Friday, October 20, 2017

Albies Still the Main Attraction

I have never seen this many albies around this late in the season. Today they seemed to be everywhere I fished.  Although I saw a lot breaking, I didn't see a lot caught. They were fussy, very fussy something that seems to happen late in the season. I managed to get four of them on a float and Deceiver fly combo. I also tried metal and an Albie Snax today, and those offerings did not even get a look.
This albie is one of four landed today.  It has a blue Deceiver
fly in its mouth, the hot lure today.  The fly was fished off a
wooden egg float.
For the last few days there have been few stripers and no bluefish. Fishing for stripers and blues has been inconsistent at best this last month. Only when there is a lot of bait around (like I had on Monday) do we see the stripers and blues. It's late October and the fishing for them should be better.  It looks to me like we are heading for another good November as I believe it will be another late run of migrating fish like last year.
So, for now albies continue to be the main attraction for saltwater fishermen. Enjoy it while it lasts because it will end soon.

Monday, October 16, 2017


Good size peanut bunker fueled this
massive blitz
There were loads of
keeper stripers in the mix.
These were 28-30 in. fish.
The bucktail jig was hot.
Today I hit one of the greatest blitzes I have hit along the RI shore in years. It featured keeper bass, big blues and albies all blitzing on good size peanut bunker at the same time! And, this went on from morning until night. Simply an incredible sight!
I had not been getting many stripers in the last couple of weeks along the RI oceanfront.  The few I was catching were small, around 20 inches.  Blues had been non-existent. That all changed today.

The biggest blue of the
day was a fish in the teens.
Albies were also in the
mix with good numbers
breaking along with
stripers and bluefish.
I walked into a major blitz this morning as birds were diving, the water was black with peanut bunker and fish were busting everywhere along a half mile stretch of shoreline. Stripers were in tight to the rocks, blues were out a little further and albies were all over the place. The stripers were real good size, generally keepers in the 28 to 30 inch range, a size I have not seen in any abundance this year.  There were also a few hefty 24-27 inch schoolies in the mix.  The hot lure was a flathead bucktail jig with a curly tail fished off the float or alone. At the end of the day, I had a total of over 30 stripers with the majority of them small keepers.  The blues were also good size, running 6-10 lbs. on average, and I had one real big one that went about 14 lbs. I landed 7 blues on the day. They were hitting the jig but were also taking skinny metal.  With so many blues around I turned to metal to catch the albies.  I landed 4 of them on the Kastmaster XL but had a lot of hits and smashes.
Today's blitz was fueled by large peanut bunker that went 4-5 inches long. I had not seen loads of peanut bunker around the oceanfront until today.  I am guessing this bait is starting to move southward from Gansett Bay and points further north.  That bait should continue to light up the fishing in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

More Than One Way to LURE an Albie

The Hogy Epoxy Jig has been a hot
lure for me in the last week. I
like this gold/olive color.
I've written over and over again how effective the float and fly is for albies. In my opinion, this is your best bet most of the time.  However, like any type of plug or lure fishing sometimes the best bet doesn't always work.
Yes, that is a bucktail
jig in this albie's mouth.
This lure worked today while
others did not.
In the last week, the albies have decreased in numbers, and they have gotten more picky.  So, I have been switching up my offerings in the hopes of finding something hot. In that time period I have landed a good number of albies on Hogy Epoxy Jigs.  This is a lure that looks like skinny metal but it is made out of epoxy and has a realistic fish-like finish.  The one that has worked best for me is a gold/olive color in a size 1 1/4 ounces.  I saw others catching on the pink and silver model. Another hot lure in recent weeks that has been is something called an Albie Snax.  This is a plastic lure that looks like a short stubby Hogy.  It darts and dances in the water with pulls of your rod tip and the albies can't seem to resist hitting it.  The drawback with this lure is that it is lightweight, but works well when the fish are in close. Finally, I fished today and was actually trying for schoolies with a small, flat head bucktail jig with a plastic curly tail.  You guessed it....I landed an albie on this after not getting a sniff on all my other "sure bet" offerings.
So, yes, there are many ways to lure albies into hitting.  Like an other plug fishing, if one thing doesn't work, try something else.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Photo of the Week- Portrait of an Albie

Another albie comes to the boat as I snapped this photo before grabbing it.
With an eye like that, you have to think they have fantastic vision.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Albies Still Around but Scattered

