Sunday, February 26, 2012

Winter Holdover Fishing....Dead as a Door Nail

It's been over a week now since I have seen a winter striper or caught one.  I have been out several times and I know of fishermen who have been out when I wasn't fishing.  It's the same story in the upper Bay....nothing. I tried several spots tonight with another fisherman I met and we both got nothing.  I suspect the stripers that were in the Providence River wintering over have scooted out into the Bay for parts unknown during this recent spell of warm weather.  I'm uncertain about whether those fish will return.  We just might have to wait for the migrating fish to arrive in early April or late March.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

NEWSFLASH....RI DEM Rescinds Felt Sole Ban in Saltwater

On the Water magazine is reporting that the RI DEM has rescinded the ban on  felt sole waders in saltwater.  It is true since I checked the latest regulations at the DEM site, and there is no reference to felt soles being banned in saltwater.  However, the ban in freshwater remains (which does make sense).  Here is the quote from On the Water:
Surf fishermen in the Ocean State received some good news this week.  Steve Medieros from Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association reported that RI DEM has filed an official regulation change that will amend the ban on felt-soled wading boots, removing the reference to “marine waters.”  Felt-soles will remain prohibited in all of Rhode Island’s freshwater waterways.  It goes to show that letters, emails and phone calls to the right people can go a long way.
I applaud the efforts of RISAA (Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association) in helping to get this ban rescinded.  I know they have been working hard in the background to get this corrected.  This group has been in the forefront of every single issue that has affected us saltwater fishermen from menhaden regulations to the saltwater license to access issues, to poaching regulations, etc., and in all instances their efforts have greatly benefited the saltwater fishermen of this state.  Hats off to RISAA once again.
I would also like to thank the DEM for changing this rule and listening to the fishermen of this state.  They were big boys on this issue, realized they made a mistake and changed it. Had the rule remained in effect, it would have been a financial hardship for many to buy new waders, and it would have set up dangerous footing for many who fish on slippery rocks.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Next Stop on Seminar Trail.....Springfield Sportsmens Show

My next seminars will be held on Sat., Feb. 25 at the Springfield Sportsmens Show.  This will take place at the Big E Fairgrounds in Spingfield, MA.  I will be doing my new carp fishing seminar, New England Carp Fishing 101, at 11:00 in seminar room B.  My new striper fishing show, called Tackling the Striper Surf ,will take place at 2:00 in seminar room B.  I did these shows a week ago in Worcester at the ASA Eastern Fishing and Outdoor Expo, and they were very well attended.
The Springfield Sportsmens Show is one of the biggest shows in the northeast, held in three huge buildings at the Big E.  It is loaded with fishing reps and tackle dealers, hunting reps, and just about anything outdoor related you can think of. They run a full schedule of seminars about freshwater fishing, saltwater fishing and hunting.  For more information about the show and directions, visit their website at

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Fishing Dies....Once Again

The winter striper fishing fishing has died, once again.  This is typical of fishing this winter as the fishing has been on an up and down roller coaster ride this year. Tonight I saw at least 15 fishermen in various spots on this beautiful winter night along the Providence River.  Conditions were good, the weather was perfect and the tides were favorable.  I did not find one guy that had gotten a striper tonight.  This fish were just not around. I suspect that when we get this warm weather a lot of fish that are in the river leave the area and head out into the Bay itself in search of food.  This seems to happen when the water in the Bay warms up to nearly the same temperature as the river.  Just the other day I noticed the water temps in the Bay (NOAA site) ranged from 42-48 degrees, unheard of for this time of year.  I do have confidence that the good fishing will return, but who knows when that will happen.  You just have to get out and try and tell yourself that winter fishing is very inconsistent.  Blankings are part of the winter game.  Hey, it's February!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hot Winter Color.....White Ice

Anyone who has read my past posts about winter striper fishing knows that I always used a Zoom fluke in an albino color to nail most of my winter fish.  Well, this year, that albino fluke was not working so well so I switched over to a color they call white ice.  It has been terrific, outfishing any other color this winter.  White ice (catalog color #94) is a bright white color with silver flakes in the body.  It is highly attractive in the water. In the past week, I have landed a good number of stripers, including several keepers, with this lure.  I am using a regular Zoom fluke, which is 4 inches long, and mounting it on a 3/8 oz. jighead.  If you are looking to purchase white ice Zoom flukes, Bass Pro has them.  Here is the link:

To fish these flukes, cast them out and let them sink to the bottom. Use a slow retrieve and occasionally bounce the rod tip.  Keep it as close to the bottom as possible.  These fork tailed flukes work terrific in the wintertime and they are about the best lures you can use in the spring in Gansett Bay.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Bite is Back

It's back in business for me with winter fishing  in the Upper Bay and Providence River.  I landed a dozen fish in my last two outings on Zoom flukes threaded onto lightweight jigheads. At least two of those fish were keepers. So, the bite is back!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Winter Project....Replacing Treble Hooks

I've spent the last month restoring many of my plugs that I used last season.  I've been sanding the wooden plugs, repainting and replacing hooks.  One of my big jobs has been to replace any bent or rusty trebles on swimming plugs like Bombers.  I'm on a kick to replace all of the original trebles on these plugs with heavy duty VMC hooks.  In the past I have had a lot of trouble with trebles that have gotten straightened out by big fish.  Not this year as I landed a 46 inch striper on a Bomber with VMC's and my son Ben landed a 50 inch bass with a Bomber outfitted with VMC's.  Neither fish was able to straighten even one hook on the treble. The VMC treble I am using as a replacement is a 4X 9626 PS hook, a heavy duty short shank model (size 1/0) that fits real well on a 6 inch Bomber.  You can get these at I also usually replace the split rings with more heavy duty models.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Felt Sole Wader Ban Unclear in Saltwater; LL Bean Offers Wader Exchange

It's been over a month since the bombshell announcement  from the RI DEM that felt sole waders have been banned in RI in saltwater.  And, little has changed.  There has been no official clarification from the DEM.  There seems to be little public outcry from RI fishing clubs and the tackle industry. Maybe they are quietly working in the background.  However, the Forums are abuzz with ticked off fishermen, and the guy you meet at the shore is very fed up with this bs.  Many seem to think that there will be little or no enforcement in saltwater since this regulation was listed in the freshwater abstracts.  Besides, you are supposed to wash your boots off with saltwater to kill invasive weed that can cling to the felt.  Who knows about enforcement?  I suspect the morons from the DEM who created this rule for saltwater have painted themselves into a corner and have no way out.  However, I do know this rule will probably be enforced in freshwater, and I also know that many RI fishermen fish in both fresh and saltwater.
I got a call from my father the other night who told me about a friend of his who has a pair of LL Bean felt sole waders that he bought 3 years ago.  He called LL Bean to complain about this ban.  LL Bean told him to bring the waders back to the store in Mansfield, and he would be given a free exchange of lug sole waders.  My father, who also has a two year old pair of felt sole waders, did the same exact thing.   Free exchange, no questions asked!  Wow, now that's a company to deal with!  If you fish in both saltwater and fresh (as I do), I see no other option at this time than to get rid of the felt and go with lug sole boots.  Now, if the label on your boots says "LL Bean", no problem.  My hope is that other boot manufacturers will offer the same deal to many of us.