Monday, November 30, 2015

A Disappointing November

Hickory shad were abundant
in some backwaters.
A familiar November scene....
lots of bait, little fish.
A few years ago I wrote an article for one of the magazines in which I described November as the "new best fall month" here in RI.  We had been on a roll for many years with November providing spectacular action along the RI south coast.  This was fueled by an ocean herring migration along with big schools of peanut bunker and adult bunker also moving southward. The big blues, large stripers and schoolies were plentiful, and it seemed that there was almost a daily blitz along the south shore if you could find it.
This November could be described as a dud. It turned out to be the poorest of the three fall months.  I would rate September as our best fall month this year. The strange thing about this November was that it was warm with warm water temperatures which tends to favor good fishing lasting until the end of the month.  In addition, there was a lot of bait, but few fish after it. Big numbers of fish were just not around.
I fished a lot in November and was
able to land only one decent fish
of 40 inches.
The marginal fishing took its toll on the number of fishermen out and about.  By the third week in November, it was rare for me to run into anyone. It got that bad. Most had given up by mid November. On beautiful weather days I would find no one fishing.
I got out a good number of times in November.  I was able to catch one good size keeper (40 inches), another smaller keeper (28 inches) and 25 schoolies. I never saw what I would call a blitz of fish. Those numbers are really poor compared to past years.  I caught no bluefish and never saw a bluefish caught. In addition, I got a load of hickory shad but only in the backwaters.  I got one lone shad in the high surf of the oceanfront.
Many will look at this fall and say we are seeing the downward trend and shortage of stripers in the poor November numbers. Others will say the fish just bypassed the south shore of RI. Still, others will point to severe weather that drove big numbers of fish out in October. However you want to frame it, most will agree that November, 2015, was disappointing for striper fishing. One of the poorest Novembers in the last decade.