Tuesday, December 29, 2009

ASA Eastern Fishing and Hunting Show Seminars

Contrary to a previous post, I got word today that I will be doing striper fishing seminars at the DCU Center in Worcester at the Eastern Fishing and Hunting Expo to be held the second week in February. See the website for complete show information located at http://www.sportshows.com/worc_main.html I will be doing striper fishing seminars on Fri., Feb. 12 at 1:30 and Sat., Feb. 13 at 3:30. At these seminars I will be unveiling my new show called "Striper Techniques from Shore and Boat". The show features all new photos and a lot of video clips that were shot during the 2009 season. The show also highlights the latest in tackle and artificials that were hot in 2009. While much of the show focuses on shore fishing, I do have segments on fishing from the boat and kayak in Narragansett Bay. I hope to see many of my blog supporters there.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Bass Pro Shop and the Local Shops

Bass Pro in Foxboro, MA.....adjectives just can't describe this Walmart of the fishing world. It's awesome, overwhelming, unbelievable, etc. It's got everything a fisherman could want...freshwater gear, saltwater stuff, kayaks, boating stuff, camping gear, clothing, etc. in a facility that features fish tanks and even a waterfall. And, for the most part, their prices are the lowest around.
Our family patronizes Bass Pro in many ways. My father loves to shop for clothing here. The assortment of quality footwear, jackets, hats , and pants and shirts all seem to have a sportsman's look which appeals to him. The clothing is also high quality stuff.
I especially like to shop for fishing stuff here. Looking for specialty items like Zoom flukes for winter fishing? It has them in every color and size imaginable. I especially like to buy things here that I can't find in the local shops, things like Bass Pro triple ripple plastic tails, curved hooks for skinny plastics, specialty braided lines, assorted plastic worms and spinner baits for freshwater, and jigshead in numerous colors and styles. I also like to buy the Bass Pro brand as it usually carries a lifetime of the product warranty that is unbeatable.
My brother loves the boating stuff. The boating department is full service and offers some of the greatest prices you have ever seen on kayaks, boats, motors, accessories and installment of motors and other gear. You might want to check out his experience that he writes about on purchasing a new outboard motor from Bass Pro at http://www.narragansettbayfishing.blogspot.com/, his fishing blog.
While Bass Pro offers unbelievable deals, I'm also cognisant of the fact that they are in competition with many of the local tackle shops and boatyards. I still think the local tackle shops that I link on the left column of my blog offer some of the best information about local fishing that can be had. They have their fingers on the pulse of local fishing. They are tops when it comes to selling bait, and they also offer some of the best local products that score big. For instance, Bass Pro does not sell Cocahoe minnows (but you can find a big supply at Quaker Lane Tackle). These are about the best lures for spring and fall schoolies to use along the oceanfront. Many of the local guys will also set you up with replacement guides, tiptop guides and rod and reel repairs that the big place doesn't offer. Yes, I still frequent and buy stuff at some of my favorite RI places like Big Bear, Ocean State Tackle, Erikson's, Snug Harbor, Dick's on Smithfield Ave. and Quaker Lane.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Showtime!

I will be doing many striper fishing seminars this winter, but the two biggest events will be held at Springfield's Big E (Springfield Sportsmen's Show) and the Shallow Saltwater University in Warwick, RI.
The Springfield Sportsmens Show is one of the biggest and most popular shows on the East Coast and features hunting and fishing. I will be doing striper and carp fishing shows there on Sat., Feb. 20. For more information on this show and directions, go to the website, http://www.osegsportsmens.com/ Hope to see you there.
The Shallow Saltwater University is a new type of show. It will be a three day event to be held at the Sheraton Inn on Airport Rd. in Warwick, RI. Its focus will be on striped bass fishing with continuous seminars by some of the top boating and shore experts in New England. There will also be vendors and exhibitors there. For more information and tickets, go to http://www.shallowwaterstripers.com/

Thursday, December 17, 2009

To Snap or Knot






Make no mistake about it, winter fish are fussy and picky about what they will hit. The other night I fished an area with about five other guys. Everyone was using the same stuff, light colored flukes on a lightweight jighead. Another guy and I landed about 30 fish while most of the other fishermen went fishless. What gives here? I'm guessing the attachment of the jig to the line had a lot to do with it.



Here are three ways it can be done with the advantages and disadvantages to each of them. First off (at left), tie on a small snap and snap the jig onto the line. This works out well if you change jigs often. However, there are times that the fish will not take it when a snap is involved. The rule of thumb in jig fishing is to go with the least amount of hardware possible.



Second choice (at right) is to tie a hard knot such as improved clinch knot. This is an easy knot to tie and often works out well. However, sometimes angle of this hard knot holds the jighead in the wrong position, making the movement of the plastic unnatural.



Third choice (at left), the best choice, is to use a Rapala knot. This looped knot allows free movement of the jighead and the plastic body. Realize, though, it is a pain in the fingers to tie on a cold night, especially if you want to change jigs often.



On some nights when the fish are active, it makes no difference on how you attach. On other nights when the fish are picky, it makes all the difference in the world.



