Tuesday, November 27, 2012

New Fishing and Outdoor Show Coming to Worcester

I know many of you have come to the very popular "Worcester Show" in the past.  Last year that show was run by the ASA (American Sportfishing Association).  They are no longer doing the show.  However, a new group called Davis Productions has taken over.  The show is now called the New England Fishing and Outdoor Expo. It is coming to the DCU Center in Worcester, MA from Feb. 8-10.  The planning for the show has been in the works for many months now and it appears that this show will be as good as any out there.  It will feature fishing (freshwater and saltwater), hunting and just about anything else related to the outdoors.  They have put together and impressive list of seminars and speakers.  The ole show favorites like the stocked Trout Pond and the Birds of Prey will be back.  And, they already have a long list of exhibitors who have committed to the show.  It looks like a great time and a chance to escape the winter doldrums.
I will be at the show doing seminars on striper fishing and carp fishing on Saturday and Sunday.  For more information about the show, see http://www.newenglandfishingexpo.com/

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Do You Cook Your Catch?

If so, you might be interested in a new cookbook that just came out from the On the Water Bookstore, http://store.onthewater.com/merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=OTW&Category_Code=books
The book, titled Cooking the Catch, Vol. 2 was written by Dave "Pops" Masch who writes a popular monthly column in On the Water magazine. Pops shares recipes for each month of the year.  He explains the means to catch, cook, clean,and eat the bounty we enjoy here in the northeast. I was reading through some of the recipes and my mouth was watering just thinking about trying some.  This book would make a great Christmas gift for anyone who likes to cook seafood.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Unexpectedly Good

This is the time of year where you just never know what to expect. Most fishermen have given up on the oceanfront as there has been almost no one fishing all week. I reported that the fishing was dying out over a week ago, but I was wrong.  Earlier in the week my son Ben called me from the oceanfront.  He was out fishing and tried all the usual late fall hotspots with no success.  He asked if I had any suggestions where he might find some fish.  I told him a story about what happened to me about 20 years ago.  At the time, late November, the fishing had been pretty much dead for a week and everyone gave up, but I decided to go try anyway.  I went on a whim to a location off the beaten path where no one fishes in late fall.  And, yes, I found fish, tons of them.  I told him to try that spot.  Two hours later he called back reporting he caught a good number of stripers.  They were all schoolies but some were near keeper size.  I went down the next day to the same location and on my third cast a keeper grabbed my shrimp fly teaser.  I got quite a few more schoolies that evening.
So, you just never know at this time of year.  Just when you think the fishing is dying out a pod of fish comes through, and it can be hot for a day or two. It will continue like this for the next couple of weeks along the oceanfront.  You have to just get out and give it a try.  My suggestion is to move around a lot and look at different spots.  Schoolies will be the fish that are most abundant and they will readily take single hooked jigs (Cocahoes on jigheads or small bucktails) that will cause little or no damage to the fish.  However, don't be surprised if you hook a keeper or a large bluefish in the mix.  It can happen at this time of year.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Disgruntled Reader Offensive and Way Off Base

My blog reaches thousands of fishermen a week.  Most are appreciative of the information I post about techniques, reports, spots, trends, lures, etc. I meet hundreds of fishermen a year who thank me for the information I post. However, every once in a while, someone who doesn't like what I write comes along and wants to spew false information.  I got an e-mail from one of those guys this week.  Here it is:

I find that your tips and info on catching 12" striped bass to be irresponsible - if not pathetic. A person in your position shouldn't be exhorting the taking of these baby fish. These fish are easily damaged and should be left alone to go on their journey down south. It miffs me as to how someone over the age of 13 could enjoy catching 50-100 baby fish and then telling 100's or 1000's of others how to do the same. Even if you enjoy the challenge, you should have a bit more respect for these juvenile fish that are easily injured. I see from your own pictures that they are usually torn up in the mouth - and who knows what other harm you have done to them.

Please start respecting these fish and leave the the hell alone. If not, then please try not to influence others as they may not be as careful as you or I as far as release. Although after reading the SOL RI forum, it seems you aren't very careful afterall as you have been seen dragging fish up on the rocks. With all due respect - grow up.

