Where Will We Fish?
Sight Fishing for Striped Bass in Un-Pressured Spots.
The Monomoy Island & South Beach systems are home to some of the most pristine tidal flats in the world and offer the Angler an exceptionally unique sight fishing experience upon the back drop of The Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge, one of America's most beautiful and secluded nature reserves.
This remote island extends more than 8 miles into the Atlantic Ocean and due to an extreme level of inaccessibility brought on by treacherous shoals and shifting sands that change from day to day and tide to tide, the interior of the South Beach & Monomoy Flats Systems have remained virtually untouched for more than a decade. Very few charter captains, if any, know how to fully access the isolated treasures of Monomoy because it is hard to get in, and out. Daily knowledge is key. This has created a nearly virgin, World Class fishing environment that you just may wish to experience sooner rather than later.
As we set out for The Monomoy Flats, we will begin our day's journey at dawn, launching from Ryder's Cove in Chatham, MA. (or Barnhill Landing, also in Chatham) making our way to Fox Hill Island Point, all the while, keeping our eyes peeled for any activity. At Fox Hill Island Point, which has a nice rocky edge on the northern side and beds of eel grass on the southern side, we will head northerly for a short time until we reach the western side of Strong Island and the Northwestern Boulder. Once here, we will bear east-north-east making a slow approach to the back side of Strong Island where there is a vibrant channel with a lot of fresh tidal movement. There are also patches of blue mussels scattered on the bottom between here and Sipson Island Meadow and this means the presence of green crab- small green crabs make tasty morsels for any opportunistic Striper. Depending upon the tidal flow, we may be able to set up a nice drift in an easterly direction until we come to the north eastern tip of Strong Island, a great spot for sea ducks in Nov, Dec, & Jan. Here we have the Northeastern Boulder and it marks the drop off to a deep in-shore hole on the eastern edge of Strong Island. Old timers like my grandfather swore by this spot and with the widening and healthy North Beach cut thru to the Atlantic being only about 1.5 miles away, we may indeed have some luck as the Stripers move from this new break and follow Strong Island's shoreline as they head towards Little Pleasant Bay and the back side of Hog Island.
We will then move southerly along this deep edge until we reach the mouth of Strong Island Salt Marsh. This is a muddy marsh and under the right conditions, it may be worthwhile to linger here for a little bit, hunting for any Stripers that may be piling out of the marsh on an outgoing tide once they've had a good feeding. After a good investigation of this spot, we will turn our bow southeasterly and head across the channel to Minister's Point. Minister's is jam-packed full of mussels and during the late fall, my green crab pots usually came over the gunwale pretty full. As mentioned earlier, greenies are great food source and we can probably capitalize on any Stripers that have come through break which is now, only a mere half a mile away.
At this stage, the tide may be moving southerly between Minister's and the Middle Break. If so, it will be ideal to set up a long and easy southerly drift between Minister's and the Chatham Fish Pier. This area, known as the Cow Yard, provides numerous natural structures and substrate and with enough water, we would be able to pole Tern island Flat, work the channel's western edge, or drift over the area's bountiful and flowing eel grass beds all the way to Aunt Lydia's Cove and the tight mooring fields of Chatham's impressive small boat fishing fleet. Normally this specific area has a good charge of seals, so unless we see something spectacular, we will cruise through Chatham Harbor, passing Chatham Bars Inn and Chatham Light to our westward, all the way to the 1987 break to our southeast, navigating through the new and deep 2017 "April Fools" break as it has come to be known. This is an exciting spot to pass because for the first time in decades, anglers are able to access Chatham's southern and northern waterways systems from either direction.
This new and ever widening April Fool's Break has basically thrown open the doors to the great Atlantic, allowing a direct north-south flow that has reinforced and added to the volume of the 2013 South Beach Break, both of which feed into the South Beach & Monomoy Flats Systems. This is known as Chatham Harbor South and upon entering, it may be worth banking west and heading up and into Outermost Harbor Cove. This is a large muddy salt marsh with several creek systems teeming with life, and since we are close by, it could be worth a peek. If our luck is good, we can stay as long as you'd like but if we come up short, we will continue our journey to the inside of the South Beach & Monomoy Fishing Grounds. As we leave Outermost Harbor, we will head south and pass the Monomoy National Wildlife Headquarters high on the bank to our west. The long and high staircase from the refuge center down to the shoreline will be a familiar sight to many Anglers and as we move south, we may see a healthy number of Fly Fishermen dotting Chatham's Southern Coastline all the way to the mouth of Stage Harbor, a nice indication that the bite is on.
At last, we are now within view of the tip of North Monomoy, just across the channel from an area known as "The Pilings." This the gate way and entrance to the beginning of the legendary Monomoy & South Beach Flats System. It is here where we will leave civilization behind and it is here where your Monomoy Adventures will begin!