Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Onto The Springfield Sportsmen's Show....Feb. 22 to Feb. 24

The next stop on my winter seminar schedule is the Springfield Sportsmen's Show.  This is one of New England's biggest outdoor shows.  The venue is the Big E (Exposition Center) in Springfield, MA.  The show runs from Fri., Feb. 22 to Sunday, Feb. 24.  I have been doing this show for years, and I have found it to be a very popular event with show goers from western New England. Generally the show is filled with everything outdoorsy....hunting, fishing, boating and other outdoor adventures. There are tackle dealers, outfitters and loads of vendors.
I will be doing seminars there on Saturday, Feb. 23.  At 11:00 AM, I will be doing my "Understanding Carp Fishing" seminar.  At 2:30 PM, I will be doing my "Stripers on Artificials" seminar. 
For more info on this show, check it out here. http://www.osegsportsmens.com/

Thursday, February 7, 2019

New Fishing/Outdoor Show Coming to CT.....CT Outdoor Expo.....Feb. 15-17

A brand new outdoor and fishing show is coming in a couple of weeks to CT.  The CT Outdoor Expo will be held at the Mohegan Sun Expo Center. This show is being run by the same people who have been running the very successful New England Fishing Expo in Boxboro, MA.
Similar to the Boxboro show, this show will have an all star line-up of seminar speakers to talk about fishing. They will also have loads of booths and vendors. I will be at this show on Sunday, Feb. 17 at 11:00 AM  to run my latest seminar, Stripers on Artificials. You can find all the info and the seminar schedule on the website linked above.
Hope to see many of you there.


Friday, January 18, 2019

Showtime

It's that time of the year.  I've already been off and running with my winter seminars on striper and carp fishing. Next week brings me to the first big outdoor show of the season, the New England Fishing Expo in Boxborough, MA, right off Rt. 495. This show, located at the Boxboro Regency runs from Friday., Jan. 25 to Sunday, Jan. 27.  This is one of those up and coming shows that seems to get better and bigger every year. It has loads of booths and vendors about every type of fishing from fly fishing to freshwater bass to saltwater fishing and more.  This show also features an all star seminar line-up of some of the very best fishermen in the Northeast.
I will be there on both Saturday and Sunday.  On Saturday I will be running my new striper show of 2019 called "Stripers on Artificials". This will take place at 5:00 PM.  On Sunday I will run my new carp fishing show called "Understanding Carp Fishing". It will take place at 11:00 AM.
Hope to see many of you at the show. What better way to cure the winter doldrums than to attend one of these big shows.  And, by the way, this one includes free parking!
For more information, visit the website, https://nefishingexpo.com/

Friday, January 11, 2019

Another Winter Option: White Perch

Here's a white perch landed today on a
small homemade bucktail jig spiced with
a plastic curly tail. They are active in the
cold winter months.
I can't seem to find any holdover stripers, but in my travels I have been finding white perch. These fish, close relatives of the striper, inhabit many of our brackish waters where freshwater rivers dump into bays, tidal ponds and even the oceanfront. White perch roam around these brackish waters to feed in the winter.  They can be found anywhere from the freshwater sections of rivers and streams to the brackish areas, and I have even caught them in salt water. They remain one of our most active winter fish.
I've caught many white perch in some of the freshwater lakes around inland New England.  These are land locked fish which were either stocked or got trapped years ago when streams and rivers were dammed up. The freshwater white perch are considerably smaller than their relatives that inhabit brackish waters.  I've landed many over 2 lbs. in brackish waters while targeting holdover stripers.  Years ago, I landed one which would have been a state record had I officially weighed it.  Rather than kill it for the record, I released it.
These fish are aggressive even in the cold water.  They have small mouths so your need to go small with the artificials.  I was out this week and I landed a good number of them on small 1/8 oz. white bucktail jigs spiced with a small plastic curly tail on light tackle. Sometimes they will hit other fluke-like plastics or just curly tails mounted on jigheads.  Some will even hit small metal.  When I used to fish the rivers of the Cape for sea run brown trout, I often caught these perch on shrimp flies.
So, if you are looking to bend a rod in ice free water in the next few weeks, white perch are waiting in the brackish rivers of southern New England.  They are one more option for those cabin fevered anglers looking for winter action.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Still Fishing, but Not for Stripers

