Sunday, July 15, 2018

Grading the First Half of the RI Season

Schoolies have been the highlight of the year
so far; fishing for keeper stripers and bluefish
has been poor
We are about at the halfway point to the fishing season here in RI. Here is my take and the grades as to how things have gone so far here in RI:
Schoolies- Although the season got off to a late start due to a colder than normal spring, once things got started it was generally super fishing for schoolies in the 12 to 24 inch range. I must say they were everywhere.  The oceanfront was very good, the mid Bay was very good and the upper Bay was very good.I'm guessing some of those diehards at the oceanfront were scoring two to three hundred fish a week on jigs in late spring. While this hot weather has slowed the fishing, the schoolies are still in the Bay and along the oceanfront. Grade-A
Keepers- A different story. I saw and caught a few along the oceanfront and a few in the Bay from shore, but their numbers were way down compared to other years.  And, the sizes were way down.  The keepers around here have been running 28 to 32 inches for the most part.  Even when we fished from the boat in the Bay and caught keepers, they were on the small side. While many will try to tell you their numbers are way down, I have seen astronomical numbers of big fish recently from shore just to the north of us.  They are not in RI, but I can tell you they are elsewhere. Grade- D
Bluefish-  Where, oh where, are the blues? They have been going downhill for years and this year we seem to be bottoming out.  I have caught very few so far. I got exactly one from the boat and a few from shore so far.  In the last couple of weeks, there have been some smaller ones (foot long) in the Bay chasing peanut bunker, but there are no schools of them. Remember the days in which the water in the Bay would be boiling with schools of blues in late summer? I don't know if you will ever see that again. Grade - D 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Photo of the Day....First 30 lber. of the Year

Persistence pay off in this game.  I've got the Boga Grip in the jaw of a thirty
 pound (yes, it was weighed) keeper that I landed this morning from shore. It's the
first 30 of the year for me. Bigger fish are showing here and there, but you
will have to work for them.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Photo of the Day....OMG, it's a BLUEFISH

Yes, bluefish still exist, although very few fishermen seem
to be catching them these days.  I got several of them tonight in
the Bay as they were feasting on big schools of peanut bunker.
These were small ones all about a foot long.
My best lure tonight was a bucktail jig with a curly tail.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Laying Low this Holiday Week

I wish I had a lot of exciting fishing news, but I don't. It's hot, steamy and super crowded along the water.  That has caused me to lay low in the last couple of days.  Oh, I am still fishing, poking around the Bay in the evening and carp fishing in the morning.
I hear a lot of striper guys complaining about the lack of bigger fish here in RI from shore.  I have to hasn't been good for the bigger ones.  I am still catching some schoolies in the Bay, but their numbers have gone downhill with this heat wave. It's been a couple here and there on Jumpin Minnows right before dark for me. I'm in touch with a lot of other good fishermen here in RI and they, too, are reporting schoolies along the oceanfront.
I checked a NOAA site today and water temperatures in the Bay have shot up to the upper 70's in the last couple of days.  Even the water off Newport was 70 degrees today. With the heat wave continuing and much of July forecast to be way above normal, it can only mean marginal fishing from shore in the coming weeks. Your best times to fish under these warm conditions will be nighttime and early morning.
The dog days of summer have arrived.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Photo of the Day....Keeper on a Jumpin Minnow

Mike Pickering hoists a keeper that hit a Rebel Jumpin
Minnow that was fished in shallow water.  This is one of
30 stripers we landed today on surface plugs. The fish went
20 to 30 inches.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

They Still Hit Bucktail Jigs

Here's a Boston Harbor schoolie that fell for
a homemade flathead bucktail jig, a hot
number all week in this area.
I found a lot of fish, mostly schoolies,  this week in Boston Harbor.   I was getting them from both shore and boat. The interesting thing about these fish was that they were really keying on bucktail jigs spiced with a curly tail.  Yes, bucktail jigs still work, though few are using them these days.
In recent years, plastics on jigheads have put bucktail jigs on the back burner. The convenience of plastics have a lot of fishermen sold on them.  But when the bait is small and you are looking for a durable offering with action plus, nothing can beat that bucktail jig. Over the years I have caught black sea bass, albies bluefish, stripers of all sizes, fluke, scup, pollack and sea robins on bucktail jigs.  Just about any fish in the ocean that hits an artificial will hit buckail jigs. That's why it has been dubbed "the most versatile lure in saltwater" in countless publications.
I cast and tie all my own bucktail jigs.  I especially like the "lima bean" or flathead shape.  I only use white heads on my jigs and I generally tie on sparse amounts of white bucktail with red thread. I also like to add a Bass Pro, 3-inch triple ripple plastic tail to my jig to give it added action. That combo has been the winner for me in recent years. In Boston Harbor this week, the half ounce flathead fished on light tackle was taking the fish.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Small Stripers All Over; Big Ones Scarce

