Thursday, June 28, 2012

Even the Canal Turns Inconsistent

The hottest striper spot from shore is turning inconsistent like most of the other places in southern New England. I went down yesterday evening with my son, Ben, and we saw the usual flash mob of fishermen lined up along the canal waiting for the fish to come around with the high tide and the switch westward of the canal currents.  Things started off hot. On Ben's first cast he nailed a 30 inch keeper  (see photo) on a needlefish.  It got everyone around us all excited and casting, and plugs started hitting the water like a sudden rain shower.  Another guy hooked up next to us and another further down hooked up also.  But, like a quick cloudburst, it was all done within fifteen minutes and not another fish was landed in the two and a half hours we stayed.  Word from some of the sharpies is that the canal fished poorly yesterday with only a few fish around.  Monday and Tuesday evenings, however, were hot with everyone hooking up.
With the canal, the fishing is all dependent on the bait (mackerel) moving through.  If the bait is around, the fishing can be wild; no bait and it's poor.  So, inconsistency has come to the hot waters of the canal.  In my mind, it is still worth a try since the place is still the best bet to hit it big from shore in southern New England right now.

Monday, June 25, 2012

RI Fastest Warming State in US!

Well. I'm not surprised by this news story that says RI is the fastest warming state in the US.  Here is the quote.

"A new report from Climate Central, a research and public outreach program, says global warming is causing some states to heat up faster than others.

The group analyzed temperature increased over the past 100 years and highlighted the ten states that saw the highest temperature increase.

Climate Central suggests the warming is caused partly by natural climate changes and atmospheric aerosoles (which block solar radiation).

Scientists say the pace of warming increased dramatically in the 1970's. That mirrors the time frame when the effect of greenhouse gases began to become widespread.

We begin with the fastest warming state in the U.S., which lies staunchly in the Northeast corridor."

The report goes on to list RI as the number one fastest warming state in the US followed by MA.  This spells trouble for striper fishermen.  We already know that summer striper fishing in inshore waters in the last five years has fallen down like a lead balloon and it continues to worsen as we move on. We are on a trend that will put this summer as the slowest I have ever seen.  In addition, water temperatures (at least in the Bay) are about the highest I have ever seen and not comfortable for striped bass. I suspect the fishing will not perk up until the fall.

If you want to  read the entire climate report check out this link:


Friday, June 22, 2012

Water in Bay Hits 80 Degrees!

Want to know why the striper fishing in the Bay has hit the skids in the last week?  Check out this NOAA site This afternoon the water temperature at Conimicut hit 81 degrees.  In past years it was rare for the Bay water to hit 80 degrees anytime during the summer.  Water that warm will drive everything out to deeper water including bluefish.  Much of the rise in water temperature has been due to the current heat wave.  Also, with the mild (or should I say hot) winter we had the water never really cooled off and has been running 8-10 degrees above normal all spring.  That's why we were catching stripers in March.  Welcome to global warming.  It looks like it is going to be a long and poor summer of striper fishing in the Bay and inshore waters if water temperatures remain anywhere near this level.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Cooler Water Better Bet

It is that time of the year when there is a wide variation in water temperatures in RI.  I checked a NOAA site today and they reported the water temperature at mid Bay, Conimicut, to be 74 degrees while it was a cool 67 degrees off Newport.  That is a big difference and it makes a big difference in the fishing.
Yesterday evening I fished down at Jamestown, a cool water spot.  Right away, I noticed the coolness through my boots as the water seemed about 10 degrees cooler than the previous night of fishing in the upper Bay.  That cool water spot got me 3 hefty schoolies on 6 inch white Hogys right at dark (see pic at right).  I also had quite a few more hits.  I blanked the previous night in the seventy degree bath waters of the upper Bay.  If you are looking for some action right now with stripers, think cooler water.  Those deep water places around Jamestown, Newport, Narragansett, and Block Island are the best bets for striper action right now in RI. It also helps to fish the cooler hours of daybreak, dusk and nighttime.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

My guess is that most fishermen out there were taught to fish by their fathers. I know that is the case in our family. My father had three sons and we all turned out to be lifetime fishermen. We were taught at an early age how to fish and grew up catching bluegills and largemouths in the local ponds. From there, my father taught us how to fly fish, catch trout and even tie flies. In the wintertime, the kitchen table would turn into our fly tying operation. When we became teenagers, my father got into saltwater striper fishing in the 1960’s and that began a lifetime passion for me. My father bought an old four wheel drive jeep back then, and we would head to the sands of the Cape or the south shore or RI to fish for striped bass right off the beach. Back then you could venture everywhere on the beaches without regulations or permits and we did! After the Jeep, he bought an old bread truck which he made into a camper that we used on weekends and vacations to fish for stripers and blues. For all those who have the high priced campers of today, imagine 5 people and a dog sleeping in a bread truck for a week. We loved it! I have to credit and thank my father for everything I know about fishing today.

