About 20 minutes from my home on the bayside of Cape Cod, Massachusetts is where the Pilgrims first landed in the New World. My family and I fish and boat around many of their historic landing spots. Here are few of them.
The Pilgrims first anchored off of the Provincetown Spit, the last piece of land on Cape Cod. The curve of the land forms a natural harbor, one that is chock-a-block with striped bass and bluefish during the season and sail and power boats of nearly every size and shape. The best view of the active harbor is from the 252-foot tall Pilgrim Monument, which is at the top of High Pole Hill. It’s at the right of the picture.
From there you can see Corn Hill in Truro. The beach is named for the Pilgrims discovery of a cache of Indian corn that was buried in the sand. That corn provided the necessary sustenance for the Pilgrims to survive the first winter. Because of the ocean currents, a parallel offshore bar runs makes for excellent low-tide clamming as well as for sight-fishing for bass and blues. Only a simple bronze marker surrounded by salt hay commemorates the beach’s significance.
First Encounter Beach in Eastham is where the Pilgrims first encountered Native Americans (the Nausets). Several tidal rivers as well as a herring run make for super hot fishing in early May. After a few weeks of exploration in Cape Cod, the Pilgrims determined that the soil was of poor quality and that there wasn’t enough fresh water to sustain a settlement.
The Mayflower set forth a westward tack and soon enough arrived in Plimouth (original spelling). There they established the first colony in the New World, one that is represented by the historical village of Plimouth Plantation. Incredible flats fishing, hot top-water fishing, and terrific night fishing is part of the area. Just head to the public boat ramp from April through October and you’ll see for yourself.
This year I’m thankful to live in an area that is so rich in history, and has many great fishing and boating opportunities. I’m thankful that my family and friends like to fish and they like to spend lots of time on the water. Catching stripers in the shadows of these areas and then pushing forward the throttle to return to port reminds me of how fortunate I am to be able to fish and boat in this wonderful region. I am thankful to all who have helped preserve this rich, maritime tradition.
Here’s wishing you and your families a Happy Thanksgiving from the Pilgrim State.
Tom Keer is a freelance writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He regularly writes for over a dozen magazines, and is the contributing editor of Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America and a columnist for The Upland Almanac. His book a “Flyfisher’s Guide to the New England Coast” was published by Wilderness Adventures Press in 2010. Visit him at http://www.tomkeer.com/ or at www.thekeergroup.com.