Cape Cod’s Early Season Fishing: What You Need to Know

Attention all fishing enthusiasts! Are you ready to cast your line and catch some big fish this early season in Cape Cod? With the warmer weather approaching, it’s time to gear up and get ready for an unforgettable fishing experience. But before you head out to the water, there are a few things you need to know. In this blog post, we’ll cover everything from the best spots to fish in Cape Cod during early season, what bait works best, and even some tips on how to reel in those trophy-sized catches. So, grab your tackle box and let’s dive into Cape Cod’s early season fishing!

Introduction to Early Season Fishing in Cape Cod

Early season fishing in Cape Cod can be a great way to get your fill of saltwater action before the crowds arrive. But there are a few things you need to know before wetting a line. Here’s what you need to know about early season fishing around Cape Cod.

The first thing to keep in mind is that the water is still cold. The air may be in the 60’s or 70’s but the water is still dangerously cold.  Be prepared for that! Second, you’ll need to target the right spots. The waters of Bay side of Cape Cod will warm quickly if we have sunny days where the sand flats can heat up.  The Ocean side and South facing waters will take longer. 

Lastly, be prepared for changing conditions.  Do your prep work and make sure you understand the weather forecast for the area that you are going to target.

Best Fish Species to target early season (April & May)

There are a few key things to keep in mind when choosing which fish species to target from a boat early season. The first is that some fish are more active in certain seasons than others. Additionally, some fish prefer different habitats than others. Knowing where each type of fish is most likely to be found will help you choose the best fish species to target from your boat. Let’s look at the most popular early season species:

Striped Bass: Striped bass are one of the most popular gamefish on Cape Cod. They will be feeding early season in the waters on the South side of Cape Cod as they migrate North.  Early season, it is popular to use squid or squid type lures to catch them. Hogy Squinnow Jigs or Hogy Dog Walkers

Tautog: These fish are normally one of the first to arrive and are a great eating fish.  They love a rocky bottom and go crazy for live green grabs.  Early season, these are targeted on the South side of Cape Cod in areas like Buzzards Bay. Favorite Lure: Joe Baggs Layperfect Tog Jig if I can’t use live crab.

Haddock: Be sure to know the regulations for haddock based where you are fishing because it is not the same all over the Cape.  These fish like deeper water so you may need to travel to Stellwagen Bank area to catch them.  This is another great eating fish and freezes very well so you can eat it year-round. Favorite Lure: Hogy Biki Rig with Sand Eel Jig

Winter Flounder: Just like haddock, check your area for local regulations.  They will come out of the mud in Cape Cod Bay as the water temperature reaches 50 degrees.  These can be caught in shallower water than haddock and are fun to catch! Favorite Lure: Saltwater Flounder Lure from Eagle Claw

Black Sea Bass: This season doesn’t open until May and most people start on the South side of Cape Cod.  Another fish that likes rocky bottoms.  My favorite for fish taco’s! Favorite Lure: Monomoy Tackle Sea Bass Rig

I use this app to check local regulations.  I like it because it is based on your GPS location: Fish Rules on the App Store. Works for both fresh and salt water.


Cape Cod is an ideal destination for early season fishing. By following the tips in this article, you can ensure a successful and enjoyable experience on your next trip. Before going out, make sure to plan ahead by researching the regulations and techniques of local anglers as well as familiarizing yourself with popular spots that offer excellent catches. With some knowledge and preparation, you’ll be ready to enjoy all the wonders of early season fishing in Cape Cod! 

If you would like to go with a charter, you can email me for available dates for early season:   

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