Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Schoolies Off but Keepers Around

The 2010 fall striper season is taking on its own personality along the RI oceanfront. What I am seeing is a lack of bait along the oceanfront and a big decline in schoolie numbers. However, there are some decent keepers from 30-40 inches around.

Larger stripers are simply not easy to consistently catch. It requires a lot of searching after dark or looking in rough and stormy waters by day. It also requires a high level of expertise and experience which explains why most novices are coming up empty. And, don't expect to find a lot of these around either. In the last two weeks I have been averaging one or two keepers an evening/night, getting at least one good fish every outing. I've also been moving around a lot, sometimes fishing many spots in an outing, and sometimes picking up one or two fish in every spot. Much is happening in pitch darkness. In the last week I have taken 10 fish from 30-39 inches. Last night my son, Ben, nailed a fish that measured close to 40 inches (see photo). These are decent fish these days from shore. It's not hot and heavy fishing and the numbers are off, but there are some good fish to be had.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Tying the Black Deceiver Teaser (Revisited)

Looking for directions on making your own fly teasers? Here is the video on how to make my all black Deceiver that was used to catch that 40 inch striper in the previous post.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Quite the Surprise

I was fishing a quiet, backwater spot tonight. Just after dark, a few small fish started breaking. I casted my teaser and swimmer rig toward the jumps. A small fish hit the teaser but missed it. On the next cast I threw right to the same spot. Almost immediately an explosion engulfed my offering and I was onto a freight train. I thought at first I had a big blue because the fish was peeling out drag. However, after a short battle, I had the stripes in sight. The striper was just shy of 40 inches (see pic at right). And, it took the teaser.

At this time of year I always fish a homemade black Deceiver fly/teaser (see pic at left) tied ahead of my offering (in this case, a jointed Red fin swimmer). The teaser can be set up on a leader of about 3 feet. The teaser is tied onto the top swivel and should dangle about 8-10 inches off the swivel. When big fish are onto small bait, the teaser can be deadly. This is the third keeper in a week that I have landed on teasers!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Striped Bass Show Coming to Barrington Jan. 30

I'm honored that that East Bay Anglers have asked me to do their big show in Barrington on Jan. 30, 2011. I've already started work on the show titled "Secrets of the Striper Surf", and it will be the best show I have ever produced. The digital slide show is loaded with how-to information on fishing from shore and features the latest in hotspots, artificials, and techniques. The show is loaded with lots of video clips as well as digital photos.
In addition, Mike Laptew will present his latest video called "The Fish-Eye Perspective". This show will feature Mike's ten most important tips for connecting with trophy fish.
Discounted tickets can be purchased right now at www.rifishshow.com The show brochure which includes everything from directions to show information can be downloaded from this website.
The East Bay Anglers originated winter seminars 26 years ago to fund charitable activities that they continue to support today.

Monday, October 18, 2010

White Bucks Scoring Big

I'm finally on a roll. Over thirty fish in the last 3 outings of which 5 have been keepers up to 38 inches. The killer lure that has caught most of these fish has been the white bucktail jig.

Though the bucktail jig is probably the most versatile lure to use in saltwater, you rarely find them being sold in tackle shops. Plastics have overwhelmed the retail business. But, make no mistake about it, the bucktail jig is still one of the most potent weapons a striper fisherman can possess.

I like to use my homemade bucktail jigs in current situations. I have gone with the smaller flathead jigs (1/4 -1/2 oz.) in the daytime when fishing shallow water flows. After dark where the water is deeper and moving, I have opted for hotlips jigs up to 1 1/2 oz. The velocity of the flows as well as depth often determine the size of the jig needed to reach the bottom.

It is very important that you add enticers onto your jigs. For those smaller jigs described above, I like a three inch triple ripple grub tails made by Bass Pro. These have the best action of any grub tail on the market. On the big jigs described above, I like to add a 5 1/4 inch Uncle Josh pork rind strip.

The key to fishing bucktail jigs (without the float) is to scratch the bottom and keep the jig moving slowly on or near the bottom. An occasional pump of the rod tip will give the jig added action.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hogys are Hot on Fall Nights

I'm on a roll this week using Hogys. My last 8 stripers and 2 large blues have all been caught on the original 10 inch Black Hogy fished with a #10/0 Hogy swimbait hook. I have always touted their 9-inch Skinny Hogys as my favorite. However, with the rough water and wind that we have been having lately, I have turned to the 10 inch Hogy. This bait weighs in at 1 oz. compared to the nine incher that weighs 3/4 oz. That extra quarter ounce does make a difference in casting into the wind. It also tracks better in rough water.

