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.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Big Difference Between Shore and Boat Fishing Right Now

This is one of several schoolies landed last night. For the
shore fishermen, numbers are down and sizes are down.
There is a noticeable lack of small bait.
The shore fishing right now in RI for stripers can be described as "fair" at best. Many would rate it poor. The water is warming, and there is a noticeable lack of small bait in close. Those abundant 20-30 inch fish that we had back in May seem to have moved on.  What is left is a few schoolies here and there grubbing for shrimp in many places. You have to work for them, and generally the fishing is strictly a nighttime game right now.
I got out four times from shore in the last week and caught a grand total of 5 schoolies (all about 20 inches) along with 7 bluefish.  I put in a lot of hours for these few fish. The schoolies were fussy and occasionally one would take a white Slug-Go or a Red Gill teaser.  I have seen just about no one fishing from shore and the few guys you talk to are all disgusted with the poor fishing from shore and lack of bait.
Contrast that report with what you have been reading from the magazines and newspaper.  Those reports tell of some very good numbers of big fish falling to the boaters who are using menhaden in the Bay and fishing the waters off Block Island at night.  Fishing with menhaden (livelining, chunks, yo-yoing) is generally effective from a boat in deep water. Once in a blue moon you stumble upon a school while fishing from shore, but it is rare these days.
So, just like last year, we are seeing marginal fishing from shore.  I have little hope it will improve in the next two months along the Bay or the oceanfront.  I see late August or early September for the turn around when schools of bay anchovies start to hit the oceanfront. Until then, it will be a fish here and a fish there for shore fishermen.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Crawling with Bluefish

Blues will just slice skinny plastic to shreds.  Go with
a hard plug when the bluefish are around. 
I was up in the Bay tonight, and the place I was fishing was crawling with bluefish.  We don't think as bluefish as fussy feeders but I will tell you that these were.  They could not resist chopping my Slug-Gos to pieces so I went with a hard plug.  They would not look at my first choice, a popper. My second choice was a slender jointed Red Fin, and that seemed to get some hits.  This plug has a slim profile and lots of movement.  In the past, it was a good option for catching finicky bluefish.  And, it worked tonight as I landed 5 bluefish from 4-7 lbs.and had a lot more hits and swirls.  I had a few hefty fish that were shaped like footballs. Though I saw no bait, it is obvious from the size of them that they are eating well.
Two weeks ago I was catching stripers in this location.  Not tonight....looks like the blues have taken over.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Pic of the Day....My Turn!

Yes, keepers are around....you just have to find them!