Monday, March 28, 2011

Light Tackle Will Rule the Next Month

Whether you are chasing holdover stripers (see pics of recent catches) or looking for the new arrivals, light tackle should rule your fishing in the next month. Spring striper fishing is dominated by schoolies from tiny, perfect specimens of about a foot long up to bigger fish of about 24 inches. Migrating keepers are rare in April. That will all change, though, about the first week of May.

I am still fishing the Upper Bay and taking holdovers. My light tackle outfit consists of a Bass Pro Shop Pro Qualifier reel (PQ4000) matched with a Berkeley 7 foot graphite rod and 10 lb. test Big Game mono. The reel is an interesting design in that it has a very wide, but narrow spool. It was quite inexpensive but works like a charm. It has a great drag and casts real well. I would highly recommend it. While it is a freshwater reel, it gets no contact with saltwater since I am generally fishing high platforms in the Upper Bay. On the line end, I always attach a shock leader of about 7 feet (length of rod). This 20 lb. test section of line is knotted onto my main line by a double surgeon's knot. The shock leader give you a lot of extra beef at the end of your line where that extra strength is often needed when fighting and landing a fish.

Things should get real hot in the not to distant future. Break out that light tackle for spring schoolie action.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Going Bigger Produces

I changed tactics for my winter fishing last week. With the warming weather, I decided to go with bigger plastic so I went with a 6 inch Slug O (see photo at left) mounted onto a quarter ounce jighead. My thinking was that it just might attract some bigger fish. Also, with the warming water, the fish tend to be more active and more aggressive.
That move has paid off. In the last week, I've landed fish on every outing with most of the fish going 24-28 inches with several keepers in the mix (see photo at right). The only small one that I got was that "breakfast" fish from the previous post. Maybe there are more fish around. I like to think the change in tactics has done the trick.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Breakfast Released, Huh? Only in Providence

I finally got my March striper in the Providence River. However, just as I hooked it a homeless guy who was watching rushed over, hoping to get the fish for breakfast! Unfortunately, this fish, which was only 14 inches, had to be released. He didn't get the fact that they had to be 28 inches to keep! He wasn't happy.
Only in Providence!


The popnet is one of the most useful devices a shore fishermen can own when fishing for striped bass from urban areas. This net will allow you to lift your catch up high walls, bridges and other high spots. I have lifted stripers over 40 inches using this net.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Young of Year Index Explains Striper Situation

The Chesapeake Bay spawns 75 % of the Atlantic coast stripers. What happens there has a big impact on our fishing. Every year a netting survey is done in this area to determine the spawning rate, called the young of the year index. An index of about 12 or more is considered average. Last year the index was roughly half of what is normal. In the last 5 years there has been only one average year and that was in 2007. All the other years have been considerably BELOW average. This really explains our lack of schoolies in recent years. Poor spawning in the Chesapeake has translated into poor numbers of schoolies for us. And, don't expect things to get any better this year.
However, if you look back at the index numbers from 10-12 years ago when the striped bass recovery was in full swing, you will see some outstanding spawning years. Those fish are now the keepers we are seeing around here. That explains why there are good numbers of keepers around. It is unfortunate that those are the fish that are being heavily targeted by recreational fishermen, tournament hunters, charter boats, and commercial fishermen. Those fish that are being removed in huge numbers are the spawners that will make or break the fishery in the next five years.
Not a rosy future.
For information about the Chesapeake Bay Young of the Year Index go to :

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Nothing in March

I've given the Providence River a lot of looks in March while fishing for wintering over stripers. I fished cold nights, daytime, and warm and rainy nights. I tried up in the city, down by the barrier and along the Point St. Bridge, all hotspots in the past. In all instances the results were the same....nothing. I haven't had a hit and have rarely seen another fisherman which tells me no one is catching. Contrary to some fishing reports you might be reading in a certain magazine, there have been no fish in this place. If this trend continues, it will be the first March I have been blanked in over 15 years. It won't be for lack of trying.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Winter Fishing Dies Again

Well, after a brief spurt of marginal fishing for wintering over schoolies in the Providence River, the fishing has died again. I'm back on another streak....five times in a row blanking. Not a hit. Not a fish. Not another person fishing. The fish are just not there. I suspect we won't see good numbers of schoolies until mid to late April when migrating fresh fish arrive. It will be a long 6 weeks until then.