Today,I am fortunate to have four sons of my own and all love to fish. I took them since they were babies, often surf fishing with my son, Matt, in a backpack on my back. We only headed in when it was time for a diaper change! As the other kids arrived, I would often take three or four kids in tow to the local ponds and in the Bay, usually pushing at least one kid in a carriage. My four boys are all into fishing. Matt loves the excitement of boat fishing for everything from stripers to albacore. Ben is my surf guy, a real sharpie who has become a great student of the game. Chris, my famous baseball ballplayer son, likes to fish the surf for schoolies and blues. And, Jon, my youngest son, is passionate about freshwater bass fishing and gets them with the ease of a pro. Aside from fishing, they all turned out to be very good students, good people and they have made good choices with friends and girlfriends. I am lucky.

Friday, June 15, 2012

What You Need to Know About the Canal

Every report you read about striper fishing from shore points to the Cape Cod Canal as the hottest area to fish in New England right now for keeper stripers.  I've been fishing this place on and off for several years now and have discovered a few things that might be helpful for a beginner.  Here goes.
1.  Get to this website, It will give you all the info you need to know about tides, access, rules, etc.
2.  Hotspots-  The east end of the Canal is the place to be in the summertime.  The Sandwich side has less guys and less fish in my opinion but can be hot at times.  The Scusset side has more fishermen and more fish.  There is a fee to park at Scusset; the other side is free.
3.  Best tide- Definitely the high dropping.  If you look at the tide charts from the website above, you will notice times of the high tide in Sandwich.  The water in the Canal starts moving to the west (best movement) an hour before the high tide.  The best tide to fish is from the high tide to 2-3 hours down. Water has to be really moving for it to be good.  Also, those moon tides with a single or double asterisk are far better tides because they offer more water movement.
4.  Best times- If you have the right tides, by far the best times are daybreak and dusk.  After dark can also be good. Overcast days are better than sunny days, but if the bait is around high noon can produce.
5.  Best lures- Jigs on the bottom, pencil poppers on the surface, skinny plastic swimmers in a mackerel color.  Hottest lure this year has been a Daiwa Salt Pro Minnow.  You can't even find them online as guys as buying them out.
6.  Equipment-  Most fishermen go big in here because a long cast is beneficial as fish will break a lot of time way out.  Standard equipment for most fishermen is a rod in the 9-12 foot range, braided line (30-40 lb.) and big spinning reels.  You will see guys along here who can cast a pencil popper out 300-400 feet.
I admit to not being an expert on canal fishing, but the info above will certainly be helpful to beginners.  Good luck if you try.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Canal On FIRE

Wow, what I saw last night was spectacular.  I knew the Cape Cod Canal had fish because my son, Ben, has been fishing there with good success, averaging about 5 keepers an outing.  He has been fishing some days both morning and night, scoring equally at both ends of the day.
Yesterday, I decided to give it a try in the evening.  I went down with my sons, Matt and Ben, along with Matt's friend Mike. Things were slow at first with a couple of fish here and there in the daylight.  But, once dusk came and darkness arrived, the fish turned on big time.  The four of us landed over 20 keepers caught on a combination of Hogys as well as mackerel colored swimmers.  We had nothing huge with mostly fish in the 30-36 inch range.  But, I saw a good number of fish dragged out of the canal that had to reach in the 40-46 inch range, some fish that easily weighed over 40 lbs.  All the reports claim that this hot fishing has been going on for over a week now and these reports are absolutely true. This is all being fueled by an influx of bait, mainly small mackerel, butterfish and sandeels.  On any given tide, there are well over a hundred fishermen lining the canal, and at times everyone is hooking fish.  My son, Ben, reports that a couple of days ago he estimated at least 200 keepers were landed in a short stretch of a couple of hours.

I am guessing there are more keepers from shore right now in the canal than the entire state of RI has to offer from shore.  It's a good night if you can get one or two keepers from shore in RI.  On the other hand, you have fishermen who are landing 15-20 keepers in just a couple of hours when the action is hot in the Canal.  On Fire!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Foot Long Blues Invade Bay; Stripers Scarse

Foot long bluefish have invaded Narragansett.  They seem to be everywhere whether you fish from shore or fish from a boat. The odd thing is that they are not schooled up.  You see individual fish breaking here and there whenever any bait comes around.
Last night I tried a mid Bay spot.  Right away I saw a blue jump in front of me so I knew this was going to be night in which I would not use the expensive skinny plastic.  In fact, anything plastic would be chopped to shreds.  So, I snapped on my ole reliable 3/8 oz. flathead bucktail jig with a plastic curly tail.  It did wonders as I landed 7 bluefish and one lone schoolie.  And, at the end of the night, the durable bucktail jig was still intact. The blues I caught were spitting up bay anchovies once ashore.  I also noticed good numbers of sandeels in the water, so there is a variety of bait to keep the blues eating.  Meanwhile, striper numbers are way down in the Bay right now.  I suspect it is due to warm water.  Last night's water felt like bathwater to the touch....not good for stripers.

