Friday, August 31, 2012

Outlook for Labor Day Weekend

Nothing has really changed.  As I write this the temperature hovers near 90 degrees and the water along the Bay and oceanfront is like bathwater.  So, fishing for stripers and blues is less than ideal, and downright slow in most places.  However, there is bait around that comes and goes and where there is a lot of bait, you have a decent chance at finding blues by day and stripers after dark.
For shore fishermen looking for stripers and big blues, the breachways along the south shore offer the best bets at this time of year.  They will be crowded on the outgoing tides at night, the best times to hit these spots for a "lucky" keeper bass or a large blue.  By day, the blues are hit or miss depending on the bait.  I have no recommendations for good spots.  It could happen anywhere along the oceanfront or the lower Bay.
For boat fishermen with big boats, Block Island continues to be the hotspot for large bluefish and keeper bass.  It's a different world out there compared to the inshore waters.  Inshore, the best bet by far for small boat fishermen is fishing bottom for black sea bass (see phot of recent catch)  and large scup, which are plentiful along the south shore in 40-60 feet of water.  Squid strips on fluke rigs are hot tickets to success.  You've probably heard rumors about false albacore around.  I guess there may have been at least one fish caught along the oceanfront, and the reports jump all over this.  Truth is that these sought after gamefish are not really around in abundance in RI right now.  I'm guessing about two more weeks.
Finally, think about freshwater if you want guaranteed action.  Largemouth bass fishing continues to be hot in this heat, and they are around in abundance in most spots. Plastic worms, crank baits and topwater plugs are all good choices.  Fish early or late in the day to avoid the yahoos that will be hitting the water in force during the daytime hours.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

"Hat Trick".....Latest On The Water Story

This month's issue (September) of On the Water magazine is running my latest story called "Hat Trick".  The story focuses on September fishing along the RI oceanfront from shore and boat and deals with catching the Big 3 of fall fishing which are stripers, bluefish and false albacore. I have landed the hat trick many times from both shore and boat in recent years.  The story outlines ways to catch all three, some general spots and lures that work when the prevalent bait is bay anchovies. 
Besides my story some other interesting stories appear in this month's issue that were written by friends of mine.  Brendan Richards, one of the premier young surfcasters in this state, wrote a very informative article called "Shore-Bound Hardtails".  His story focuses solely on catching false albacore and is loaded with tips and techniques that are sure to catch.  Another friend of mine, Nick Pacelli, penned an interesting freshwater article called "Granite State Late-Summer Trout".  This article tells about some beautiful and productive "off the road" as well as "off the beaten path" trout spots to fish in the White Mountains of NH in the fall.
If you are looking for more information about On The Water magazine or subsciption information, check out their website at . You can also find this magazine in many book stores and tackle shops.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Lots of Action with Blues, Sea Bass, Scup and Fluke

Today I went out fishing with my brother in his boat.  We fished along the south shore, mostly down toward Green Hill and Charlestown.  Our intent was to fish bottom with fluke rigs spiced with squid strips.  The action was very good with a variety of fish as we caught many legal black sea bass, a load of large scup and several undersized fluke.  As  we were hauling these fish upwards from the bottom, increasing numbers of terns started hitting the water around us.  Then, blues started breaking here and there feeding on the glut of bait that was forming around us.  We traded our fluke rigs for poppers and landed several blues.  The blues went 5-7 lbs.and were very aggressive.  Biggest surprise of the day for me was a huge scup that measured 15 inches long (see photo at right).  The scup hit a homemade fluke rig that had chartreuse bucktail added onto the hook that dangled ahead of spinners and beads.  The rig had a squid strip attached.

It is evident that there is a load of bait around the south shore oceanfront, and today it was centered around Nebraska Shoals.  There is also a load of bait, a combination of small bait and snapper blues, all around Galilee, out front and in the pond in back.  It's a powder keg waiting to explode.  I suspect that within the next few weeks we will see a big influx of bluefish, false albacore and striped bass as water temperatures begin to drop.  Only a matter of time with all this bait around.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Once Again, Freshwater is Best Bet

I haven't been posting much these days because I haven't been catching much in saltwater.  With hot weather, crowds along the oceanfront and poor fishing for stripers from shore here in RI, I have turned my attention to freshwater where the action has been very good.  Tonight I went out carp fishing and landed three decent fish with one fish going in the high teens and two more in the low twenty pound range (see photo).  Two nights ago, I hit another spot in nearby MA and landed 12 smaller carp.

