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Cape Cod Canal 2017...year of personal best!
Fishing the Canal this season was the most rewarding for myself and many others. I caught my first 30lbs class surf fish and matched it with a twin 33lbs fish on my last trip to the Canal. Many of my friends also caught their personal best fish this season on the Canal...what a year this was. Please enjoy a few of the photos, and video of some of the fish I caught this season on the Canal...Screaming Drag!
fishing report photo of Bass, Striped photo taken on 1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM contributed by Shaka Antoine
Fishing the Cape Cod Canal 2017 recap
This was my third season fishing the Canal and I must say like many can say it was the best summer I have ever had. I learn so much each trip I make to the Canal. I can recall my first trip like it was just yesterday. I had just finished an annual bottom fishing trip with the FEM men’s fellowship on the Monomoy out of Hyanniss, and I could not just go back home with the men. I had to satisfy the call from the ditch to fish it. I just couldn’t come all this way to pass it up. I caught zero fish that season on the Canal but I enjoyed fishing the ditch enough to keep trying…boy am I glad I kept coming back!

Once the doldrums began on Long Island that was my que to start my season at the ditch. I like many others were a bit surprised when the fish arrived one month sooner than they normally do. I couldn’t change my “planned” three trips for the season to head up to meet/enjoy the good fishing that followed. My thought was good at least I know the fish are there already, they would be around for a while so no need to rush up there, and the next moon accompanied with the negative tide should make them bite pretty good…like clockwork that sunrise was a mad house! That was the first top water bite I was able to see with my own eyes, and catch fish…small fish but hey a catch is a catch.

My second planned trip to the Canal I was on a mission commissioned by my friend Steve to catch fish with two of his homemade jigs (4, and 6oz.) in a sexy blurple pattern that I just knew would catch me a few slobs. I lost them both on the bottom but not before I caught a four-foot shark that had us all fooled into thinking I had a nice bass slam Steve’s 4oz jig…I lost it to the bottom near the rail road bride before I went home but that’s a part of jigging. On the same trip many anglers were hooking up just about every cast with the slow sinking Ghostescent Sebile Magic Swimmer. I had one last season however, I fished it hard in NYC, and hung it on one of my favorite hard structures I like to fish…I almost cried losing a $30 plug. This trip I just had to have another one fast! Troy and I made one trip to Red Top, and we both were now armed with Magic Swimmers. The next morning the conditions were not favorable for me to feel comfortable to cast that plug…high crosswinds, and fish breaking in the middle called for the Northbar Squid pencil. That is what I caught a scrappy 8-10lbs fish on. I couldn’t even get a photo of the pretty fish because my phone was dead. Troy on the other hand decided to go against the grain/present something other than a pencil like the rest of us at pole twenty to cast his chrome/mackerel pattern Magic Swimmer…a massive Striper slammed it hard, and then mangled his line taking his only Magic Swimmer. That was the second large fish of this trip to pop his 50lbs line after almost spooling his Zeebaas 25. I lost a few good fish right next to him that night…the fish were wining.

My next trip to the Canal was a solo trip. I say this often “I like a buddy/company while fishing but I don’t NEED company to fish” I was dealing with a lot of life’s curve balls, and I just needed to fish so I could have something fresh on my mind to make myself usefully towards something I’m getting better at. I went off the grid to fish the ditch…no internet or phone service for two days. Just my bike, rods, plug bags, and food for two meals with Gatorade. I can sometimes think much better as a fisherman on the hunt for Stripers when alone. If I have no one to disagree with, complaining to me about fishing too long, and just get me off my original game plan I tend to enjoy fishing the more fish or not…this trip was one of those times when it all came together. From start to finish it was planned like a swat team on a search and destroy mission. I had done some research/spying on a particular spot I seen a video made from that was posted to You Tube over the last offseason that I just had to fish. I planned to fish that location the same time of year, time of day, same tide, and I already had the plug used in the massacre. I felt like I have done my homework when the person that made, and posted the video showed up to fish…all I could do was silently thank him, and enjoy the confirmation that I’m in the right spot. I didn’t catch there on that day. I took note of a few key factors, and made the small adjustments to catch the next morning.