Well,  let me respond.  I am not "taking" baby stripers.  When I cast my lure out, I am hoping for a big one also, but sometimes, small ones are what you have in front of you. With light tackle, they can be sporty to catch AND release. It's part of fishing and you see many of the best fishermen in the state out there fishing for schoolies and releasing them in spring and fall. Highly respected magazines run articles on schoolie fishing.  You are lecturing a guy who released EVERYTHING this year including countless keepers.  I haven't kept one striper.   I also go to great pains to try to minimise damage to the fish.  I often use single hooks, crush the barbs on trebles, and try to handle them with care.  You are way off base and don't know me if you think I don't treat them with respect.  I don't know where the "dragging fish up the rocks" came from, but that also is totally false.  Yes, sometimes when you are fishing high rock perches that happens, but once again, most experienced fishermen try to minimise that rough treatment as I do. Finally, I find your "grow up" comment to be highly offensive and unwarranted.  You are lecturing a guy who is 62 years old and has been fishing all his life and has made a lifelong commitment to conservation in my writings and in my actions. I've released over 50,000 stripers in my career with fish that reached all the way to 50 lbs. Very few fishermen out there will unhook a 50 lber., revive it, and watch it swim away.
Your e-mail was way, way off base and highly offensive.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Nearing the END

The first of ten schoolies landed today. 
Sad to say but the fishing along the oceanfront is coming to an end.  I went to the ocean today, and it just looked dead.  There were few fishermen around which is always a bad sign.  Except for a gannet here and there diving way out, I saw no evidence of any bait and the water was unusually rough and sandy in spots.  I fished that area from Matunuck to Charlestown, a real good stretch of shoreline at this time of year.  After four hours of fishing, it looked like I was going to blank and finally I got my first schoolie (see pic) at 3:30 in the afternoon.  Quickly, I landed 9 more in one particular spot on Cocahoes and teasers right before dark.  These were all very small fish running 12-15 inches.  These small ones are yet another sign that things are coming to an end.
So, I suspect there will be no grand finale this season.  I don't think the herring runs will develop and I think we have seen the last of the keeper bass and bluefish. This schoolie fishing could extend another few days, maybe a week or so. You might even stumble upon a real good schoolie day in the next week if you put in a lot of time and effort.
I've decided my strategy is to start hitting the winter spots that have holdover fish.  I suspect those places will start producing soon if they haven't already.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Anyone Lose This

Found in a south shore parking area yesterday....soft fly wallet with flies and teasers. Initials on the front "TPC".  Contact me by e-mail  if this is yours.
Update: The owner has been found!  I guess just about every fisherman in RI reads this blog!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Hot, Cold and In Between

I've been fishing along the oceanfront at the south shore for the last three days and I've had hot fishing, cold fishing and in between fishing.  On Saturday, schoolie fishing was as hot as it could be as my son Ben and I landed in excess of a hundred fish.  We went back to the same spot yesterday with about the same conditions, and our total for the day was three hickory shad and no stripers.  I went back today with my son Matt (see photo of Matt landing a double header).  We landed about 25 schoolies in the first 45 minutes we were there and then, poof, nothing.  Welcome to late fall fishing.  Yes, it can be a hit and miss deal.  That's why I preach that you need to move around to find the fish.  Yesterday and today we did try multiple spots with limited success.  Hey, fishing is not always great, but it sure was a beautiful weekend to get out and fish and spending the day with my sons fishing was great.

Four observations about this weekend's fishing.  I saw only one bluefish caught in three days.  Hard to believe, but they are not around.  Secondly, I saw and heard of no keeper bass caught in the last three days. Thirdly, most guys are using big plugs and catching nothing.  Cocahoes on jigheads (see photo) are slaying the schoolies which are feeding on small bait.  And lastly. rumors are swirling around about herring, but I have seen none which explains the lack of bluefish and keeper bass.  I will tell you, though, I did see about a dozen gannets flying in a flock today and hitting the water way out.  Maybe herring, maybe not.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Huge Numbers of Schoolies, Hickory Shad Invade Oceanfront