For more information on tying the Rapala knot and other fishing knots, go to http://www.animatedknots.com/ This is the best website I have ever seen for how-to info on tying knots.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Now That's a Winter Fish!


For those of you out there who think all the winter fish are small schoolies, think again. This has happened to me several times in the last week. I have been switching tactics a bit and experimenting with using 6 inch Slug-Gos and Hogys on small jigheads. It has produced less small schoolies but some big winter keepers.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Winter Keepers Arrive!


Not a lot of them, but this is the second large fish we have caught in the last three outings. Nothing like fighting a keeper bass in December while standing in snow! Nice fish, Matt.

Nasty Weather Lights up Fishing




It was cold, rainy, and snowy. Nasty weather, but ideal for fishing for winter striped bass in the Providence River. The fishing just lit up today with good sized fish that ran from about 20 inches up to a keeper fish of 32 inches. My son, Matt, and I landed over 20 fish this afternoon. Zoom flukes (what else!) fished on light tackle did the trick once again. The fish, too, were spread out in the river system from the city to the Point Street Bridge. It was the best fishing I have seen thusfar in the river.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Winter Finesse Game



For those who want to chase stripers all winter long in the Providence River, realize this is a finesse game. The fish are not as active as they are in the warmer months and the most successful fishermen employ a light tackle approach with slow moving plastic artificials mounted on lightweight jigheads.


My choice of outfit is a 7 foot St. Croix Triumph rod matched up with an Okuma Stratus reel. I like 10 lb. test Big Game mono. Mono tends to function better than braid in very cold weather. You also need to go light on the mono as higher pound tests will kink up in the cold.


For lures, there is nothing better than a Zoom fluke (4 or 5 inch sizes) or any other fork tailed plastic body. You want to get these in light colors with such colors as albino, Arkansas shiner, and smokin shad all good producers. Match these flukes up with a small jighead of about half an ounce. I actually carry a number of jighead styles from a quarter to three quarters of an ounce.


The retrieve is slow with an occasional bounce of the rod tip. Try to scratch the bottom as much as possible. Move around a lot since the fish tend to bunch up in wintertime.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Let the Winter Games Begin

The weather outside is more like late summer, but the calendar says December. And, yes the winter striper fishing season is well under way in the Providence River. In fact, it has been going on here since about Thanksgiving time. There are not big numbers yet, but I have landed 15 schoolies in the last 4 days. These are fish from 15-25 inches, and all were caught on Zoom flukes fished on a quarter oz. jighead.
Here's a hot tip. Watch for the water temperature in the river to take a 5 degree dive within a matter of a few days. That should happen when the next cold wave hits. When that occurs, big numbers of stripers will move into the river from the Bay. It happens like this every year. Most of the time it is around Christmastime, give or take a week. Right now the fish are in and out of the river resulting in inconsistent fishing.

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Shift is On

There is a major shift in striper fishing going on right now. The ocean migration along the south shore is down to a trickle, with a few small fish that are few and far between. A better alternative for those still fishing is to target the wintering over fish that are in the backwaters and rivers. Many fish are moving into these wintering over spots right now and will remain there through the cold months. These are stripers that will not migrate. In the last week I have seen evidence of good numbers of fish in these spots and have caught about two dozen fish in some of my late fall/ early winter spots. The best action right now can be found in the backwater rivers and ponds along the south shore as well as the backwater rivers in upper Narragansett Bay.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Back in Business.....Sort Of

Well, the surf is still rough and roiled along the south shore, and the beaches have been reformed in some places, eroded in others. However, there are still fish to be had which is a good sign.

I went down to the south shore yesterday with my son, Matt, We tried a number of different locations and did find some schoolies. These were small fish, no doubt the beginning of the final push. We managed to get 9 fish and had a number of other hits. The hot artificial was the float and jig.

Here's a tip when fishing in roiled water. Use bucktail jigs tied with red thread. That little touch of red sometimes is the enticement to get a schoolie to hit in roiled water with poor visibility. I had a flathead bucktail jig tied to the end of my float rig and that seemed to be the best producer.

I suspect we will have some fair fishing for schoolies until the next storm or extended cold wave puts an end to things. There may also be a keeper or two to be had after dark for the diehards who try. Things are not the same as they were two weeks ago, but then again, we are nearing the end.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Kiss it Goodbye

I was down the south shore today trying to fish. It was ugly. Huge waves, dirty and roiled water, and no fishable conditions anywhere. Wave spray was coming over the Seawall in Gansett and landing in the road, big rollers were crashing over the east and center walls, and in some places along the south shore breaking waves were crashing hundreds of yards offshore. This is certain to put an end to the outstanding fishing we enjoyed throughout November. The marine forcast is also calling for much worse conditions predicting gale force winds and wave heights over 15 feet.
This will certainly move out all the fish and bait that was around for the last two weeks. Will it spell the end? I think it all depends on how fast this all clears out next week. I want to guess there will be one more push of schoolies coming along in another week or so, but who knows. Last year I caught my last schoolie along the south shore on Nov. 21. The year before it ended for me on Nov 23. The year before that it ended on Nov. 19. However one looks at it, there is not much time left.

