Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Photos of the Day


Here's a slot limit keeper that nailed the float and
fly today. Action continues to be hot and heavy.

Loaded with stripers again today but the bait has
changed.  Today it was masses of small peanut bunker
The peanuts attracted huge numbers of stripers in
the 20 to 30 inch range.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Float 'n' Fly Scores Big

The stripers were feeding on huge
schools of baby achovies that
have moved in along the oceanfront
in the last few days.

 I found big numbers of fussy stripers again last evening.  These fish were feasting on big schools of small bay anchovies. When stripers are feeding on this half inch bait, they can be mighty fussy.   But, on this night I was quite prepared for the fussy fish.

You might remember I posted a number of articles last fall when I ran into the same thing along the south shore.  At the time, it was the wooden egg float with a fly that killed the fish when little else was working. So, before leaving home, I made sure I had the eggs and flies in my surf bag. 

Right away I snapped on my wooden egg float with a pink Deceiver

The wooden egg float and fly (pink
Deceiver) proved to be deadly tonight.
It is one of your best bets when stripers
are feeding on tiny bait.
fly trailing off a three foot leader.  It worked wonders as I had a hit or a fish just about every cast when the fish showed in front of me.  These fish were all hefty schoolies in the 20 to 27 inch range, a size range we haven't seen much of this season. They were around in massive numbers on this night.  At one point I scanned out into the ocean and could count 5 large schools of stripers working the surface.

The calendar says we are in July yet the fishing seems like the middle of October. These are some of the biggest numbers of fish I have ever seen in July. Keep in mind these are fussy stripers keying on very small bait, and you will have to go small in order to catch them.  Nothing better than a float 'n' fly in this situation.

This is one of many stripers landed on the
float 'n' fly.  The fish are running 20 to 27
inches with an occasional small slot in the mix.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Massive Schools of Small Bait Light up the Oceanfront

 Several days back I went down to one of my spots along the RI oceanfront.  Immediately, I discovered the place was alive with fish, something I hadn't seen since the springtime.  I saw birds working way out. I saw schools of chub mackerel waving up the water way out.  In closer schools of hickory shad were everywhere jumping for small bait.  And, stripers were in the white water in close also feasting on the small bait. The fish were fussy but I landed a good number on a float and jig.

The next day, my brother was out in his new boat cruising around.  He drove the boat from Warwick to Galilee, a good distance.  He said he ran into school after school of stripers on the surface busting for small bait in a stretch from the Jamestown Bridge all the way to Galilee.  He also saw schools of chub mackerel.

 I went down last evening in that crappy weather.  When I arrived at my location, I saw several big schools of fish way out breaking on the surface with birds also working on the bait.  Before dark all the schools of fish seemed to merge into a massive school the size of a football field. It looked like a big October blitz, and it was all stripers.  I caught quite a few stripers on a jig though the fish were fussy.  The bass went from 20 inch schoolies all the way up to small slot limit keepers.

The bait that is attracting all these fish is small, so small you can't really see it.  I suspect it is either tiny bay anchovies or very small peanut bunker.  Whatever it is, there is a massive amount, and the fish have found it. 

Friday, July 16, 2021

A Big Striper on the Surface....Nothing More Exciting

This over the slot striper blasted my 
pencil popper.  My favorite pencil is
a Left Hook Raptor. It also appealed
to this fish.  The fish was released.

 For me, there is nothing more exciting than seeing a big striper (say, over 40 inches) come up and blast a surface offering. That's why I just love fishing surface plugs.  As many of you know, I really like the spook type plugs such as the Yo-Zuri Hydro Pencil and the Rebel Jumpin' Minnow. These work great where long casts are not needed and where stripers tend to be fussy.  I also use homemade standard poppers a lot when bluefish are around since they don't seem to be too picky about what type of plug they want to destroy. In places where a long cast is needed I usually go right to a pencil popper. They cast like bullets and they will cut through the wind like an arrow. My favorite pencil is one few use.  It is called a Left Hook Raptor.  This plug has a thinner profile than most pencils, and it is loaded with lead.  So, you have to impart some effort to keep it dancing on the surface.

Most people fish their surface offerings way too fast.  I like to reel as slowly as I can while pumping the rod tip in short rhythmic pulls.  The pencil should wiggle slowly but enticingly back and forth on the surface.

This week I landed good numbers of fish on surface plugs.  The most memorable was a fish over 40 inches that hit a pencil popper. The take and splash was like a cinder block coming down from the heavens!  

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Photo of the Day....Keeper on the Pencil


A slot limit keeper that hit a pencil popper
is brought to shore!

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Shore Fishing Real Good in Right Conditions

 I went out last evening from the shore. I knew with the storms around this would be chancy.  Fortunately, the place I fished had the storminess but no lightning nearby.  That storminess churned up the ocean into a sea of white.  The water was rough, moving and clean.  I knew from the first sight of it that the fishing would be good. It was perfect water to draw stripers in close to shore.

Conditions for fishing last evening were perfect.
The water was rough, moving and clean.

I fished a float and bucktail jig in the white water and came away with good numbers of hefty schoolies.  The fish ranged from 20 to 25 inches, and they were quite aggressive in the white water. 

The shore fishing for me has basically been schoolies in the last month.  Unlike our recent kayak fishing in which it was all slot limit keepers with occasional over slots, the shore fishing has been mostly smaller fish. However, I do know fishermen who have been slugging it out way into the night who have landed a few keepers.

I found good numbers of hefty schoolies
in the white water.  The float and bucktail
jig caught all the fish.

With a lot of storminess coming later on in the week, expect the shore fishing for schoolies and maybe even an occasional slot to be outstanding.  Look for areas of rough, but clean water.  Also, keep in mind safety as rough water can pose dangerous risks in spots.

Monday, July 5, 2021

Big Numbers of Big Bass All Over RI!


Jon Pickering unhooks a slot 
limit keeper from the kayak.

It usually doesn't happen this way.  At this time of year we usually see a big exodus of large stripers out of the Bay and into the deeper and cooler waters of the lower Bay and the oceanfront.  But, fishing doesn't always go the way it's supposed to go.  And, so here we are on July 5, and it is loaded with large stripers from the upper regions of Narragansett Bay all the way to Block Island.

It's no secret that the good fishing usually moves to the oceanfront in July.  But, the big surprise of the last few days is how very good the Bay is fishing. My explanation is this.  The very cool weather and cold rains of the last few days have lowered the water temperature about 10 degrees in most places.  That is significant enough to get fish active or even moving back into areas where water temperatures were in the upper 70's just a week ago.  Additionally, big schools of menhaden seem to be all over the Bay. Maybe that is also due to the cool weather? Find those menhaden schools and you are likely to find big stripers or even big blues around them or under them. The menhaden thing is mostly a boating deal.  Sorry, shore guys, the hot fishing right now is mainly from boats.

Here is one of many keepers
 that we landed
yesterday from the kayak.
My son and I fished yesterday in the kayaks on a gloomy morning.  We did find the menhaden and sure enough, big bass in the 30 to 40 inch range were under them. At times, they were so active that we could not get a snagged one to the kayak to transfer it to a circle hook.  In some cases, snag a pogie and we were onto a striper immediately. Together we landed 18 slot keepers and over keepers and one big blue. All my fish were released in good shape. At the same time we were doing this, I heard of other fishermen far to the north and south of us catching loads of big stripers also.

Fishing for large stripers is really hot in RI right now.  With a big weather change on the way, it's hard to predict if this great fishing will continue or not.