It was simply a glut of fish today.  I hit the south shore checking around different spots and fishing.  I can tell you that access and parking has greatly improved all over.  The fishing has also greatly improved as tons of schoolies as well as hickory shad are roaming various south shore beaches in search of schools of silversides that they are moving along the shoreline. I fished with my son Ben and his friend Harry, and we had a combined "over a hundred" schoolies with another forty or fifty hickory shad in the mix.  We were doing real well using a four inch white Cocahoe minnow on a half ounce jighead.  This was fished ahead of a shrimp fly teaser that dangled off our leader.  About half the fish took the Cocahoe and half took the teaser.  We had a lot of double headers (see photo).  The stripers were all schoolies, running 14-23 inches.  I saw lots of other fish caught.  There were no keeper bass and surprisingly, no bluefish.  I saw no gannets around today and no one reports seeing any big bait around (herring or menhaden) which explains the lack of keeper bass.
I am pleased to report that Charlestown Beach Rd. is now open to the breachway lot. It had been closed almost all week. The breachway lot has been all cleared of sand and 15 ft. high mounds of sand encircle the parking area.  Whoever cleared this lot and the road going in did a good job. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Next Week Should be Hot

I expect the next week to offer some of the best fishing of the fall along the RI shoreline.  That's the way it has played out the last few years and I see no reason why it won't happen again this year.  The storms are past us, the water has cleared and the forecast calls for tranquil seas, light winds and relatively storm free weather ahead of us.  People are seeing gannets all over the place along the oceanfront, an indication that big bait (ocean herring, maybe) is around. It has all the makings of a great week of fishing on the way.
I can tell you that today was a very good day of fishing, and hopefully this is a sign of things to come.  I was up in the Bay in the afternoon and evening just banging one schoolie after another.  At the same time, my son, Ben was at the oceanfront sitting on a glut of fish.  He reports catching over 50 schoolies as feeding fish were busting all around him all afternoon.  He was the only guy out fishing. 
So, it's back in business, and I am not surprised.  That is the way it is supposed to be at this time of year.  Hopefully, the access and parking issues have cleared up along the south shore.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Catching in the Rain, Snow and Ice

Zoom flukes on jigheads hot today.
Yes, that is ice and snow under my fish!
One great thing about RI is that you can always find stripers somewhere regardless of the time of year or the weather. Let's call today's outing a preview of winter fishing.  Yes, I did fish in the last two miserable days and I did catch some schoolies.  I was in a protected area in the upper Bay and I was moving around a lot, and the fish were there.  All the schoolies I landed were small, generally 15-18 inches, but very feisty.  They were all taken on albino Zoom flukes mounted on a half ounce jighead (see photo at right)  and fished with light tackle.  I'll be concentrating my efforts in the upper Bay in the next couple of days waiting for the oceanfront to calm down and clean up.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Game Over Unless Access and Parking Improve

Lot at Matunuck filled with sand.  Untouched by state.
Galilee parking lot closed yesterday but perfectly clear.
As of right now, don't waste your time and gas heading to the south shore to fish.  You'll be very frustrated with closed roads, access and parking problems, all of which have not been straightened out since the hurricane.  It's been a very slow response to get the beachfront parking areas open.  Much of it is due to incompetence and ineptitude on the state's part I believe.  For instance, some of the parking lots are still closed though they are completely clear.  This was the case with Galilee.  It was perfectly clean yesterday, though closed off with cones and caution tape.  Near the beach a few guys were shoveling sand off the stairs.  So, why the need to close the entire state parking lot?  At East Matunuck State Beach, crews were also working.  The road in was clear and half the parking lot was clear, so why was it all closed off.  Duh, open up the area that is clean and then clear the rest.  As for Charlestown, I called the police there today.  They said Charlestown Beach Road was open but they warned, "you will probably get a flat due to all the debris in the road." Well, get someone out there and clear the dam road!  They didn't know if the breachway state parking area was clear. And, at Matunuck, the state lot at Deep Hole was basically impassible due to sand unless you have a 4x4 vehicle.  This is a small lot that could be easily cleared in an hour with a bulldozer or plowing truck.  Yet, it is not getting done.  So, if you can't park and can't find a way to get into these areas along the south shore, you certainly can't fish.  It's game over unless things improve mighty quickly.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Report from Oceanfront

I went down and fished the oceanfront all day today and really moved around checking a lot of spots.  My overall impression was this. There are very few fish around and access remains poor. Now, for a rundown of where I fished. 
The East Wall is a mess in spots.