Changing Tactics at Night



By day most fishermen are killing the schoolies. Indeed, we have a bonanza of 15-24 inch schoolies right now along the south shore. These fish are mostly hitting some type of small jig....bucktails, Cocahoes on jigheads or other plastic jig type lure. However, these lure cease to be effective after dark. Darkness is a time to change tactics.


Most fishermen are packing up and leaving as it gets dark and they are missing some quality fishing for keeper stripers. To catch these, you will have to unsnap those jigs and go with something more attractive to large stripers that are prowling the surf at night and looking for a meaty meal.


Here is my top four list:


1. Hogys- These plastic stick baits move enticingly in the water like an eel and are my top producers in the night surf. I like the 9 inch black skinny Hogy hooked Texas style with a large 6/0 curved hook up front. I've also used the large rigged Hogys with success. I like to use this at the end of a leader that has a black Deceiver fly as a teaser. Cast and twitch along on the retrieve.


2. Swimmers- In shallow, moving water I like some type of swimmer. I like the plastic Bombers in shallow water breachways, especially in the backwaters. In the open surf where there is big bait, try a large wooden swimmer like a Danny. Go with the extremes in color, either white (or light color) or black.


3. Needlefish- These are hot where long casts are needed or when there is a wind in your face that prevents a long cast with a Hogy. They work well off beaches or shallow water, rocky areas. I usually fiddle around with fat and skinny models depending on my casting needs. Once again, go with the extremes in color, either a white/yellow or a black.


4. Big Bucktails- Fishing a deep water breachway? Go with a large bucktail jig of 1-2 oz. spiced with a pork rind tail. Fish it right along the bottom with bounces of the rod tip.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

100 Fish Day

My son, Matt, and I went down to the south shore fishing yesterday and hit a bonanza. We landed 133 bass in a day/night outing. We had roughly 15 keepers and the rest were schoolies. The float and jig rig was by far the best producer in the daytime. The jig was a half oz. flathead jig to which a plastic grub tail was added. The video below shows Matt landing one of his keepers. Note the birds working over fish in the background. Toward the end of the video you will see fish breaking in back of Matt as he is holding his fish. At times the fish were all around us! It was one of the wildest November days I have ever experienced.
video

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Picture Says it All!


An incredible push of fish is going on right now along RI's south shore oceanfront. It is big numbers of schoolies by day and keepers after dark.

Friday, November 6, 2009

50,000 th Striper Landed


A long time ago, I set a goal for myself. Try to catch 50,000 striped bass in my lifetime. I knew it was a lofty goal, but achievable. The last ten years have been a bonanza for me with average yearly catches of about 2,000 fish, inching that total closer and closer to 50,000.

I keep extensive records and logs of all the fish I catch. I have been doing this for the past 40 years. I use these logs to determine the patterns and places to fish from year to year; rarely do I base my fishing strategies on a fishing report. I also use these logs as a tally of fish I have caught and my kids have caught. Though most of my fish are caught from shore, I also do occasionally catch them from my brother's boat or my kayak. However, surf fishing has always been my passion.

So, as far as I can determine, tonight I hit the magic 50,000 with a fifteen pound keeper I caught in one of my favorite spots. My son took a picture of it, I unhooked it and released it. It was a beautiful fish.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Action Shifts to South Shore



Just as I had predicted in the magazine article and in my last post, the striper action has shifted big time onto the RI south shore. My son, Matt, and I went down today. We started off in the Pt. Judith area of Narragansett where the action for schoolies and small keepers has been non-stop for three weeks. Well, today it wasn't happening. My next move was to head to the south shore beaches.


We only had to hit one beach, and it was schoolie heaven! We landed schoolie after schoolie along with a couple of bluefish and shad. Just like in Gansett earlier in the week, there was nothing showing, no bait and no birds yet the bottom was paved with fish. The hot rig today was a double teaser rig with shrimp fly teasers (see some of my earlier posts that outline how to tie shrimp teasers and set up the rig) along with a Cocahoe minnow mounted onto a half ounce jig head (see pic at right) . That set up accounted for multiple doubles and even some triple headers. Matt brought ashore five triple headers (see pic at left). The fish were that thick! In all we landed over 80 schoolies in less than three hours.


So long as the weather cooperates and we get no big storms, I suspect this type of action will continue. November fishing along the south shore is finally heating up!

South Shore Finale


The way I see it, there are two to three more productive weeks left to the fishing along the RI oceanfront. I expect the action to really pick up along the south shore in the immediate future. My latest article to appear in the New England Fisherman magazine (Nov. 5 edition) is titled "South Shore Finale" and it outlines everything you need to know about the ending to the season along the south shore beaches from Matunuck to Westerly. It covers places to fish, the best lures, techniques, etc. Check it out if you are planning to wet a line soon.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Lack of Bait, But No Lack of Schoolies


Ah, the bird watchers and blitz seekers are out in full force these days. I see them pulling in and out of the parking areas scanning the surface of the water with binoculars looking for diving birds, pods of bait or breaking fishing. No diving birds in sight and these fishermen move on to the next spot. Many of these fishermen will drive from Watch Hill to Narragansett in a day without ever making a cast.

