Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Nighttime is the Right Time

You know summer is here when you can no longer catch a striper in the daytime, especially a sunny daytime. In the last week, I have been fishing evenings into the night in the Bay. The action seems to begin right after sunset and progress into the night. It is a mix of small keeper bass and schoolies.

The hot lures continue to be plastic stick baits. I am using Hogys and my friends who have not discovered these hot lures are using Slug-Gos (see photo at left of fish caught last night). The stripers are also occasionally hitting a teaser rigged ahead of the plastic bait. There continues to be a mix of stripers and bluefish. The blues have been particularly pesty by cutting the plastic. Go to a hard lure and they won't touch it!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Chop can Lead to Big Striper!

The biggest striper we caught from the boat in the Bay last year and this year (see picture) have been caught in the exact same, but strange way. We are drifting a live menhaden. Along comes a big blue and chop, chop, chop. We pull and miss the blue. As the head chunk sinks back, a large striper immediately engulfs the chunk.

The lesson to be learned here is that if a blue comes along and cuts your bait, something that will happen often at this time of year, let the chunk settle back. You can even fish it with a few lifts of the rod. Frequently, large stripers lurk right under the blues just waiting for a free meal.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Blues on the Increase; Stripers on the Decrease

It happens every year in Narragansett Bay around this time. The water begins to warm and larger stripers head to deeper water in the lower Bay. The menhaden are still around, a good bait supply for increasing numbers of bluefish that favor the warmer water.

I have been out the last 4 evenings from shore, boat and kayak. I've also fished various spots....the Providence Shipping Channel, Conimicut, East Greenwich Bay and other upper Bay locations. In every spot, I have found decent numbers of bluefish. East Greenwich Bay had small, cocktail blues in the 12-16 inch range chasing small bait. The Seekonk River in Providence had large bluefish slamming scattered schools of menhaden. In between all this action, there are still some large striped bass to be had (we landed fish up to 35 lbs. this week), but you will go through lots of menhaden that are falling victim to bluefish.

The big blues are hitting menhaden (chunks, whole and dead, and live) while smaller blues will hit poppers, swimmers and plastics.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Vary Your Tactics in the Bay

This is not last year's fishing in 'Gansett Bay.There are less pogies, less large bass and a ton more fishermen, many of whom are clueless. However, the sharpies are still catching good numbers of large bass and blues. Moving around and varying tactics are the key to scoring.

Fishing with live menhaden is still a great technique if you can get a supply of pogies. We've found that it is best to move away from the mob scene of boats when doing this. We've gotten most of our 40-45 inch stripers (see pic of yesterday's fish) drifting live pogies.

Another technique that has worked well is chunking. Find a spot in relatively low water (under 20 ft.), anchor, and start chumming cut pieces of menhaden. This works well when you have a supply of dead ones. I like to use no weight and a relatively small chunk when chunk fishing. Let it to the bottom and bounce it up and down with the rod tip. This has accounted for many bass in the 28-34 inch size range and some big blues.

Finally, don't discount plugging. We were drifting yesterday and suddenly bass and blues were popping here and there for bay anchovies. We started plugging with Hogys and Zara spooks on top and ended up picking up quite a few large blues and small keeper bass.

My brother and I landed 25 fish yesterday and used all of the techniques described above. In the same area we were fishing, many inexperienced boat fishermen went fishless.