Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Seminar Line-up for Winter Striper Shows

I'll be running a new seminar this year at a number of big outdoor shows.  My latest seminar for 2014 is called "Plugging for Stripers from Shore and Boat" and is strictly geared to fishing artificials.  I've got a lot of footage from RI's south shore oceanfront, the Cape Cod Canal and Narragansett Bay.
Here is the line-up:
Fri., Jan. 31 at 4:45 at the Providence Boat Show ( .  This will be at the RI Convention Center in Providence.
Sat., Feb.8  at 1:00 and Sun., Feb. 9 at 12:00 at the New England Fishing Expo at the DCU Center in Worcester, MA.  The website is
Sat., Feb. 22 (unsure of time at this point) at the Springfield Sportsmens Show at the Big E in Springfield, MA. Website is
These shows are all big outdoor shows that feature exhibitors, reps from various fishing companies, seminars, fishing experts, etc. Looking to break this cabin fever....attend one of these shows.  

Friday, January 17, 2014

Winter Numbers Down

It should come as no surprise when I tell you that numbers of wintering over stripers are down.  Since the start of 2014, the action in my winter spots in the upper Bay has been fair to poor, with numbers of fish down compared to recent years. Prior to New Year's Day, back in late November and early December, there had actually been good numbers of fish around, but I suspect those fish left the area possibly on a late migration.  Since Jan. 1, it has been slim and disappointing pickings.  Of course, these wild swings in the weather are not helping the situation. Realize, too, that in the past the stripers that tended to winter over were usually large schoolies to small keepers, or fish in the 20-30 inch range.  While I have seen fair numbers of schoolies being caught at times, the number of small keepers is way, way off.  In past years, one winter fish out of twenty would usually end up being a small keeper. So far this winter since mid November, I have taken over 200 fish (mostly in Nov. and Dec.) from the upper Bay and only one was a small keeper.  Keepers are scarce, but then again, they were scarce this fall from shore also, so no surprise here. As a side note, this is the first time in many years that I have not seen a seal or two feeding in the upper Bay.  That should tell us that there is just not much food around to attract them.

Monday, January 6, 2014

First Stripers of the New Year

One of tonight's stripers is sitting on a sheet of ice.
The new year has been off to a slow and cold
 start but the action was good tonight.
I'm on the board for 2014.  I landed my first stripers of the new year as I had a decent outing tonight in one of my winter fishing spots. Up until tonight it had been a rough start to the new year with last week's snowstorm and then the big freeze putting a chill into the fishing.  Most places were completely iced up, but today the ice departed and I was back in business.  I landed good numbers of schoolies tonight on Super Zoom flukes (albino color) mounted onto 3/8 oz. round head jigheads. It looks like the fishing will be shortlived as another deep freeze is coming tonight and tomorrow.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Loaded with Question Marks for 2014

Here's a rare bluefish taken from the boat.
There were few around in 2013.
Our past year, 2013, was not a good year if you were a shore fisherman looking for keeper bass, blues and albies.  In fact, we could call it a year of decline.  That sets up all kinds of question marks for 2014.  Here is a summary of what to look forward to in the coming year.
Striped bass- There were plenty of schoolies around.  That's the good news.  I landed over 1200 stripers in 2013, my best year of the last 5 years as far as numbers.  Yet, numbers don't tell the whole story.  My numbers of keepers were down compared to recent years and large keepers were really down.  This is probably the first time in the last five years that I did not land a 40 inch fish from shore in RI waters (got some at the Cape and from the boat though).  There are lots of complaints out there about the declining numbers of keeper fish, particularly from shore fishermen. Unfortunately, I think this trend will continue as keeper bass are highly targeted by commerical as well as recreational fishermen.  I see 2014 as a year of big numbers of schoolies but even poorer numbers of keepers.
Bluefish- I would have to use the word "collapse" to describe the bluefish situation.  For shore fishermen, there were almost none.  Even when there was a lot of bait around, there were few blues close to shore.  I landed exactly 5 bluefish from shore all year.  I know some fishermen who caught none. We fared better from the boat, yet there were no big numbers of them from the boat either.  They are just not around.  The current regulations of 10 fish a day and no size limit makes no sense.
The outlook for 2014 is poor as blues have been on a decline for the last five years.
Albies-  What the heck went on here. Back in 2011 and 2012, we had banner years for albies from shore and boat.  In 2013 there were NONE.  I don't know of a single one that was taken in RI waters.  They seem to have disappeared.  Historically there have been years with few around, but rarely have I seen a year with NONE.  I have no idea what to expect in 2014.
Schoolies were around in good numbers for shore
fishermen, yet keepers were on the decline in 2013.
Baitfish- The baitfish situation is not good.  Just about all big bait (menhaden, mullet and herring) were in decline this year. I saw no peanut bunker at all this past year. The only bait that seems to be abundant near shore are the small bay anchovies that we see in the fall.  Sandeels were abundant off Block Island but  not close to the mainland. Maybe the lack of big bait is contributing to the lack of keeper bass and bluefish.
Good News?- If you have a boat, try fishing for black sea bass, a tough fighting fish and a good one to eat.  They are more abundant now than ever with big numbers all over the south shore of RI. I suspect we will continue to see this abundance in 2014 with their numbers at or near record levels.  They have taken over!