Thursday, May 31, 2012

2 Guys All Day in Boat.....1 Bass

My brother and I gave the upper and mid Bay one last shot today.  We spent all day in the boat fishing live menhaden in a number of good spots.  The results were one lone keeper bass of 33 inches (see photo).  Not good.
Once again, the upper Bay was saturated with menhaden.  There were acres and acres of them, and we could have snagged a barrel full  in no time.  However, except for a few pesky blues around those schools there were no stripers to be found. We had quite a few that we were livelining chopped by large blues.  The lone bass we were able to catch was in a mid Bay location in about 25 feet of water.  The bay water today was a warm 72-73 degrees everywhere we traveled.  That is way above normal for this time of year and could be one reason for the poor fishing. The other reason....simply, there are not that many large stripers around the Bay this year.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bay Water Heats Up; Fishing Cools Off

A NOAA website lists the bay water temperature today at Conimicut, which is mid Bay, at 71 degrees.  In the last few days those reading have ranged from 71 to 74 degrees.  That sudden warm up has sent the stripers packing from the upper Bay waters.  I have not taken a striper in my last three outings in the upper Bay in various spots.  I got out last night and landed four bluefish and two fluke on bucktail jigs.  Yes, fluke from shore.  They usually are not around until late June, but water temps right now are what we see in late June and the Bay is fishing that way.
I suspect there is an exodus of stripers right now that are dropping down to the lower Bay and oceanfront.  This usually happens in mid to late June, but it is happening far earlier this year because of our mild weather and warm temperatures all spring.  Places like Jamestown and Newport as well as the oceanfront have deeper and cooler water (at least 5-7 degrees cooler) and more to the liking of striped bass at this time. So, as my brother said this weekend when referring to Bay striper fishing, "Put a fork in it because it is all done. "  I have to agree.  It's off to the oceanfront if you are looking for the best striper action.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Best Bets for Memorial Day Weekend

Oh, this is a tough weekend if you are a striper fisherman.  Just about everywhere you go along the Bay as well as the oceanfront there will be people and disruptions.  It is not ideal for fishing.  However, here's a few tips that might just get you some fish.

Bay-  If you fish from a boat, the Bay is loaded with menhaden and there are a few decent fish under them.  My son, Matt, took a 36 inch bass yesterday livelining menhaden.  There are also schools of fish popping up here and there after smaller bait.  Matt and my brother Steve landed a half dozen stripers up to 34 inches while plugging with Storm Shads under breaking fish.  If you are going out in a boat, the early morning bite has been the best.  If you fish the shore, try to fish at and after dark.  Things settle down after dark and the fish are now actively hitting at that time.  I got out last night and had two decent fish on (lost them) at dark and I saw several fish break.  Skinny plastic (Hogys or Slug Gos) have been hot.
Oceanfront-  If you are fishing from a boat, try the salt ponds.  Worm hatches are going on at this time and you should find numbers of breaking fish if the worms are hatching.  Small three inch Slug Gos have been hot. Fish them with light tackle or off a float.  Fly fishing is also good in the worn hatches.  From shore I would  target the breachways and the backwaters in early morning and at and after dark. Skinny plastic or small swimmers will be your best bet.  There are good numbers of small keepers (28-34 inches) around, decent fish to catch on light tackle in the backwaters.
Freshwater- If you want to avoid the drive to the ocean or Bay, why not try freshwater.  I got out this week a couple of times with my son, Jon, to fish for largemouth bass and we got good numbers of them up to 5 lbs.(see photo). They are really hitting plastic worms right now.  Jon loves that 5 inchYamamoto worm in a black color. You'd be surprised at how good freshwater is and how few people are doing it.

Monday, May 21, 2012

PINK Hogy Works Wonders Today

My son, Chris, needed help moving back home from Narragansett today.  So, I figured I would get down to the oceanfront early and fish a bit in the daytime and move his stuff later.  It was a good move.
I found decent numbers of keeper bass and landed three good fish from 30-37 inches thanks to my 9 inch, skinny pink Hogy.  At first I was using a white Slug Go.  I had a couple of whirls but no takers.  When I put the pink Hogy on, BANG, instant success with a thirty inch fish.  I got two more bigger fish to take it and had several more whirls and hits. In the past that pink Hogy has been a good producer in the daytime at this time of year, and it worked like a charm today.

I believe the fishing was good today because it was a lousy day weatherwise with northeast winds, a constant drizzle and fog.  The water was also rough.  These were all decent conditions to score in the daytime. I'm almost certain that a sunny day would have produced nothing.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Miles of Menhaden; No Big Fish