One of three schoolies landed at Galilee.
My first stop was along Gansett where I wanted to fish the Seawall.  Nothing doing.   The damaged sidewalk along the wall was closed and off limits.  Next stop was the East Wall at Pt. Judith.  The parking lot was a mess with big rocks, holes and sand all over the place.  I did manage to park on the main road going in and was able to get onto the wall which was a mess in places.  No luck there.  My next stop was Galilee.  I had to park along the main road since the parking lot was closed off.  I don't know why since it was all cleared of sand.  I did manage to catch three schoolies off the Short Wall on bucktail jigs, my highlight of the day.  Next stop was Matunuck.  I parked in one little spot at Deep Hole, though that parking lot overall was a mess.  I fished the whole Matunuck shore and caught nothing.  I tried to get into South Kingstown Beach but that parking lot was closed also.  Next stop was East Matunuck and the West Wall.  You guessed it.....the East Matunuck lot was closed off, but I was able to park along the road down by the state pier.  I fished the West Wall and the Galilee Channel and caught nothing.  My last stop in the daytime was back to Narragansett Beach.  I was able to park in a private lot and walk down the beach to Narrow River.  I caught nothing.  I was hoping to fish Charlestown also today, but got the word that the road to the breachway was closed.

So, I fished the whole day and got three schoolies, but, hey, that was three more fish than I saw anyone else catch.  I saw no bait around and very few other people fishing.  I did spot a few gannets diving way out so that's a good sign I guess. The water all over was clean and fishable, but there was very little around.  Parking was a real disappointment and clearly the state is dragging its heals to get this cleared up. With another big storm forecast for tomorrow, things are not looking good.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Check Out These Latest Articles

Two of my feature articles on fall fishing have hit the newsstands this week.  South County Herring Blitzes appears in this month's issue (Nov./Dec, 2012) of On the Water magazine.  This article tells you all you need to know about fishing the south shore of RI for large stripers and bluefish at the end of the season in November.  It focuses on chasing the herring (ocean and blueback) runs that usually materialize close to shore in November.  The story deals with tactics, spots and the best plugs to use to catch a late fall trophy. On the Water magazines are sold at many tackle stores or you can find information online at www.OnTheWater.com The other story that came out this week is called Adjustments for Late Fall Success In The Surf.  This article appears in this week's issue (No.44, Nov.1, 2012) of The Fisherman magazine.  This article deals with adjusting shore tactics in late fall to fish for stripers and bluefish.  It focuses on a variety of tactics that might work  including targeting schoolies with small lures when small bait is around, fishing at night for large stripers, and fishing for stripers and blues when herring are around in the daytime.  The Fisherman magazine is sold in many tackle shops and you can access their website at www.TheFisherman.com Check out both stories if you are looking for ideas for late fall success.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Bay Fishable; Oceanfront Remains a Mess

I am back to fishing saltwater.  I got out today and hit a number of places in upper Narragansett Bay, an area that received little damage from the hurricane.  The water in the Bay was clean in most places, though there was some debris like leaves, sticks and trash in the water.  Still, it was very fishable, and there were fish around.  I landed three schoolies in three different spots along with one snapper blue (see pics).  I got them all on bucktail jigs.  The fishing was not hot and heavy, but there were some fish around.  Most of the Bay north of the bridges should be fishable this weekend.

The oceanfront is another story.  The south shore remains a mess.  I had friends who went down to look around today and I am always getting updates from my sons.  The word is that access is a real problem and there are very few places to park.  For instance, Matunuck Beach Road is open but the parking lot at Deep Hole is under two feet of sand and impassible.  Same story with Succotash Rd. and the parking lot at East Matunuck State Beach. Ok, even if you could park, the water in most places is still unfishable.  It is full of mud, sand, weed and debris, making fishing along the oceanfront a waste of time. I think it will take upwards of 3 or 4 more days to clean up barring any storminess or rough water.  The first places to offer fishing will be the backwaters along the oceanfront.  Places like the salt ponds and the backs of the breachways on the outgoing water will be your best bets to find clean water and fish in the next few days. So, my suggestions for the weekend would be to fish the mid and upper Bay or the backwaters along the oceanfront.  These are not big fish areas and would be considered schoolie and hickory shad territory, but it's fishing.