I might add that the Hogy swimbait hooks have been terrific. That 10/0 hook has an extra long baitholder (screw-type device) which does wonders when it comes to holding the bait in place. This is also a very durable set up. With just one rigged bait, I was able to land a whopping ten fish before I lost it to a blue. With a Texas style hook, I would be lucky to land three fish.

First Striper

It's always great to see a newcomer catch his first striper. I was standing next to one excited angler last night who just happened to land his very first striper. I was just as thrilled has he was as I snapped his picture. Congratulations and hopefully many more will come your way.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Disappointing Columbus Day Weekend

In the past this has been a hot weekend of striper fishing in RI for those working folks who have a three day weekend. Not so this year. I fished very hard on Friday, Saturday and Sunday putting in a lot of time at some very good locations before and after dark. I managed two large bluefish and half a dozen schoolies and that was it. I saw a lot of guys out and about looking for fish in those three days. Based on past years, they were all expecting good fishing that just was not there. The biggest striper I saw was a 32 inch keeper.
There is still little bait around and the stripers are scarce. There are a few here and there but no big numbers on the mainland shore. You also can't find any birds working over bait, even way out. The small pods of mullet that we saw a week ago are gone. There are no large schools of rain bait like we had last year at this time. Large menhaden are few and far between.
I think the lack of stripers should raise concern about the health of the fishery. Fishing should be a whole lot better than what it is.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Uptick in Keeper Action

The last week has seen an uptick in the number of keeper bass and large bluefish along the 'Gansett shoreline. The strong northeaster in the beginning of the week and the big west winds that followed have set up some rough water that is attracting larger fish close to shore. There are also small pods of mullet moving along the shore and that is drawing in some large fish.

I have been out fishing just about every day in the rough water and my sons, Chris and Ben, who live in Narragansett (tough life as students at URI!) have also been fishing. In the last five days we have all landed keeper bass every day along with some big blues and schoolies. Surprisingly, many of the keeper bass have been caught in the middle of the daytime in the rough, white water and anywhere currents exist. These fish tend to run in the 30-38 inch range, not real large but a big improvement over what has been around in the last month.

Don't expect to go down fishing and see a big blitz. It's not working that way. The large numbers of bass and blues along with masses of bait are just not around yet. However, there are keeper bass here and there and it is a matter of putting in the time to catch one.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Float 'n' Jig Scoring in White Water

Once again, the float and jig combo is hot for stripers and bluefish and scoring in shallow, rough water along the RI shoreline. This lure combination is ideal to use in shallow, rocky water such as you find in RI places like Pt. Judith, Matunuck, Green Hill Pt. and Watch Hill. It also works along shallow beaches.

The rig is simple. It consists of a wooden float. Mine is homemade for a wooden egg and wired through. To the end of this is attached 2-3 ft. of heavy mono. Onto the end, tie a small jig (under 1/2 oz.). The jig can be a bucktail, jighead with plastic, or Storm lure. If you bang a nail into your float and clip off its head, that nail will serve as a jig holder on the cast and will get you fantastic distance. The whole thing is cast into white, turbulent water and simply reeled in slowly. It is deadly when stripers and blues are feeding on small bait.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Playing the Storminess

For the last three days the oceanfront has been battered by a northeaster sending big waves and lots of white water ashore. While many fishermen will not fish in the rough water, it does open up some opportunities for good fishing if you fish in the right locations.

In the past I would have killed the stripers in such weather. Not this year as the number of stripers has fallen off a cliff. However, there are still some to be had along with some decent sized bluefish. The key to fishing in rough water is to find clean water. Usually rocky areas will remain clean when the water is rough. Such spots as the entire east facing shore of Narragansett fish well in a northeast wind. The drawback is that these areas can be dangerous and fishermen should proceed with extreme caution. It is not for novices, especially after dark. The south shore beaches do not fare as well since lots of sand and silt come ashore in the roughness. Other areas that fish well in the northeast wind are the breachways on the outgoing tides. Clean water is flushing out of the ponds and many times large stripers will come into these spots to feed especially at night.

My kids and I have been out and about this week. We are catching some schoolies, some big blues and some keeper bass after dark in the roughness. There are not a lot of fish, but hey, that's they way it has been all season. Nevertheless, it is still worth the effort. Check out the photos of some fish taken in the last two days.