Monday, January 30, 2012

A Must Winter Project.....Egg Floats

One of my best artificials that was responsible for the catching of hundreds of stripers this year was not really a plug.  It was an egg float.  A float gives shore and boat fishermen one of the most effective means to deliver a small offering.  The float is merely a casting weight.  At the end of the float you want to attach about three feet of heavy mono (suggest 30 lb. test) and at the end of that comes the small and lightweight offering.  You can tie on a fly, an unweighted plastic fluke (with a hook of course), a small Hogy or Slug Go, a small bucktail jig, a Storm shad, a Cocahoe on a small jighead, etc.  The possibilities are endless.  Using the float last year, I landed hundred of stripers, a load of bluefish and many false albacore.  It is one of the deadliest combinations to use in saltwater when small bait is around.

About the most aerodynamic float you can make is actually a wooden egg.  You can buy these online  at or in some craft stores.  I especially like the 2 1/2 inch "hen" egg with a flat bottom.  You can even buy them painted (the way I do it).  Once you have the egg, attachments must be put on.  I like to use a through wire construction for long lasting durability.  Some fishermen use stainless steel screw eyes.  Here's how I do it.  First drill out the egg with a 1/8 inch drill bit (top right).  As you can see from the photo, I use a drill press.  If you have a steady hand, you may be able to use a regular drill.  Next step is to pass a pre bent wire through the hole (top left).  I buy stainless steel annealed plug wire from It's fairly soft and really does the trick in plug making.  Once the wire is in, I wrap the opposite end several times around a small Philip's head screwdriver to get the end loop (bottom left).  Once that is done, cut the excess and tuck the wire end in neatly with pliers.  A final option here is to bang a nail into the float at an angle.  This will be the jig holder that will prevent a helicopter blade effect on the cast and will allow for longer casts.  Once the nail or piece of wire is banged into the float, clip off so that only about a quarter inch comes out from the float (bottom right).  Now, we're finished and have just made a must have artificial for next season!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Heck of a Week

It has been one of the best weeks of winter fishing that I have had in January in the last few years.  This week I landed over 50 wintering over stripers with many keepers. This unseasonably warm January weather has kept the fish active in upper Gansett Bay and has led to some very good fishing.  Add some rain and melting snow and ice this week along with favorable high tides at night and it has all set up terrific fishing.  Zoom flukes mounted on small jigheads of less than 1/2 ounce have been the hot ticket.  Flukes in a light color like albino, white ice and Arkansas shiner have been the best colors.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Zooming Along the Roller Coaster This Week

Winter fishing thus far has been a roller coaster ride.  It's been hot for a few days, gradually dies out, stays dead for awhile and picks up again.  It has been very inconsistent, but hey, that's January fishing.  This has been a good week, one of the best I have seen in awhile  I have been catching them all week, with a couple of nights with 13-14 fish.  It has been all schoolies with a couple of fish near keeper size. A three inch white ice Zoom fluke has taken most of the fish.  I credit the warm and rainy weather and favorable tides after dark with perking up the fishing.  How long this good fishing will last is anyone's guess. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Seminars At ASA Eastern Fishing and Outdoor Expo in Worcester

I'll be doing a lot of seminars this winter and my first ones will take place at the ASA Eastern Fishing and Hunting Expo ( ) at the DCU Center in Worcester, MA on Feb. 10 (1 PM), Feb.11(11 AM), and Feb.12 (11 AM).  I'll be presenting my latest striper fishing seminar called Tackling the Striper Surf.  This is a show about the best lures and plugs to use from shore for stripers and I'll also outline how to fish these artificials.  The show will also discuss equipment needs (rods and reels) as well as locations to fish in RI and MA.  I'll be doing these striper shows on Feb. 10 and Feb. 11.  On Sunday, Feb. 12, I'll be doing my latest carp fishing show for the freshwater crowd called New England Carp Fishing 101.
This show, one of the biggest in NE, is loaded with everything fishing, hunting and outdoors.  It features a national line-up of fishing gear representatives of various companies and features the latest in gear for 2012.  There are also lots of local and regional reps and companies at the show.  Take a look at the link above for a complete show line-up of companies, seminars  and  other info.  Getting to a show is a great way to shake the winter doldrums.  Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Change in Tactics, Location Lead to First Fish of 2012

I had blanked for four outings in a row.  It was time for a change. So, I tried a spot in the upper Bay that had not been good in the past in January.  Hey, I figured it's a crazy year and this spot just might produce.  And, tonight proved to be just another of those crazy nights. 

There were fish breaking here and there in this spot.  Some type of small bait (shrimp or small baitfish?) would start skipping on the surface and WHOSH, a bass would come up to grab it.  Fish breaking in January chasing bait....CRAZY!  These fish, however, were fussy.  I was only able to catch one schoolie on the ole reliable 3-inch Zoom fluke.  After no other hits, I switched to a tiny 1/8 oz. bucktail jig spiced with a one inch curly tail. That did the trick as I landed 6 more schoolies and had at least another 5 fish on.  Realize, though, I could only get a hit when I casted to a breaking fish. I got no hits and no fish if I didn't cast to a jump.  So, my first fish of 2012 are in the books. Let the games begin!

Saturday, January 7, 2012


I have now blanked four times in a row in the upper Bay and the Providence River.  There was a flurry of activity around Christmas and for a few nights afterwards there were some fish around.  Then, the action died.  Fish are nowhere to be found right now in this beautiful winter weather, and fishermen are also nowhere to be found as I'm guessing many are giving up after blanking over and over again.
Just a short five or six years ago I was catching a thousand stripers a winter in this area.  Now, I am hoping to get a fish or two an outing.  I figure I will be lucky to catch 50 fish this winter. The numbers of stripers in the Bay have been way down in the last couple of years, and we are seeing the result of that in winter fishing.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Blanked on Jan.1

I hope this is not a sign of things to come in 2012.  For the first time in many, many,  years, I did not catch a striper on Jan. 1.  Oh, I tried, fishing the upper Bay in the afternoon and again at night.  The only thing I was able to catch was 2 white perch (see photo) on jigs intended for stripers.  I also saw about 10-15 other guys fishing yesterday as they, too, were hoping to catch a New Year's Day striper.  They all blanked also.  Suddenly, the winter fishing has completely died as I've caught nothing in my last three outings, and I have seen only one other fish caught.  Not good, but really a reflection of the poor numbers of stripers we had in the upper Bay in summer and fall.