How's this for a January carp!  This fish, landed on Jan.1 while
fishing in the the Carp Anglers Group First Fishing Folly
Tournament, was the biggest carp landed in the event in the
northern division of the US. It weighed 20 lbs.
I've always believed in going after the "best bet" in fishing. Right now, for me, it is not stripers. I know there are a scant few being taken in holdover locations, but those fish seem to be few and far between unless you hit a lucky day.
Instead of chasing stripers, I have been chasing carp in the freshwaters of RI and MA on the warm and ice free days. With this warm weather of the past couple of weeks, the fishing for carp has been very good considering the time of year. While I usually can find some small ones at this time of year, I have found some decent ones in January this year.  I've put two "big" fish of over 20 lbs. (weighed) on the bank, the first time I have ever landed 20 lb. carp in January in open water. I've also had some good numbers of fish between 10 and 15 lbs. All have been caught on sweet corn fished on a hair rig. If you are looking for carp fishing tips, check out my carp fishing blog at www.ricarpfishing.blogspot.com
My son Jon and I have tried several times for stripers in the Providence River, a hotspot over the last two decades.  In recent years, this spot has dried right up and there was not a fish to be found in the outings we made.  I have not heard of a single striper being caught there this winter. Ten years ago I was catching over a thousand stripers a year here in the cold months of Jan., Feb., and March. I have no idea why this place has died.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Grading the 2018 Season

Here's a typical "big"
RI keeper. Most of the
keepers from shore
were 28 to 32 inches
It was just loaded with
schoolies in the 16 to 24
inch range this year. They
seemed to be everywhere.
It was the year of the schoolie. From start to finish it was loaded with them. And, while I caught big numbers of schoolies in RI, they also seemed to be everywhere I fished this year including the Cape and Boston Harbor.  Thank God for all those schoolies because for other fish such as bluefish and albies, it was not good. So here's a rundown of how I saw the fishing year here in RI.
Schoolies-I started my year catching holdovers in early April, and it was a bonanza from that time forward until late November. I found big numbers of migrating fish in late April along the oceanfront, and early May brought huge numbers to Narragansett Bay. Most of these fish were in the 14 to 24 inch range which was about 4 inches bigger on average than in 2017 (yes, they are growing). Summer fishing had good numbers of schoolies in the Bay even though the water was abnormally warm. Fall fishing began early this year with August delivering massive numbers of schoolies along the oceanfront  after huge schools of peanut bunker which seemed to arrive earlier than normal. The rest of the fall featured some of the biggest blitzes of schoolies I have ever seen.  Just phenomenal at times. These were the good 'ole days coming back to life. Grade for schoolies- A+
Keepers- Not so rosy here. There was a noticeable shortage of large keepers, say fish over 40 inches.  It tells you a lot when not one striper over 30 lbs. was entered from shore in the annual RISAA Tournament. But, we did see more small keepers than were around in 2017.  In spring and fall I was catching occasional keepers in the 28 to 32 inch range from shore and boat that were mixed with the schoolies. There were no big numbers of larger fish after pogies in Gansett Bay this year which was a disappointment. Summer fishing for keepers was poor for me in RI which prompted me to head to the Canal on a regular basis. I had a summer to remember there with big numbers of big fish (no shortage there). Fall brought a few more keepers than expected but once again, these were small keepers in the 28 to 32 inch range. Grade for RI keepers- C
Here's a rare bluefish taken
from the boat in Gansett Bay.
It was a poor year for
bluefish as they seem to be in
steep decline.
Bluefish- It was POOR.  They seem to be disappearing from our waters, and no one seems to care. I got a few from the boat in Gansett Bay in the spring, got a couple from the shore in early summer, and landed a dozen in the fall (most of which came on one outing). I saw days in which there were massive schools of peanut bunker ( a favorite of bluefish), and there would not be a single blue after them. With these fish in steep decline, the RI regs still allow 15 fish a day and no size limit.....simply ridiculous. Grade for bluefish- D
Everyone was all wound up for
a big albie year, but it didn't happen.
There were some, but their numbers
were way off compared to the last
two years.
Albies- Boy, there was a lot of hype and high hopes for another great year, but that faded quickly. Remember, these are pelagic fish that come in from the ocean depths.  History will tell us that it just doesn't always happen, but after a couple of great years, many thought this year would be a sure bet. The few that did arrive came late in late September along the oceanfront. With fewer albies around this year, boaters had a better shot at them than shore fishermen. Boaters also had a good shot at bonito which were around in fair numbers.  I never saw many albies showing in my travels, and landed only two this year. By October, I realized this wasn't happening and turned my attention to targeting stripers. Still, the diehards who sat on a rock all day and waited in some of the high percentage spots did get some fish, but by all standards, 2018 was not a great year. Grade for albies- C-