Sunday, July 26, 2015

Tons of Small Bait, Blues Invade South Shore

Tons of small bait has attracted good numbers of small
bluefish to the south shore oceanfront.  The Kastmaster XL
was the hot producer tonight.
Suddenly, things are looking up, especially if you are a fan of bluefish.  Earlier than expected, a ton of small bait, bay anchovies I assume, has invaded the south shore.  I saw it yesterday moving along the shoreline like a continuous black winding road.  It was also way out as terns were in a vast area diving here and there for the bait.  This bait was tiny, probably about a half inch long.
The sudden influx of bait has attracted schools of small bluefish.  I landed several on a Kastmaster XL and lost a bunch more.  The blues went up to about 3 lbs. Yes, small stuff, but, hey, it's action that I have not seen in weeks.  Unfortunately, I saw and caught no schoolies along the beach that I was fishing and that includes working it after dark.
The big amount of bait is welcome news.  If it sticks around, it might just set up an earlier than expected run of albies (late August, maybe).  It might also get an early striper run going once the water cools a bit. Things are looking up!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Lack of Bait + Fewer Fish = Slim Pickings

If you have been reading recent reports about RI fishing, you would think forty and fifty pound stripers would be jumping in your waders.  Realize these are "highlight fish".  Yes, a few of these fish are being taken by boaters fishing at Block Island for the most part. With hundreds of boats a day probing the Block's waters, some fish are bound to be caught. Fishing from shore is a different ballgame.
If shore fishing were a hospital patient, it would be on life support.  Not much is going on.  There is a noticeable lack of bait near shore.  Sure, there are some menhaden in the Bay, and pods of sandeels seem to be showing up way off shore.  But, close shore there is little or nothing. Don't expect the bait situation to change until at least mid August when bay anchovies start to move along the oceanfront.
No question, there are fewer fish around.  Most will agree that numbers are down.  That's why we can only keep one fish a day. From shore the shortage is magnified as shore fishing in the summer has been on a downhill slide here in RI for the last several years.
I was out last evening/night fishing a high percentage spot.  The water was rough, but clean.  Ideal conditions.  I slugged it out in multiple spots along a shoreline.  The results were just one lone schoolie about 20 inches that was caught on a white Slug-go after dark. It was odd that there was just one other person fishing this popular spot, and he got nothing.  It seems to me that shore fishermen are giving up striper fishing in droves in the summertime. I know a lot of shore fishermen and most have either given it up or cut back big time.  Most realize there is little to catch right now.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Going After the Best Bets

It's summertime here in RI, a poor time of the year to fish for striped bass from shore along the mainland oceanfront  I was looking for the best bet in daytime fishing, so my brother and I decided to head out to the south shore and fish the bottom from his boat. We were after the Big 3 of summer....fluke, black sea bass and scup.  We found a lot of black sea bass and fluke.
We landed about a dozen black sea bass with several keepers in the mix.  My brother was using a jig spiced with a squid strip while I was vertically jigging a Kastmaster XL. Both were working.
Fluke were tough to come by at first, and then we hit a real hotspot where we landed at least 50 of them in an hour.  Of those fifty we had several keepers in the 20+ inch range.  He got his fish on bucktail jigs spiced with squid strips, and I got my fish on bucktail jigs spiced with a plastic curly tail.
So, if you have a boat, the bottom fishing is very good right now along the oceanfront.  As for stripers and bluefish, we found none today.  We also saw no bait and no birds working.

The bottom fishing was good today for fluke and black sea bass.