Ben Pickering holds a Boston Harbor schoolie.
There are loads of schoolies around but few
large fish, especially for shore fishermen.
I've been all over the place in the last three weeks.  I've fished the RI South Shore, Narragansett Bay, Buzzards Bay, the Cape Cod Canal and Boston Harbor.  I've fished from the boat and shore. I can tell you that there are small stripers all over the place.  These are schoolies that range from 12 to 24 inches for the most part. And, there are lots of them.
Keepers are different story.  There are some smaller keepers around in the 28 to 32 inch range, but there are no big numbers of those. The larger stripers, say over 36 inches, are scarce with very few around, especially from shore.
I got down to the Canal last week. It was loaded with fishermen the day I went. Many are hoping for a repeat performance of last year's epic fishing. I pedaled my bike up and down the canal and fished in multiple spots.  Of the hundreds of guys I saw fishing, I saw exactly five fish caught and these were smaller keepers in the 28 to 32 inch range. Many fishermen are saying everything is two weeks behind due to the cold spring weather. These same guys say the bigger fish are coming. I hope they are right.
Last night I joined two of my sons in Boston Harbor for an evening of fishing from shore.  In past years this was a hotspot for larger fish at this time. It was rare for us to fish there and not catch a keeper or two. But, same deal as everywhere else.....lots of schoolies, no keepers. My son Matt has also been fishing a lot from his boat. He's getting loads of schoolies with an occasional small keeper, but no large fish.
So, we are in this schoolie pattern right now with few large stripers around. It seems to be the same all over southern New England. With the weather taking a turn to warmer, maybe that will deliver some larger fish. We'll see.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Always a Good Day in Buzzards Bay

We fished from the boat yesterday in Buzzards Bay.  As we were catching fish after fish, my brother Steve remarked, "You know we have NEVER had a bad day in Buzzards Bay."  Sure enough, this is the closest thing to a sure bet in fishing, especially in late spring and early summer. Yesterday we landed huge numbers of keeper black sea bass and loads of stripers along with some scup and a bluefish.  Yes, this place is also known for variety.
How's this for a couple of biggies. Most of the
black sea bass here are keepers with some
huge ones in the mix.
Buzzards Bay offers about the best springtime black sea bass fishing that I have ever seen.  The fish are numerous and they are very large. We jigged both bucktail jigs (spiced with curly tails) and Kastmaster XL's in 25 to 40 feet of water to land close to a hundred fish, most of which were keepers.  We let everything go except for two huge ones. Note that the sea bass in this place have some of the most vibrant colors on them I have ever seen.
Buzzards Bay is also
loaded with schoolies.  This
one hit a Jumpin Minnow.
When we got sick of catching the sea bass, we set our sights on stripers. This place is also loaded with stripers.  We used our shallow water techniques from 'Gansett Bay to catch loads of schoolies. Buzzards Bay is covered with "fishy" shore spots.  I'm talking rocky points, flats with moving water, outflows and little estuaries. While we found no fish breaking, we found loads of stripers in many of these spots in shallow water that was generally 4 to 8 feet deep. We landed over 100 schoolies on lures such as Zoom flukes on jigheads, weightless Finesse Fish and Rebel Jumpin' Minnows.
It was yet another memorable day in this place.  We've had a lot of these types of days through the years.

The colors on black sea bass in this place are the most vibrant I have ever seen.
This huge one was simply GORGEOUS!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Photo of the Day.....Keeper from the Bay

Jon Pickering hoists a keeper that was landed in the Bay.  They are around but
you will have to look to find them.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Schoolies Abundant; Keepers Few and Far Between; Change in Scenery on the Way