You won't find a lot of bait around. With the peanut bunker nowhere in sight again this year, it will be a lean November, baitwise. However, schoolies are still around in big numbers. In the last three weeks, my sons and I have managed to catch well over 200 schoolies with nothing showing on most days. I can only surmise the bass are grubbing along the rocky bottom because they are only taking bucktail jigs or Cocahoes mounted onto jigheads. Occasionally, you can get one to come up and hit a needlefish, especially in shallow white water. Many of these fish are unusually skinny for this time of year, proof that there is little food around.

I have concentrated my efforts in recent weeks in the Narragansett area from Pt. Judith to Galilee. Lots of fish seem to be holed up in this area and they have remained for weeks even though the area has been hit with high winds and very rough water, making shore fishing challenging. Maybe they are sticking around because there are no schools of bait to follow southward.

So, to all the bird watchers out there who are complaining that there are no fish around.....get out and cast. You may be surprised at just how many stripers there are!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Productive Pattern: Rough Weather Lights up Fishing



It has been a rough October weather wise with lots of big wind, rain, heavy seas and white water. However, that type of weather has just lit up the fishing. It seems that the rougher the water, the better the fishing. We've also seen a series of northeasters pound the coast in recent weeks, and the fishing could not be better in these storms. By day, the bass and blues are rolling in the white water and at night the big keepers are lurking in the breachway waters. The nasty weather has set up some of the best October fishing I have ever experienced.


If you are looking for action in rough water, head to rocky locations. These places can take a pounding in rough water, yet the water in these spots remains clean and productive. I especially like that Gansett shore from Narragansett Beach to Galilee in rough, northeaster type days. It has a proven track record of producing. You will have to search this area for fish as pods of them can be found anywhere in this five mile stretch.


In recent weeks, a few plugs have been especially productive. The float and jig has been the top producer for schoolies, especially in low water rocky locations in the daytime. Small needlefish plugs are a close second. Cocahoes mounted onto 3/4 oz. jigheads have also produced. At night, I have been hitting the big bass in the breachways with Bombers, Hogy lures and plastic eels mounted onto jigheads.


So long as the weather remains lousy, the fishing along our rocky coast should remain good.

Ole Fashioned October Sizzles


It like the good ole days here in RI with some of the best October fishing for stripers and blues I have ever experienced. Let's call it a great ending for a dismal year. I have been into blitz after blitz of bass and blues for the last month with the daytime fishing for schoolies and even small keepers being excellent and nighttime fishing for big fish going real well. The rocky shoreline from Bonnet Shores all the way to Galilee has been very hot and is giving up the most fish. Less consistent fishing is being reported along the south shore where rough weather has taken its toll on the sandy beachfront. In the last four outings I have taken well over 100 stripers from schoolies of 24 inches to keepers of 38 inches.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Northeaster Article in Fisherman Magazine


My latest article that appeared in this week's issue (Oct. 15) of The Fisherman magazine is called Taking on A Nor'easter, Rhody Style.

What an appropriate time to run this story since we are in the midst of a northeaster right now. The article outlines the advantages to fishing in this kind of weather as well as outlines spots and productive lures to use. Over the years, I have had some of my best fishing in this kind of weather for big fish as well as lots of schoolies.

I was out yesterday during the start of the latest nor'easter and was not disappointed. While I came away with a few schoolies, I did take one big fish of 38-40 inches in some skinny white water. Yes, it is the prime to fish, yet as I looked around me I only saw a couple of other fishermen who were also scoring. The few who cast a lure into the teeth of a northeaster know how good it can be here in RI!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Big Fish Landed by RI Surf Casters


In the last week, there have been a number of big stripers landed by RI surf casters. These have been stripers in the 40-50 inch range. The reason for all this has been an influx of schools of mullet that are roaming the shores from Newport to the far south beaches of Westerly. Big bass are in hot pusuit of this bait. If you find mullet around or are attempting to imitate this bait, try the following lures: swimming plugs such as Bombers, wooden surface swimmers, large shad lures, and fat needlefish. These are plugs that will work in daylight as well as at night.

I was out last night and joined the 40 inch club of the week with a 41 inch striper (see pic at right). The big fish are around the mainland shore right now. Look for mullet and you just may find the fish of your dreams!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Check out On The Water Article!




My latest article is in the October edition of On the Water magazine. It is called Breachway Strategies and outlines how to fish RI's major breachways or outflows. These places offer some of the most productive fishing for big fish along RI's coastline, and fall is the prime time to fish them. I was out last night in one of them fishing with my son and he landed a decent 34 inch striper (see pic at right). I have caught more keeper bass in the last month fishing various breachways than while fishing any other locations. They are hot right now.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Needlefish is Hot Right Now


The needlefish is a hot plug right now. I was out several times in the last week and have taken good numbers of keeper stripers and big blues using this plug. It will far outfish a popper which is the plug most fishermen are using. I think its subtle movements mimic the movement of bait much better than a popper. It is also an effective plug to use in both daylight and nighttime.

