Within striking distance of some of the most history-drenched striper waters on the east coast in the form of the Elizabeth Islands and the west end of the Canal, the Mattapoisett shoreline doesn’t get much press or pressure. Everyone throttles down for the spots that we’ve all heard of, Robinson’s Hole or Cleveland Ledge or Quick’s Hole…all I mean to say is that most anglers just choose to fish ‘somewhere else,’ somewhere more exotic. It’s funny how we just willingly accept that the stripers must just bypass huge swaths of shoreline because they aren’t mentioned in magazines, marked with little ‘fishy’ icons on maps or blown up on the internet; this is a mistake.
Aucoot Cove is one such spot that seems to get passed over by just about everyone that fishes eastern Buzzards Bay. I have a bit of a leg up on the average person in this region because I used to work in the area and met many anglers that told me some of the secrets of the hyper-local waters. Aucoot Cove came up in conversation multiple times and has proven to be a productive spot for several species.
One angler whose name has been lost to time told me that Aucoot Cove was one of these ‘guarantee’ spots when hunting for spring striped bass on the boat. He said that there was always a pile of schoolies and small keeper bass in the cove from mid-May through the middle of June. He referred to it as a ‘trip saver’ spot when other, longer rides, produced subpar results, pulling into Aucoot, usually produced some topwater action when throwing small plugs like 4-inch poppers, spooks like the Yo-Zuri Top Knock Pencil or soft plastics like 7-inch Slug-Go’s.
But Aucoot Cove isn’t just a spot for small to medium stripers, the southern half of the eastern shoreline will sometimes harbor some larger fish during this same timeframe, staging in the 20- to 25-foot depths near the steeper drop-offs, it’s a good idea to putter through here with the finder on looking for big marks. Nighttime anglers will have their best luck hooking these fish with live eels, while daytime fishers may be able to raise them with something like “The Doc” or trolling a tube and worm.
In the fall, southeast winds will often set up blitzy action along the western shore as bass from micros to as large as 40 inches pin bait in tight between the jetties that protect this stretch of shoreline. The cove is also a favorite spot for kayakers looking for a productive spot that also provides some shelter from wind and waves.
The rock-strewn bottom that flanks the cove’s eastern and western approaches is prime terrain for bottom species like blackfish and scup. Check the shaded sonar layers on your Navionics App to see the sunken ledge about 500 feet SSW of Joes Point or the stepped terrain that falls off the end of Converse Point to the east, both of these locations have the goods to produce tog, scup, sea bass and stripers. And all of this can be had within a few minutes’ steam from Mattapoisett Harbor.
I know there’s a nagging to join the fleet, especially in the springtime, when there are large stripers making their way north through the bottleneck of the west end, but to be successful, we have to think logically. Those fish have to move through all of Buzzards Bay before arriving at everyone’s favorite choke point, and they’re going to stage and feed all the way there. Your willingness to break away from the sheep and prospect good water that doesn’t have 98 boats on it, will lead you to more success and a lot more satisfaction.