Monday, March 16, 2020

Look on the Bright Side, You Can Still Fish!

Here is a holdover striper that I landed just a couple of days
ago.  They are around the backwaters and rivers along the Bay
and oceanfront, but you have to find them.
Holy smokes, what a mess we are in right now. Did you ever think you would see a pandemic in your lifetime? Whether it's fear or panic or a combination of both, all you hear about is the coronavirus, and its disruptions on our daily lives. With just about everything all around us closing down, about the only bright spot is that we can still fish and be safe doing it.
I can tell you that just about no one is fishing right now.  Both freshwater and saltwater fishermen just don't think about fishing at this time of year even though it can be quite productive. And, with few people out and about, social distancing is not much of a problem. For those who may be bored and holed up at home, there are opportunities to get out and fish in saltwater and saltwater. Here is the scoop:
\Large carp are a freshwater option at this
time of year.  I got this one in the morning
the same day I landed the striper (top photo).
Saltwater- There are wintering over stripers to be had in many of the backwaters and river systems in the Bay as well as along the oceanfront. You'll have to do a lot of looking and casting to find these fish. In the last week my son Jon and I have gotten out and caught fish every time out on Zoom flukes mounted on jigheads.  Not many, but enough fish to say we caught.  While all these fish we landed were schoolies, I also know of keepers that have also been landed.  In addition to stripers, white perch also inhabit these same backwaters, particularly brackish rivers.  The perch will hit the same small jigs that the stripers are hitting. If we are lucky, the masses of migrating stripers should arrive early, maybe around April 10-15. It could be even earlier if this weather stays warm.
Freshwater-  All stocked trout waters are off limits to any type of fishing in RI right now until Opening Day, but all other waters are open to fishing.  I know some fishermen are now targeting crappie, white perch and largemouth bass in these spots.  I have been targeting carp and doing fairly well.  I've gotten many fish in the last two weeks up to 10 lbs., decent size for this time of year.  The hot bait has been sweet corn on the hair rig or combo baits.  Carp fishing at this time is best in shallow water spots that warm up quickly on warm, sunny days. Note that if you want to fish freshwater now in RI, you will need a new 2020 freshwater license.