Friday, July 3, 2015

RI Black Sea Bass Regs Beyond Ridiculous

The black sea bass are all over the place and really
abundant, Yet, RI regulations only allow recreational fishermen
 to keep one a day.  It makes no sense.
I suppose we can all now cheer since you can keep a black sea bass in RI waters.  But, hold on.  The regulations now state that you can keep a grand total of 1 fish a day.  Yup, ONE fish.  And, it has to be 14 inches.  I can tell you that black sea bass are the most plentiful gamefish we have in our RI waters right now. For several years now their numbers have swelled to really big levels to the point in which they have become pests in places.  Yet, you are allowed to keep ONE a day.  It does not make any sense to most fishermen.
Regulations are set by the DEM and our Marine Fisheries Council.  The way I understand it, they are given an allotment in weight by a higher goverment agency.  The RI DEM then sets the rules such as size and bag limits.  It was described to me that the science is way behind what is actually taking place in the ocean.  For instance, scientific studies that were done years ago and still used today might show a model of decline in the black sea bass population.  Yet, we all know that is not happening.  It often takes years and years before the science catches up with what is really going on. So, we get hit with strict regulations when there is really an abundance of fish.
So, I have a suggestion....ask the fishermen what is going on! Seems simple enough to me. If they did, you would find huge agreement that the black sea bass fishery is healthy, robust and overabundant.
In this case, allowing RI recreational fishermen to keep just ONE fish a day to eat is simply ridiculous.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

More Than One Way to Fish Skinny Plastic

Yesterday I went out in my brother's boat to fish Boston Harbor for stripers.  This is a place that has fascinated me for a long time, and a place I have been exploring this year.  The structure, currents and nooks and crannies here are phenomenal, and there always seems to be some moving water. We found a good number of schoolies in several locations. We also had a number of big fish follows. All of our fish were taken today casting skinny plastic, and fishing them in a variety of ways. Here are a few ways that are working:
1.  We landed several fish in the traditional way.  Rig either a curvy worm hook or swimbait hook (screw type device up front) to the head of the skinny plastic.  Cast and reel in slowly while twitching the rod tip.  Lately, the white or rainbow trout, 7 1/2 inch Slug-Gos have been hot (see photo at right).
2. Use a small skinny plastic body like a 6 inch Hogy.  Thread it onto a small jighead (1/2 oz. or less).  Cast and work it in like a jig with pumps of the rod tip.  We found a worm hatch going on yesterday and the white Hogy on a jighead worked well (see photo at left).
3.  Use a small skinny plastic body on a swimbait hook and attach this to a float that has about 3 feet or trailing mono.  This is a hot producer in rough water and wind in your face. Work it by reeling slowly and twitching the rod tip as you come in. It was a great producer in the spring for me.
Here are two effective ways to rig skinny plastic.  The top bait is hooked
with a curvy wide gap worm hook.  The bottom bait is rigged with a
swimbait hook.  Both ways produce well.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Cape Cod Canal.....A Different World

From a fisherman who mostly fishes RI, I can tell you the Cape Cod Canal is like a different world. I fished it yesterday with my son and I can tell you that I was not in RI anymore. There was bait, there were fish, there were birds diving and there were lots of fishermen.
Last year I vowed I would never return to this place.  I could not stand the crowds, and we had some nasty encounters with some unpleasant fishermen.  Yet, everytime we went there last year we caught fish.  So, when my son, Ben, asked if I wanted to go on Father's Day, I said, "What the heck, let's give it a try.  Maybe we'll find some fish away from the crowds." And, that is just what we did.
First off, I can tell you there was more bait in one little stretch of the Canal than I have seen all year in RI.  The edge of the water was a ten to fifteen foot swath of black with small bait that seemed to move slowly against the currents. And schools of it kept coming and coming for hours. Further out, sometimes WAY out, sporadic fish were breaking here and there. Some of them were decent size. But, they were fussy since they were feeding on the small bait.  I saw no mackerel.  One guy next to us could cast a Guppy pencil popper more than halfway across the canal, and he was getting occasional hits and fish.  At one point, the fish moved in close and I was able to get a 30 inch keeper (see photo) on a jig.  I also saw other fish landed around us when the fish came in close. Surprisingly, it was not crowed where we were and the fishermen who were there were polite, friendly and respectful. 
So, here is a place where keepers are caught with regularity in the middle of the day.  Nothing like this exists from shore here in RI.  It is also a place where the bait always seems to be around.  Once again, nothing like this in RI from shore. Yup, a different world at the Canal.  I might even make a trip back there in the coming weeks.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Pic of the Day....

Another keeper falls to skinny plastic.