Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Walking Into a Blitz

Not only was the wind and surf conditions right, but the stars must have also lined up as I walked into a wild blitz of stripers tonight along the oceanfront.  I scouted around all over this afternoon and found nothing.  The few fishermen I met were complaining that there were no fish around.  Then, about an hour before sunset I hit a new location and right in front of me was a wild scene.  The shoreline was black with bait (bay anchovies).  There was so much of it I thought it was weed at first. The sky was filled with diving seagulls in a feeding frenzy and stripers were busting all along the white water shore.  And, I was all alone as there was not a soul in sight!  I phoned my son Ben and he joined me shortly.  With the fish on bay achovies, we opted to use Cochoes or bucktail jigs on the float rig.  That did the trick as we landed at least 25 stripers from 22-30 inches (see photos of two of the fish).  As suddenly as the fish and bait appeared, it all abruptly ended at dark as the bait and the fish moved out.  I stayed after dark thinking I could bang a fish or two, but no luck.  The fish are tight to the bait these days, and when that bait departs, the stripers leave too.
I'm on a lucky roll since this type of thing has happened to me several times this month.  Hey, most of this year's fishing  has been fair to poor, but September is surely making up for the rough going I've had in the last two months.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Bait Disappears; Fishing Dies

The last two days have not been good along the oceanfront from shore.  Most of the bait that was around in the last week has disappeared or moved on, and the predators (stripers, blues and albies)  have moved on with them. The fishing was also far more productive in the rough water and northeast wind that was around a week ago. Conditions have been generally calm in recent days.
Unless you fish in the breachways at night with a picket fence of other fishermen, it is very difficult to pick off loner fish.  When the bait is around, big numbers of stripers and bluefish are in pursuit.  But, no bait, no fish. There is not an abundant population of resident fish around.
The bait that has gotten  things going has been small pods of peanut bunker along with large schools of bay anchovies.  Many reports are saying that mullet are around, but I have seen none, and I have  been out just about every day/night in the last two weeks.  I suspect that many confused fishermen are seeing peanut bunker that is about 5 inches long, and they think they are mullet.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Wild One

I went down to the oceanfront yesterday to fish with two of my sons who attend URI.  It is sort of a bonding thing we do several times a week.  It turned out to be one wild fishing day.  It started off slowly as Ben and I landed a few bass at Pt. Judith.  Not much there so we moved on to another location.  We walked to an overlook and right in front of us was one of the biggest striper blitzes I have seen in years.  Along an entire shoreline stripers were breaking right on the shore. There were thousands of fish.  Further out blues were boiling the water into a froth.  Cast out, and you would hook a fish immediately.  Between Ben, myself and his girlfriend, we  landed about 20 stripers up to near keeper size and a half dozen blues.  This dissipated and we moved to another location where my son Jon joined up.  Same deal with fish busting here and there after bay anchovies.  The fish were fussy but we managed to pick up a few more blues and a bass.  Now it was dark and Jon and I moved to another location where he picked up a big blue (see pic) and I had a couple of bass, one of which was a small keeper.  In short, everywhere I went yesterday there was fish and big numbers of them.  It was one hell of a wild day, which seems to be almost a daily occurrence this September.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Striper Fishing Suddenly RED HOT

A northeast wind has been battering east facing RI shorelines for the last several days with rough water.  It has driven onto these shores a load of bait and big numbers of hungry stripers.  It has set up about the best September striper fishing I have seen in a long time.

My sons and I have been steadily fishing the Gansett shoreline from Narragansett Beach to Point Judith.  Schools of baitfish, bay anchovies and peanut bunker (see photo), have been popping up in various spots along this five mile stretch.  If you can find the bait, you will most likely find stripers, blues and false albacore.  The albacore and bluefish tend to be way out, but the stripers are holding in the white water wash wherever there is bait.  The numbers of stripers have been staggering at times.  For instance, my sons, Ben and Jon, got out today and landed close to 50 stripers in a few hours.  Most were schoolies, but they also had several small keepers.  Later in the day, my brother Steve and his friend Paul went down and they, too, landed close to 50 schoolies.  There have also been some big fish being taken as a 35 pounder was landed today under an afternoon sun by a guy fishing right next to my son Ben.
The key to catching big numbers of fish is to move around looking for bait.  Once that is found, use stuff that imitates peanut bunker.  Some lures working well include a float and jig, bucktail jigs, Cocahoes on jigheads, Storm lures and swimmers.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Terrific Outing of Albies, Stripers and Blues

I fished today from my brother Steve's boat.  It was myself, Steve and my son, Ben.  We had a terrific outing catching September's hat trick of stripers, albies and bluefish.  In all we landed 7 false albacore, at least 15 stripers and another 15 bluefish.  There was constant action from morning till late afternoon as the fish had bay anchovies and peanut bunker (yes, they are around) pinned up against a rocky shoreline that extended for about half a mile.  In fact, many of these fish were so close to shore that you could have easily scored big time from the shore.
All the albies were caught on the float and fluke rig (see previous post), about the hottest ticket right now to catch these finicky feeders.  The stripers and blues were mostly taken on bucktail jigs and Wild Eye shads, good imitators when there is peanut bunker around.  Fishing is real hot right now if you can find the bait.  It took a lot of looking today but when we found it we found big numbers of fish.  It turned out to be about  as hot as it gets in September!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hot Ticket for Albies: Float and Fluke Rig

