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Fishing Report

July Fishing Report: Silouetted man with fishing rod and halo of sun behind him

How about it, an actual Fishing Report under the Fishing Report menu…

Today is July 7th, and it’s fair to say we are in the summer part of the fishing season. What do I mean by that? The fish are showing their summer fickleness. Not only are the fish finicky, they are a lot harder to find. And as I said, even when you do find them, getting them to eat is another story.

Salty Cape’s latest report (week of 7/4) talks about trolling red tubes in deeper water. Also, there’s a whole piece on sinking fly lines. Anyone that fishes with me knows that I never troll (I am a fly fisher), and rarely do I use sinking fly lines. This spring I purchased the first sinking fly line that I’ve owned in more than twenty years. Some days, I even bring that onto the boat!

I am not a technical fisherman. I like to keep things simple. I have boxes of flies (and lures) that I never even look at, let alone use. After nearly twenty years of guiding, I’ve learned many things, fishing is not a science. It is not even logical, not at least not to my mind.

For example, typically spring fishing is all about fishing the incoming tide. Logically that might mean that the incoming tide is bringing the fish into the harbor. Maybe… But what about the bait that in early spring seems to be centered around the outflow of the creeks that litter the harbor? Or the notion of the cooler springtime water being warmed as it crosses the tidal flats on its way into the harbor. Oddly, this spring the outgoing tide was far and away the most productive tide to fish.

Fishing Report for July in Barnstable Harbor

But back to July fishing report. It seems that the incoming tide is suddenly the better tide to fish. Finally, summer has heated up and the water, warmed by the flats, is producing the best fishing. Logical, not to me.

For me, fishing has always been about the pursuit. I love the gear, especially the fly fishing gear, but over the years I have drilled down my fishing gear to only the bare essentials. One client means three rods on the boat. One for the client, one for me (in case I’m invited to fish along) plus a spare rod. Two clients means four rods total on the boat (a back up rod for each fisherman). Three clients means five rods on the boat (3 rods to fish with and 2 back-ups). It’s kind of a weird equation, but it boils down to just enough gear to get by. And truthfully, I keep another back up fly rod in the deep storage just in case.

Back to the pursuit…as a guide, fishing utilizes all of my senses as well as my memory. Each trip, I work out a plan for the day in my head. That plan can change in an instant. Diving birds, or even a simple hunch, will disrupt my careful planning. Sight, sound, even smell can be the best fish finders. But the weirdest one is memory.

I don’t keep a log book of fishing, but I often find myself resorting to memory. A picture of weather, wind, tide conditions drives me to fish a certain spot. A spot where the fish were bountiful. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t, but I find this to be my most productive technique.

Patience and Persistence

So back to the fishing report. July 7, 2023 the fishing is a bit slow here in Barnstable Harbor. The sun is quite hot. Fishing in these conditions requires patience and persistence. Keep your eyes wide open for any sign of breaking fish, even if they only break the surface for a few seconds. Fish the edges of the marsh. Look for structure and water movement. Watch for birds and bait. There is no magic formula for catching fish in July or at any time. Some times it is skill, and other times it is just dumb luck!

No matter the fish, enjoy the tranquility of a day on the water. And most importantly, have fun!

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