Friday, April 24, 2020

April Trends Encouraging

Here is a near keeper taken a couple of nights
ago on a Zoom fluke on a half ounce jihead.
Jigs are great choices for those practicing catch
and release fishing.
This has been one of the best Aprils I've seen for striper fishing here in RI. The fish arrived two weeks ahead of schedule, and they have been plentiful in both the Bay and along the oceanfront. While early fishing in past years tended to be a lot of real tiny "micro" fish, this year's early migrating fish have been very good size, some of the best I have ever seen in April.
Remember that last year we saw massive numbers of schoolies in the 18 to 24 inch range along the RI coastline in the fall. I saw some of the biggest blitzes ever, and most of the fish seemed to be cookie cutter 22 inch schoolies. If you subscribe to the theory that schoolies grow about 4 inches a year, that would mean that we should see big numbers  of  22 to 28 inch fish.  And, we have!
I was out the other night in a spot from shore. I landed 14 fish.  Most were schoolies over 20 inches. A couple were close to 28 inches.  At the same time, my son was fishing in the kayak in another location.  He had over 40 fish with most of the fish going 22 to 28 inches, just the size I figured would be around in abundance.  Of that mix of fish, he had at least a couple of small keepers.
While most of the fish are larger schoolies so far, only a small percentage reach that 28 inch keeper size. I think that trend will continue into May and early summer. We'll probably see some bigger fish caught in the usual big fish hotspots like the Canal and Block Island towards mid June, but don't expect to find many of those over 30  inch fish anywhere else. They are just not abundant (another trend that should continue from year).
On another note, access continues to be a headache with so many closed parking areas along the Bay and along the oceanfront. That has put a lot of fishermen in some of the few spots that are open. For the life of me, I don't get this closing of oceanfront parking areas in April when no one is using them except a few fishermen and a few walkers.  State and local officials will tell you they are trying to protect everyone and it sounds good. However, I was out on one of the local bike paths riding my bike on Sunday. Yes, bike paths have remained open.  There were HUNDREDS of people walking, riding bikes and walking dogs in the hour I was there.  Most were observing social distancing, but I also saw big groups of people bunched up.  Few were wearing masks. We pick and choose what we want to close in the state with no consistency, and some of it just
makes no sense.