Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Going Beserk

What I have seen in the last week is nothing short of astounding. Every day I have been out I have seen a blitz or multiple blitzes of some kind.  Yesterday I ran into acres and acres of striped bass feeding on the surface in a frenzy unheard of in August. These fish were all clones of 24 to 25 inches. At times, they were right at my feet. I swear I could have reached in and just grabbed a fish! They were after massive schools of juvenile peanut bunker with schools of bay anchovies also around.  At one point as I looked out over the ocean, I could count 6 different massive schools of fish in front of me spread out in a quarter mile stretch.  And, not a fisherman in sight. No one expects this on a 90 degree day in mid August, and just about no one is fishing!
The video below is just a sampling of what went on ALL DAY.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Find the Bait and You Find the Fish

Birds are working a school of
 peanut bunker along the
oceanfront.  Stripers are under the
bait in big numbers.
The Bay has the most bluefish
right now.  They, too, are on
schools of peanut bunker.
Both the oceanfront and the Bay are producing right now. If you didn't know it, you would think this is fall migration fishing. That's because big schools of peanut bunker have entered our waters and it is attracting stripers, bluefish and bonito.
The key to success is finding the bait (isn't it always?). In the last four days I fished both the oceanfront and the Bay.  At times, I had to look in different spots to find a place with some bait.  Once I did, it was non-stop action.  Right now, the Bay seems to have the majority of the bluefish. These are fish in the 3 to 6 lb. range.  The oceanfront is loaded with schoolie stripers (20 to 25 inches) and there are good numbers of bonito around, especially along the south shore beachfront.
In those places where there is no bait, there are no fish.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

All Hell Breaks Loose

The Cocahoe off a float was the hot ticket
yesterday. Plus, the single jig hook made for
easier catch and release.
Have you ever gotten in that zone where everything goes right in fishing? You pick the right spots, you have loads of fish in front of you, they are hitting, and you are alone and have it all to yourself. And, you are doing this day after day. Well, I've been in that zone for the last week.
Yesterday, I decided to hit the RI oceanfront even though I had been doing very well in the Bay. I had a hunch, a sixth sense you might say. Conditions and tides were right, the time of year was right and even though I had marginal reports about what was going on, I decided to give it a try.
As soon as I arrived in my spot, I saw the signs.  Birds were flying around all over, occasionally picking up bait. I saw occasional fish breaking way out. Then, out of nowhere it happened. The surface erupted in front of me. Multiple schools of fish busting all over the place.  Peanut bunker flying out of the water.  And, suddenly I was onto a rare striper blitz in mid August, a time when this is not supposed to happen.
Blitz like conditions continued for three hours.  It was a hit or a fish on just about every cast.  My float and Cocahoe jig were nailing hefty schoolie after schoolie. The fish were running 20 to 25 inches. I landed no keepers, but that's the new norm here in RI. You want to fish for stripers, it's all schoolies here in RI.
So, fishing has definitely taken on a fall feel even though we are still in the middle of August. That's what peanut bunker will do. Looks like we are heading into a real good fall season.
Birds are diving and fish are breaking for big schools of peanut bunker.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Bluefish Around in BIG Numbers

The blues are after big schools of
peanut bunker.
The Yo-Zuri hydro Minnow has been my best
lure for bluefish in the last few days.
Suddenly, the bluefish are around in big numbers, the likes of which we have not seen in years, maybe a decade.  In the last three evenings I have landed more bluefish than I have caught in the last three years! I've found schools of them busting for big schools of peanut bunker that are streaming into our RI waters right now.  While I am getting my blues from shore in the Bay, I have reports of them all over the place.  My son Jon has been fishing the mid Bay from a kayak, and he is killing them every evening.  I have another friend who fished the oceanfront recently and he, too, saw big numbers.  There are stripers mixed in with the bluefish as I am getting a few bass every outing. Most of the blues are on the small side, running 3 to 6 lbs. on average.
Topwater lures are getting the blues for me, though they are not fussy.  I have been using a Yo-Zuri Hydro Pencil.  This plug looks like a Jumpin' Minnow on steroids.  It is just about the same length as a Jumpin' Minnow, yet weighs almost twice as much, making it a great caster.  It's also heavy duty with sturdy anchors and heavy duty hooks (no need to change out anything). It twitches on the surface with quick pulls of the rod tip and the blues have found this irresistible.  My son Jon has been getting his fish on a Rebel Jumpin' Minnow.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Slow Down those Top Water Plugs