We went out in the boat today for the last time this year since my brother Steve is headed for hip replacement surgery tomorrow. We found plenty of albies that were scattered over wide areas of the oceanfront.  However, there were lots of individual fish breaking with occasional small pods of them which made catching them difficult. And, they were fussy.
The three of us in the boat managed to land 13 albies.  We also had a lot of fish on and lost along with a lot of hits.  The only thing we could get them on was the float and fly.  My son Ben tried metal for a good amount of time and he could not even get a hit. The fish today were spitting up small bay anchovies.  They are usually very fussy when on this small bait, and generally the fly, in this case a Blue Deceiver, was the only thing they would hit.
In addition to the albies, we also landed a half dozen bluefish. These are the first ones we have seen from the boat along the oceanfront this fall.  Hopefully, their numbers are starting to increase.  We'll see in the coming days and weeks.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Big Waves Have Changed the Fishing

I landed 5 schoolies today in multiple spots.
There were no concentrations of fish along
the oceanfront in the places I fished.
 Fishing has cooled after the
big waves of the past week.
Huge waves from Hurricane Maria have been battering the oceanfront for the last week.  Prior to that the fishing was very good.  There were lots of false albacore, good numbers of stripers and increasing numbers of bluefish along with a lot of bait. That great fishing has changed for the worse.
I fished the oceanfront today and my son Ben has been fishing it for the last two days. Ben got three schoolies yesterday afternoon and caught nothing this morning.  I got 5 schoolies this afternoon/evening while fishing in multiple spots.  There were no concentrations of fish anywhere.
I saw no bait, no birds working and no fish breaking.  Realize, too, I was fishing some great water.  It was clean and it was rough, the type of conditions that would appear to be a sure bet for big numbers of fish.
I also saw no albies breaking.  While I don't think they have all left, I think their numbers have really dwindled as big storms tend to move them out. I'm sure you will see some small pods of them here and there in the next couple of weeks but the big blitzes of a couple of weeks ago seem to be a thing of the past.  Let's hope I am wrong.
So, we are in a post storm lull right now.  Rest assured there are a solid two months left to the fishing season and things should perk up in the coming days as bait streams southward.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Photo of the Day....Bay Blue

Surf too big and unfishable along the oceanfront?  Not so in the Bay.  It was flat
as a pancake tonight, and the blues were on the feed!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Too Big to Handle

The waves in the last two weeks have been big thanks to Hurricane/Tropical Storm Jose.  But, what I saw today was the biggest and most dangerous surf I have seen in the last month. I don't say this often, but the oceanfront was unfishable today.  I checked out a number of spots and found waves up to 15 feet overwhelming some shorelines. I saw huge waves going right over the east and west walls.  The DEM closed off the east wall due to dangerous conditions.  I saw monstrous waves going right over the big rocks in front of Hazard and Newton Avenues in Narragansett. I thought I'd be smart and hit the Short Wall at Galilee, a protected spot.  No dice as waves were engulfing the front of that wall. From Galilee, I could see waves washing over the inside of the West Wall as well as going over the outside of the West Wall. The next two days are supposed to be even worse due to the northward track of Hurricane Maria. You get the picture....dangerous and unfishable in most RI oceanfront locations.
I'm off to freshwater or possibly the Bay for the next couple of days.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Stripers/Blues on the Rampage

Some decent blues were in the mix
today as this happy angler landed
a beauty.
It was another wild day of fishing for me along the RI oceanfront.  I found an area of the oceanfront that had rough, but clean white water, ideal conditions for stripers.  In front of me the surf line was black with bait...all peanut bunker. There were vast schools of them that just kept moving along.  For hours, the stripers and blues were rampaging through the bait, often blasting it into the air.  In the mix were some albies though I could get none to hit.
Landed this keeper bass along with a lot of
schoolies on the float and jig rig.
The stripers and blues were in the hitting mood as they jumped all over my float and jig rig. At the end of the rig I was using a white, homemade flathead bucktail jig with a three inch plastic curly tail added. Flathead jigs are great imitators of peanut bunker.
For the afternoon, I landed 32 stripers with most of them schoolies in the 20-25 inch range.  I also had one small keeper.  In addition, I landed 3 bluefish which doubled my total from shore for the year (yes, so far there have been very few).
The big issue today was finding clean water.  Much of the water along the oceanfront is dirty with sand and weed.  In some places, a sand line extends up to half a mile off shore. But, if you can find that clean water along with bait, you most likely will find a lot of stripers and blues and maybe some albies.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Photo of the Day- "Jose Lights Up the Fishing"

Holy Smokes! Can you beat that? How about one keeper after
another in one of the biggest daytime blitzes of big fish I have EVER seen.
The winds from Jose were howling, the rain was coming down and the current
was tearing. And, the fish were on the rampage. I've seen it many, many times
where a stormy event will just light up the fishing as it did today!  

