Sunday, July 31, 2011

Keys to Recent Success

I have had limited success in the last two weeks of fishing. Oh, I'm not setting the surf fishing world on fire catching. I'm getting one to three stripers an outing, and I have only blanked one time. The keys to my success have been the same every time. Here they are:
1. I have been fishing mostly in the dark into the early night.
2. Small, 1 oz. poppers have taken a few fish, especially right before dark.
3. Small Hogys in a bone color have taken all my fish after dark. Surprisingly, nothing on teasers.
4. For conditions, I have been fishing mostly moving water or a white water surf. I have tried to avoid fishing calm and clear water conditions.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

McKenna OTW Article Right On

I have to comment on the excellent article by RI surf fishing expert Steve Mc Kenna that appears in the August issue of On the Water magazine. The article, titled Fake Out Summertime Stripers, outlines the best lures and plugs to use to catch summertime stripers. For example, Steve outlines using soft plastics, slender minnow swimmers, teasers, metal lipped swimmers and eel skinned plugs, a hit parade of some of the best fish catchers you can stuff into a surfbag. For beginners and veterans alike, it is a ton of valuable information about how to catch fish in the summer with lures and plugs. Steve, who is a friend of mine, draws on his years of expertise and experience to outline some of the best artificials to use at this time of year. He also outlines some of the best conditions to fish in summer which include targeting the new moon phase, fishing in stormy weather and nighttime fishing. The article is well worth the cost of the magazine if you are not a subscriber.

For more information visit

Back in Business

It's been two weeks since I've posted on the site. Oh, I've been fishing. Problem was the computer. It was infected with a virus and was in the repair shop for quite a while, thus no posting. I wish they would make a computer like a fishing reel. Change the bad part and back in business. Instead, the computer is under constant threat of attack from spyware and viruses, even though you think it is protected with anti virus and Internet security software. So complicated compared to a reel!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Change in Location Leads to More Action

Last night I decided to change the location I was fishing. I was spending a lot of time in the Bay and catching little. So, I moved to the oceanfront where I found better fishing for stripers.

Realize things are not great down there either. I fished from evening into the night and landed three schoolies though I had a least a half dozen more hits. They were taking small Hogys fished off a float. I used the float because I needed to get a long cast in the place I was fishing. These fish were all clones. They measured about 20-22 inches and were very skinny. It's obvious from the way these fish looked that there is little bait around. I also found no fish breaking and no bait.

I suspect that the cooler water along the oceanfront (low 70's) means that you have fish that are more active than you find in the Bay where the water is running from the mid 70's to 80 degrees. With temperatures in the 90's for the next few days, the oceanfront is your best bet for fishing.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Not Good News

With a heat wave knocking on our door and water temperatures soaring into the seventies, we are in the dog days of summer. We are also in that period of time which seems to be the slowest of the year if you are a shore striper fisherman. The reports I have gotten from all over southern New England in the last two weeks paint a picture of some poor fishing.
I have been hitting the upper Bay several times a week. The news from that area is that I am catching a striper here and there. I am also getting blanked at times. There are good numbers of small blues around at times. I know of several guys who are fishing RI's south shore and Narragansett. They are getting a schoolie or two at times, but they are also getting blanked at times. Even the reports from the Cape Cod Canal from guys I know who have been there tell a tale of marginal fishing. Line up twenty guys who know what they are doing on the right tides and a few small keepers might be caught. It seems to be inconsistent from the reports I am getting.
Let me also say that there are not many fishermen out there. This could be due to the poor fishing or the increasing gas prices or maybe a combination of both.
I am predicting that this marginal fishing will continue through August and may not perk up until mid September when stripers start feeding up for the fall migration.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Warming Waters=Bluefish

The water in the mid and upper Bay was running 75-81 degrees this week according to a NOAA site that I visit often. That is warm, really warm, too warm for stripers. However, no problem for the bluefish. So, last night I hit a spot in the mid Bay and came away with the biggest bluefish hit I've experienced in two years. They were everywhere I was fishing and real active as they were chasing silversides and small sandeels. These breaking fish were aggressively hitting poppers, jigs and metal. By the end of the evening I had landed 18 of them and lost at least that many. They were on the small side for the most part, running 12-20 inches. Since there were lots of fish and a pile of bait in front of me, I figured I would stay after dark and try for stripers. I casted for close to an hour and landed just one lone schoolie, my only hit. It's shaping up to be a big bluefish summer. As long as the small bait sticks around, the bluefish action should remain good regardless of the warm water.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Dinner Plate Scup

