Located on Cape Cod in the town of Mashpee, the Waquoit jetty juts southward into the blue waters of Nantucket Sound. It serves as one half of the inlet barrier to the entrance of Waquoit Bay, with the other side harboring the smaller jetty along Washburn Island. With its ease of access from South Cape Beach, and the natural geographic outline of its location related to tide and wind, the Waquoit jetty can only be described as a fish rest-stop. Here, the conflux of Waquoit Bay and Nantucket Sound serve up a smorgasbord of baitfish, attracting all sorts of predators through the season. Herring and squid in the spring attract big hordes of bluefish, with striped bass to follow. Summertime will have fry and other baitfish dumping from the bay keeping the blues and bass interested, but also seeing larger predators nearby as big brown sharks move in at night along nearby beaches and the jetty. By mid-August rumors of funny fish turn to reality as bonito appear offshore, sometimes moving close enough to the jetty to make it worth a visit. And by the first of September, false albacore should be blowing up all along the south side. Later in the fall, as the season approaches for ghouls and goblins, the albie bite diminishes, but is replaced by a return of jumbo bluefish and big bass.
For those visiting in the spring, searching for those first big bluefish, I recommend you circle the third week of May for the heaviest action. Plan on getting to your location, excluding the walk time, two hours prior to high tide. You want to be in place when the fish start to fill in with the tide, trapping bait along the beach. Fishing from the jetty can be great, but in the spring there are days when you never set foot on the stones but instead end up having a tide full of choppers hammering plugs off the beach just to the side of the wall. Stock your bag with 2-ounce topwaters including Roberts Ranger or Surface Tension skipping lures, open-faced poppers like the old reliable blue/white Atom popper, some pencil poppers, and have at it.
With the arrival of summer, a family walk to the jetty can be a nice way to spend the day at the beach, get away from the crowds, have a picnic, and cast a few swimming plugs off the jetty. We’ve had memorable days toting a backpack cooler, and light surf gear, which produced schoolies near the break in the jetty. For serious summertime action, head out under the stars when hefty brown sharks can be caught using heavier surf gear. Fish chunk bait like pogies, mackerel, or half-dead eels on wire leaders. If you haven’t caught a big shark from the beach, this is a great spot to give it a go.
In late summer to early autumn, the first local albie will undoubtedly be caught, and soon the waters just off the mouth of Waquoit inlet will become a regular stop for the boat pirates targeting the speedsters. For those albie hunters leaving footprints in the sand, make the trek to the jetty and you may be rewarded with a battle that will leave your heart thumping. Bring light gear, 20-pound-test outfits, and a bag of Epoxy Jigs and Deadly Dicks. Nothing is more exhilarating than seeing boiling albies on the feed and within range! But pelagics aren’t the only action in town during the fall. The heavy hitters return as well with big bluefish making the rounds, and huge stripers can also be taken drifting eels at night inside the jetty.
To fish the jetty by foot, the best access point is from South Cape Beach. By boat or kayak, a launch can be had at the nearby Mashpee boat Ramp in Waquoit Bay. On foot be prepared and try to pack light as it’s a roughly 1.5-mile walk to the west from the South Cape Beach parking lot where public parking is available for a fee between Memorial Day and Labor Day (no fee at other times). It is not an easy walk on the beach, but if you choose the nature trail that runs the middle of the dunes towards the jetty, some sections still reveal an old, paved access road, which provides some relief.