Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Going Small Scores Big

Yesterday I saw the most fish I have seen on any outing this year from shore. I hit a spot along the oceanfront where stripers and blues had a massive school of bay anchovies pinned up against a rocky shoreline.  At times hundreds of stripers could be seen tearing through this bait while lesser numbers of false albcore would occasionally rip though the bait also.  It was wild.  It didn't take long for fishermen to find out what was going on and within an hour the quiet spot I had to myself saw at least 20 surf fishermen casting away.
Yesterday stripers and albies
were feasting on one inch bay
anchovies. The fish are super fussy
when that happens.
This near keeper striper hit a
four inch Rapala X-Rap swimmer.
It was the best plug to use yesterday
for stripers.
This was no picnic as the fish were extremely FUSSY.  That is just the was it goes when stripers and albies are feeding on one inch bay anchovies.  There is nothing in a surf bag that will imitate this bait.  However, you have your best chance at scoring if you go small.  So, after trying the old stand-by bucktail jig, Cocahoe and Zoom flukes and getting no fish to hit, my son Jon and I turned to small swimmers.  That did the trick.  We landed good numbers of stripers up to near keeper size on 4-inch Rapala X-Rap swimmers. They weren't killing this lure, but some fish would hit it.  I must say we landed more fish than all the rest of the fishermen combined.  It seems that many of these guys had no small swimmers in their bags and the large poppers, big metal and large swimmers many were using were just not cutting it.
In addition to all those stripers we caught, I also did get an albie on a float 'n' Deceiver fly.  The albies are also fussy when on small bait and that fly works wonders when this happens.

This albie grabbed a Deceiver fly fished off a float.  

Monday, September 29, 2014

Still Around in Good Numbers

The epic albie fishing that we have experienced this September just continues.  I got out from shore this weekend with my son Jon and my friend Dennis and we had albies breaking in front of us for a good period of time. And, they were aggressively taking our offerings.  These fish were feasting on schools of bay anchovies that were moving close to shore.  Once again, the hot lure was the float 'n' Deceiver fly combo, though I did get one albie with a small bucktail jig while trying for stripers.  That was my surprise of the day.
Realize that the albie window is slowly closing.  They generally stick around till the first, maybe second week of October and then their numbers thin out greatly.  So, if you haven't gotten one yet, you still have time.
And, I might also add that I did fish for stripers in a number of locations at and after dark but came up empty.  Man, be thankful we have the albies!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

An Hour of Great Fishing

I had what I was looking for today.  It was a northeast wind with some rain and rough water.  It was just the type of conditions that lit up the fishing in the past at this time of year.  So, I headed to the oceanfront with high hopes.  In the very first spot I stopped at I was greeted by diving birds and breaking fish close to shore. I got the rod and my gear and headed for the action.  It was a striper or a hit on every few casts using a float and jig as I really had the fish in front of me in some churning white water.  And, I was all alone in this highly accessible spot with no other fishermen in sight. In one glorious hour I landed more stripers than I caught in the previous month of fishing.  While most of these fish were schoolies in the 18-23 inch range I did have a near keeper (maybe even a small keeper) that I released. It was the type of action that was routine in the past, but rare this year.
This mini blitz ended after about an hour and I figured I was in for a terrific day as I went looking for more fish.  However, I hit several more spots in some beautiful water, but I came up empty in the daylight.  After dark I did manage to pick up one more schoolie on a swimmer.
So, if you have the right conditions with some bait and you look hard enough you just might find a bunch of fish as I did today. However, in this lean year of striper fishing, nothing is a sure bet anymore.
This near keeper was caught on a float and bucktail jig fished in white water
close to shore. It was one of many fish taken today in the northeast wind and rough water.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Striper Fishing Not Good