While I have been doing my carp thing, my son, Jon, has been pounding the largemouths locally landing 16 largemouths in the last two outings this week.  He's gotten some bruisers also with several fish over four and five pounds (see photo of 5+ lber. landed tonight).  With saltwater fishing poor and gas at close to 4 bucks a gallon, it makes sense to fish freshwater close to home.  Besides, it has been real productive.
For those complaining about the poor saltwater fishing or for those staying home just waiting for the fall, why not give freshwater a try. Summer doldrums?  Not in freshwater if you target largemouths or big carp.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Milestone: Blog Reaches Quarter of a MILLION Hits

The blog reached a quarter of a million hits today.  Those numbers are astronomical, and they are certainly a testament to the interest in striped bass fishing here in RI. The interest has been especially high this summer, a summer in which striper fishing has been especially poor. Hmm, I'm guessing that many fishermen out there are looking for information or hints of good fishing.  Rest assured, it's coming as soon as we get rid of this warm weather and the water begins to cool. There's a lot of bait around, the key to luring migrating and hungry stripers close to shore in the fall.  It is only a matter of time.  Stay tuned to the blog as I plan to continue bringing you real and honest fishing reports, info on the hot plugs and artificials that are working, info on other fish that are biting and places to fish here in RI and southern New England.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Bottom Feeders Abundant; NO Blues or Stripers

I got out yesterday in my brother's boat in the daytime.  We fished and scouted around the oceanfront from Narragansett to Green Hill.  We found no big pods of bait, no bluefish and no stripers.  We saw small, snapper blues occasionally hitting small bait, but that was about it for the fish that were visible.  However, there were good numbers of fish along the bottom with black sea bass, fluke and scup around in good numbers.  However, most of these fish were throwbacks as we only got one keeeper fluke, several legal black sea bass and several keeper scup.
The fish that were most plentiful were fluke as they were under small pods of tiny bait that were being hit by snapper blues. Between four guys in the boat, we landed about 35 fluke.  The hot ticket to catching these fish were bucktail jigs spiced with either curly tails or squid strips. Unfortunately, most of these fish were 14-16 inches with one lone fish going 18 1/2 inches. All but one had to be released. You see, here in RI we have these ridiculous regs that allow commercial guys to keep 14 inch fluke while the recreational fishermen have a length limit of 18 1/2 inches. Doesn't make any sense to me.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Back to Marginal Fishing

I got out last night fishing for stripers along the deeper and cooler waters of Jamestown.  I fished with a friend of mine for two hours after dark and came away with one schoolie that measured about 23 inches (see photo). The fish hit a black, skinny Hogy. That was the only hit either one of us had.
Welcome back to marginal August fishing.  I didn't fish the south shore because my brother is there on vacation and reports poor fishing.  This past Saturday a front came through with thunderstorms, wind and rough water  and since then the fishing has gone downhill.  The bait schools seem to have dissipated and the big numbers of small bluefish are gone.  My brother got out in his boat on two days and came away with a couple of black sea bass and a couple of small fluke.  So, it looks like it's back to marginal fishing that is so typical in August.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Glut of Bait Attracting All Kinds of Fish

I hit the oceanfront again yesterday.  Unlike the previous day, the water was calm due to a north wind, and any bait that was around was very visible.  Upon arriving at the beach, I scanned the surfline.  What I saw looked like a thick black line that paralleled the shore.  It was all bait, massive numbers of bay anchovies, that seemed as wide as a two lane road.  In addition, there were dark patches of bait here and there way out that were about the size of a school gym.  The bait way out was being attacked sporadically by roving pods of bluefish.  Sometimes you'd see several schools of blues working in different locations.
In my previous post, I told about millions of bluefish I found two days ago.  Well, big numbers of blues were still around yesterday as my son, Jon, and I landed 40 of them on poppers (see photo of jon landing a fish at right).  But, there are increasing numbers of other fish all being lured close to shore by the bait.  In places the bottom seems to be paved with undersized fluke.  We landed 20 of those on bucktail jigs when the blues weren't breaking.  At one point Jon landed fluke on six casts in a row.  We also caught good numbers of sea robins while fishing for fluke.  I also did see several keeper bass tear through bait schools that were almost at my feet.  The stripers, though, seemed to be loners and not interested in hitting anything as they keyed on this tiny half inch to an inch baitfish (see photo of bait at left).
So, we are in a rare dead of summer glut of fish right now.  While stripers continue to be in short supply, bluefish and fluke are around in astronomical numbers. So, I am taking what's available and having a great time with it!