Monahan's Marine

By George Doucette

As I begin the long hard task of readying the boat for another season, I am beginning to reflect on past seasons. Fishing in Cape Cod Bay is a challenge and after 40 years, I still learn something new each year.

Let’s start with live lining mackerel. These fish arrive from May to sometimes as late as June and stay until the blue fish come in and move them north. You can find them at the east end of the Cape Cod Canal, Barnstable Harbor, Sesuit Harbor, Wellfleet Harbor and the fingers. Use mackerel jigs or sabiki rigs to fill your live well. I normally use a six foot conventional rod and reel or a seven foot spinning outfit. A treble hook with a single trailer hook, normally around six inches behind it works well with about 40 mono on the conventional and about a 50 to 65 pound braid on the spinning rod. I like to troll away from the mackerel school because this makes my bait easier for the striped bass to attack. They don’t have to chase into a large school of fish and waste their energy. I should mention that a fresh water spinning rod works well to jig mackerel.

Now here is where a lot of people differ in the trolling techniques. Some leave the drags on the reels loose and some open the lines up and hold them. When the fish hits, they let him swallow the bait. Last year, I fished Boston Harbor with a good friend named Ben Hall. For the first time, I used a trolling method I had never seen before. Ben tightened his drags down to about 10 pounds. When the bait got hit, that was it. If the bass was hungry, he would just swim at the mackerel. I was shocked we never missed a fish. Every fish that hit was hooked. We never used a weight to get the bait down either. The stripers came right up to the surface to get the mackerel.

I have trolled mackerel in 60 feet of water in Cape Cod Bay and had bass come up and take the bait right off . You normally would have had to play and tease with the bass in order for them to hit. Not anymore. I am convinced that the tight drag method is the best way. I have a 26 foot Jones Brothers center console that I use to commercial fish and charter fish. The boat is ideal for all
types of fishing and allows for all types of trolling speeds. One engine as low as 1 mph and two for 5 mph. I usually go around 2 mph to troll mackerel and will troll as many as five baits at various lengths.

Five baits mackerel spread all on surface.
Five baits mackerel spread all on surface.



 FORECAST BY: Captain George Doucette has been late spring trolling for stripers in the  Cape Cod Bay  area since 1970. He currently works in the fishing department down at  Monahan’s Marine located  in Weymouth, Mass. To have Captain Doucette help  outfit your boat, please call (781)-335-2746.