Slow down those topwater plugs for increased
success.  The slow retrieve works with pencils,
standard poppers, spooks and Jumpin' Minnows.
It's been a real good week for me, sort of a fall preview, with lots of stripers of all sizes and good numbers of bluefish.  The bite has been a topwater one.  Most of my fish have been taken on either pencil poppers or Rebel Jumpin' Minnows.
Whatever you choose as a topwater plug, try to work the offering at a slow pace.  Last week I watched a guy put on a clinic in using a pencil popper.  This guy was catching one fish after another while most of us just watched. The key to his success was two fold.  He was cranking the reel oh so slowly, just enough to keep the plug on the surface.  He was also twitching the tip of the rod with short, fast rhythmic pulls. The rod was working his plug and not the reel.  His right hand was high up on the rod above the reel to achieve this.  The nose of the plug was simply bouncing up and down (not going crazy) while slowly coming ashore. It got me thinking that I, like everyone else, was moving the pencil too fast.  I was getting hits, but not hooking up.  When I slowed things down, it made a big difference.
I used this slow approach all week in various spots, and it has really made a difference with my catch success on my topwater offerings.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

On the Guppy

Earlier in the week I did a post on pencil poppers.  We'll, I've been fishing them lately with good success.  My best producer this week has been a Guppy Jobo Jr. XH in a ghost mackerel.  That is an all white plug with streaks of chartreuse in the body. This plug weighs about 3 1/2 oz. and is a great caster.  It also tracks well on top. It got me this hefty keeper along with several other big fish. By the way, this fish was realeased immediately after this photo, and with one mighty swish of its tail, it was gone.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Large Amounts of Bait Light Up RI Fishing

I've had my best three days in a row of fishing that I've had in months here in RI. I found big amounts of bait in both the Bay and along the oceanfront, and it delivered big numbers of stripers, blues, fluke and black sea bass.
Several days ago I went back to fishing in the Bay.  To my surprise, I found big schools of peanut bunker in the area I was fishing from shore. It didn't take long the find the stripers and bluefish as I started getting fish after fish on Zoom flukes mounted on jigheads. Towards dark, fish started breaking all over the place. While these were all schoolies and smaller blues, they were great on the light tackle I was using.  Hey, it's the end of July and I'll settle for anything.  By the way, this is very early for peanut bunker, and a real good sign of what's to come.
I went back to this spot again last night and once again, fish all over the place with a mix of stripers and blues.  Same deal, fish breaking all over the place at sunset. I got good numbers of fish on jigs.
Today, my brother and I decided to hit the oceanfront from the boat. We found big amounts of bait that looked like bay anchovies. We began our day by catching good numbers of fluke up to keeper size along with a number of black sea bass.  We got those vertical jigging bucktails.  While doing this, we suddenly ran into an area of schools of breaking fish and diving birds.  It turned out to be schools of both stripers and bluefish attacking the schools of bay anchovies. These were like wild October blitzes with big schools of fish feeding on the surface.  It went on for hours. The stripers were good size schoolies in the 20 to 25 inch range.  The blues went 4 to 7 lbs.  All the action was on topwater plugs with the Rebel Jumpin Minnow being the hottest plug.
It's the end of July, but suddenly, the fishing has a fall feel to it.  That's what bait can do, and we have it right now. The RI fishing has awoken from the summer doldrums!