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