I went out in the boat yesterday in the upper Bay with my brother.  I have NEVER seen so many menhaden (pogies).  They were everywhere.  In some many locations, there were individual fish flipping on the surface; in other spots they were bunched up in schools.  This went on for MILES.  Yet, no big fish were after them.  We snagged a number of them and livelined them in some high percentage spots (past years), and the only thing we came away with was two chopped pogies from bluefish bites.
So, where are the big fish?  I'm talking big stripers over 36 inches and large bluefish over ten pounds.  They are nowhere to be found.  As far as big fish, the Bay has been a big disappointment thus far with very few big ones around.  With the loads of big bait around and the warming waters, we should have an abundance of large fish, but we don't. Heck, there are no even many boat fishermen around as the word has gotten out that the fishing for large fish is poor.
On the other hand, we do have good numbers of small keeper bass around.  Most of these fish, 28-32 inches, are way in the backwaters of the Bay in places like rivers and estuaries.  In those places they are feeding on small bait such as shrimp and small baitfish.  These smaller keepers are not capable of taking large menhaden, and that's why we are not seeing them under the schools of big bait.
So, unless things perk up very quickly, and I don't think that will happen, it's looking like a poor spring in the Bay for big stripers and large bluefish.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Check Out This Story in The Fisherman Magazine

If you are looking for information on one of the hottest artificial combos to use for stripers right now, check out this week's issue (May 17, issue #20)  of The Fisherman magazine.  I wrote a feature article titled "Stripers on the Float 'n' Plastic.  The article outlines everything you need to know about fishing the float and plastic rig from rigging to actual fishing to spots this might work.  It is one of the deadliest lure combos to catch stripers (schoolies as well as keepers) from shore, especially when fishing windy and rough conditions.
This article is the first of many that I will be writing for The Fisherman this year.  I met the new editor, Toby Lapinski, at one of the big shows this winter and he told me he goes to my blog just about every day.  He also said he read everything I wrote years ago when he started striper fishing.  Well, I was flattered. So, when he asked if I had any ideas for stories for The Fisherman, I was quick to reply.
The Fisherman magazine is sold at numerous tackle stores around the state.  For subscription info, call 860-572-0564.

Hot Schoolie Fishing in Nasty Weather

The last three evenings have featured some nasty weather with rain, thunderstorms, cold and wind.  However, the fishing for schoolies has been real good in  the Bay.  I landed a total of 31 fish in  the last three evenings.  They ranged from tiny ones to fish of 24 inches.  I got no keepers.  The hot ticket has been plastics.  The three inch Zoom fluke with a lightweight jighead has done most of the damage, but I also scored using a float and Slug-Go combo (see photo).  If I had the choice I would much rather fish in nasty weather than beautiful sunny weather.  The fish are far easier to fool and more active in the lousy weather. And, there are far less fishermen around.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Boys Outfish the Old Man Today

What can I say.  I taught them everything they know about fishing so on occasion, the sons show up the father. It happened that way tonight. First off, my son, Ben, is out slugging it out in the rough and stormy surf along the oceanfront.  Smart boy....I taught him far better to fish rough water than calm conditions.  And, it paid off today as he landed a 33 inch striper (see photo at right) along with a decent schoolie while tossing a float and Cocahoe into white water.  My son, Jon, went out with me in the upper Bay.  Tough conditions tonight with a very strong wind, dirty water and a big tide.  Well, Jon got the only fish, a decent size one (see photo at left) that was close to keeper size that he nailed on a Zoom fluke on a jighead.  So, the boys showed up the father tonight.  Hey, I'll get 'em back this week!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

In a Slowdown

We're in a slowdown.  I was catching 8-10 stripers an outing several weeks ago and now I'm getting 3 or 4 an outing.  I'm fishing mostly in Narrragansett Bay, but my son Ben is fishing the oceanfront and he reports the same thing going on there.  My brother is fishing from his boat and he, too, reports slow going.  Maybe it's the weather.  We are in a cold spell with below average temperatures.  It's also been rainy.  In the last ten days the water temperature in the Bay has actually dropped 6-10 degrees depending on where you are.  On the bright side, I do think the average fish is a bit larger than several weeks ago.  Tonight I landed exactly three fish from shore.  They were all in the 20-26 inch range (see photo of biggest).  Those are decent size schoolies compared to some of the tiny fish we were getting weeks back.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Sad News....Tim Coleman Passes Away

The RI saltwater fishing community lost a giant today as Tim Coleman, long time editor of the Fisherman magazine, passed away.  The Providence Journal is reporting that his body was found in back of Weekapaug Breachway.   Here is the link:
While I never fished with Tim, I knew him from my dealings at The Fisherman magazine and I spoke with him many times.  You knew from talking with him he had a passion for fishing and it was something he truly loved, whether it was casting from shore for stripers or blues or hauling in codfish from a boat.  He was one of my favorite writers of all time, and his passion for fishing always came through in his magazine articles and editorials. He will be missed. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

First Bluefish

Some are going to cheer this news; others are sure to curse.  I got my first bluefish of the year tonight from shore in the Bay while fishing with a Slug Go for stripers (see pic).  The blue went about five pounds.  This is very early for bluefish, but everything has been early this year so I am not surprised at this catch.  Whether there are a lot of them or not, I don't know.  I have been taking keeper bass just about every evening in the last week on skinny plastic, but I landed none tonight though I had a couple of good fish on.  Bluefish can be real pests when you are fishing skinny plastic as they will often cut these expensive offerings to shreds.  But, hey, unlike many striper guys, I do like catching blues. So, I am cheering their presence!