Schoolies have been abundant in the Bay.
This was one of 18 fish landed tonight on
Zoom flukes.
This year's fishing scene in RI is unfolding very similar to last year.  We have an abundance of schoolies around. The Bay, where I have been fishing in the last few weeks, is loaded.  I've fished mid Bay and upper Bay and it doesn't seem to matter.  The schoolies are just about everywhere.  In the last five evenings I have fished from shore in different places and have landed from 3 to 18 fish a night. Keepers, however, are a different story.  I haven't landed one in two weeks now. I've seen a few landed from shore. The keepers tend to be small in the 28 to 32 inch range.
My plans for the upcoming week involve a change in scenery.  With the new moon tides on the way I think there are some opportunities for bigger fish.  Let's just say the bike is ready, the plug bag with bigger plugs is ready, the heavy gear is ready, and for the first time this year, I will be driving north rather than south. Let's hope things play out like last year!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Top Plastics for the Bay

Here are your top plastics for fishing the Bay
in shallow water for stripers of all sizes.
I continue to catch good numbers of stripers from shore and boat in the Bay. All my fish in the last couple of weeks have fallen for plastics.  I believe these are your top artificials if you are fishing shallow water for stripers in Narragansett Bay.
Here are the top bets:
1. Zoom fluke on a jighead- Use a light colored fluke body and the smallest jighead that you can cast.  I will use head sizes that vary from 1/4 to 1/2 ounce.  My favorite colored fluke body is an albino color.
2. 7 1/2 inch Slug-Go- I like this in a white color whether I am fishing at night or in the daytime. Cast out and twitch the rod tip with a slow retrieve to make the lure dance back and forth on top of the water or just below the surface.  Stop reeling every once in a while. I have a lot of hits on the stop.
Sometimes that Finesse Fish
will outperform all other
lures. Here is a keeper that
fell for it.
3. 5 inch Finesse Fish on a worm hook- I also like this in white.  Work it similar to the Slug-Go. Sometimes this will outperform the other two lures.

Note that all of the above lures work great on stripers. The problem comes in where blues are around as they were last night for me. I started with a Slug-Go and that got cut off after about 15 minutes. When that happens, ditch the plastic and go with a hard lure. I went with a bone colored Jumpin' Minnow and had my first blue of the year onto the shore in a short amount of time.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Best Night of the YEAR!

I knew things were going to be hot tonight as my son and I walked toward the water.  There were silversides just washing up on shore and others jumping further out to escape the stripers that were after them. It took just one cast and before I could even crank the reel, I was onto a fish.  The night continued like this for two and a half  hours as we had a fish or a hit on just about every single cast.
The hot ticket tonight was, once again, an albino Zoom fluke mounted onto a half ounce jighead (see photo at left).  That Zoom fluke is a dead ringer for silversides, and it was the ticket to catching loads of fish tonight. When the action subsided after dark, we had landed well over 100 fish.  Though most of them were schoolies of all sizes, my son Jon did manage to land one keeper (see photo at right) at dark.
The last 4 days/nights of fishing have been lights out for me as this has been the best stretch of the year so far.With no real hot weather in sight, the action should continue.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Photos of the Day....Hot Fishing from the Boat!

Steve Pickering plugged up this 32 inch striper (measured) in shallow water. It was the
biggest of dozens landed today. The fishing was hot on this Memorial Day.

I finally landed my first blue of the year, It, too, was plugged up in very
shallow water in 'Gansett Bay.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Hot Night in the Bay

Here is one of the larger schoolies that
was caught right at dark.  Fishing was hot
tonight in the Bay from shore.
It was more than the weather that was hot today.  I had myself the hottest night of the spring tonight in the Bay from shore.
Just yesterday I had written about how the fishing had been marginal in the past couple of weeks.  Well, things changed in a big way tonight for me as everything seemed to come together.  A change in weather was on the way ( a good indicator of good fishing), there was a load of bait in front of me (with fish breaking for them), and the stripers were aggressively on the rampage. I landed well over 30 fish in a two hour stint.  The fishing was especially hot right at dark with a fish or a hit on just about every cast of my Zoom fluke on a half ounce jighead.
Just what I had been seeing in the past couple of weeks, most of these fish were schoolies in the 12-20 inch range with a few larger ones in the mix. I had one fish that was  a near keeper.
So, you never know when luck will come your way.  It's a matter of getting out and fishing and sometimes, big things happen. Like tonight!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Holiday Weekend Outlook....You'll Have to Work to Catch 'Em

Jon Pickering holds a nice fish that was landed in the last week
in the Bay. There are less fish around but the sizes are better,

