Just as many local fishermen were brushing the winter cobwebs from their rods, readying for that first trip to the water in 2017, word comes that a pair of anglers out of Falmouth landed a 64lb striped bass.
That's not how it's supposed to work.
The migration of striped bass into Cape Cod waters is closely followed by many fishermen, including Kevin Blinkoff at On The Water magazine. "The basic migration pattern for striped bass in the spring is, they spawn down south in areas like Chesapeake Bay, and then they swim up toward the north, and they start to arrive this time of year."
Since it's the larger, older fish who are spawning, they usual come along later. Early May is when we typically see the smaller fish—schoolies, they're called—showing up. Then by mid-May, we see the keepers, which are fish 28" and over.
Right now there are reports of lots of 28"-32" striped bass. They're likely fish from the 2011 year class.
But this past week a couple of local fishermen landed what Blinkoff says is, "definitely one of the biggest fish I've heard of caught on Cape Cod for at least, I would say, the past ten years."
Blinkoff says the pair were fishing for smaller bass, using light tackle, when they hooked up with the 64lb fish. After landing it, they tried to release it, but couldn't revive it, so they brought it to Falmouth Bait & Tackle for weighing.
There have also been reports of other large striped bass—30-40lbs—appearing among the more expected sizes.
So if you haven't gotten your rod dusted off yet this year, maybe you want to do that soon.
Steve Junker's conversation with Kevin Blinkoff is posted above. Give it a listen.