Last night I went looking for stripers or blues in the Bay. I didn't find any, but what I did find was a load of good sized scup. These were unlike any I had ever found along the oceanfront. They were large, some nearly the size of dinner plates, and they were aggressive. They would readily attack plastics and jigs mounted with plastics ripping these offerings apart like piranhas attacking raw meat. I had run into these the previous night in shallow water and I decided to give the same spot another try. I also came armed with a rig I had devised. It looked like a double teaser rig only in place of the teasers I had tied in two, small #4 hooks on which I threaded one inch plastic grub tails (see photo). On the end of the rig I had mounted a quarter ounce jighead with a three inch plastic curly tail. It did the trick, sometimes accounting for double headers. By the end of the evening I had landed over 30 scup, many as large as small schoolies. They weren't stripers, but the action was terrific. In these days of reduced numbers of stripers, I'm planning on branching out and going after what's plentiful and available. Last night it was large scup.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Small Blues, Scup Invade Bay

I knew I was in for bluefish as I waded into the waters around mid Bay yesterday evening. Right in front of me an osprey dove down and came up with a foot long bluefish. That was to be the introduction to a night of pesty blues followed by more surprises.
Oh, the blues were around. I would say a skinny plastic offering might last three casts before it was cut in half. So, I put the expensive plastics away and fished with more durable small bucktail jigs. They would not take a popper. I did land about a dozen small bluefish on the bucktail jig that measured from a foot long to about 20 inches.
However, the surprise of the night was the number of scup that I landed. The place was also infested with good sized scup that continued to hit after dark. By sunset, I had no hair left on the bucktail jig and I just went with a plastic grub tail. The blues and scup would rip the tail apart until I had a little white chunk of plastic left on the hook. Guess what, the scup were whacking that. I landed about 20 scup, all legal, up to 14 inches. It was the first time I have ever run into big numbers of these way up in the Bay. After you think you've seen it all, another surprise often comes your way. Tonight it was the scup.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

July and August.....Dealing with Two Tough Months

We are entering the toughest part of the season. July and August are particularly difficult for the shore fisherman. The water is warm and there is lots of activity around like swimmers, boaters, surfers, jet skiers, etc. that will disrupt your fishing. Couple that with the usual lack of bait in the summertime and it spells difficult fishing.
For those who fish the shore during these months here are a few tips that might lead to some good fishing:
1. Fish deep water dropoffs where the water is cooler. Places like Newport and Jamestown are good locations that might produce.
2. Fish the cooler times. That means evening, nighttime and early morning. Rainy and cloudy days might also work. For those who can stay up real late, the late night hours can be the most productive.
3. Get into moving water. If you can stand the crowds at the Cape Cod Canal, this place is a good bet even in daytime in the dead of summer.
4. Lack of stripers? Think about fishing for fluke and scup. These fish are sometimes abundant along the oceanfront in the summertime.
5. Bait can produce when the fish turn finicky. I've seen bottom fishermen using clams, chunks of menhaden and mole crabs do real well in the summer when plug fishermen can't even get a sniff.
6. Lower your expectations. In places where you could catch 3 or 4 fish an outing back in May and June, you may have to settle for zero, one or two fish.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

June Turns Out Better than Expected

The month of June turned out to be better than expected for me. It was a month in which I landed 67 stripers and 6 bluefish from the shore. In past posts I have been comparing the present month to 2007. Well, back in 2007 I landed 86 stripers and 11 bluefish in June. If you adhere to the theory that the present day striper population is down 60 % from five years ago (and I do believe that to be true), then this June was not all that bad. In recent months, my numbers had been down 50-60 % but for this month they were down only about 20% from four years ago. In addition, a good number of my fish were small keepers, once again proving that keepers are around in decent numbers. So, I have to sum it up by saying June was better than expected. Hopefully, this trend will continue.

One explanation I have for the improved fishing is the fact that this June was one of the coolest on record, and I think that cool weather kept the fish active, especially in Narragansett Bay where I have been concentrating my efforts.