Monday, September 18, 2017

Really Rough and Really Good

This happy angler landed this albie on his very
first cast this morning on a float and fly.
The hurricane/ tropical storm waves are rolling in along the oceanfront.  I've seen some giant waves in the 10 foot range pounding the shore. Under those conditions, the fishing usually would not be good. But, the albie fishing in the rough water has been lights out for the last few days.
Mornings have been phenomenal, and I have seen some mornings like yesterday where maybe 150 albies were landed where I was fishing. Reports are also coming in up and down the RI oceanfront of fantastic albie fishing where fishing is possible.
This morning I saw another all out blitz as fish were breaking for hours in a mile long stretch as the fish were in a frenzy feeding on bay anchovies and peanut bunker in the turbulent water. Luckily I was on a safe, high rock, I landed ten of them on the float and fly in about two hours of casting. However,  I know of two other fishermen who got knocked over from the force of the waves this morning.  So, if you dare go out fishing in this weather, do it in a safe location. It's not worth a serious injury (or even worse) for a fish.
With even rougher conditions expected for the next two days along with a driving northeast wind, I suspect the fishing will head downhill real fast.  As the day wore on today, the water was getting rougher and dirtier, a sign of things to come in the next few days.
Conditions in the last few days were about as extreme as it gets, but the fish
were around in big numbers.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Big Time Albie/Striper Blitz

It was a blitz to remember today as albies and stripers hit the shore in force in a spot I was fishing.  It was all set in motion by some rough water and big schools of peanut bunker. The albies were blitzing out a ways from shore smashing through the schools of bait while the bass were tight to the rocks in the white water just whirling and picking off the small bunker close to the rocks.  This went on for hours.
Meanwhile, a picket fence of fishermen quickly developed, and at times just about everyone was hanging on to a bent rod and a screaming drag.  I must have seen about 150 albies landed today, phenomenal numbers from shore.  I landed 8 of them and had an equal number on and lost.  Add to that six stripers including one keeper that I landed. My sons, Ben and Jon (in photos), also landed a load of albies and stripers.
I was using my float and fly rig  to catch the albies. For the fly I was using a homemade Deceiver with a chartreuse hackle tail and that seemed to be very effective. I also saw a lot of fishermen hooking up with metal like Deadly Dicks and Kastmaster XLs. A real hot number all week has also been the Hogy Epoxy Jigs, which scored a lot of fish today.
I will also tell you that the ocean was very rough today with building seas.  If it gets a bit rougher, it will be unfishable in the location I was fishing.  With the forecast calling for crazy wave heights in the next few days due to Hurricane Jose, the albie fishing will almost certainly be put on hold.

The stripers were running with the albies today.  This keeper was one of a
dozen stripers my sone
 Ben and I landed.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Albies Along RI Shoreline in Good Numbers

My first RI albies were landed today in some rough water.
The float 'n' fly was hot.
Yes, they have finally hit the RI shoreline this week in good numbers.  The key is finding them in some very rough water that we have been experiencing along the oceanfront.
I landed my first ones today, a day that I caught three of them from shore and had another on.  They were all caught on the float 'n' fly although I saw others caught today and earlier this week on metal and the Hogy Epoxy Jig, a hot lure here and at the Cape. My fly was a blue homemade Deceiver.
An interesting thing about today is that there was nothing showing.  I never saw any fish breaking but they were around. The key is to get yourself in a safe and good spot and cast away.  If nothing after an hour or so move on to another spot.  With big rollers coming into shore, many spots, mostly south facing locations, are not safe to fish. The water has been rough for the last ten days and the forecast for this weekend calls for even rougher water.
So, the wait is over.  The albies are here!