I showed up early to make sure I was in an acceptable position, and to eat my breakfast before I started fishing. I was able to catch three good fish (21,33, and 25lbs) the biggest being my personal best (43.5”, 33lbs, 22.5” girth) and my first 30lbs class surf caught fish. Those fish were hitting the magic swimmer just like grate whites feeding on seals doing full body breaches. (coming out of the water, and splashing down) Each fishing would pull me off the rock I was perched on (Montauk style) I fish with my drag locked for a good hookset when the position I’m in allows me to, and when massive fish are around. I back down my drag when the fish is in close, and to adjust to the size of the fish to allow the drag to do what it was designed to do. On the previous day, and this day I saw too many guys loose fish on the hook up or during the fight. From what I observed it was either they would not set the hook at the “right time” or they had a loose drag.

Jason had a theory that made since. He mentioned because of the way these fish are hitting the plug their mouths were still open until they splashed down into the water, and that’s when you should cross hers, and her mother’s eyes. That’s a tricky thing to “time” when watching a 30 plus class fish come clear out of the water for your plug. I preferred to just watch the fish hit my plug, and let the 42lbs of drag on my VS250LB set the hook…these fish had no problems peeling line off my spool, and the current only made that much more enjoyable. Jason said “I’m voting you for best action videos. No one gets pulled off that rock like you do” I didn’t lose any fish in that spot so I took it as my method worked! From that point on I decided I would only fish that plug while on the Canal just so that I could have it to use when I was there because ONLY those that had it were catching nice fish. The satisfaction of that accomplishment was priceless. The many cars, and folks along the 30 plus minutes bike ride back to my truck was an added pat on the back. That was a good testament to the kind fishing community Massachusetts possess…I wish I get that at home! I called it a trip but not before taking a few photos, I am very fond of (a nice fish strapped to the basket of my bike. Like the beard I grow during my fishing season I guess it’s the cave man in me) for some reason, and loading my fish in my Boone cooler for the ride home.

The next trip was fueled by the Eclipse. I couldn’t fish after the moon because my wife’s birthday was dead on the moon so I had to be home. I enjoyed the fish I caught on the front side of the eclipse jigging up 13-26lbs fish with AL Gags whip it fish (this was also the first in two seasons trying that I was able to catch fish with that jig…they did not want my bucktail/Fat cow jig strips this season for me) and the 4oz. heavy shads during a sideways downpour of rain, 20 mph plus wind in my face, and a light show (lightening) that seem to flash the same time I take a cast. I would normally sit that condition out but I only had six more hours to fish, and the fish were biting good enough to keep my mind off what could happen…fish on every cast would do the same for many but not all. However, it does not compare to the best fishing in 50 years as many has said. The Eclipse, hurricane close by, herring, bunker, breaking tides, and abundance of Mackerel feeding on peanut bunker all added up to big fish hitting Magic swimmers (that is the best mackerel/adult bunker bait to use in my opinion. At nine inches it plays well into that rule of thumb “big bait’s catch big fish”) or whatever was thrown at them. I felt horrible missing out on the best fishing in the history of the Canal as I know it but that’s how it goes sometimes. I can’t catch all the good bites. I had to be content with the good fishing I was able to enjoy on the front side of the Eclipse.

What should’ve been my second to last trip out of the three “planned” trip to the Canal turned out to be my last trip of the season…several of my obligations fell on the weekend I planned to spend three day’s fishing the ditch as a last Hurrah! Troy, V, and I represented NYC in a big way on the Canal that weekend. It was a day of personal best fish for many of us. I started it off catching a twin to my last personal best…I just had to record myself releasing a 33lbs fish for the first time. Troy caught his personal best 36lbs fish a quick photo, and that fish was released. Jamie even caught his personal best 41lbs beast of a fish…that fish was almost as tall as he is, and V caught plenty fish as well. His personal best is a 50lbs monster from 2015 so he needed to work real hard to PB that trip…even though a guy did catch a 54lbs fish on video this year on the Canal, and the day I caught my first 33lbs fish I heard a 52lbs fish came up so they are out there to catch if you can. Later, that day good fishing continued. The water clarity was something I never saw. I was able to sight fish multiple 13-28lbs fish using the Magic swimmer. I even had Troy record me releasing a nice, and healthy 25lbs fish just to show a good way to properly revive, and release a breeder back to where she belongs. I have a problem with watching “floaters” just go to waste drifting in the fast current. If you are not keeping the fish please take the time to make sure the fish is in good condition before you release them back to the water…you will catch more fish it only takes a few moments if done correctly.