We have quickly moved into a summer fishing pattern here in RI.  The huge masses of migrating fish that we saw two or three weeks ago have moved on. The fishing scene from shore has become a fish here and there that you have to really work for. From the  boat, the numbers are less, though sometimes you are running into schools on top where there is bait. The shallows are also producing scattered fish that are sometimes fussy on the take.
I have gotten out just about every evening/ night in the last week.  I have been mostly fishing in the Bay. The numbers of fish I am catching in the last week have really dropped off. While I had no blanks, I am now catching 1-6 fish an outing using plastics.  It seems to me like the sizes have gotten better, but there are less of them.  I had no keepers in the last week, but I know many who have caught them.  The keepers in the Bay are generally running small, 28-30 inches. 
Judging by past years, the Bay should be crawling with larger fish by now.  It's not. My brother and I have been in the boat a couple of times in the last week, and we found scattered small schools of menhaden with nothing under them. Are the bigger fish (over 36 inches) just late in arriving or are they not coming? When you hear of bigger fish to the north in the Canal, it makes one wonder if it will happen here ....
I have also noticed in the last week that the fish are now hitting more and more after dark. Yes, that is another characteristic of summer fishing.
Finally, I have not gotten a bluefish yet.  I had one on  and had a chopped Slug-go last night, but no blues to the shore.  There is a lack of bait in the Bay and I think that is contributing to the lack of blues at this point.
So, as we head into the holiday weekend, the outlook is that there are still fish around, but if you want to catch them, you will have to work hard to find and catch them.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Fork Tailed Plastics Scoring in Bay

Fin-S fish on a worm hook
with no weight
Zoom fluke on a half
ounce jighead.
I am now fishing exclusively in the Bay.  It is far closer for me, and I believe it is more productive than the oceanfront right now. I have scored big numbers of fish in the last five days from schoolie up to small keepers.  Just about all of those fish which were taken from boat and from shore were caught on fork tailed plastic lures.
I've written many times about how the fan tailed Cocahoe Minnow is the top producer for spring stripers along the oceanfront.  While it works on occasion in the Bay, a fork tailed plastic lure like a Fin-S fish or a Zoom Fluke is a far better choice. While most fishermen know about these lures, few know the many ways to fish them.  I have caught fish this past week using all three methods described below.
Here are the three ways I fish these fork tailed lures:
1. On a jighead- This is how most fishermen use them.  Simply thread the plastic body like a Zoom fluke onto a lightweight (say half ounce) jighead and you are ready to go.  I like to reel in slowly and jerk the rod tip to get the lure to bounce along.  Most of my hits come as the jig is falling back down. My favorite fork tailed lure in this situation is a Zoom fluke in an albino color.
2.  Off a float-Take the same fork tailed lure described above and run it off a wooden egg float via about two to three feet of mono.  This works well when a long cast is needed or when you are casting into the wind. Just reel it in slowly and let the wave action move the lure.
3. On a worm hook with NO weight- This is one of our top ways to catch finicky fish.  In this case we tend to use a larger fork tailed plastic lure like a 5 inch Fin-S fish. Hook it onto one of those curvy wide gap hooks. Cast it and reel slowly with occasional twitches of the rod tip to make the lure dart and swim. If fish are whirling or following, stop reeling. The fish will often take it when it goes motionless.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

First Outing in Boat; First Keepers from the Boat; First Big Blue

First big blue of the year for
 us comes from the Bay.
We had several keeper bass
today plugging plastics
on top in shallow water.
It was a day of firsts for us today.  We took the boat out for the first time this year in the Bay where  we found lots of fish.  We found many, many schoolies, some keeper stripers and a lone big blue.
There seemed to be  loads of fish around today just sitting in shallow water in various locations.  I'm talking water less than 8 feet deep. There were areas where we found keeper bass in the shallows and other areas where loads of schoolies were hanging out. And, that big blue....we caught him in about 4 feet of water.
The fish in those shallow areas of the Bay were mighty fussy as they sometimes are at this time of year.  We had loads of whirls and probably landed one fish for every ten hits. The only thing working was twitching a large Finesse Fish on the surface (rigged with just a hook). Even then, we would have many hits, whirls and follows without actual takes.  The fish were numerous but just not aggressive.  We also saw no bait.
So, the Bay is heating up, and we are in a period of spring fishing here in RI in which the fishing is productive along the oceanfront as well as in the Bay. It's a toss-up as to which area is better right now.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Photo of the Day...."After Dark Action Starting!"