So, looks like bluefish is THE show right now in the Bay.  Get yourself a light rod, some bucktail jigs and curly tails and enjoy the action.  They will probably stick around until the fall.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Quite the Day in Buzzards Bay

I'm moving around a lot more these days looking for fish.  Yesterday, my brother Steven, my son Matt, and I went to Buzzards Bay in Steve's boat.  There we caught tons of fish and landed five different species of fish.  Boy, you certainly knew you were no longer in RI.  The afternoon started off with some rough water so we decided to take a run through the canal and try the east end near Sandwich. We got nothing there but found tons of big bass breaking in a spectacular display in the east end of the Canal where you could not fish from a boat.  So, it was back to Buzzards Bay where we started jigging bucktail jigs.  We started catching one good size black sea bass after another on just about every drift.  Some of these were HUGE, going 5-6 lbs., mayber larger!  The best bet to catch these was to use a 1/2 oz. bucktail jig with a plastic curly tail and just drift and bounce the offering off the bottom.  In all we landed at least 35 black sea bass with most of them keepers.  In the mix we also landed some scup and two fluke.  From there we headed toward the boat landing in Wareham.  On the way in we hit a massive school of stripers.  It was wild with birds diving, bait spraying and fish breaking in a large area of the bay.  Using Cocahoes on jigheads, we landed at least 40 schoolies and a lone bluefish in less than an hour.  The schoolies were all sizes from small ones to near keeper size.  So, quite the afternoon/evening with 5 different species of fish and lots of them.  Nothing in RI that I have seen in the last month could compare to the action we had today.  Buzzards Bay turned out to be quite the place!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Fishing and Baseball

Fishing and baseball.....that's been a big part of our lives in the Pickering family for the last 25 years.  All of my four sons have been quite successful at both.  However, my son, Chris, has taken it to a level few will ever experience.  Yesterday, he was selected in the Major League Baseball draft by the San Francisco Giants in the 32nd round.  He heads to Phoenix, AZ, this weekend to begin his major league career in what they call "summer short season" in the minor leagues.
You've seen Chris many times on this blog fishing.  He loves to fish, but rarely did he have time for it with all the demands of baseball.  He is a left handed pitcher who has been very successful due to a lot of hard work, time and effort, similar to the recipe for success in fishing.  In Little League, he actually pitched in World Series when he was 12 years old.  In high school, he was a two time all stater as an outfielder and a pitcher.  In college, he pitched for 4 years at URI knocking off some big wins from top 30 teams.  Last summer, he pitched in the Cape Cod League, about the top league in the country for college ball players. There,  he was very successful and was noticed by a lot of pro scouts.  So, it moves on with the dream to pitch in the pros.

I don't know where all this is going, but I do know that next fall I'll be out surf fishing with a pro ball player.  We are very proud of his accomplishments.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Some New Gadgets on the Blog

You may have noticed a few new items on the Blog.  The first is a new counter from Blogger that will better track the hits on this site.  We are quickly heading to a quarter of a million hits. Yikes!
The second new item is a search engine just for this blog located under the counter.  It is really neat.  Just type in your topic and past blog entries come up that have to do with what you are looking for.  It saves you time and energy searching through past posts.  Ah, technology!  Enjoy the new gadgets.

What Works in One Spot May Not Work in Another

Last night I fished the ocean for a change.  I had been doing well in the lower Bay on the low end of the tide, but I lost the tide in that location. So, I fished the oceanfront in one of my high tide spots.  I started off with my pink Hogy, a lure that had been working well for me in low light and poor weather conditions at the oceanfront.  One the first cast, a schoolie came up and smacked it, but didn't take it.  I had several more hits but no takers.  So, time for a switch in lures.  I snapped on a Red Gill teaser rig with a small 6 inch white Hogy, a good choice for finicky fish.  This combo had been deadly earlier in the week in the lower Bay and I was sure this would catch these fussy schoolies.  Nothing doing.  They wouldn't even whirl at it.  So, I went back to my pink Hogy and continued to get hits and eventually got one fish.  It all points out that what works in one spot does not necessarily produce in another.  That's what makes fishing so interesting and complex.  Trial and error as well as experience often will point you in the direction of what produces.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Very Good Outing

I made the move away from the upper Bay to the cooler waters southward yesterday evening.  It paid off with the best evening of fishing I have had in weeks.  The score for the night was 13 stripers from 18-26 inches and a lone blue.

If you get The Fisherman magazine, you'll see I have an article in this week's issue ( May31) titled Imitating Sand Eels.  Those tactics outlined in that article worked like a charm on last night's fish.  There was a lot of small bait around so I went with a teaser (Red Gill, see photo on right) rigged ahead of a 6 inch white Hogy.  That rig landed 3 double headers (see photo on left).  For the night, I got about half the fish on the teaser and half on the Hogy.  A teaser rig will be one of your prime offerings in the coming weeks when there will be a combination of small sandeels around as well as other small bait.  Right now is prime time to start adding a teaser to your leader.