Friday, May 14, 2021

As Mays go, A Disappointment

 

For me, the bright spot has been 
kayak fishing in May.  Shore fishing
has been below expectations for May.

May is supposed to be the big spring month of striped bass fishing here in RI.  It has not been so far.

April started off gang busters with massive numbers of smaller stripers (10 to 18 inches) around.  Everyone expected the bigger fish to follow in May as they always have.  It has not happened. We all expected to huge numbers of fall schoolies in the 20 to 26 inch range to return as hefty schoolies and slot limit keepers in May. Hasn't happened yet.

I thank my lucky stars for that pedal kayak I bought.  That has been the bright spot for me with big numbers of schoolies and occasional larger schoolies and even slots.  But, I am getting them all in one general area. Shore fishing has been a struggle.  In the last couple of weeks, my best night was 5 schoolies. There have also been several nights with one lone fish. I've been mostly fishing the Bay.

I'm not buying the cold water theories for the lack of better fish. This week saw good numbers of bluefish along the oceanfront.  If blues are around, the water can't be that cold!

Monday, May 10, 2021

Photo of the Day....."First Keeper from the Yak"

 

Got the first keeper from my Old Town Sportsman PDL kayak
tonight.  It was a mix of lots of smaller ones, some mid size fish and
a couple of keepers!

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Finesse Game from the Kayak

 

The white Finesse Fish fished
weightless did the trick today
on some fussy schoolies.

I went out this afternoon and evening in my Old Town Pedal kayak and found a pile of fish.  But, finding is one thing, catching is another. I started off my outing casting the Rebel Jumpin' Minnow, a hot plug in the early going in the past.  I had follow after follow and whirl after whirl but no takers.  The dead calm conditions did not help. So, I went to my bag of finesse tricks. In the past we have done really well from the boat and kayak with fussy fish using a large Zoom fluke or Lunker City Finesse Fish. I put on a white Finesse Fish on a swimbait hook (note, no weight).  This weightless offering swims in a darting, natural motion with subtle pulls of the rod tip and a slow retrieve. Fussy fish usually will attack it when nothing else works.  It worked to a charm this evening with these fussy schoolies.  I ended up getting good numbers of schoolies in the 16 to 24 inch range, better than what I have been finding from shore all week.  My son, Jon, also fished from the kayak earlier in the day.  He ended up with big numbers of schoolies, but also had three slot limit keepers. So, yes, there are some keeper fish around if you can find them.
The fish today were generally decent sized schoolies
in the 16 to 24 inch range.  My son, Jon, also had some
slot limit keepers earlier in the day. All the fish were
caught from the kayak.

Monday, May 3, 2021

In a Lull

 
We are in an unusual early May lull right now. Between myself, my son Jon and my friends we have been out in force along the oceanfront and the Bay, from shore and from the kayak, since the weekend. No one that I know of had any big catches this weekend.  It seems that those millions of small ones that were around the oceanfront in April have moved on.

Here's a schoolie over 20 inches 
that I caught recently from the Bay.
Most of April's schoolies have been 
very small.

I have been looking in the Bay for the last three days. I was guessing the big numbers of fish moved into the Bay, but it's been only fair action for me.  Yesterday I fished an upper Bay location from shore and landed 5 schoolies.  Today I went out in the kayak in a "sure bet" location.  I got only 5 small ones.  So, I'm not exactly killing it.  

So far the size of the fish has been a major disappointment.  Most of the stripers are 10 to 16 inches, real small stuff. In the month of April, I landed almost 400 stripers, yet only 12 fish were in the 20 to 26 inch range. That tells you what we are dealing with.

I feel that the larger schoolies and slot limit keepers are coming. Last year mid May was red hot for larger schoolies and slots. Think about this....we had astronomical numbers of 20 to 25 inch schoolies last fall. They should be back this year (I hope).


Thursday, April 29, 2021

Bucktail Jigs....Hottest Lures so Far

 

This schoolie fell for a homemade
bucktail jig a few days ago along
the oceanfront.

The hottest lures for me in the early going has been bucktail jigs. I've gone mostly with the bucktail along the oceanfront, and I've fished it from the kayak in the Bay, and in both locations it has been my best producer.

I make all my own bucktail jigs.  I especially like the flat head jig in a half ounce size.  I make mine all white with red thread.  I always use a plastic curly tail on these jigs.  My favorite is a 3 inch, white, triple ripple grub tail from Bass Pro. In low water locations where a long cast might be needed, I will fish the bucktail off a wooden egg float.  In deeper water where I don't need a long cast, I will fish just the jig.

In past years, the Cocahoe has been my go to lure along the oceanfront in the spring.  In the Bay, it has been the Zoom fluke on a jighead.  But, this year, the bucktail lure has been the best for early season schoolies.  That could all change in the coming weeks, but right now, the bucktail rules.

This good size schoolie was taken on a bucktail jig yesterday
evening from the kayak.


Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Big Numbers from the Kayak

 

It was big numbers of stripers from my new
Old Town PDL kayak today.

I call this my maiden voyage since it was the first time I had taken my new Old Town Sportsman Pedal kayak out into the Bay to fish for stripers. And, it turned out to be a memorable maiden voyage with big, big numbers of stripers. In one  hour and a half span, I probably had a hit or a fish on just about every cast of my bucktail jig.

Having fished all evening from the kayak I can tell you that the pedal drive kayak is a gamechanger if you want to fish from a kayak. It really moves with pedal power and your hands are free to fish the whole time. It is also great to reposition yourself if you find the fish in a certain location which I did today.

I must have pedaled at least 4 miles today.  I would not have been able to paddle that distance. No way. 

Clearly, big numbers of stripers have moved into the Bay.  These come from the same mold as the fish

I caught this one while trolling a zoom fluke off
a float. The pedal kayak makes for easy trolling.

we were catching along the oceanfront. Maybe they are the same ones?  Generally, they are small, 10 to 18 inches on average, though I did have a couple of 20 inch fish today.  I also had a big one hit a Jumpin Minnow on the surface.  I'm sure it was a keeper.  My son, Jon, was also out today, and he did catch a keeper from his kayak along with big numbers of smaller ones.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Stripers Spreading Out; Other Fish Arrive

 

I caught this schoolie along with many more
today in a backwater location. The bucktail jig
was a hot lure today. The stripers are really
spreading out.

Those massive numbers of stripers that are now migrating along the RI oceanfront are also moving into other places too.  They are flooding into many of the backwater ponds and rivers along the oceanfront.  They are also streaming into the Bay in increasing numbers.

Today I decided to get away from the oceanfront crowds as I fished one of my backwater locations.  It was the same story as all week as I found big time numbers of schoolies there too.  All my fish today, all schoolies from 12 to 20 inches, fell for a bucktail jig spiced with a plastic curly tail.  The bucktail jig been a hot number all week along the oceanfront for me.

While all this striper action has been happening, there have also been some surprises. Some hickory shad have been caught in the schools of bass.  Also I know of at least 5 squeteague that have been taken in the last few days by fishermen casting for stripers.