This is one of many fish landed tonight after dark. Tonight
is the first night I was able to land good numbers of them at and
after dark. Many of tonight's fish were also decent size.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Daiwa BG......Best Reel for the Price

The Daiwa BG 4000, a great reel at a great price.
I'm convinced.  The Daiwa BG is one heck of a reel for about $100 bucks (depending on the size). After using it for the last month, I am sold on this reel.  It will match up to anything that costs two, three or even four times as much.
 After reading a bunch of reviews that gave this reel a stellar rating, I had to get one.  In addition, I saw them at one of the booths at a winter show.  It was the booth from Red Top Bait and Tackle.  This place does a big business in fishing stuff at the Canal and these guys told me this was, by far, their best selling reel. In addition, I read the great review that Alan Hawk gave this reel.  You can find it here. This guy is well known for his extensive reel reviews, and he rates this reel as one of the best buys on the market. Most fishing online stores rate this a five out of five star rating and I would have to agree.
I have the BG 4000.  This reel is built like a tank, but it is super smooth on the retrieve.  The drag is also smooth as silk.  I love the line lay on the reel.  Because it goes on so evenly, I can report not one wind knot in dozens of times using the reel with 30 lb. test braided line. I'm using this smaller saltwater reel with an 8 ft. Mojo St. Croix rod, a great combination for spring schoolies.
So, if you are  in the market for a new reel, think about this one.  It is by far the best I have bought in a reel that costs around $100.
Highly recommended!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Best Outing of the Year; First 30 inch Fish

We landed tons of fish tonight in
this best outing of the spring thus far.  This
was one of the bigger ones.
The oceanfront was red hot this evening. It had perfect conditions with lots of white water, some roughness, a stiff wind and moving water. Those conditions brought a ton of fish to the beachfront where my son Ben and I were fishing.  Together we had a load of fish, all taken on Cocahoe minnows fished off a 3/4 oz. jighead. At times it was a fish or a hit every single cast. These fish were all sizes tonight as we had some little ones up to one keeper fish that went 30 inches (yes, it was measured). The average schoolie seemed to be about 20 inches.
I fished every evening in the past week in both the Bay and the oceanfront, and I can tell you the oceanfront fishing is far hotter and more consistent than the fishing in the Bay.  That could change in the coming days and weeks, but so long as the water and the weather remain cool, the oceanfront should continue to really produce.
The spring run of stripers is peaking right now with a good mix of schoolies and small keepers around. It's as good as it gets at this time of year.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Rough and Clean Water Deliver

Jon Pickering holds a decent one that was
landed yesterday in some rough water along
the oceanfront.
For the last two days I have been fishing the oceanfront.  One look at the water yesterday told me the fishing would be good.  The water was rough, clean and moving.  These are ideal conditions in which to catch spring stripers. Today I had the same conditions.  Both yesterday and today turned out to be banner days for me.  Both days I landed over 20 stripers with many good size ones. All the action was on a Cocahoe minnow on a 3/4 oz. jighead.
Today's fish were smaller
but feisty in the rough
water. The Cocahoe Minnow
landed all the fish.
Strange thing about the size of the fish.  Yesterday I had a lot of good size ones with most running 20 to 28 inches. My son Jon (who fished with me yesterday) and I had several small keepers in the bunch.  Today it was different fish as the fish were considerably smaller with most running 12 to 20 inches.  Today's highlight was a tagged 20 inch fish from the American Littoral Society.
So, fishing continues to be good along the oceanfront in the rough water. I'm guessing it will remain good as the temperatures stay around normal this week.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Fish Spreading Out in the Bay

The Zoom fluke mounted on a
small jighead and fished off a float was the
hot lure combo today in the Bay.
I usually start fishing the Bay about a week after I start catching stripers along the oceanfront.  It's been about a week since the action lit up along the oceanfront so today I focused my attention on the Bay, hitting a few of my early season spots.  I did manage to catch a couple of schoolies on Zoom flukes fished off the float. So, I can report with certainty that there are some stripers in the Bay. I sense it is just starting as the first ones have begun to filter into the Bay. Expect the action in the coming days and weeks to pick up significantly as the Bay usually offers hot fishing from about this time into early summer.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Sea Lice

Schoolie fishing was hot
and heavy again tonight. All
the fish were loaded with
sea lice.