Monday, September 11, 2017

"Hat Trick" in Buzzards Bay

My first albie of the year came from Buzzards Bay today.
Today I landed my first albie of the year in Buzzards Bay.  I also had the rare hat trick in which I landed the albie, a striper and a bluefish.
We went out in Buzzards Bay and Vineyard Sound today from the boat.  While we found a lot of albies, catching them was a different story.  They were busting all over the place, but they just would not hit for the most part, probably due to the fact that the area was choking with bait.  I saw schools of peanut bunker that stretched for hundreds of yards.  In addition, there were bay anchovies also in the mix. I did manage to get my first albie of the year on a float and fly rig. While I had a few other hits, that would be the only one landed for the day.
Schoolies were also abundant today.
A white shad body on a jighead
worked real well.
Blues in the 5 to 8 lb. range were
also abundant.  They were blitzing
on peanut bunker.
While the albies were tough to fool, the stripers and blues were another story.  They were also all over the place and my brother and I managed to catch about 20 stripers (schoolies, average 20-25 inches) along with a dozen bluefish that ranged from 5 to 8 lbs.  At times, the stripers and blues were blitzing on the bait big time along some shorelines. The best lure was a plastic shad body mounted onto a half ounce jighead, a dead ringer when it comes to imitating peanut bunker.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

RI Albies Few and Far Between; Stripers Abundant

The water has been super rough in the last week.
It's not good for the albies, but the
stripers love it. Look for safe spots
fo fish where you have clean, white
Albies have been for the most part a no show so far in RI waters.  While I have not seen any jumping and have not seen one landed yet from shore, I do know of a few taken as reported by reliable sources.  But, overall, it's been a disappointment so far.
I have to lay some blame on the extremely rough and dirty water for the lack of albies.  We've had this kicked up surf and big winds for over a week now. Those conditions have resulted in sandy and weedy water in lots of spots.  It has kept shore fishing activity to a minimum and has kept most boaters in port. It has also broken up the schools of bait that were around a couple of weeks ago.  I've never seen big numbers of albies in very rough water so I am not expecting much until the water calms down.  Still, I know there are very good numbers just to the north of us towards Buzzards Bay and the Falmouth shore.  Hopefully, they will come our way.
Based on past logs, we should see good numbers of albies in the coming week if they show.  In the past that time period from Sept 10-Sept. 17 has brought big time action.  If they are not here by next weekend, all bets are off for a big year here in RI.
Meanwhile, the striper fishing for me has been excellent.  I have been out just about every day in the last ten days and I have found very good numbers, even blitz like action, on several days.  If you can find safe and fishable white water that is clean, you have a good shot at catching stripers.  Most of these fish have been hefty schoolies in the 20-25 inch range but I have even had small keepers in the mix. The float and jig has accounted for most of the catches.  Make sure to add a plastic curly tail to your jig.  It makes a big difference!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Special Tournament and Fundraiser for a Great Cause

I can picture this little guy standing
next to his father in a few years slinging
a surf rod.
Surf fishermen tend to be a compassionate group.  I found that out first hand several years ago when my son, Chris, was in a devastating fire in Boston.  The kid lost his apartment as well as every possession and article of clothing that he owned.  A fund was set up for him to help him get back on his feet,  and countless fellow fishermen (many I didn’t even know) donated to his cause.  It was a remarkable show of support that our family will never forget.
Another fellow fisherman and his family are in need right now, and the Fisherman magazine has some plans in the works.  The effort is spearheaded by Toby Lapinski and Dave Anderson  who are planning a fundraising event and tournament to help out the Hanecak family. John Hanecak is a well known and respected surf fisherman and he is the RI field editor for the Fisherman magazine.
Back in early July, Owen Hanecak, his son,  was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL.) Owen was about 14 months old at the time of the diagnosis. For the first 6 or so weeks following the diagnosis, Owen was being treated at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford, CT. Both John and his wife, Karyn, “lived” at the hospital along with Owen for this time with both missing a good amount of work. And while insurance covers a good portion of the treatment, there will be some major expenses along the way above and beyond standard medical costs. In light of this, a group of fishermen have banded together to produce two fundraisers this fall to help the Hanecak family.

First up, Dave Anderson is going to be running a catch and release striped bass surf fishing tournament with all of the proceeds going towards Owen’s treatment expenses. The tournament is set to run from September 22 through October 21 and will follow the rules that Dave established through his tournaments. There are no boundaries dictating where an angler can or cannot fish, as long as migratory stripers swim in your chosen waters and you hold all necessary permits to make fishing in said location legal, fish caught in that area are eligible. So this means that anywhere that migratory striped bass can be found, from Canada to Florida and everywhere in between and beyond is open for anglers to participate. An angler’s combined total length of their five longest fish will comprise their score at the end of the tournament, with the angler compiling the greatest length being deemed the winner. A complete look at all of the rules can be found at
The cost to participate in the tournament is just $30, and all participants in the tournament will receive free entry into the Awards Ceremony and Fundraiser (see below) being held in Clinton, CT on October 21. The hope is that this can become an annual event so that we can continue to assist throughout all of Owen’s treatment. If you’d like additional information on the tournament, or if you’d like to sign up, please visit

