There is a place on the sandy plains of Cape Cod that many local bass angler’s try and keep secret. It isn’t one of those nearly pristine kettle ponds with crystal clear water harboring nice mixed populations of largemouth and smallmouth bass.
Actually, it is quite the opposite; an older constructed pond, dammed many years ago by local cranberry growers as a water supply for the numerous bogs surrounding its shores.
Add in the relatively shallow water depth (greatest depth is ~ 9 feet), very fertile water (both with respect to nutrient content and baitfish) and dense beds of pond lilies, pondweed and coontail, Mashpee’s Santuit Pond is definitely atypical compared to most other lakes and ponds on Cape Cod.
So what makes Santuit Pond so special?
An absolutely fantastic population of largemouth bass, not just in numbers (which are great) but more importantly in size. Santuit Pond is one of the many freshwater systems throughout the Cape connected by a stream (Santuit River) to the ocean (Vineyard Sound actually) a few miles to the south.
The significance of the ocean-pond connection relates to the fact that the river serves as a migration path for blue-back herring or alewives (an anadromous fish) where they access their freshwater breeding grounds (the pond). This provides an abundant food source for Santuit’s bass through the Summer and into the early Fall when the herring/alewives abandon their summertime home for the ocean. This abundance of high quality bait enables Santuit’s largemouth population to excel both in numbers and size.
I had the good fortune to live on Cape Cod (just a few miles from Santuit) during much of the 1990s and spent a great deal of time “catching” many of those Santuit bass. There were so many days when I caught one or more fish over the five pound mark, I grew to expect a quality fish on each outing. Much of the time the expectation was realized.
So the next time you visit “Old” Cape Cod, try and make a day available, find a local fishing buddy with a boat and check it out. You will not be disappointed!