In all this was my best season fishing the Canal. I don’t plan on stopping. I’ve alrea
fishing report photo of Bass, Striped photo taken on 8/7/2017 2:49:00 AM contributed by Shaka Antoine

Catch Date: 08/07/2017 2:49 AM

3 Likes
The Start Of Fall
The summer is officially over, and I am happy to welcome the fall. This fish was the highlight of my summer being my first surf caught 30lbs (33) class fish. I think it is safe to say this was the best fishing summer I have experienced. Having a lack luster Spring this summer was a much need boost in moral, a good work out for my arms, and the sad end to two of my favorite rods…all good things must come to an end. The first day of fall is welcomed with open arms, and ready plugs. Just the other night I packed my plug bag with the fall time colors and got chills from the potential grate fishing just ahead of me…I just hope the fish corporate with the times, and opportunities I have to fish. It’s officially fall so let us get out there, and catch some fish…Screaming Drag!
fishing report photo of Bass, Striped photo taken on 1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM contributed by Shaka Antoine
3 Likes
Moon Tides...Never Miss A Moon Tide
When you're trying to eel for bass but the blues are in thick...long night. We definitely worked hard for them on this night. Capt.Tom put us over some slobs, and we caught our limit...Screaming Drag!
fishing report photo of Bass, Striped photo taken on 1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM contributed by Shaka Antoine
1 Comment
TerryBHolt Moly! Nice
LikeReply2 Likes 1 year
I learned a new technique
This fish taught me a new way to fish the magic swimmer. Previously I would only cast and retrieve this plug slow. Cast after cast when the mackerel were not around I could see five stripers following the plug, and turn away when I pull it out the water. So what I did different was give it a pause...when you do that with this plug the head turns around like it's look back at what's chasing it. Once the plug turned around I cranked fast, and that is when this 15lbs fish hit it hard! He was upset when he realized he had been fooled...Screaming Drag!
fishing report photo of Bass, Striped photo taken on 1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM contributed by Shaka Antoine
1 Comment
TerryBNice that you could see and analyze the fish reaction.
LikeReply2 Likes 1 year
So much for big bait big fish
These are the smallest fish I've caught with the magic swimmer. At 13lbs they were still fun in the current.
fishing report photo of Bass, Striped photo taken on 9/14/2017 5:13:00 AM contributed by Shaka Antoine

Catch Date: 09/14/2017 5:13 AM

A small move was all it took.
This fish was a reward for a small move...nice to keep the action going. Troy, V, and I had just finished a epic moring of catching. V had to leave, and Troy and I hopped on our boats in search of some more action. We came upon a few guys catching, and fish blowing up on their plugs. Troy needed to hit the tackle shop so we took note of that location, made the run to the shop, checked another spot first, and back where we saw some action earlier...the guys were gone so we began casting, and had fish in the 20lbs class emidiatly. A perfect case of a small move equals a Screaming Drag!
fishing report photo of Bass, Striped photo taken on 1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM contributed by Shaka Antoine
4 Likes
Night time VS Day time fishing for Striped Bass
Some say night time is the right time, and others say day time is best. I say it don't matter...having the right plug, and presenting it correctly matters more. Where you fish, what plugs you use, and how you present them is more important. I don't use the same plugs everywhere...its impossible!
fishing report photo of Bass, Striped photo taken on 1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM contributed by Shaka Antoine
4 Likes
Canal fish are spoiling me
the fish in the canal are definitely sizable...I hope I'm not getting spoiled.
fishing report photo of Bass, Striped photo taken on 9/9/2017 7:52:00 AM contributed by Shaka Antoine

Catch Date: 09/09/2017 7:52 AM

5 Likes
1 Comment
TerryBI love seeing you back on the board. I learn so much from you.
LikeReply 1 year
Excellent water clarity
The Canal has some of the clearest water I've seen, and yet large fish are constantly fooled by the magic swimmer...soon to be band from use
fishing report photo of Bass, Striped photo taken on 9/9/2017 7:18:00 AM contributed by Shaka Antoine