Immediately following the tournament there will be a fundraiser/awards presentation which is being produced by the combined efforts of Greg McNamara, Jared Clairmont, Chris Blouin, Dave Anderson, Toby Lapinski and members of the Connecticut Surfcasters Association.
On Saturday, October 21, at the Clinton (CT) Town Hall, we will have a full afternoon of seminars, raffles, auctions, food and more with all proceeds going to benefit Owen’s treatment. Festivities kick-off at noon and will conclude around 4:30 p.m. A $10 donation will be requested at the door, but be sure to bring some extra cash as we already have a lengthy list of items that will be up for grabs in the raffles and silent auctions.
There will be two big-time speakers—one discussing surf fishing and the other talking about boat fishing—so there will be something for everyone regardless of your fishing preferences. On the boat side, Capt. Jack Sprengel has agreed to speak. Capt. Jack is a well-rounded angler targeting everything from tuna to carp. He is an engaging speaker and is sure to deliver an awesome presentation!
The Town Hall has a large theatre upstairs where the presentations will take place, and then downstairs we will have some awesome catered food as well as all of the items that will be offered up for auction and raffles.
We have launched an event page on Facebook to track the details of this event, announce raffle and auction items and just generally keep attendees up to speed as to what we have planned for the day. The event can be found here.

On August 16, Owen, John and Karyn left the hospital and returned to their home as Owen has been making substantial improvements in his health. His condition was considered “in remission” by the 29th day of treatment and he was cleared shortly thereafter, a huge relief for all of us! There is still a long road ahead for the Hanecak family, but the outlook is positive and Owen is a strong little kid who will undoubtedly overcome this bump in the road.
If you’d like to make a donation either directly to the Hanecak family, or with raffle/auction items for the fundraiser, please contact Toby Lapinski at for more information on how to donate.

Though I am not a tournament type of guy, I will be signing up for this just to lend my support to a very good cause. Please consider doing the same.  While most surf fishermen are passionate about their sport, most I know rank the family first and foremost. In this case we wish the Hanecak family all the best.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Crazy Good

Two guys on at once in some real rough water. The
fishing was outstanding for early September.
This was a wild day of fishing.  The surf was charged up along the oceanfront.  There was lots of wind, real rough water and rain.  This crazy weather  delivered one of the best early September days I have experienced along the RI shoreline.
My son Jon and I fished the white water surf  from late afternoon until dark, and at times it was a hit or a fish on just about every cast. The float and jig were working wonders today in the wild currents and rough white water.  It was all schoolies but these were decent ones in the 20-26 inch range. After a couple of hours of fishing we had well over 80 fish between the two of us. Surprsingly, we saw few other fishermen except for a couple of guys we knew.
The wooden egg float with a bucktail
jig and curly tail was the most effective
artificial today.
Today felt more like October fishing than September fishing. Make no mistake about it.  We are into the fall run, and it's happening early this year.  Yesterday my brother and I had over 20 blues from the boat.  Today it was a bonanza of schoolies along the oceanfront. The fall fishing is in full swing here in RI.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Increasing Numbers of Bluefish

Blues are in the Bay
and along the oceanfront
in good numbers right
now.  It's a matter of
finding them.
It's September and that means big numbers of bluefish streaming into Narragansett Bay. Right on schedule, we hit some good numbers of bluefish today from the boat. In fact, this was the biggest hit for us since the springtime.
It took a lot of looking but we did find vast schools of small peanut bunker that were being attacked by frenzied bluefish that generally went 6 to 7 lbs. I must admit they were fussy at first.  Our best artificials were jigs with the Jumpin Minnow and Kastmaster XL also scoring some fish.
They were wild today on the fight as this one takes a leap
into the air.
The surprising thing about today is we never saw another boat chasing the schools of blues even though they were in a pretty big area of the Bay, and they were very visible. That tells me few fishermen have been catching them and few know about it.
In addition to the bluefish in the Bay, I can also report that there are increasing numbers along the oceanfront also.  My son, Ben, got into some yesterday from shore.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Photos of the Day...."From the Kayak"

My son Jon and I fished the Bay this evening from the kayaks. We found
good numbers of schoolies.  The hot lure was a Zoom fluke mounted on a
quarter ounce jighead.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Rough, White and Productive

