Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Heading Downhill

Just a couple of weeks ago, the water was
clean and cool and the stripers were abundant
in the upper Bay.  Things have gone downhill
in the last week.
Ah, it's that time of year. We get to about the third week of June and the fishing changes dramatically in the Bay. In the last two outings I have only managed to scratch a few schoolies in places where I was killing them two weeks ago.
I have been staying in the Bay from shore for the last month because the fishing had been so good for schoolies and bluefish with occasional small keepers in the mix.  That has really changed in the last week due to a number of factors that have sent the fishing in a downward spiral.  Water temperatures have shot up, there is little small bait and the water quality has been poor.
Just a couple of weeks ago the water temperatures in the Bay were in the fifties and low sixties. I checked today and the water temperature at Conimicut was a very warm 72 degrees.  Credit that hot spell last week of three ninety degree days in a row for really upping the water temps.
I have seen very little small bait around.  We still have a lot of adult pogies but they are all holed up in one very popular spot. There are so many they are dying and there are loads of dead ones all around the upper Bay.  I have seen no peanut bunker which was moving into the Bay last year at this time.  If a lot of bait comes around the water can get as warm as it wants, and the stripers will remain active.
The water quality in the Bay is not good.  On the last three outings it looked like I was fishing in a giant cup of coffee with visibility about a foot in the crappy water.  I suspect that large amounts of rain, run off and warm weather have contributed to foul the water.  I have never had good fishing in water like this.
So, this is the time of year in which many fishermen head to the lower part of the Bay and the oceanfront to find better striper action.  Places along Newport, Jamestown, Block Island and Narragansett offer cleaner and cooler water and that generally leads to better fishing at this time. Another summer has arrived.

Friday, June 16, 2017

A Trip to Black Sea Bass Heaven

I have written in the past about the fabulous fishing for black sea bass that Buzzards Bay has to offer.  And, I have written about some real good days we had there.  But, yesterday had to be the BEST.  I have never seen so many good size black sea bass as I saw yesterday. They were all over this Bay.  We even saw some surfacing for bait.
At one point there were birds all around us diving and black sea bass driving the bait on the surface. They were even swimming in schools in the clear water down a few feet right under the boat and this was in water that was 25 feet deep. I've never seen them on the surface like this.  The depth finder at times revealed fish ten feet thick under the bait.  We could not even get our metal offerings to the bottom without a fish grabbing it on the way down.This went on all afternoon in multiple spots as we had a fish on just about every drop of the metal.
The hot lure of the day was a Kastmaster XL which we just dropped to the bottom and jigged it up and down with pulls of the rod tip.  Just about all the fish we caught were keepers with most going 15-20 inches.  We also had a few real big ones that went over 20 inches that we kept.
Buzzards Bay also has the most beautiful specimens of black sea bass that you will find anywhere.  Many of the fish we caught had bright blue heads and fins, a characteristic of fish we find here at this time of year.
Chalk up another great day of fishing in this very best spot on the East Coast for sea bass.

Simply Beautiful!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Mother of All Bluefish Landed on a WILD Day

This bluefish, the biggest we ever caught, measured
a whopping 40 inches.  It was caught on a Rebel
Jumpin Minnow.  It was one of over 60 big blues
landed today in a wild day of fishing.
We've landed some big bluefish over the years from shore and boat, but today yielded the biggest one I have ever seen. My brother Steve landed this Mother of All Bluefish, a 40 inch monster on the best day of fishing for blues we have ever had in June. The state record for blues is listed at 39 inches and 26 lbs.  While this fish bests the state record in length, I don't think it was fat enough to beat the weight.  I would estimate this fish went in the low to mid 20 lb. range. It was unhooked and released so the beast still swims in Gansett Bay.
This was an absolute wild day.  We found big blues stacked up in a corner of the Bay.  For hours we had a hit or a fish on just about every cast using a topwater plug.  Just about any topwater plug like poppers, Spooks and Jumpin Minnows were blasted by these super aggressive blues in the 8-15 lb. range.  The monster blue described above was caught on a black back Rebel Jumpin Minnow. There were so many blues that when we were reeling one to the boat, there were often four or five following the hooked fish trying to steal the plug from its mouth.
And, not only did we get blues.  We also landed half a dozen stripers from 22 inches to small keeper size. There were no small schoolies in this melee. I'm sure they would have been eaten by the ravenous blues.
All of our fish today were caught on plugs.  Interestingly, many fishermen were running all over the Bay today trying to snag or fish with pogies.  We found a ton of pogies miles from where we hit the blues.  But, there was not a single big fish under them and we saw no one land a fish on a menhaden.