Many fishermen have no idea how to work it. On the retrieve, you want to give the rod tip a lot of action, but with multiple quick jerks of the tip to get the plug to move and dip. Avoid the long strokes that you would use when fishing a popper. The plug also works real well in rough water.

I make my own needlefish plug and I make a "fat" version and a skinny model. I especially like a white belly and a yellow back on my versions. I also like to add a buicktail/hackle tail. The biggest blue I caught from shore in recent years fell for a needlefish. Some of the biggest stripers I have caught have also fallen for this plug. Get rid of the poppers and become a needlefish fishermen if you like working the surface.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Hot Fall Lure



It's not really a lure but a combination of artificials. I rank the float and jig rig as one of the top three artificials to use along the RI surf for fall schoolies. It is deadly to use in rough and shallow rocky water and will outfish anything else at times. In the past three days I have landed well over 25 stripers on this rig and watched as other fishermen chugging poppers caught nothing.


The rig was originally called a broomhandle and jig rig because the float was made of cut broomhandle sections. Today, most fishermen make their own aerodynamic floats from wooden eggs purchased in craft stores. You can put screw eyes in each end or better yet, drill them and them wire them. Once completed, I paint them white. Later, I will bang a nail on an angle in the middle of the float, and then clip off the nail's head off. This will serve as a jig holder on the cast preventing a helicopter blade effect when casting. At the end of the float you will attach about three feet of heavy mono. Finally a bucktail jig is knotted onto the end of the jig. I like to use a 3/8 or 1/2 oz. flathead jig onto which a plastic grub tail is threaded onto the jig. You can also use a plastic bodied jig in this rig.


This whole rig is cast out into white water and works especially well where shallow, rough water and rocks exist. It is very hot in places like Pt. Judith, Matunuck and Watch Hill. However, it works well along sandy dropoffs also. It also casts like a bullet into the wind. Just reel it in slowly on the retrieve and the wave action will bring the jig to life.


Do you have one of these in your surf bag? If not, get one because it is one of the hottest fall lures for stripers along the RI coast.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Right Jig in the Right Spot



Few fishermen use the bucktail jig these days, yet it is by far better than any plastic jig artificial that is on the market today. The keys are to use the right jig in the right spot and to fish them correctly.


I have been hammering the stripers in rough water the last few days/nights in Narragansett. Yet, I've used a number of different jigs since I was fishing different waters and conditions. The left side of Pt. Judith has been hot for the jig and float rig. This set up is ideal to use in places where it is shallow, rocky and has loads of white water and current. In this case it was a half ounce flathead jig with a plastic grub tail added that did most of the damage. The jig was hanging off about three feet of mono that was attached to a homemade wooden egg float. Just cast out and reel in letting the wave action impart the action. After dark I have been hitting the Galilee Channel. This spot has big fish lurking in deep, moving water. Here I am fishing a 1 1/2 ounce hotlips jig right along the bottom. The jig has a large strip of pork rind added to it. This set up has accounted for keeper bass in the 28-33 inch range. Finally, I have been stopping late at night at the one of the backwater bridges where the water is shallow, the bait is small and schoolies abound. In the location, I use a tiny 1/8 ounce bucktail jig with a curly tail attached, flipping out with a tiny freshwater outfit and 6 lb. test line. It is the only thing the fussy stripers will hit in this skinny water spot.


Bucktail jigs remain one of the very best striper lures to use in fall, yet few fishermen use them. You want to increase your catches, learn to fish bucktail jigs!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Check out the Article!


The Aug. 27 edition of The Fisherman magazine has my article in it about catching false albacore using the float and fly. This is a deadly technique I have developed to fish for false albacore and bonito. It which will far outfish any other lures.

Most fishermen, especially boaters, often find these fish breaking along the inshore waters in September, yet these boating fishermen have no clue as to how to catch them. I use a wooden float with a deceiver fly trailing off the back. The article outlines how to make the float, the fly and how to fish it.

Just to prove its effectiveness, my son, Matt, went out in a boat today with a couple of his friends off the Harbor of Reguge. They put on a clinic for the boaters around them by catching over a dozen albies and bonito using the float and fly. The whole fleet of boats around them could not equal that number of fish landed. This technique is equally deadly from shore.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

September Arrives and Fishing Lights Up


Good bye and good riddance to August. It was one of the worst months of fishing for stripers and blues I have ever experienced.

Yesterday, Sept. 1, I headed to the 'Gansett shore and within an hour I caught more stripers than I did the entire month of August. I suspect the cold nights of the last few days, the light northeast wind and last week's hurricane waves have gotten a fall run in motion. In the daytime, I saw fish breaking all along the shoreline from Narragansett Beach to Point Judith, but they were generally way out. There was also tons of rain bait along the whole shore with flocks of birds diving after the bait. The oceanfront has come to life.

I had my best luck around Point Judith. The hot lures in the daytime were small blucktail jigs (flathead) spiced with plastic curly tails, good bets when rain bait is present. After dark, I hit some fish with swimmers (Bombers) and Hogys. All the stripers I landed were schoolies from 20 inches to just shy of keeper size (see photo at right).

Rumor has it that big numbers of bonito and false albacore also moved in and boaters were scoring on these fish in the morning.

