Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Discovering Something VERY Effective

My brother and I were out in the boat yesterday evening looking for stripers and bluefish along the south shore.  Surprisingly, we didn't find any, but what we did find was a boatload of black sea bass.  In fact, this was the biggest hit we have ever had from the boat catching countless numbers of them and lots and lots of keepers.  I landed the biggest one I ever got in RI, a fish we estimated ran over 6 lbs.
It's not how many we caught that made the night, it's how we got them. They were all caught on artificals with no bait added. In the past we have had limited success catching these fish on artificials here in RI.  Yesterday evening we discovered the absolute best lure we have ever used to get them.  It was the Kastmaster XL, that same lure that has been getting real good numbers of stripers and blues for us in the last few weeks.  We started off using bucktail jigs and flukes on jigheads, and those lures got only a lukewarm reception.  We then switched to this elongated Kastmaster and immediately started nailing one fish after another.  We discovered that the black sea bass were generally hitting it on the way down as the lure fluttered to the bottom.  We also found out that if we didn't get a hit on the way down, we could jig it in long sweeping pulls of the rod  that would lift the lure five or six feet off the bottom.  As it dropped back down, the sea bass would nail it on the drop.
The Kastmaster XL's that we were using were the 3 1/2 inch (roughly an ounce) and the 4 inch (roughly on ounce and a quarter) models. The colors that were most effective were green and chartreuse (see photo).
Other bottom fish also readily hit this lure as we also landed a good number of big scup along with a keeper tautog.
For us this lure has been the hottest lure of August for a number of fish.  It seems to work with equal effectiveness from both shore and boat.  It can be casted and retrieved or jigged as we discovered tonight.  It's both versatile and effective, a great combination for a lure


Saturday, August 24, 2013

5 Hot Lures that are Working from Shore and Boat

This schoolie hit a Daiwa SP minnow.
The last couple of weeks have been very good for both stripers and bluefish along the RI shoreline.  In fact, it is one of the best August streaks I have seen along the oceanfront in years.  Here is the hit parade of lures that have been catching the most fish from both the shore and boat:
1.  Needlefish-  This is my go to top
water lure instead of a popper.  I make a homemade 5 inch model in a white color that has been really catching.
2.  Kastmaster XL- The elongated Kastmaster is hot these days.  It casts like a bullet and can be retrieved normally near the surface or jigged along the bottom while drifting from the boat.  I like the 3 1/2 and 4 inch models with a green or chartreuse band.
3.  Daiwa SP minnow- The hottest swimmer from last year continues to shine.  No mackerel around but I still like the green or blue mackerel color.  Casts like a bullet.
4.  Jigs- Either the bucktail jig (1/2 oz. flathead)  or a Zoom fluke on a half ounce jighead have been hot numbers from shore and boat.
5.  Teasers-  I like either a Red Gill teaser or a Deceiver fly teaser rigged ahead of the main offering when schoolies and small keepers are around.  Light colors work well in the daytime, black at night.  Take off the teaser if the blues are around.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Bluefish Take Over

This August of Plenty just keeps rolling along.  In the last week I reported good numbers of stripers around from both shore and boat.  There had been very few blues around.  Well, that's all changed now as the blues have arrived in force.
I went out yesterday along the south shore in the boat with my brother Steve and my son Jon. At first we only found snapper blues close to shore but once we went out a mile to 2 miles from the mainland it was school after school of bluefish chasing vast schools of bait that caused the water to turn brown. Flocks of terns were also hitting the water.  The bluefish were aggressive 4-8 lb. mid size fish, and they would readily attack just about anything that moved.  The Kastmaster XL was effective as were poppers and needlefish plugs worked fast along the surface. You could catch as many blues as you wanted.  Once the sun started to go low, we headed closer to shore in about 20-30 feet of water and further south to look for stripers. Once again, it was school after school of bluefish with an occasional striper in the mix.  Once it got dark, we figured we would troll Daiwa SP minnows in the hopes of getting a keeper bass.  We were now in 6-10 feet of water, close to the shore, and we barely would move and a blue would grab the swimmer.  This continued happening well after dark.  It's unusual for blues to hit a plug in the darkness, but they were doing it yesterday.
One very interesting note.  It was the first time I have seen bay anchovies in the area.  The blues we landed were spitting them up along with small sandeels and what appeared to be baby menhaden.  The bait supply is really building right now and should set up a fantastic fall along the shoreline when the cooler weather arrives.  But, for now, we are really enjoying this August of Plenty, one of the best Augusts I have fished in a long time.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Sandeel Imitators Very Effective Right Now

This fish, taken from the boat,
hit a Red Gill teaser rigged
ahead of a Zoom fluke.
I got out again yesterday evening/night and fished from shore along the oceanfront.  I had the biggest schoolie night of the summer with a load of fish.  At times it was a hit or a fish for sometimes ten casts in a row.
The Kastmaster XL has been very effective
from shore and boat.
The hot lures right now are anything that imitates a sandeel.  I'm talking long and slender lures.  Also, teasers have been hot both from shore and from the boat in the last week.  I am using either a Red Gill teaser or a Deceiver fly teaser on my leader that is rigged ahead of my main offering. I have been getting roughly a third of my fish on teasers.  Lots of lures have been working in this recent hot streak of schoolies.  Overall, metal is hot, especially when a long cast is needed.  The slender Kastmaster XL in a four inch length was especially good last night before dark when the fish were a good distance out.  It also worked well earlier in week when fishing from the boat as we lowered it to the bottom and just bounced it as we drifted along.  From the boat, the plastic Zoom  fluke mounted on a half to three quarter oz. jighead was a good producer too.  Last night I had real good luck with a jointed Red Fin swimmer after dark.  This lure stays close to the top and has a tight wiggle that seems to work well when the stripers are feeding on sandeels. Some other suggestions of lures that would imitate sandeels might be a bucktail jig, a small needlefish plug and small skinny plastic.
Schoolie fishing is very hot in certain locations right now.  The fish seem to be after small sandeels, and any plugs with a slim profile should get hit.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Incredible August Striper Blitz from the Boat