The schoolies were active in the rough,
 white water today.
The float and bucktail jig
was hot today and landed
all the fish.
I knew that before I even left my house today that the fishing would be good if I could find a safe spot to fish.  We had a storm off the coast that was sending in big waves, rough water and a stiff east wind. At this time of year, that means a turn on at the oceanfront, and I also knew the start of that east and northeast wind is often the most productive time to fish. There are no better conditions to fish from shore than rough,white, moving water, and I had it today.
I did find a safe pocket to fish along the RI oceanfront that was rough but fishable. It was full of good size schoolies that were just lurking in the white currents.  The hot ticket today was the wooden egg float and jig, one of my fall favorites.  I was using a 3/8 ounce white flathead homemade bucktail jig that had a white plastic curly tail added. That was the only thing they would hit because I tried other plugs and got nothing. My son Jon and I landed 17 good size schoolies, and we had a load of other hits. It was very good for a late August outing.
Hopefully, this is the start of something big along the oceanfront.  With the Cape Cod Canal cooling off and weak tides coming up there, I plan to focus my attention on the Bay and the RI oceanfront in the coming weeks where I'll be targeting stripers, blues and albies.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Photo of the Day- "High Noon Keeper"

Ben Pickering hoists a high noon keeper that was taken on this bluebird day.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Back to "Little" Rhody

Little Rhody offers fishermen a lot of small schoolies. This
one, landed tonight, was taken on a Rebel Jumpin Minnow.
There has been a real shortage of keepers from shore this
summer here in RI.
After fishing the Cape Cod Canal most of the week, it was back to fishing RI this evening. Fishing both places could not be more different.
The Canal has been like a wonderful dream. It is loaded with big fish, and there are lots of them.  I saw hundreds of fish taken this week and they were just about ALL keepers. These were not small keepers.  The majority of the fish went over 36 inches. In the mix were some real monsters in the 40 lb. plus range, with news of a fifty or two taken just about every day. Most days fish were busting for schools of mackerel under a noon day sun, and there was an army of guys hauling out plugs to them. It's all attracted a load of fishermen with some days seeing hundreds, if not thousands, of fishermen standing shoulder to shoulder for miles. Best day for me this week was 8 keepers up to 30+ pounds.  It was as good as it gets when it comes to catching big fish.
Now, back to reality here in "Little" Rhody. I got out this evening and fished the Bay. There was lots of small bait which looked like both bay anchovies and small peanut bunker.  But, there was little after them.  I did manage to get a couple of schoolies on a Jumpin Minnow right at dark when a few small fish started breaking. Like it's been all summer long, these were small schoolies, maybe 15 inches. I saw no one else fishing, pretty much like it's been all summer long.
Here in RI we have been cursed with an abundance of small schoolies this summer with very few keepers around from shore. In the last two months my biggest striper has been a mere 24 inches from RI waters. I have been fishing both the Bay and the oceanfront.
Hopefully, fall fishing for bigger fish will improve as those migrating Cape Cod Canal fish move southward by our shores.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Pencils Making a Splash

Light or mackerel colored
pencil poppers were scoring
the best.
Here's a real large fish that hit one of my
homemade white colored pencil poppers.
In the last week I spent a good amount of time at the Cape Cod Canal fishing for stripers, and what I saw and caught in the middle of the day was astounding.  There were days I saw hundreds of guys catch hundreds of keeper stripers that ranged from fish in the teens to fish in the forties (pounds not inches). At times the fish were just about everywhere in the Canal. The plug that was scoring the best was a pencil popper.
Pencil poppers are made for Canal fishing.  It is one of the longest casting plugs you can sling when teamed with a long cast reel (I use a Shimano Ultegra 5500) and a 10 or 11 foot rod (I use a 10 1/2 ft. St. Croix Mojo) .  Because of its aerodynamic shape and rear weight, a pencil popper casts like a bullet.  Its slender shape also allows it to move well in strong currents when popped along with short rhythmic pulls of the rod tip.  Since a lot of fish were busting for mackerel way out, the pencil popper was one of the few artificials that could consistently reach those "way out" fish. Even when the fish were breaking in close, the pencil popper still scored well.
It seems that everyone fishing the Canal has their own favorite brand, favorite size and favorite color to use.  I was using my homemade variety in a white color and scored many fish up into the thirties. One characteristic, though, in all those various pencils stood out.  Most sharpies were either using a light colored pencil popper like a white color or a mackerel color.  Some of those mac colors included green macs, blue macs and even a pink version made by Guppy that seemed to score well.
So, if you do head to the Canal in the coming days and weeks to sample the tremendous fishing going on there, make sure to pack some pencil poppers.  They are THE plugs to use when fishing the Canal.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Photos of the Day...."Back in the Groove"

Pencil poppers were the hot number today. It hooked
this 20 lber.

