Monday, June 28, 2010

Move to Deeper, Cooler Water

Well, I made the move. After a couple of poor outings in the upper Bay, I have moved to deeper and cooler water in the lower Bay. The upper Bay right now from Providence to Conimicut features dirty water (algae blooms) with lots of clinging green and fine white weed. In addition, it feels like bath water. I'm guessing in the upper 70's. There is little or no bait. The stripers have, for the most part, packed up and left.
I fished the Jamestown shoreline last evening where the water was considerably cooler and cleaner. Deep water was nearby. Also, I found tons of small sandeels there hugging the shore. While I did not kill the fish, I managed to land 4 schoolies with a couple up near keeper size. I also had a couple of more fish on. The hot lure was a 6 inch bone colored skinny Hogy. Shore spots along deep water drops like near Jamestown, Newport, and the rocks of Gansett now offer your best bets to catch stripers from shore.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Skinny Plastic in the Fisherman Magazine

I've been blogging a lot about skinny plastics these days. If you are looking for the full story about fishing and rigging skinny plastic, check out this week's issue of the Fisherman magazine (No. 24, June 17, 2010). My article covers ways to fish the entire water column with skinny plastic. These are the hottest artificials going these days!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Rigging Skinny Plastic for Topwater Use

Anyone new to fishing plastic stickbaits like Hogys or Slug-Gos soon realizes that these lures are usually packaged without hooks. The angler must insert a special hook to get these baits working.

There are basically two good ways to hook and rig. The first way is by use of a "curved" worm hook (top Hogy in photo). I like to use a Gamakatsu extra wide gap (EWG) hook for this. The point of the hook is inserted a short distance into the head, poked through the bottom of the bait and twisted around. Then the bend of the hook is lined up along the body of the bait and the point of the hook is then inserted there. It's hard to explain, but if you see it done, it becomes so much easier. Hogy lures has a neat video at that shows exactly how to do this. The second way to rig is by use of a swimbait hook (bottom Hogy in photo) sold by Hogy. This hook has a screw type device attached to the eye of the hook. This device is screwed into the head of the bait. After that the hook is lined up along the bait and the hook point is inserted in the spot where the bend of the hook lines up with the bait. Once again, you can see it all done at Years ago, fishermen used a regular hook and glued the plastic bait in place with super glue. I know of no one who does it this way any more. The hooks described above are far more efficient, offer easier rigging and have very good hooking power.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Electric Chicken is Hot Color

I got a variety of some new, skinny 6-inch Hogys in the mail today and one of the colors that caught my eye was "electric chicken" (see photo at right). This model sports a pink back with a yellowish sparkling belly. I figured it caught my eye, maybe it would get the attention of a striper or two.

I tried out this new version from the kayak in the Upper Bay. On my second cast, an explosion engulfed my electric chicken Hogy and I was onto a decent thirty inch fish (see photo). This type of action continued with fish, hits and follows for an hour and a half. I landed 5 stripers of which three of them were keepers in the 28-32 inch range. My offering was rigged with a Hogy swimbait hook, one of those hooks that has the screw-type device that holds the head of the stick bait in place. It was the first time I had used this hook and I have to say it worked terrific.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Imitating Sandeels

The last few nights of striper fishing was really a challenge. There were loads of stripers around feeding on small sandeels. There is no artificial that will imitate something that small and slender. So, you best shot is to get something that moves in a similar way and that has a slender silhouette. After numerous lure changes, I finally figured out what the fish would take. I threaded on a small, 6 inch white ("bone" is official color)skinny Hogy and that did the trick (see photo). Strange thing is that the black Hogy would not work (yes, I was surprised), but the white got me 6 fish and a load more fish on. They were really keying on this lure to the point where other fishermen around me were asking what I was using!

Imitating small sandeels is tough. Sometimes Deceiver fly or Red Gill teasers will work. They did not work this week. At other times a small swimmer will fool them. I saw a few fishermen using this and catching a few fish. Unweighted plastic flukes twitched on the surface also work and I saw one guy scoring using this. However, that 6 inch white Hogy fished with a Texas style hook rigging far out fished everything else this week.

Sandeels Arrive, Fishing Lights Up

Well, my guess was wrong. Judging by the fishing I am having this week, we were just in a temporary lull last week. Things have changed in a big way. The winds have shifted to the north, the weather has cooled resulting in dropping water temperatures and sandeels have arrived big time. It has all caused the fishing in the upper Bay to light up. In the last three nights while wading I have witnessed fish breaking in front of me, in back of me and all around me. Yes, they are fussy because they are on small two to three inch sandeels, but they are still hitting. Lots of keepers around also, especially those 28-34 inch fish. There are also pesty bluefish mixed in. I've landed 5-6 stripers an evening with most of the action happening after dark. Fishermen around me have also been scoring.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Float and Fluke Rig

You've all heard of the float and jig rig. It is one of my hot producers in the fall. I've used this same idea to come up with a float and fluke rig. One end is a homemade wooden egg float. To this two to three feet of mono (30 lb. test) is attached. At the opposite end is a wide gap worm hook to which a 5-inch Zoom fluke is threaded on, Texas style. Just cast out and twitch the rod tip as you retrieve. This has been especially productive for me in the Bay in the last week when fishing rough water with a wind in my face. It is deadly on fussy fish and has delivered several keeper bass. It has not worked so well in calm water with a wind at my back (better off going with just the fluke in those conditions). I suspect the float has a spooking effective when the fish have a good look at it.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Downward Trend or Temporary Lull?

It's the first week in June and things should be hopping good right now, but it's not. Fishing in the Bay from shore and boat is marginal at best. I was out from shore a two times this week and fished the boat twice and got 2 bass each outing. Yesterday, I went out in the boat with my brother and son, Matt, and we blanked with bass and landed one fluke. I saw quite a few boats fishing and did not see a single fish caught. We also could not find any pogies. The bass that we saw on the surface (lockjaw story) earlier in the week were nowhere to be found. Friends who are fishing the south shore are reporting similar marginal fishing. It's more like a July pattern than a June pattern.
The near future trend for the upper Bay is not good. The surface water temperatures yesterday ranged from 74-76 degrees, very warm for this time. That may have sent a number of fish packing. In addition, the water was putrid in places, a brownish red color. And, finally, there is no small bait around. In my mind, it all points to a downward trend, at least in the Bay.
This seems to be a similar pattern like last year that saw poor fishing in the Bay and inshore waters for much of the summer. But, last year also saw some of the best fall fishing along the oceanfront I have ever seen. We just might have to wait for Sept. for things to really heat up. I hope I am wrong.