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Late July Fishing Season

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Late July Fishing Season, man fishing on a calm day with the sun rising in the background

Oh yes, it’s that time of year again. The Late July Fishing season…

Late July fishing requires more imagination that any other time in the season. Yes, the fish are around, but they are finicky and tricky! The past weeks’ charters proved my point.

Often I resort to early morning trips. Fishing the sunrise is always rewarding as sunrise on the water is simply astounding. And fortunately, last week the fish were cooperative. However, once that sun got up into the sky and the tide went slack, the fishing went dead.

This past Sunday, house guests in tow, I took a boat ride up to the Cape Cod Canal to see the sights. Among the sights were many shore fishermen along the sides of the canal. Their casts were long, sometimes reaching into the paths of the passing boats, including us. And one lucky caster hooked a fish right in front of my boat! Boom!

You don’t have to take a very deep dive into the local fishing reports to learn this. The tuna are biting on Stellwagen Bank, and the stripers are in the canal. None of this helps me as I’m not a tuna fisherman and boats aren’t allowed to fish in the canal. (Only shore fishing is allowed)

Late July Fishing Season

So back to fishing here in Barnstable Harbor.

This day I headed up harbor to cast at the edges of the marsh. The outgoing tide limited our time near the marsh as well as our ability to get to certain parts of the marsh. Of course, that tricky area was exactly where the fish were breaking. And as we closed in on the breaking fish, they disappeared leaving behind a whole bunch of sand eels for us to admire. Pesky fishies…

As the trip continued and we pursued the elusive fish, I found us on a repetitive drift that had been fruitful on a particular stage of the outgoing tide. The drift is short and the current moves us fast so we repeated it more than several times. As the tide ebbed, the fish started to show up, following the clouser and even taking a few swipes at it.

From my position in the stern of the boat, I asked my client if he would like to try a gurgler fly. His answer (repeatedly) was “next drift”…

Finally, I handed him the rod with the gurgler fly and said “cast”! And BOOM, almost immediately he hooked up! We were both gleeful!!! This was not only a beautiful cast and take, it was 30″+ fish!

That made my day! It’s so rewarding when you make a suggestion to a client with the result being a fish, and in this case a big fish!

I am looking forward to the early August full moon. With any luck, the bait patterns will change and the fish will begin their mid to late summer nearby feeding frenzy. Until that time I will wake up early, perform repetitive drifts, and chance the shallows. Whatever it takes to ensure that my clients have a great day on the water and hopefully get into some good fishing!