Here's a high noon keeper.  Doesn't get any better than this
in August.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Where are the Bluefish?

While they are not around right now, I am guessing they
are coming soon.
At this point there are few, if any blues, along the RI mainland shore or in Gansett Bay.  I have landed exactly one four pounder in the months of July and August, and I am out just about every day.  Heck, I still have not seen a snapper blue in the Bay, and usually it is loaded with them at this time.
The interesting thing about the lack of bluefish is that there is a lot of bait along the shore to lure them in.  There are loads of adult menhaden in Narragansett Bay and there are increasing numbers of schools of peanut bunker moving along the oceanfront and into the Bay.  I've also seen loads of small bay anchovies around. All of that bait has attracted large numbers of small schoolies to both the Bay and the oceanfront, but the bluefish continue to be a no show.
I'm confident this will all change.  I know there are good reports of blues coming from Block Island, so I'm assuming they are still out in deep, offshore waters.  In recent years the fall has been the time to catch blues here in RI.  In the last couple of years, the blues have arrived on the tails of migrating menhaden as they exit the Bay.  I'm guessing that will happen again this year. So, while there are few around right now, expect to see increasing numbers of them in late August into September.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Albies, Bonito and Fake News

Don't get excited.  This was an albie from last fall.
Though fishermen are already looking, don't expect
the big numbers of albies to appear until September.
Already the hype has started.  In the last few days I have actually seen fishermen "looking" for albies and bonito along the oceanfront. There have also been reports of sightings, reports of fish breaking and even some fishermen saying they have caught some. I say it's as fake as the nightly news from the mainstream media!
Here is the real story on bonito and albies and what to expect in the coming weeks.
Bonito: Yes, they can be caught in August but they are few and far between.  You probably have a better shot at winning the lottery than you have of catching a bonito from shore in early August.  That being said, your chances increase as the month nears its end. In all my years of fishing, I have landed exactly one in August from shore and several from the boat.  Expect to see the first ones around the last week in August or the first week in September.  Even when they do come around, your chances of catching one are slim. They are not around in big numbers.
Albies: In the last fifty years I have caught more of these from shore than anyone, yet I have only landed one in late August.  These are a September fish.  If I were to pick a date in which they make their appearance along RI's oceanfront, it would be in the time period from Sept.10 to Sept. 15. I only know of only one year in the last five decades in which some were landed in late August.
Albies are a strange breed and everyone thinks these fish are a sure bet to hit the shore.  But, if I looked back at my logs over the last 50 years, I can tell you that about a third of the years there were NONE, about a third of those years we had a few for a short period of time, and about a third of those years were good with lots of fish for weeks. Bad weather such as a tropical storm or a hurricane will drive them out in quick time.
We have been spoiled in recent years since four out of the last five years have been very good.  One of those years had none.
So, when you begin to hear reports about these fish showing, consider the sources. Social media is very unreliable, and it is loaded with attention seekers and self proclaimed experts who know very little about fishing.  I will believe these fish are in when I see one or catch one! I expect that will happen in September.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Small Ones Dominate RI Summer Surf

I was out this evening with my son Jon.  We landed over
50 fish on jigs and flukes.  Most went 10-16 inches with one
lone "biggie" going 24 inches. Small ones have been numerous;
keepers have been rare from shore in RI.
Tonight I landed a bunch of schoolies.  The biggest fish went 24 inches, and that is the biggest fish that I have taken in the last month. I've caught hundreds of them in the last four weeks, and 24 inches has been the biggest from from the Ocean State. Welcome to RI shore fishing.
Small schoolies, mostly in the 10-18 inch range, continue to dominate the fishing.  Keepers are rare.  Everyone seems to be complaining about the lack of bigger fish from shore this summer.  In addition, I have spoken to divers, netters and eel fishermen and everyone has the same thing to say.  Keepers have been rare this summer along the RI shore.  They are getting good size fish from the boats at Block Island.  And, there have been some massive blitzes of big fish this summer just to the north at the Cape Cod Canal.  So, good size fish do exist in New England, but they don't seem to be along our shores in any numbers.
Maybe things will improve in the fall,  but I am not expecting it.  Our falls in recent years have been dominated by schoolies, big bluefish and albies and I suspect that same trend will continue starting in mid September.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Bait Changes the Game