Keepers were in the mix tonight.
My brother Steve and I went out last evening in the boat along the oceanfront.  Instead of going way offshore in deep water, we fished close to shore in about 20 feet of water.  We hit the biggest August blitz of stripers I have ever seen.  It was as good as any October blitz I have ever witnessed.  There were several big flocks of birds, sometimes over a hundred at a time, hitting the water in a wide area, and there were stripers of all sizes busting for bait right under the birds. It appeared that the bait was small sandeels from what the bass were spitting up, but you saw nothing in the water. Where the fish were not busting, the fish finder was lit up with fish under  us, sometimes 10 feet thick. Surprising thing was that there was not another boat around us at the height of the fishing!
A Zoom fluke along with a Red
Gill teaser landed this double header.
And, yes, the fish were hitting.  We lost count as to how many we landed.  The hot lures were sandeel imitators.  Kastmaster XL, that long and skinny version of a Kastmaster, was hot until a couple of blues cut them off.  Five inch Zoom flukes mounted on a jighead were also hot.  I was using a Red Gill teaser ahead of my lure and that was catching them, sometimes double headers at times.  When the fish were breaking, we would cast into them, and they would aggressively take right away.  When nothing was showing, we would lower the offering to the bottom and bounce it as we drifted along.  When the fishfinder showed fish, we would be on.  These fish were all sizes but the average seemed to be about 24 inches.  We had some keepers in the mix and some smaller ones too.
Maybe it's this current shot of cooler nights that has gotten things going.  However you slice it, the fishing is definitely on the upswing, and you know it will only get better once we add false albacore to the mix.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Observations From the Surf

There are good numbers of fluke around but
most are undersized.
I have been getting out fishing on a regular basis now.  I went out yesterday evening to the oceanfront expecting to find some rough water but was greeted by a dead calm sea.  So, I made the most of it opting to toss a small bucktail jig in the hopes of catching stripers and fluke.  And, I did catch good numbers of both these fish (see photos). 
Here are some observations of what has been going on recently:
*There are good numbers of schoolies just about everywhere along the oceanfront.  This is unusual for August.  These are small fish in the 10-20 inch range.
*Keeper bass are in very short supply from shore.
Schoolies in the 10-20 inch
size range are abundant.
*There is little bait around.  Last year, the oceanfront was choking with bay anchovies at this time.  I have seen none so far, but remember, that this is usually a bait that comes around in September.
*There are loads of snapper blues around, but the larger bluefish are scarce from shore.
*Fluke are abundant but small.
*Reports of false albacore are false.  You won't see them around close to shore until September.
*Where are the fishermen?  I have never seen a year with so few fishermen fishing from shore. Heck, even the bottom fishermen are not around.  That should tell you a lot about what's been going on.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Back in the Groove with Some Hot Fishing from the Surf

The float and jig was the hot lure today.
Today's keeper was 28-29 inches
but very skinny.
My back is better, and I am now fishing again.  I got out today for the first time in a month and it took exactly four casts before I landed a keeper!  I fished some real rough and nasty water along the oceanfront, just the type of conditions that I love to fish.  The fish were on a rampage today in this white and moving water, charged up by the day's storminess.  I landed a total of 12 stripers from 16-29 inches, real good numbers for August daytime fishing.  All the fish fell for the float and jig rig.  It was about the only thing I could cast into a vicious wind that was whipping right into my face.
I knew there were good numbers of schoolies around from reports from friends, my son Ben and my brother Steve.  There have been good numbers of schoolies in the Gansett area and along the south shore beachfront in the last couple of weeks.  However, keepers from shore seem to be in short supply. Most of the best fishing is occurring when the water is rough.
I saw no bait around today and I will tell you that most of the fish were very skinny and looked like they were starving.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Parade of Big Fish Continues for Boaters

It is amazing how many big fish have fallen to boaters this summer.  If I had to guess, I would say there may have been over 100 stripers over 50 lbs. landed by boaters in the last month. Most of these big fish have been caught along the oceanfront and off Block Island.  And, many have been caught in the middle of the daytime which is very unusual.
Yesterday, my brother Steve went out in his boat with his future son-in-law, Brian.  They were fishing along the oceanfront with eels in late morning.  Brian hooked and landed this big striper (close to 50 inches). It's just another example of how these big fish can be caught under a hot sun from a boat.
Meanwhile, I don't know of one guy who has taken even a small keeper from the shore in the last week.  The large fish are still in deep water offshore and until the water cools and the bait moves in close, it will be slow going for the shore guys.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Video: Tying the Albie Deceiver

Albie fishing is about a month away here in RI, but for those who are getting ready for it, the key is to have the right lure to get these finicky fish to hit.  The hot lures are either plastic flukes on a hook or a Deceiver fly.  I tie a blue Deceiver that I call my Albie Deceiver and it is absolutely deadly when used in combination with a wooden float with spinning gear. This fly has caught hundreds of albies for me from shore and the boat in the last few years.