Many experienced fishermen will tell you that migrating stripers pick up this sea lice from the bottom way out in deep water.  These orange/brown creatures that look a lot like tiny shrimp cling to the stripers' bodies as they migrate toward the shore.  It's a phenomenon we see a lot with migrating stripers along the oceanfront in the springtime.
Sea lice covered all the schoolies that I landed tonight.  It's an
indication that these are all fresh, migrating fish.
Several weeks ago I was catching a lot of holdovers in the backwaters.  Not one of them had sea lice on them, an idication that they were holdovers. Today's fish, all fresh migrating fish, were loaded with the lice.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Photo of the Day- "First Oceanfront Keeper"

A keeper comes ashore in the suds of the RI oceanfront.
This 28 inch fish was one of many in the 20-28 inch range
that I landed today. The Cocahoe was the hot lure.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Off and Running

This is one of 16 schoolies that I landed this evening.
Suddenly, loads of fish have moved along the RI oceanfront.
Things have improved greatly along the oceanfront.  The spring run of stripers is finally in full swing going from a trickle last week to a torrent of fish this week.
I saw loads of them caught today in multiple spots. What impressed me was the size.  I had two fish that were near keepers and loads of others that I would describe as good size schoolies in the 20-24 inch range. I saw about a hundred fish landed today in these size ranges.  One guy told me he saw a 29 inch fish landed yesterday.  And, get this.  There were a couple of guys who had a Cocahoe cut in half tonight. Yes, I suspect there are some early blues in the mix.  With super warm weather on the way, I predict I will see a blue or two taken in the next couple of days.
So, it's finally here and with favorable weather coming, it looks like a big week of fishing is on the way along the RI oceanfront. IT HAS BEGUN!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Photo of the Day....First Oceanfront Fish

Here is my first striper of the year from the RI oceanfront.
There is a trickle of fish moving along the shore right now.
If you are lucky, you might get a fish or two. Hopefully,
the action will explode with the warm weather that is on the way.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Oceanfront Poor; Holdovers Hit-or-Miss; First Keeper Comes from the Bay

So, here's the REAL fishing report:
The first keeper of the year for me comes
from the Bay. Was it a holdover or a new fish?
Oceanfront Poor- I fished a couple of times this week and have yet to catch a fish from the oceanfront.  But, I did see one small striper caught in a spot in which there must have been at least two dozen guys coming and going. The word from those fishing every day is that about a half dozen fish were caught in the last week by loads of fishermen trying. So, one can conclude it is not happening yet.
Hit-or-Miss on the Holdover Fishing-  I was doing well with holdovers from the backwaters last week, but the last couple of days have been so-so.  I landed 4 last night and got 8 tonight. They were all small, 12- 15 inch fish.  Other fishermen have not been so lucky.  Holdovers tend to move around a lot, even leave their winter holding spots about this time of year, so the fishing can get inconsistent.
First Keeper from the Bay- I landed my first keeper from the Bay today and it was a small keeper of about 28 inches.  It was a shock because I got this fish in an area where you wouldn't find holdovers. Maybe it was a holdover roaming around the Bay; maybe it was a fresh fish.  I makes me wonder if there are migrating fish moving into the warmer, more hospitable waters of the Bay and by-passing the cold waters of the oceanfront.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Photo of the Day....Battle in the Backwater

A hard fighting holdover tears it up on the surface!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Holdovers....Only Show in Town

This is one of ten holdovers that I landed in a backwater
location this evening.  I could find no fish along the oceanfront
today.  Just too cold.
Rumors are swirling about some fish being caught along the oceanfront, but I haven't found any yet.  I went down today and fished a number of places along the south shore oceanfront.  I never had a hit, and never saw another fisherman. That kind of tells you that not much is going on.
The only action I was able to find was in a backwater location towards dark where I landed a number of holdover stripers.  These were all schoolies which hit a zoom fluke mounted on a jighead. The holdover game seems to be the only show in town right now.
With more favorable weather coming this weekend into next week, that might just get things going. Let's hope so!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018


Here's a holdover that was landed a few days
ago.  Migrating fish have been
delayed due to the cold weather
Temperatures way below normal, cold water, unfavorable winds. It all contributes to a big delay in the arrival of migrating stripers to our shores. Contrary to some of the fake news fishing reports I've been reading, the fish are not in yet. I have tried several times, and I know some real good fishermen who have tried and all have nothing to report on the oceanfront fishing.  With water temperatures (Newport) at 42 degrees this morning, most will tell you that is too cold for stripers along the oceanfront. The good news is that a warm-up is coming.  Starting this weekend and into next week, we should see temperatures in the 60's and that should get the season going.
I have been fishing some backwaters for holdover fish, but that has not been too productive either.  I seem to be able to nail a couple of fish an evening, but this weather has even the holdovers in a holding pattern.
We have been lucky in recent years to get the start of striper fishing off to an early start. However, if you look back on the history of striper fishing here in RI, it was not unusual to catch the first arrivals during the last week in April. It looks like it will be one of those late years.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

