Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Inconsistent Winter Fishing

We've been on a roller coaster this winter as fishing in the Providence River has been inconsistent at best. There have also been fewer striped bass this winter compared to past winters. In the last two weeks I have had several dry runs, but have also landed about 20 stripers including several keepers. Fishing has become strictly a nighttime affair with little action to be had in the daytime. It seems that the best nights follow rain in the daytime. Lots of rain bring a heavy flow of water down river from the Woonasquatucket and Moshassuck Rivers. I think the fast flowing water disturbs the bottom just enough to wash down worms and shrimp that reside in the mud, setting up feeding.

Another phenomenon of recent weeks has been snagged fish. We are bumping into them while slowly working the jig along the bottom, yet the fish are not taking. This is evidenced by the numbers of fish I have fouled hooked in the last two weeks (about half the fish). I have also brought back lots of scales on my jig's hook to prove that the fish are there, yet not interested in hitting.

New Blog Launched

A new blog has been started about fishing Narragansett Bay in a boat by my brother, Steve. Steve is the expert boat fisherman in the family. He has a nose for smelling fish and an internal GPS for finding them. He has been fishing the Bay by boat for a long time for striped bass and bluefish and knows just about every nook and cranny in the Bay. This blog should compliment mine as we now have the Bay thoroughly covered by boat, shore and kayak! Check out his blog at

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bucktail Jigs

Bucktail jigs have been dubbed the most versatile lures to use in saltwater. While plastic bodied jigs have become popular with many fishermen, I still catch lots of fish on bucktail jigs or leadheads. They are also easy to make yourself.

If you are into molding your own, you can buy molding supplies (melter, molds, hooks, etc) from Do-it Molds, This company offers top quality stuff at good prices. If you don't want to bother with the melting and molding aspect, you can buy molded jigs from

Once you have the molded jig, you want to paint the heads. I use powdered paint sold by Do-it. The leadhead is heated and then dipped into the powder. What comes out is a shiny and durable finish which can be further cured by reheating in an oven. The fun part is adding bucktail. I like to tie in thirds. I tie in the top first, then do the front and back. Build the thread to an even consistency and knot it off with a whip finish. The hairs of the bucktail should extend about an inch past the hook, although that can vary. The thread is then coated with head cement for durability.

Some of my favorite bucktails that I make are the hotlips in the large sizes (over 1 oz.), flathead in smaller sizes (under 1 oz.) and the spearhead jig. These jigs, when plastic curly tails are added to the small jigs and pork rind is added to the bigger jigs, catch hundreds of striped bass a year for me here in RI. Yes, bucktail jigs are still hot these days!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Shrimp Teasers

Teasers are small artificials that are tied ahead of your main lure. Flies make great teasers. If you are looking for the very best teaser to use in the spring, start tying. Shrimp teasers are hot for migrating schoolies along the RI oceanfront. These fish like to grub along the bottom and there is nothing better than a shrimp teaser tied ahead of a bucktail jig or a jig with platic body to entice them to hit.

To make a shrimp teaser, begin with a Mustad 34007 hook in a size #2, although hook size can be larger or smaller. Using white thread the body is tied in first. I like to use olive chenille, but wool in various dark colors can also be used. Work the chenille body to the front and tie off. Next a clump of deer body hair is tied onto the front. Tie so that the hairs extend about an eighth of an inch in front of the tie to form a clump. Pull tight to flair out the hairs. Now, tie off the head under those hairs. Finally, pull the hairs back along the top of the fly and tie off a tail in the rear. Wind several turns of the thread tightly and then tie off. Note that the tail hairs should extend outward to about half an inch or more. When rigged ahead of a Cocahoe or small bucktail jig, these teasers are deadly for spring schoolies and hickory shad.