I have discovered that plastics are red hot for false albacore.  Why not, they catch everything else.  Here is the scoop on how I'm fishing these plastics.  I am using my old reliable homemade wooden float with about three feet of 30 lb. test mono attached to the end.  At the very end of the leader I am using a Zoom fluke (albino color) that is threaded onto a barbed hook (see photo).  I'm still fiddling around with the hook trying to find something that holds the fluke on as well as having some good hooking power.  What I'm using seems to work fairly well since I went 2 for 2 today landing both hits that I had.
This set up will cast real far if you are looking for distance from the shore.  Simply reel it in bouncing the rod tip occasionally to impart some extra action on the fluke.  It is so natural looking in the water that the albies can not resist slamming the offering if it is within their sight.  Very hot stuff!


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Float and Jig Rules White Water for Schoolies

I fished yesterday evening for stripers with my son, Ben.  We found a spot where birds were working along some white water.  I'm guessing it was small bait and schoolies were right under them.  The fish were fussy as they often are when feeding on small bait.  The situation was tailor made for the float and jig.
I've written about this a lot and it is featured in my latest article in the Sept. issue of On the Water magazine. This rig is simply a homemade wooden float to which two to three feet of heavy mono is tied.  At the end is a small bucktail jig (quarter oz.) onto which a plastic curly tail is added.  The float is cast into a white water surf.  This works real well where there are lots of rocks and snags.  Simply reel it in and the white water and turbulence will impart the action. The float serves double duty as a casting weight, and the float  keeps the jig above the snags.

It worked wonders last night as we landed a total of 25 stripers, all hefty schoolies.  In the past I have also landed many keeper bass and large blues on this rig in a variety of locations from the RI shore to the outer Cape.

Rumors of Albies; No Confirmed Catches

I went down in the daytime yesterday hitting a number of locations along RI's oceanfront looking for false albacore.  I found nothing.  There are rumors that they are around. Fishermen think they have seen them jumping while other say they have hooked them but lost them.  Some boaters say they have caught them.  However, I can't seen to find a shore guy who has landed one in RI and I know a lot are trying, some of them fishing for the last seven days straight.  The strange thing about these fish is that there can be none around, and then all of a sudden all hell breaks loose and they are all over the place.  Let's hope that happens soon.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fishing Perking UP

My son, Ben, who lives in Narragansett (URI student....tough life!), called me last night to tell me that he had a real good outing.  He fished the Gansett area from shore yesterday evening and came away with 15 stripers in just over an hour of fishing.  By today's standards, that would qualify as a terrific outing.
He said nothing was showing and no bait was evident.  He used a float and jig and immediately started catching fish.  They were all sizes from small ones to keeper size.  So, the fish are around.  It is a matter of moving around and finding them at this time of year. Ben tried several high percentage spots before finding these fish.
I am also getting reports from other fishermen around the oceanfront who report catching fish and increased activity.  It seems like the good fall fishing we were all waiting for has begun.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Another Round of Rough Water Kills Fishing

Just as the ocean began to calm down from Hurricane Irene, Hurricane Katia moved up the Atlantic to bring a big roiled surf to RI's oceanfront.  I last fished on Wed. along the oceanfront, and things weren't pretty.  The waves were big, 8-10 feet.  The water was very sandy and roiled and there was weed all over.  It was near impossible to fish anywhere other than protected backwaters.  And, I got nothing.Things have gone downhill even more since Wed.  My son, Ben, who lives down in Narragansett called to say the ocean was even more churned up today. 
Shore fishing is not looking good for the next few days or until the water calms down and clears up.  Too bad because things were looking up in the beginning of the week.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Back in the Groove

My fall season always starts the day after Labor Day.  So, in yesterday's nasty weather I headed down to the ocean determined to find some fish.  I found few fishermen around, but found decent numbers of big bass after dark.  I landed two keeper bass of 34-40 inches (see pics on left and right). I also had good action as I had a number of hits and had at least six other big fish on.  It was difficult to hold onto them in the charged up water and very rough conditions that I encountered. So, contrary to the poor fishing that I had been experiencing, this was a very good night.  Let the fall games begin!

Monday, September 5, 2011

100,000 Hits!

We hit a real milestone this week at RI Striped Bass.  The hit counter went over 100,000.  Unbelievable!  When I started this blog just over two years ago, I envisioned it as a local informational site.  At the time, I thought maybe a thousand hits a year.  Little did I know that striper fishermen from all over the East Coast would be visiting this site looking for information on the greatest gamefish to ever swim our waters, the striped bass. I have met fishermen at the Cape, in Gansett Bay, and along RI's oceanfront who have visited the site. I also see fishermen at some of the big shows in Worcester and Springfield in the wintertime who have been to the site for information.  Heck, I am sometimes walking in a mall and someone will come up to me and ask if I'm the guy who runs the RI Striped Bass website. It's crazy.
I will continue to try to bring my readers and followers the latest info on striper fishing here in RI, and hopefully, this will increase your catches as well as your enjoyment of the sport.  Good luck in the upcoming fall season and thanks for making my blog a great success.
Dave Pickering