First Ones Likely Holdovers

I landed my first stripers of the year today.  In all likelihood, they were holdovers because of where they were caught. I've heard nothing about any fish along the oceanfront where the migrating stripers should first appear.
I landed seven fish this evening.  These were all schoolies in the 12 to 18 inch range, typical of holdovers found in this location. The hot lure was an albino Zoom fluke mounted on a 3/8 oz. jighead. Best time was right before dark.
Within a week, I would guess that the fishing will break wide open.
First striper of the year for me!

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Close, but No Cigar

No stripers landed today but did manage to get this
white perch in a backwater location.
I made my first run of the year down to the RI south shore today.  I had planned to hit a number of backwater locations where I was catching holdover stripers last year and the year before.  It was a different story today as I came close, but no stripers landed.
I did, however, manage to land one white perch on a Zoom fluke fished on a jighead (see photo at right) that was caught right at dark. In many of the saltwater backwaters where freshwater enters through a brook or river, white perch can be found so this one came as no surprise.  I also had a striper on but lost it at my feet. Word is that there are some holdovers around, but you will really have to look to find them.
The cold weather has really taken a toll on the fishing so far. With little warmth in sight, expect everything to be late this spring.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Coming Attractions

It's coming as the migrating stripers should
arrive about the middle of the month.
As I write this, it is 32 degrees outside and snowing. It has been that kind of late winter and early spring. However, rest assured the stripers are coming.  April is THE month it will happen.
Right now the water is a cool 40 degrees off Newport.  Everyone I know who lives along the water tells me the water temperatures are below normal for this time of year. Of course, that can all change quickly in the coming weeks as surface water temperature in shallow areas can rise and fall real fast with the weather. This cooler weather and cooler water point to a later than expected start.
So, here are a few tidbits to keep in mind in the next couple of weeks as you get ready for the first of the migrating stripers:
*Expect the first ones to arrive along the RI South Shore Beachfront around April 15, give or take a week. I tend to believe in might happen a bit later this year but who knows if the weather suddenly warms up.
*The fish should appear in the Bay about a week after they hit the south shore. I usually get my first ones in the Bay around the last week in April.
*Expect a huge glut of schoolies in the early going. The population right now is overloaded with schoolies from 12-24 inches and we should see a load of them in April.
*No need to get complicated with the lures.  Light tackle will rule the early going. Cocahoe minnows on jigheads will be the killer along the oceanfront.  Zoom flukes on jigheads will rule the Bay. Small bucktail jigs spiced with curly tails are good second choices in the Bay and oceanfront.
*Warm days will be best. Nothing like warming weather and a southwest wind to deliver a blitz of spring schoolies. Afternoons and evenings will produce far better than cold mornings. Nothing doing at night until the water warms up.
*The first keepers will be taken around May1 or about two weeks after the schoolies arrive. Once the keepers arrive, expect the nighttime fishing to pick up.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Still Fishing but Not for Stripers

Yes, I am still skiing. And yes, I am still fishing. But not for stripers.
This warm weather of the last three weeks has wreaked havoc on the slopes, but it has set off some of the best freshwater carp fishing I have ever experienced at this time of year.  As most of you know, I fish for these freshwater monsters a lot, though not as much as stripers. With holdover striper fishing in a big time decline in recent years in the upper Bay here in RI, I have turned to carp in the wintertime.  I caught a few in January, a lot in February and terrific numbers for the start of March (see photos of recent fish).  During this winter storm Riley of the last few days, the carp fishing has been lights out. Carp, like stripers, love to go on a feeding rampage in lousy weather. Don't most wild fish?
So, carp fishing has really filled a fishing void for me while I await the arrival of the first stripers. It won't be long.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Some Take-Aways from the Seminars

