chapins Beach in E.Dennis to Wellfleet, well over 25 miles. This area is the largest flats in the Northeast and offers excellent sight-casting for Bass and Bluefish which can show at any location, but especially off the creek mouths, most of which host Herring runs. A word of caution. You can be fishing some areas in 9 feet of water at high tide that will be sand at low. Keep you eye on the tide, as well as the weather here. 

Boat Access from: Sesuit Harbor, E. Dennis, all-tide pay state ramp on East side off Cold Storage Rd. Rock Harbor in Orleans has a town (free) ramp offering half-tide access. Welfleet Harbor has a -tide town, free ramp and Pamet Harbor in has a town pay ramp giving access to the Billingsgate Shoals area.

Shore Access. The beaches in Dennis, Brewster, Orleans, Eastham and Wellflett offer shore access to these flats. While some are limited by resident sticker; by and large fishermen can park there after 7:00 PM until about 9 AM. Check with the local police department for specific regulations.

Flies and Lures: It is well to keep in mind that the predominant forage fish in all Cape Cod waters is the Sand eel. Therefore Clousers and Deceivers in light colors are a must. Squid are another prime bait fish here too and squid imitations will often work well. Sight fishing can also be fantastic when conditions allow casting crab imitations such as the Merkin.

The large range of soft plastic lures such as Slug-O, and Fin-S in light colors will also produce well here.

Note: If you get on the flats and the water is riled up and not conducive to sight-casting; try drifting flies downwind, especially off the drop-offs.

Bill Hubbard is a frequent contributor  to NES.  He is semiretired, lives on and fishes the Cape Cod waters he writes about 4-5 times each week.  He works at The Hook-Up Bait and Tackle and Charter Service on Main Street in Orleans.

Make The Hook-Up your sport fishing connection for fishing Cape Cod.  It is a full service bait and tackle as well as a three boat charter fleet.  Two boats operate on Cape Cod Bay out of Rock Harbor and the other sails from Bass River on Nantucket Sound;  seeking Bass, Bluefish, Tuna and more.  Stop in for the latest information on fishing surf,  boat and offshore and for fast professional service.

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