Let the fall games begin!!!!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Tying the Black Deceiver Fly/Teaser

Two posts ago, I outlined how to tie a black Deceiver that I use at night when trying to imitate sandeels. The directions are on that post. This has been my hottest teaser to use this summer on schoolies and small keepers. Here it is on video.
video

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Mole Crab Invasion


The mole crabs have moved onto the south shore beaches big time, and the stripers are after them. Wade in the surf in low tide beaches like East Matunuck, Narragansett or Scarborough and you can see keeper stripers just swimming around. They are grubbing for mole crabs.

You'll find these along the surf line or where the waves retreat along the beaches. Just dig in the sand to get them. Low tide is best to do this. At night they will actually move in very close and you will notice bumps in the sand. Sometimes they are so thick at night you can grab a handful of them in one grab.

I like to use them on the bottom using a fishfinder rig and a size 5/0 Gamakatzu Octopus Style hook. I impale two crabs on the hook and cast. I like to use a sinker that will move slowly along the bottom (1-3 oz. depending on surf conditions), and I like to keep moving and casting, not staying in one spot. They will catch both stripers and bluefish along most of the south shore beaches from Narragansett to Westerly. Right now, they are your number one bait, and nobody is using them!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Diagram of Double Teaser Rig


I premake all my teaser rigs and store them in a leader wallet when completed. The rig can be tied with heavy monofilament. I like to use 30 lb. test. My teasers are usually Deceiver flies although I sometimes use shrimp flies or plastic, fan tailed Red Gills.

Teasers to Imitate Sandeels



When sandeels are around as we have right now along the RI oceanfront, one of the best artificials to use for stripers would be a fly teaser. I especially like to use sparsely tied Deceivers as fly teasers. I make my own and tie them on Mustad 34007 hooks in size 1/0 or 3/0. To tie this fly in an all black begin with black thread. Wind the thread to the bend of the hook and tie on two black saddle hackles on each side of the hook. Now, wrap the thread forward and build up the body of the fly with the black thread. To finish off the head part, tie a sparse amount of black bucktail as a throat and more black bucktail as the wing. Finish off the head and tie off with a whip finish. See finished Deceiver at right. I like to tie this in all black to use at night and in a light color to use in daylight. I usually pretie two teasers on a double teaser rig and store my rigs in a leader wallet.


Last night I fished one of my favorite beaches where sandeels were present. I landed 6 schoolies on Deceiver teasers(see photo at left). Not one fish took my plug which was snapped onto the end of my rig. That is because the Deceiver looked in size and silhouette like a sandeel, and it also moved like a sandeel.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Sandeels Arrive by the Millions, Fishing Perks Up


Just when I thought we were in for a very slow summer of fishing, tons of sandeels appear along the south coast, and they have lured stripers, bluefish and fluke close to shore. I have never seen the numbers of large sandeels that I witnessed yesterday. These were all sandeels in the 3-5 inch range, very large for these parts. While fishing off the West Wall yesterday, I saw one huge black patch after another move down the beach and along the wall. The water was so clear, you could seen striper after striper under them and occasionally breaking for them. The stripers, however, were fussy and scattered and would not hit in the daytime.

What was hitting in the daytime was fluke. They were everywhere there was bait. Using a bucktail jig spiced with a plastic grub tail, I landed 21 of them, but only one was a 21-inch keeper. I found some striper action after dark with some fish breaking close to shore and some hitting. Fishermen in boats were faring far better as they could chase breaking fish in the daylight along the Walls and in front of Pt. Judith where from shore I could see birds diving and fish breaking. The hot lures for me and friends who fished from shore were teasers (either Red Gills or Deceiver flies) fished ahead of Hogys or Slug- Gos.

Hopefully, the sandeels will jump start the fishing.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The REAL Fishing Report

Contrary to what you find in fishing reports in the papers these days, the fishing for stripers along the inshore waters and the Bay is POOR. In fact, it is probably the poorest for this time of year that I have experienced in the last 10 years.
The Bay has been cleaned out of menhaden by the pogie boats. Yes, it is legal to do this in RI. However, the ecomonic impact of allowing this is just ridiculous since wiping out menhaden allows a few to profit at the expense of sport fishing which generates far more money for the state. With the pogies gone, the big bass fishing in the upper Bay is done except for occasional bluefish. Compared to other years, there are few schoolies and little bait in the Bay and that has caused slow fishing also. The only place I am able to find a few sandeels and some schoolies is Conimicut. Past hotspots like the Bike Path and Save-the-Bay have little or nothing. Bluefish fishing is sporadic as it often is at this time of year, and the few that are around are small.
The south shore is no better. I've had poor outings with a fish or two recently along Narragansett. There is little bait down there also. Not surprisingly, there are few fishermen. You will have to put in long hours after dark for a fish or two.
This is the real story of what is happening right now in RI. I will continue fishing after dark since I don't mind working for a fish or two. Unfortunatlely, I don't see the action picking up until early fall.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Nighttime is the Right Time


You know summer is here when you can no longer catch a striper in the daytime, especially a sunny daytime. In the last week, I have been fishing evenings into the night in the Bay. The action seems to begin right after sunset and progress into the night. It is a mix of small keeper bass and schoolies.