Catch Date: 09/09/2017 7:18 AM

3 Likes
Sight fishing for Striped Bass in the Cape Code Canal
After having a wild morning session the afternoon bite was something, I never experienced…sight fishing for multiple 20-28lbs fish right at my feet. Keeping quiet, and making sure the newly arriving fishermen kept quiet was a major factor in catching these fish with the Magic swimmer. I just wish I could have gotten the BIG one hugging the bottom to strike. The abundance of Mackerel swimming by made me keep with that plug even when the blitzes happen. Pencil poppers were not getting as much love as my Magic swimmer…Screaming Drag!
fishing report photo of Bass, Striped photo taken on 9/9/2017 7:22:00 AM contributed by Shaka Antoine

Catch Date: 09/09/2017 7:22 AM

2 Comments
JimmyLooks like an awesome spot!
LikeReply 1 year
Shaka AntoineIt's a great place to fish
LikeReply 1 year
One cast, three hook ups, 33lbs fish landed, and released
This was wild! One cast first fish hit, comes off, I keep the same slow retrieve second fish slams my plug feeling much heavier than the first one...it comes off! I decided to keep the same slow retrive resisting the urge to burn the magic swimmer back to take another cast and BAM! This 33lbs fish was landed, and then released. A twin to my PB. One cast three hook ups, one fish landed, and releesed...wild I tell you.
fishing report photo of Bass, Striped photo taken on 9/9/2017 1:54:00 AM contributed by Shaka Antoine

Catch Date: 09/09/2017 1:54 AM

Old faithful lure...Tsunami heavy shad (4oz.)
When the whip it fish bite seemed to slow down I knew I could rely on an old faithful lure to keep fish hitting the rocks..heavy shad! Just bounce that on the bottom letting it drift with the current, and hold on in a strike position. This 18lbs fish, and a few more 11lbs fish kept me in the groove...Screaming Drag!
fishing report photo of Bass, Striped photo taken on 8/28/2017 4:36:00 PM contributed by Shaka Antoine

Catch Date: 08/28/2017 16:36 PM

3 Comments
JimmyPNice fish, do what did toy think puff the whip it fish
LikeReply 1 year
JimmyPMent so what did you think phone be acting up
LikeReply 1 year
LikeReply 1 year
Jigging in the storm
I am a new believer in this lure. (Al Gag whip it fish) The 4 oz seem to do a good job of getting down fast, and swimming in the strike zone...this 15lbs fish liked it too!
fishing report photo of Bass, Striped photo taken on 8/28/2017 4:46:00 PM contributed by Shaka Antoine

Catch Date: 08/28/2017 16:46 PM

Fishing during the storm on the front side of the Eclipse of 2017
There're two conditions that will cause me to not fish...lightning, and gale force winds. Not only was it raining sideways but the sky had a sick light show going on, and the wind made it hard to see at times. I only had six hours left out of the two days vacation I used to fish the canal so no chance I will be sitting this front side of the Eclipse of 2017 out. I had the tide I like to fish a particular spot at night on the Canal. The draw I felt to fish it was overwhelming. I was actually supposed to meet up with some friends not far away in two hours...I said let me go and fish this spot for two hours, and if things don't shape out I'll leave to meet my friends to fish from 11 pm to 3 am when it was time for me to hit the road.

As I slipped down the bank into the position I wanted to bounce the 4oz. Al Gag jig on the bottom two guys were already fishing. I placed myself in between them to take a cast...BAM! fish on! The fish was 11lbs followed by this 23lbs fish. Anglers began coming out of nowhere. I counted six newcomers. For the next two hours, at least one person had a fish on every cast. I ended up with seven fish on that bite 11-23lbs. I fished around for two more hours for not a tap. I had to make it back home for my wife Birthday. As I am packing it in I noticed the lot I was parked in began to fill up with locals...the first light bite is going to be good by the looks of things...breaking tides. I wish I could stay to fish the back side of this Eclipse but I can't so I must be content with my time spent on the Canal. Over the two day's I caught eleven fish. Who can be mad at that with a Screaming Drag!
fishing report photo of Bass, Striped photo taken on 8/27/2017 7:23:00 PM contributed by Shaka Antoine