The last couple of days have seen loads of
small stripers chasing bait in the Bay.
Up until the last couple of evenings, it had been weeks since I caught a fish in the Bay. Yes, the water was warm but the main culprit was the fact that there was little or no bait around.  That all changed on the weekend as a large influx of small bait (bay anchovies as well as small peanut bunker) moved into the areas I was fishing.  It suddenly lit up the fishing for schoolies and an occasional bluefish. I saw schools of fish breaking in a frenzy as well as individual fish here and there tearing through the bait schools.
The hot lure has been a fluke
body on a quarter ounce
Summer fish are especially fussy when keying on small bait, and these fish were picky.  I had to go down to a quarter ounce jighead with a fluke body to entice the fish to hit. They would not look at a surface lure.
Most of the stripers I have found are small, running 10-20 inches long. Heck, this is what we are seeing along the oceanfront also, and this is what we have been seeing all year from shore. But, grab a light freshwater rod, and it can be exciting.
There has been a lack of bluefish so far, even when there is a lot of bait around. In most years, the big numbers of bluefish seem to arrive in late August and early Sept. The giant alligator blues that were around last year came later in the fall as they were chasing large menhaden that were dropping out of the Bay.  We'll see if that all happens again this year.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Back to Reality

It was ideal conditions yesterday evening along the RI
shoreline, but all I could find was a couple of  schoolies
that I caught on a float and jig.
It was back to reality in the last few days for me. With Canal fishing slowing to a crawl as the week progressed, I decided it was time to get back to the RI surf.  I hadn't fished there in about a week.  What I found was similar to what was there a week ago.  It was a few small, resident stripers.
Yesterday I had ideal conditions. I fished into the northeast wind. The water was rough, but clean as a whistle, perfect by all accounts, and I should have had the fish feeding out of my hand.  But, there was little around.  I saw no bait, a big problem this summer along the oceanfront and in the Bay. I managed to catch two schoolies, each about 16 inches right at dark.  I also had one other hit.
I saw no one else fishing, a telling observation of just how poor things are here in RI from shore.  Heck, even on bad days I see hundreds of fishermen casting away at the Canal.
I'm guessing we are still several weeks to a month away from improved fishing. Hopefully, we will soon get some bay anchovies and peanut bunker moving and that should light up the fishing for stripers, blues and albies.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Mackerel Imitators Scoring Big

The Daiwa SP Minnow in a blue
or green mackerel color is a hot plug
when mackerel come around.
If you fish anywhere from the Cape northward you know the importance of mackerel.  It is THE bait that lures some of the largest stripers found along such places as the Cape Cod Canal, Boston Harbor and the north shore of Boston.  These are all striper hotspots and when the mackerel are around, all hell breaks loose.
I was down the Canal three days this week and two of those days were lights out as far as fishing was concerned.  In both instances I saw large keeper stripers in a frenzy chasing big schools of mackerel that measured six to ten inches long. On the other day, I saw no mackerel, and there were no fish around to speak of.
Jon Pickering holds a good size striper that was caught
this week on a blue mackerel colored Daiwa SP Minnow.
When mackerel are around, plugs that imitate them will score most of the fish.You see a lot of guys at the Canal casting large mackerel colored pencil poppers.  That seems to score when the fish are way out busting on the surface.  My sons and I used Daiwa SP Minnows this week in a blue or green mackerel color to score most of our fish. Of course, when you have huge fish breaking within twenty yards of shore the SP Minnow will get you right into them. I also saw a lot of guys scoring on Sebille Magic Swimmers in a mackerel or white color.  When little is showing the Canal sharpies will often turn to jigging along the bottom with Savage Sandeel jigs in some sort of mackerel color.
And, finally, there's the real thing.  I've seen a lot of guys snagging mackerel, jigging them up or just picking them up frenzied macks driven up on the shore by stripers.  Some of these sharpies will hook them up and fish the real thing.  I've seen some big fish taken this way also.
So, if you head up to waters north of RI, make sure to stock some mackerel imitators. Those will be the prime plugs to score some big stripers if this most sought after bait comes ashore.

Sunday, July 23, 2017


My son Matt and I went off for adventure from shore today, and man, did we find it! We landed some of the biggest stripers we have landed in decades as we managed to bank 12 fish, all of them keepers with the majority of the fish going 40-48 inches.  In fact, the two pictured below were about 4 feet long.  I am estimating these fish were in the 35-40 lb. range, and we had several more in this size range. I might add that all of our fish were released in good shape. Yup, it's all about timing and being in the right spot at the right time in this game. And, we hit it just right today!