The hot lures continue to be plastic stick baits. I am using Hogys and my friends who have not discovered these hot lures are using Slug-Gos (see photo at left of fish caught last night). The stripers are also occasionally hitting a teaser rigged ahead of the plastic bait. There continues to be a mix of stripers and bluefish. The blues have been particularly pesty by cutting the plastic. Go to a hard lure and they won't touch it!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Chop can Lead to Big Striper!


The biggest striper we caught from the boat in the Bay last year and this year (see picture) have been caught in the exact same, but strange way. We are drifting a live menhaden. Along comes a big blue and chop, chop, chop. We pull and miss the blue. As the head chunk sinks back, a large striper immediately engulfs the chunk.

The lesson to be learned here is that if a blue comes along and cuts your bait, something that will happen often at this time of year, let the chunk settle back. You can even fish it with a few lifts of the rod. Frequently, large stripers lurk right under the blues just waiting for a free meal.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Blues on the Increase; Stripers on the Decrease


It happens every year in Narragansett Bay around this time. The water begins to warm and larger stripers head to deeper water in the lower Bay. The menhaden are still around, a good bait supply for increasing numbers of bluefish that favor the warmer water.

I have been out the last 4 evenings from shore, boat and kayak. I've also fished various spots....the Providence Shipping Channel, Conimicut, East Greenwich Bay and other upper Bay locations. In every spot, I have found decent numbers of bluefish. East Greenwich Bay had small, cocktail blues in the 12-16 inch range chasing small bait. The Seekonk River in Providence had large bluefish slamming scattered schools of menhaden. In between all this action, there are still some large striped bass to be had (we landed fish up to 35 lbs. this week), but you will go through lots of menhaden that are falling victim to bluefish.

The big blues are hitting menhaden (chunks, whole and dead, and live) while smaller blues will hit poppers, swimmers and plastics.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Vary Your Tactics in the Bay


This is not last year's fishing in 'Gansett Bay.There are less pogies, less large bass and a ton more fishermen, many of whom are clueless. However, the sharpies are still catching good numbers of large bass and blues. Moving around and varying tactics are the key to scoring.

Fishing with live menhaden is still a great technique if you can get a supply of pogies. We've found that it is best to move away from the mob scene of boats when doing this. We've gotten most of our 40-45 inch stripers (see pic of yesterday's fish) drifting live pogies.

Another technique that has worked well is chunking. Find a spot in relatively low water (under 20 ft.), anchor, and start chumming cut pieces of menhaden. This works well when you have a supply of dead ones. I like to use no weight and a relatively small chunk when chunk fishing. Let it to the bottom and bounce it up and down with the rod tip. This has accounted for many bass in the 28-34 inch size range and some big blues.

Finally, don't discount plugging. We were drifting yesterday and suddenly bass and blues were popping here and there for bay anchovies. We started plugging with Hogys and Zara spooks on top and ended up picking up quite a few large blues and small keeper bass.

My brother and I landed 25 fish yesterday and used all of the techniques described above. In the same area we were fishing, many inexperienced boat fishermen went fishless.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Menhaden, Big Bass, 'Gansett Bay

This was the week that the big bass arrived in the Bay for us. Proir to today, we had been catching lots of stripers in the 30-36 inch range from the boat, but today was the first day we were able to catch several fish over 40 inches. The menhaden are arriving in increasing numbers and the bigger fish are after them. Today's trick was patience, finding the big stripers and drifting live menhaden. The bass wanted them on top today.
video

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Prime Time for the Kayak


Kayak fishing in Narragansett Bay is in its prime right now. For the next month, I'll fish more from the kayak than the whole rest of the year.

Things are just right for the many nooks and crannies, backwater coves and rivers of 'Gansett Bay. There are good numbers of 25-30 inch stripers in the Bay right now. There are also various types of prey items around like bay anchovies, silversides, shrimp and even worms hatching. In addition, the water is still cool, mostly in the sixties, and that all means that the stripers are in an active, feeding mood just looking for your offering.

I've been out in the kayak in the last two evenings and I've gotten several keepers as well as some fish just under keeper size. The hot lures have been Hogys in a 6 inch length. Believe it or not, pink was a hot color last night. Zoom flukes twitched on top have also been hot (see photo). I like to use the Super Zoom Flukes in a light color.

Use caution at this time of year when venturing out in a kayak since the southwest wind can kick up in late afternoon/evening and thunderstorms are always a threat on a warm day.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Hogys are Hot



The hottest lure right now in Narragansett Bay is a Hogy plastic lure twitched on the surface. Both stripers as well as bluefish can not pass one up without giving it a crushing blow. I have been out fishing in the last three nights from both shore and boat and caught good numbers of fish on these. I caught numerous large schoolies, several keepers (see photo at right) and even decent sized bluefish (yes, they are in the Bay!)


Hogys are elongated plastic stick baits. They come in a variety of colors and sizes. I especially like the white ones in daylight and a black at night, although the white was producing last night in both daylight and nighttime. This week the 7 inch and the 9 inch skinny Hogy were the best sizes to use.


