Sunday, May 22, 2016

From the Boat: Skinny Water Strategies

We are on a roll, especially from the boat.  We are catching big numbers of stripers and that includes small ones, good size schoolies and keepers up to over 40 inches. It is about the best I have seen in years in terms of numbers of fish in Narragansett Bay.
So, what's been our key to success? For the most part, we are targeting low water and we are plugging.  I can tell you that most boaters fish Gansett Bay in two ways.  They are either trolling or they are fishing bait (chunks or live menhaden).  With both methods, boaters are usually fishing water that is over 15 feet deep. Very few use plugs.
We have concentrated out plugging in shallow water that is 3-6 feet deep for the most part. The
advantage to that shallow water is that it heats up quickly on sunny days and the fish and bait tend to gravitate to that warmer water.  Shallow water flats that extend out from shore are prime spots to hit.  We also try to find skinny water in which there is structure like small rocks along the bottom, grass near the shore or even transition areas where the bottom moves from sand to rocks.
In these skinny spots we are drifting and plugging. The motor is shut off while drifting to keep things quiet in the low water.   In recent outings some of our hot plugs have been poppers, Rebel Jumpin Minnows, plastic forked tailed flukes fished on top and Slug-gos.  The color white has been most effective. It is all the same stuff that has worked for me from shore.
Most boaters will tell you the larger fish in the Bay, stripers over 40 inches, will be caught on menhaden for the most part.  They are right.  And, we do this type of fishing when we can get the bait and find a productive spot.  However, when this isn't working (which is a lot of times), we quickly switch gears and start plugging shallow water.  That has accounted for big numbers of fish up to 34 inches this spring.