UNSPOILEDÖ WELLFLEET

July 6, 2001 - So your beset by the abundance of anglers on the south side, confounded by the boat traffic in Barnstable Harbor, and deluged by the tourists that assault Chatham. If itís unspoiled intrinsic surrounding and solitude you seek, I just may have the perfect prescription.

Each spring, to alleviate my spirit of the rigors a New England winter can bestow, it has often been my disposition to toil on waters that comfort me, that I feel secure in, that are, quite frankly, effortless in their approach. In assuming this course, one is often confronted by turf wars, parking dilemmas and mediocre ethics at best.

It was just these circumstances that inspired me to initiate a pilgrimage to the bayside beaches of Wellfleet, an area Iíve befriended for countless years in the past but had neglected during this entire spring season.

My arrival at Chequessett Neck was marked by no fanfare, no competition for parking, and no mankind, which is frequently the case even during the peak of the tourist season.

The modest southwest wind and the assurance of an 8AM low tide (which is highly desired) allowed me to stroll amid the numerous bars and structure that dominate the Weelfleet seascape.

Now poised for my assault, I commenced the routine of judiciously probing a drop-off that accompanied the most formidable bar of the lot. After a few short moments my effort was rewarded with a buxom striper of the mid-20" variety. The now incoming tide was providing a comfortable artery through which marauding stripers and bluefish were seeking dislodged tidbits, and also furnished gullies where sand eels, crabs, and other baitfish could cozily be ambushed.

As the morning wore on I repeated my initial fete many times over with a handful of impressive bluefish in the mix. In moments of preoccupation, I would pitch a haphazard gaze toward the Pamet River outlet to the north or Jeremy Point to the south and witness not a single individual taking advantage of this dayís offering.

IF YOUR GOING
Parking: There is ample public parking available at the end of Chequessett Neck Road in Wellfleet. After securing your vehicle simply follow the well defined trail that will funnel you along "The Gut" (Wellfleet harbor on your left, sand dunes to your right) and select any number of beach front access paths. This will allow you to explore literally miles of highly productive water.

Flies: At times, bayside fish can be very discriminating. You will be well served to keep patterns sparse and small (#1 - #4). Sand eels imitations, clousers, and shrimp patterns are always effective. Also, I would never be without a few gurglers (#1) to sniff out a nonconformist or two.

Fly Lines: All that is necessary is a WF-Intermediate. Keep in mind that the water you are covering is generally 2-5 feet deep and heavier grain lines are burdensome to cast, spook weary fish on entry, and rate of decent is simply not a significant issue.

Tides: The low tide ebb will define the topography and offer ideas on how the area is to be fished. The initial 3-4 hours of incoming will fish the best. During minus tides you will be presented the opportunity to wonder a mile or more from the safety of the beach front. This time of year I am always prepared to get wet, therefore I wade wet. "Bar Hopping" may require navigating deeper water to achieve the sanctity of an exposed bar.

Safety: The bay is dangerous if not respected. Do not attempt your first endeavor during fog or periods of low light. In general, this area does not possess strong currents and I have never been personally threatened by a seemingly desperate situation. This is only due to the fact that I have never pushed the issue.

If you would like further information on fishing the Wellfleet area or would like a guide referral, please feel free to contact us at (508) 752-4004 or Email jbender@gis.net.

Good fishing and safe wading,

JB

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