Striper fishing has not been good in the last week for me.  I'm working on the very worst September I have ever experienced for striper fishing here in RI. Sadly, it is that bad. Oh, there are a few fish around and you hear of fishermen occasionally having a good day/night if they are at the right spot at the right time but the overall picture is not good. Heck, I don't see hardly any fishermen even out trying from shore.
We are now in late September and the fishing should be really perking up.  It's not and here are a few reasons why I think it is not happening:
*Lack of resident fish close to shore.  Yes the numbers are way down and it's having a big effect on the fishing.
*Lack of bait close to shore.  I see birds working here and there but everything is way out much like it was last year.  I've seen no mullet yet this year.  Where are they? There is a lot of bait (peanut bunker and large menhaden) way up in Gansett Bay but whether we see that bait along the oceanfront remains to be seen.
*Migrations have not started yet.  I think you will see better numbers of fish once the fish start migrating but you might have to wait till late October to see that.
*Very few keepers around from shore in RI- This is the way it has been all year with few keepers around. However, even schoolies have been scarce lately.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Albies Back, but Rough Water Continues

The albies are back, though not in the numbers we saw a week ago.  My brother got out in his boat this weekend and landed a few in some long hours of trying.  My son, Jon, got out also and landed some from shore along with a couple of bluefish. There were no stripers for either one as the striper drought continues. However, for both it was difficult fishing due to a lot a wind and rough water.
I had planned to hit the shore today but with wave heights predicted to be 5-8 feet along the shore with a stiff wind, fishing is out of the question. Fall can be a tough time of the year weatherwise and shore fishermen often have to fish those windows of opportunity when the roughness is at a minimum and the wind is manageable.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

NEWSFLASH....Big Waves Pound Oceanfront....Albies Disappear

Big waves were pounding the oceanfront today.  I assume they were coming from a hurricane that was far out in the ocean. The effects, however, were evident close to shore.  There was a lot of sand in the water and weed. Along sandy shores the water looked like coffee.  In addition, most places along the oceanfront were unfishable and dangerous due to 6-8 foot waves hitting the shoreline.
I scanned a lot of areas way out looking with my binoculars for any signs of fish.  I saw no birds, no breaking fish and very few boats fishing protected areas.  I did find a safe spot I could try but came up with nothing.  So, I'm hoping this is just a bump in the road, and the fishing will return to what it was just a few days ago once the ocean calms down. We'll see.  Meanwhile, I think it will take at least  two or three days for all the roughness to subside and the water to clear up.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Float 'n' Fly......Albie Killer

The wooden egg float delivers the fly
to the albies.  The fly is tied to the float
with 3 feet of mono.  Note how the
fly has a slim silhouette when wet.
This blue Deceiver fly is deadly
when albies are feeding on small
bay anchovies as they are right now
in RI waters.
Several days ago my brother and I had that incredible day of albie fishing in the boat when we landed 60 fish.  Towards evening we had a big bunch of fish around us.  We also had about ten boats around us.  At any one time we either had two fish on at the same time or one of us had a fish on.  It was that wild.  Yet, I never saw another boater around us even hook up with a fish.  That is because we were the only ones using the float 'n' fly.  Without question, this is the very best artificial for spin fishermen to use for albies when the fish are feeding on bay anchovies (as they are doing right now in RI waters).  Metal, the lure of choice for most fishermen, will catch them on occasion but comes in a far distant second place when it comes to choosing the best lure.
The float I am using is a wooden egg which can be purchased in craft stores.  I wire mine and paint them white.  Some tackle shops like the Saltwater Edge in Middletown sell them. The fly I am using is a homemade Deceiver that I tie on a Mustad 34007 size 1/0 hook.  The fly is made with four blue saddle hackles for the tail.  It has a chartreuse fine wool body.  The underwing is sparse white bucktail while the overwing is white bucktail topped with a bit of chartreuse bucktail.  The thread I use to tie is also chartreuse though I sometimes use white.  The fly is tied to the float with about 3 feet of 30 lb. test mono.
You want to cast this into breaking fish or even fish it blind in areas where albies exist.  Work a fast retrieve with occasional pulls of the rod tip.  If a fish hits it and misses, slow it down.  This set up is deadly in a boat, and it is even more effective from a shore where a long cast is often needed to reach breaking fish.
Yesterday I hit the albies from shore and landed three good size ones and had another two fish on. This was all in a couple of hours. I also had a couple of more hits.  You guessed it......all the action was on the float 'n' fly.

The float 'n'fly is deadly from a boat but it is even more effective from shore
where a long cast is often needed to reach breaking fish.  This good
size one was landed yesterday along with two others from shore
using the float 'n' fly.