These can be rigged with Texas style hooks up front. Hogy also sells weighted jigheads, swimming tins and a weighted swim bait hook that has a spring type device to screw into the head of the bait. They also sell large models that are already rigged with tandem hooks.


All these rigged baits are fished the same. You want to reel slowly while twitching the end of the rod tip to give the bait an alluring swimming and darting action. Watch its action in the daylight and you will soon learn how to dance a Hogy. Expect a large striper to interrupt that dance!


For futher information on this lure go to http://www.hogylures.com/.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Matching the Prey



Here's what some inexperienced fishermen don't get when fishing a plug or lure. You are attempting to match a prey item that stripers are feeding on.


I was out this weekend in my brother's boat in Narragansett Bay fishing for stripers, and it was obvious that many fishermen did not get the above concept. There were tons of stripers rolling and whirling. They were after small bait, bay anchovies to be exact (see photo at right). These were small, silvery/white, slim baitfish, roughly 2-3 inches long. We were killing the bass on small white Cocahoes mounted on 1/4 and 3/8 oz. jigheads. These artificials were a good imitators of bay anchovies in terms of size, color, movement and silhouette. And, they really produced. We picked up multiple fish on just about every drift along feeding schools of fish.


Yet, I saw many boaters going fishless. Some of these clueless fishermen were using large storm lures. Still, others were using large 5 1/2 inch poppers. Others were trolling large swimmers. This situation points out the need to stock small jiglike lures that are killers in the early going when the initial run of bait is small. Lures like small bucktail jigs, Cocahoes, small Storm lures, small poppers (3 in.) and fly teasers all would work when the bait is small. Save that big stuff for later in the season when large menhaden are around.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Gansett Bay Fishing Explodes

I knew it was just a matter of time before striper fishing exploded in the Bay. Well, it happened in the last two days as big numbers of stripers have entered the bay after large schools of silversides that move like dark patches just under the surface. My two brothers, Steve and Mike, and myself fished mid Bay locations today and the fishing was wild. Diving gulls, cormorants, and terns were hitting the water while stripers were breaking in large schools. It was like an October blitz.
The bait was small and the fish proved to be quite fussy, explaining why most boaters were not catching. We managed to get roughly a hundred fish between us using Cocahoe minnows mounted onto small jigheads. It was a perfect example of how you had to go with small artificials to match the prey the bass were feeding on. I also got several nice fish on a Zara spook fished on top. Most of the fish averaged 24-30 inches. Roughly one in ten fish was a keeper!
video

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Keepers Arrive


You know things are getting serious when migrating keeper bass are being caught in April. It usually doesn't happen. However, I saw it with my own eyes tonight as I saw at least half a dozen fish taken off the West Wall that were just about keeper size, give or take an inch or two.


The recent heat wave of the last few days has sent water temperatures upwards by about five degrees and that has gotten things moving. There are lots of schoolies right now along the West Wall at East Matunuck and keeper fish up to 30 inches are mixed in with them. Cocachoes and teasers still rule the fishing, but surprisingly I saw a good fish taken on a topwater plug tonight, something that is not supposed to happen in April. I also saw loads of fish breaking the surface last evening after small bait, and that is not supposed to happen in April either.


We are off to a strange start, and those who were complaining last week suddenly have smiles on their faces!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Finally!



The schoolies have finally arrived. Yesterday the southwest wind was blowing, the surf was good and temperatures were on the rise. It was a perfect recipe for the West Wall at East Matunuck to produce, and it did.

I landed 5 schoolies and 2 hickory shad. I saw a picket fence of about 20 fishermen land roughly 75-80 fish. Most of the fish were 14-22 inches with a at least one near keeper lifted onto the wall. Most of the fish were caught on Cocahoe minnows mounted on jigheads, but teasers were also hot. My shrimp teasers were doing well (see photo at right).
The fish are finally here. Let's hope it continues!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Season off to Dismal Start


It's April 23 and schoolie fishing should be hot right now. It's not. I've caught a grand total of 3 fish in April. Normally, I'd be logging in my 100th fish for April at this point. I caught one fish today (see photo at right) in the upper Bay on a Zoom fluke. I know of lots of guys trying at the West Wall where a scant few fish have been taken. I've been out in the upper Bay in my kayak and from shore 5 times in the last week with one fish to show for it. We can complain about and blame the cold and rainy weather, but I've seen good years with weather worst than this. So, what's the problem?


Early spring fishing is dominated by schoolies. These are fish that are under five years old that migrate northward from the Chesapeake Bay. If you check out the young of the year (YOY) index (number of juvenile fish netted) for the last five years, you will find that it is below average. That means fewer schoolies. Last year was an off year for schoolie fishing here in RI. I think that trend will continue this year. On the other hand, the YOY index back ten and twelve years ago was very high and that explains why we have had good numbers of keeper stripers around. I suspect that as May moves on we will see good numbers of keepers once again in the Bay.


Temperatures are supposed to rise into the 80's this weekend. If that does't bring in a big bunch of schoolies it will be a mighty lean early spring.