Monday, May 31, 2010

Lots of Fish with Lockjaw

In the past week, I saw lots of fish from shore and loads of them from the kayak. However, few were hitting. So, I decided to mix things up a bit and fish from the boat. It turned out to be more of the same old story for me.

My brother Steve and I fished the upper Bay yesterday. There was nothing going on until right before dark. We fished along a shallow, calm, shoreline and found loads of fish. But, they were acting weird. Some were swirling right below the surface, others were finning on the surface as evidenced by their wakes, and still others were just sitting there spooked away when the boat neared them. There were hundreds of stripers in a small area. Few, however, were hitting. My brother managed to land two decent 32 inch fish on swimmers. He had a couple of more on. I had one large fished hooked on a Hogy and lost it. We tried surface lures, skinny plastic, jigs and even whole and chunked pogies. The fish were around in big numbers but most had lockjaw.

One other observation....there were very few boats fishing on a beautiful Sunday afternoon/evening. That's a big indicator that few fish are being caught. Way too slow in the upper Bay for this time of year!

Friday, May 28, 2010


I spent the last two outings fishing in a protected area of the Bay fishing from my kayak. I was sitting in the middle of hundreds of stripers. Some were whirling right below the surface maybe picking off worms. Others were finning and causing wakes on the surface. Still, others were simply sitting there doing nothing like sunbathers at the beach on a warm day. Every time I paddled the kayak, I would scare off dozens of fish along my track.
I wish I could say I caught a lot of fish. I landed just five fish in two evenings and got them all on my homemade 3 inch popper just before dark. The biggest fish went 28 inches though I saw dozens larger than that. Tried skinny plastics, small swimmers, flukes and countless other goodies that had been working for me. All seemed to produce follows, but no fish. That's the way it goes sometimes in shallow and calm water, but nevertheless.... it's FRUSTRATING.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Bluefish Alert

Yes, the bluefish are around! I've landed a couple in Narragansett Bay already and seem to get a Hogy or two chopped up every evening. My brother is also reporting getting chopped when fishing live menhaden from the boat. Earlier in the week, I landed a decent one, about 7 lbs. However, last night I fished a Bay spot and landed one that was only about 14 inches. These are real pests when fishing plastic stick baits. One quick hit and you reel in a cigar. When a lot of them are around, your only alternative when fishing for stripers is to go with a hard plastic or wooden plug as the angler on the right did last night. Swimmers are a good choice at night.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Hogy Strikes Again

Biggest fish of the year thus far! This 36 inch bass hit my nine inch, black, skinny Hogy after dark in one of my favorite spots in the upper Bay.

A Move to the Top

Fished again in the same spot as last night. A vastly different story. Instead of a south wind in my face with rough water, it was a north wind at my back and calm water. The float and jig rig, so good last night, was out of the question since the float tends to spook the fish in calm and clear water. So, I decided to fish topwater. In the light of evening, I started off with a Zara Spook. It got me a lot of whirls and hits, but only one schoolie. Next, I snapped on a small needlefish...same story. Finally, I hit the jackpot with a small, 3 inch, homemade popper that is the size of my fingers (see photo at right). In the past, it had been one of my best producers in these conditions in the Bay. That did the trick as the schoolies really keyed on this small offering which is a good imitator of a lot of small bait. I landed 6 schoolies on this plug in an hour and had several more fish on and hits.

I didn't use my Hogy because most of the schoolies were small, 14-20 inches. However, once it got dark, I snapped on the nine inch skinny Hogy and was rewarded with the biggest fish from shore thus far, a beautiful 35-36 inch striper!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

25000 HITS!

We hit a milestone on the blog today with 25,000 hits. When I began this blog just 17 months ago, I envisioned a local informational site that would appeal to a small crowd of Rhode Island striper fishermen. At the time, I figured maybe a hundred hits a month if I was lucky. Never, in my wildest dreams, did I imagine it would appeal to such a vast audience. Thank you for coming to my blog and I hope it has improved your striper fishing and the enjoyment of the sport.

A Change in Tactics Produces

I was out in one of my favorite spots in the Bay last evening. Conditions were tough with a strong south wind right in my face that was blowing whitecaps ashore. At first I went to the Hogy, a lure that has been hot all week. Within a few casts, I knew there was no way I could effectively cast it into the wind or work it correctly in the wind and turbulent water.
So, I abandoned that and went to an old favorite from the oceanfront...the float and bucktail jig rig. The wooden egg float casted like a bullet into the wind. In addition, the turbulent water brought the jig to life. It was also a good choice since I was fishing above a lot of snags and rocks. The results......8 schoolies and several more fish on. Once again, the float and jig came through as it often does in rough conditions.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Keeper from the Kayak

I landed my first keeper of the year from the kayak last night while fishing in the Upper Bay. The fish hit a six inch pink Hogy fished on top. That pink Hogy worked well for me in the daylight hours in the past and was very hot last year at this time. The fish was a skinny, 30 inch bass.

I am now getting reports of keeper bass all over the place. They are in the usual hotspots all over the Bay and all over the oceanfront as well as the coastal ponds. There seems to be a lot of small keepers in the 28-32 inch range. At this point there are not an abundance of large fish over 20 lbs., but I suspect they are coming soon.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Keepers from the Boat

Went out twice this week in the Bay in the boat and had decent success with small keeper bass in the 28-31 inch range. Just like in the previous post, I had very good success from boat using black. skinny Hogys fished on or near the surface. In fact, all the keepers I caught this week were landed on Hogys. Our technique is to pick a quiet spot away from a lot of boat traffic. Cast the Hogy and twitch the rod tip and retrieve slowly making the Hogy move like a snake in the water. When fishing Hogys in the spring, we try to fish water that is 8-13 feet deep. We also drift quietly while casting. Many boaters insist on trolling at this time, probably the least effective way to fish, especially in fairly shallow water.

Friday, May 7, 2010

First Nighttime Keepers on Hogys

You know things are getting serious when the stripers start hitting after dark. I landed my first keepers after dark last night from the shore. These were fish in the 28-30 inch range and they hit well after darkness.

The key to catching these fish last night was using a Hogy lure. This was the hot ticket. I was using the 9 inch, skinny, black Hogy, my favorite Hogy. It was rigged with a single hook, a wide gap Texas style, 7/0 hook. Cast this offering outward and twitch it near the surface with jerks of the rod tip while maintaining a slow retrieve. It is deadly in low water along the oceanfront and in the Bay, from the boat and from the shore. My last four keepers were all taken on this lure.

To find out more about Hogy products and to view videos about how to use them, check out their website at

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Fish Spreading Out, Getting Bigger

I am now getting reports from all over the Bay and oceanfront about stripers being caught from Westerly to Providence. I have also been testing the waters in both the Bay and the oceanfront. From my own observations, there seem to be less fish, but the average fish is much bigger. There are also good numbers of small keepers around, fish from 28-30 inches. I was out yesterday and landed 7 fish, one of which was a keeper. With the warm weather coming over the next week I suspect we will see increasing numbers of keeper bass as well as the first bluefish.