Catch Date: 08/27/2017 19:23 PM

Slow bite...this Magic swimmer still catches fish!
There is defiantly something magical about this swimmer...a solid 20lbs fish on a slow bite. I missed four fish before landing this fish. By the way she fought she had all of us thinking this would be my personal best/40lbs class for sure. She was pulling a tight drag with ease taking several powerful runs before she got tired enough for me to pull her out of the rip...chalk that up to the five knot current of Cape Cod, and this fish has some shoulders as you can see. I and another guy were the only two anglers to land fish on that session. I fished around and took a two-hour nap. The night session yielded three more cookie cutty 11lbs fish on the Al Gag Whip it fish...First time catching with that jig finilay...Screaming Darg!
fishing report photo of Bass, Striped photo taken on 8/17/2017 6:21:00 AM contributed by Shaka Antoine

Catch Date: 08/17/2017 6:21 AM

Bucktail's Work Best for me While Jigging
I had some custom bucktails made just for my time spent on the Canal by John from Great South Bay bait&Tackle...it's the only bucktails I have been able to catch fish with while jigging the Canal. This bucktail mega shad/slugo combo has proven to cull in some fish when they get picky in one particular spot. This combo comes in close to 7oz so I can only cast it at the top of the Ebb or I might loose it.
fishing report photo of Bass, Striped photo taken on 8/14/2017 5:02:00 PM contributed by Shaka Antoine

Catch Date: 08/14/2017 17:02 PM

2 Comments
JimmyPNice catch. Good to see you made it back out this way, you couldn't have planned the trip any better fish have been lights out all week.
LikeReply1 Like 1 year
Canuck7 ounces!!!! You could club them with that. Nice catch. I am looking forward to getting a down rigger and pursuing Stripers up here. As soon as I get one you will see it.
LikeReply1 Like 1 year
No topwater or jigs working...swimmers was the ticket
The red hot bite on topwater plugs that was so good only a few weeks ago has slowed down. I had to dig deep in my memory/spy file about a spot I found over the off season. I recalled this was the time of year, and location a video was made there. (At one point the guy that made the video showed up, and I had the sensation of confirmation) I had the same plug in my bag, and two days to see if I can catch fish.

Day one myself, and a few others just couldn't get a hit. I showed up early on day two, spending the whole tide perched on a rock...getting pulled off each time these fish hit my magic swimmer was a side affect of fishing with a tight drag. I could've loosened it but I noticed the other anglers with loose drags missed fish. This 25lbs striper was my first of three for day two...I was happy to release her. I was reworded on my next fish with my personal best. The final fish of this trip was a 21lbs striper, and I was done! Coming up to Cape Cod is always worth the trip even if I don't catch. I'm just happy to be able to put some fish on the rocks when it all comes together...Screaming Drag!
fishing report photo of Bass, Striped photo taken on 8/8/2017 12:45:00 PM contributed by Shaka Antoine

Catch Date: 08/08/2017 12:45 PM

Personal Best Surf Caught Striped Bass!
I needed to clear my head off the grid/unplugged, and alone to focus on catching fish. I caught five fish @8,11,25,33, and 21lbs with this 33lbs, 43.5", by 22.5" cow being my personal best! (Surf caught) I should do that more often...40lbs class is next...Screaming Drags!
fishing report photo of Bass, Striped photo taken on 1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM contributed by Shaka Antoine
6 Comments
JimmyNice!
LikeReply1 Like 1 year
Shaka AntoineThanks Jimmy
LikeReply1 Like 1 year
JimmyPNice catch love south cape wave sweep is crazy the bass love it. The hurricane camp excellent fishing to
LikeReply1 Like 1 year
Shaka AntoineThanks. Last season we had small Bluefish, and calm seas.
LikeReply1 Like 1 year
The CrankstaGreat catch
LikeReply1 Like 1 year
LikeReply1 Like 1 year
Boat Fish Count To Me!
Personal best (from a boat) Striper! 45", 27" girth, and all of 40lbs...line backer!
fishing report photo of Bass, Striped photo taken on 1/1/0001 12:00:00 AM contributed by Shaka Antoine
3 Comments
JimmyPNice fish
LikeReply 1 year
JimmyGreat catch Shaka!
LikeReply 1 year
Shaka AntoineThanks guys!
LikeReply 1 year
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