Thursday, August 25, 2016

Crazy Good

That little bout of cool weather we had several days ago just lit the fishing up.  If I didn't know better I would think I was fishing in October rather than August.
Several evenings ago I got out from shore in the Bay and saw one of the biggest schools of bluefish I have ever witnessed at this time of year.  It was the size of a football field and they were busting non-stop for nearly an hour, feeding on massive schools of peanut bunker.  Unfortunately, they were out of casting distance.  But, no problem, because right near shore there were loads of bay anchovies and schoolies were after those.  I landed 11 schoolies that evening on bucktail jigs.  The next evening, my son Ben and I headed to the shore.  Same story....bait everywhere and blues busting out far, schoolies on the rampage in close. Together we landed over 40 fish in an hour and a half on jigs. Last night I went down once again.  The blues were gone but the place was crawling with both bay anchovies as well as peanut bunker with stripers breaking here and there. I landed 22 stripers in a short period of time.
This has been one of the best Augusts I have ever experienced from shore (boat is on vacation). There's tons of bait, and I have landed big numbers of stripers, blues and even fluke this month.  Yes, that bait is drawing everything close to shore including a seal that was in front of me last night.  I have no doubt that this terrific August fishing will lead to some spectacular September fishing.  Put albies in the mix and a real big month is coming up!
It has been one of the Augusts I have ever experinced. There have been
big numbers of stripers and blues around lured by tons of bait.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Lure of the Week- The Bucktail Jig

They aren't hitting Slug-gos. They aren't hitting Jumpin Minnows.  They can take or leave the shad bodies. But, they are hitting bucktail jigs big time. This old stand-by has become the new hottest lure for me in the last week or so.
I've written over and over again how the bucktail jig is the most versatile and effective lure you can use in saltwater.  It will catch a whole variety of fish and is probably your most effective lure when the bait is small.  Over the weekend my son Jon fished the oceanfront and landed several fluke as well as bluefish on the jig.  The next evening we fished the Bay and landed over 20 stripers on the jig.  Last evening I fished the Bay and landed good numbers of both stripers and blues on the jig. So, this is all proof of how good this lure is working right now.
The bait in the places I am fishing is small right now. I believe it is bay anchovies. A small, bucktail jig of half an ounce or smaller has a similar profile of the bait.  Add a plastic curly tail and now you have similar movement of the bait. I make all my own jigs and favor a white color overall.  I prefer Bass Pro Shops triple ripple tails in a three inch length to add to my jigs as enticers.
Nothing fancy about working the jig.  Simply cast, let it sink and slowly reel it in with occasional pulls of the rod tip. Very easy and very effective.
The Erie style jig has been hot for me this week.  My son Jon is having
good success on a lima bean or flat head jig.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

In the Doldrums

It's August, it's really hot and the shore fishing has taken a nosedive.  So, what else is new?  While some tout August as a good month to catch stripers, I am not one of those.  Even when we used to have tons of fish around, August was still a tough month to catch stripers from shore. It is different for boaters who can probe deeper water or get out to Block Island.
This is one of 12 schoolies landed a few nights back on
jigs. Fishing overall has turned inconsistent,
a trademark of August fishing.
I have blanked two evenings in a row now, something I have not done all year. No stripers, no blues, though I did have several hits on a Jumpin Minnow last evening. So, we have moved into the August inconsistencies. Pretty normal.
Looking on the bright side, there is still a lot of bait around and I do see small, fussy stripers and blues feeding almost nightly.  In this warm weather they are not super aggressive and are tough to get. Sometimes, though, they will hit.  A few nights back I landed 12 stripers up to near keeper size.  That night the fish were agressive, feeding on peanut bunker.
So, at this time of year, there is no magic bullet, no sure bets.  It's a matter of getting out, casting away and hoping the fish are around and active.  If not, enjoy the scenery and the exercise. That's August fishing in a nutshell.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Larger Blues More Numerous