For many fishermen such as this happy angler,
the hightlight of the year was false albacore,
or albies. Most can't wait until they arrive
in September!
I've been running all around southern New England doing striper fishing seminars this winter.  I've spoken with a lot of fishermen who fish southern New England waters, and they have a lot to say.  Here is what they all generally think is going on:
1.  Where were the bluefish? Wow, there is widespead agreement and disappointment that this was a very poor fall for bluefish.  Up and down the southern New England coastline they were not in any abundance anywhere. And, do we even hear a peep from our fisheries managers?
2. Loads of schoolies but where were the keepers? Everyone agrees that we had a banner year for schoolies, and everyone thinks that the future of striper fishing looks good.  However, lots of shore fishermen are moaning and groaning about the lack of keepers around. The guys in the know are still catching some keepers but the general feeling is that the numbers are down. The only ones who are happy about this past season's keeper numbers seem to be those fishing the Cape Cod Canal.  And, most of those guys were complaining about the crowds there! Social media has a way of sending loads of fishermen to places that are hot these days.
3. Albies are hot. Everyone seems to have albie fever and most can't wait until these gamesters hit the shore in September. I think the recent string of great albie years is due to warming waters and global warming in general, and I see no reason to think 2018 won't be another banner year.
4.  When will the striper season begin? That's the number one question at all my seminars.  How about April 15 along the south shore oceanfront of RI!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Next Stop....Springfield Sportsmens Show

My next stop on the seminar schedule will be the Springfield Sportsmens Show at the Big E in Springfield, MA, on Saturday, Feb. 24. I will be doing two seminars that day.  At 11:00 AM, I will be running my carp fishing seminar which is called Strategies for Carp Fishing in Lakes and Rivers.  At 2:00 PM, I will be running my Striper Trends seminar.  Both will take place in Seminar Room B.
The Springfield Sportsmens Show is a massive event housed in two buildings.  The show focuses on anything outdoor related with hunting and fishing front and center.  There are loads of hunting and fishing booths, some great sales and a lot of factory reps and guides to answer any of your questions.  The show also features a full seminar schedule.
For more information check out their website here:
Hope to see some of you at the show.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Change in Schedule....Striper Seminar TOMORROW at NE Fishing and Outdoor Expo

My schedule has changed for tomorrow at the NE Fishing and Outdoor Expo in Boxboro, MA.  I will be doing my "Striper Trends" seminar at 11 AM tomorrow. Loads of guys attended my carp fishing seminar today as there were big numbers of people at this show.  I suspect the attendance will  be very good again tomorrow.
Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

New England Fishing and Outdoor Expo Opens this Friday!

The New England Fishing and Outdoor Expo opens this Friday, Jan. 26 at the Boxboro Regency in Boxboro, MA.  It is one of the best outdoor shows in New England with loads of fishing booths, free parking, easy access off Rt. 495 and one of the best seminar line-ups I have ever seen. I will be at the show on Saturday (Jan. 27) and Sunday (Jan. 28) doing carp fishing seminars at 11:00 AM each morning. I’ll also be at the show walking around and talking to people. For more information and the seminar schedule, go to this LINK.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Take a Look at THIS

It's not fishing related but it is spectacular if you like to see interesting photos.
My son Matt, who you have seen many times fishing with me on this blog, along with his wife Kristy are in Iceland right now on a vacation.  These two travel all over the US and the world exploring interesting places. Matt wanted to get a photo of the northern lights, and get a photo he did.  Check this out....
He also got other spectacular shots of glaciers, waterfalls and other scenery. Looks like quite the place! If you would like to see other great photos, check out his Instagram at Travel the East.

Monday, January 1, 2018

First of the Big Shows....NE Fishing and Outdoor Expo

The new year starts the season of fishing shows for me. I've got a number of them booked in the next two months at both fishing clubs and big outdoor shows.  This year I will be running two new seminars. My saltwater seminar is called "Striper Trends". This show looks at the changing world of striper fishing here in southern New England. With the warming waters, the migrations have changed, the bait populations are moving and changing and the big bass haunts are changing.  This show will look at how fishermen can change with the times to be successful at this game.  My freshwater show is called "Carp Fishing Strategies for River and Lakes".  This show deals with strategies to successfully fish moving and still waters for some of the biggest freshwater fish imaginable right here in southern New England.
My first appearance at a big outdoor show will be the New England Fishing and Outdoor Expo at Boxborough, MA right off Rt. 495.  I will be there on both Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 27 and Jan. 28.  The times of those seminars are not set yet, so keep checking their website. This show has evolved over the years into a quality fishing show that focuses on freshwater fishing as well as saltwater fishing.  The show is loaded with loads of fishing vendors, top notch speakers, demonstrations and seminars. Attendance at this show has really increased in recent years due to its increasing popularity, quality attractions and free parking. I will be doing both my striper fishing seminar as well as the carp fishing seminar at this show. Hope to see you there!