This big blue has just clobbered a white popper. Topwater plugs such as poppers,
Spooks and Jumpin Minnows caught all the blues and stripers today.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Another Big Bluefish Year on the Way?

Big blues have been around from shore. I landed
this one a couple of nights ago.
We've also found big numbers of
them from the boat this week. There's
plenty of food to keep them around.
One of the highlights of last year was the resurgence of big bluefish along the south shore oceanfront as well as in the Bay. It was the best year for big blues in at least a decade. This year has all the makings of a repeat if you look at what is going on right now.
My brother and I fished in the boat one day this week.  While we found no big stripers we found plenty of big bluefish.  In fact, this was our best day ever for big bluefish in early June as we boated well over 30 of them while fishing topwater plugs.  They ranged from 8-15 lbs. The next night I fished from shore.  I thought I had a big striper on but when I got it to shore it turned out to be another big blue.  I also know of another guy who reported blues up to 15 lbs. from a shore spot in the Bay.  These are all examples of a growing big bluefish population that should swell to big numbers by late summer.
Add to all this a huge population of menhaden in the Bay. I believe this is drawing in numbers of big bluefish, although my brother thinks the blues could be feasting on the massive number of small schoolies that are in the Bay right now.  Either way, there's plenty of food to keep them coming.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

A Very Hot Plug

I landed this monster blue on the Jumpin
Minnow along with another 15 big blues
this week in the Bay from the boat.
This small keeper was landed
from shore this week on a
Jumpin Minnow.
The hottest plug in my bag right now is actually the most inexpensive.  How's that for a bargain? I've written many times about the Rebel Jumpin' Minnow, and I have to highlight it again.  I've landed a number of hefty schoolies and small keepers as well as some monster bluefish in the last week and just about everything has come on the minnow. It's far outfished most other plugs in my bag and is the hottest thing going right now.
This is a plug that works well on light tackle and in "small" spots like bays, harbors and backwaters.  It's not a plug that would make it in big, long cast spots.  But, in those calm spots where fussy fish are feeding on small bait, it is terrific.
I especially like the bone, or off white colored model.  As I have said in the past I change the hooks on the plug out of the box and put on VMC 4X, size #1 hooks.
To work the plug, reel in with a slow retrieve while moving the rod tip with short jerks.  This should cause the plug to wiggle back and forth on the surface on the retrieve.  If a fish is whirling in back of it, slow it down or even stop it.

The Jumpin Minnow is best fished with light tackle.  This bone color is
my favorite color.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Photo of the Day....Keeper at Dark

First Blue

Yes, they are around, but no big numbers.
It was late incoming, but I got my first bluefish last evening in Narragansett Bay from shore.  I know that they have been around for the last ten days or so along the oceanfront, but this is the first one that I have caught and even heard of in the Bay. Note that it was one lone fish that hit a Rebel Jumpin Minnow, so I don't think there are any big numbers around.  Until we see some warmer weather and more bait, I don't think you are going to see big numbers of bluefish.
In recent years, the trend for blues has been more of a late summer and fall thing.  They usually arrive when schools of peanut bunker come around and that happens in mid to late summer.
The fishing in general has become an up and down thing in recent days.  The unusual cool weather, lots of rain, and really big tides has had a negative effect on the shore fishing for stripers.   I also notice the water quality in the Bay is poor.  There is also a lot of weed and grass in the water due to this week's higher than normal tides, and the water has had a greenish/brown tint to it.