Big bluefish over 10 lbs. are
blitzing with the more numerous
smaller fish in the Bay.
The bluefish continue to make headlines in the Bay and remain your best bet from shore.  The big news is that they are getting bigger.  I know of numerous fish this week over 10 lbs. that were landed.  These bigger ones were mixed in with smaller (2-6 lbs.) ones going on a rampage after big schools of peanut bunker.
I have seen some crazy stuff this week.  I have seen numerous mini surface blitzes of blues, something you usually see in the cooler weather of the fall along the oceanfront.  Blues have been busting in big bunches all week after bait in the Bay. There have even been stripers of all sizes (yes, some keepers) in the mix.
Bay water right now is in the upper 70's. This hot water doesn't seem to slow the fish down.  If the bait is around, the fish will continue to feed. And, there seems to be more and more blues by the week. It's real good right now, but I think a great September is coming.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Summer of the Blues

This has been one of the biggest summers for bluefish that I have seen in over a decade. I am consistently getting upwards of seven or eight blues an evening in the Bay from shore, and there seems to be no let up in sight.  In fact, their numbers seem to be increasing!
It's been blues, and lots of them, so far this summer.
This influx of bluefish is all being fueled by an unusual amount of bait that entered the Bay in the spring and that keeps coming.  Right now, there is everything known to these parts.  I see big schools of large menhaden on occasion, very large concentrations of peanut bunker and even schools of bay anchovies. The bigger blues are on the large menhaden while the smaller ones under 8 lbs. are voraciously feeding on the peanut bunker and bay anchovies.  At times they can bee seen busting in big groups.
As I have said in previous posts, these fish are fussy which is probably due to the warm water (mid to upper 70's). The smaller blues are keying on plastic shads and cutting up as many as they are taking. The larger blues (when they are in the mood) are taking larger plugs like pencil poppers and large standard poppers.
While I have stayed in the Bay to catch these blues and occasional stripers, I am hearing about bluefish action along the oceanfront also. Same deal as the Bay....where bait comes ashore, bluefish are on it.
This is all setting up what looks to be an outstanding fall. Come September, the Bay should be wild with blues and occasional good size stripers.  The oceanfront should be a mix of stripers, blues and albies. Can't wait!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Hottest Lure of the Week....Plastic Shad Body

I don't like using plastics when blues are around, but when the plastics are the ONLY thing they will hit, I'll use them.  All of a sudden, the hottest lure in my bag is a 4-inch shad body mounted onto a half ounce jighead. I especially like a sparling green color with a black back. This lure is catching lots of bluefish for me in the Bay along with some stripers. The drawback to using this lure is that the blues are merciless when it comes to cutting them up.  A couple of nights back I landed seven blues and went through at least 10 plastic bodies.  However, years ago I bought bags of 50 of them at a time and these bags have sat in my basement for years so I am now putting them to use!
A plastic shad is a dead ringer for a peanut bunker.  It has the right size and shape.  And, that wiggling fan tail is the icing on the cake.  It's also a lure anyone, even a novice, can use with deadly effectiveness.  Simply cast it out and reel it in.
I wish I could tell you the blues are hitting hard plugs. They are not.  They have gotten mighty fussy in the warm water that is loaded with bait. This fussiness is a summertime thing I have seen repeated many times over the years. So, if it's plastic shads they are hitting, it's shads I am using!


Monday, July 18, 2016

Bluefish Take Over

I got this blue last night on a
plastic shad body. The blues have
been fussy at times and plastic
sometimes does the trick.
In the last week, the striper fishing has dwindled down to an occasional small schoolie in the Bay.  On the other hand the bluefish fishing has just taken off in this warm weather.  I checked the NOAA site this morning for water temperatures and was surprised to find the surface water at Conimicut was a hot 79 degrees.  Most of the Bay water was running in the mid to high 70's. Even the oceanfront was running in the low 70's. That has driven most of the good size stripers right out, and they have been replaced by bluefish.  The Bay is still full of all kinds of bait and that's keeping the blues active.
The blues have been running all sizes.  On one cast I'll catch a 12 incher, several casts later might produce a 6 pounder, and if you can find large menhaden around, you might even hook into a real large fish up to 15 lbs.
The other surprising thing is that many of these blues have been fussy. I've seen evenings where they are tearing through bait yet unwilling to hit most artificials. This does happen in the summer.  I was fishing next to a friend the other night and he was having the best success on 4 inch plastic shad bodies on jigheads.  I'm not a fan of using plastics for blues, but if it's the only thing that is working so be it.  I've gotten some this week on Jumpin Minnows and bucktail jigs as both have worked at times.
So, it's July, it's hot, and the striper fishing has taken a dive from shore.  All pretty normal. The good news is that there is still good action to be had if you like fishing for blues.