Friday, May 30, 2014

Buzzards Bay: A Hotspot for Multiple Species

The Kastmaster XL was a hot
lure for large black sea bass.
We were vertically jigging
in about 20 feet of water.
My brother and I fished from the boat yesterday and it was some of the hottest fishing I have seen this year.  We were fishing Buzzards Bay, a real hotspot in the past in late spring and early summer. We didn't catch stripers, but we landed big numbers of black sea bass, scup and bluefish.
Bluefish schools were
numerous throughout
Buzzards Bay.
We started off targeting black sea bass.  We used Kastmaster XL's as we vertically jigged these metal lures in about 20-25 feet of water.  It was one black sea bass after another with dozens of keepers.  We got no real large ones but had numerous 3-5 lb. fish.  We also landed an occasional dinner plate size scup on the same lure. We moved around and seemed to find black sea bass and scup on just about every hump, rocky point and dropoff throughout the Bay.  It was absolutely loaded.
Large scup were also mixed in
with the large black sea bass.
There were also hitting the
Kastmaster XL.
While fishing for scup we also saw terns working all over the place.  We suspected there were blues or stripers forcing baitfish to the surface.  So, we went in search of bass and blues.  We found big numbers of blues in mostly deeper water in the Bay.  They seemed to be all over the place. Terns were diving; blues were breaking.  It was wild.  We landed several dozen bluefish from 5-7 lbs. using that same Kastmaster XL on the surface (while reeling quickly). When close to the boat these hooked fish were puking up small sandeels, the bait the terns were also feeding on.  Surprisingly (or maybe not a surprise), there were no stripers.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Change in Location/Tactics Lead to Big Numbers

A Zoom fluke on a jighead fished
off a small float has been a good
producer in the last 2 evenings.
Schoolies continue to be abundant
but keepers are in short supply for
shore fishermen.
Things weren't going well for me earlier in the week so I completely changed locations and tactics, something I often do when I'm not catching.  It worked like a charm as I landed big numbers of schoolies in the last two evenings of fishing in the Bay.
The hot artificial I used in the last two evenings was a float/Zoom Fluke on a jighead combo.  I often go to that artificial when I'm looking for a long cast or when the wind is whipping in my face.  It gives me a lot more distance under those conditions than strictly going with the jig and fluke combo.  The schoolies were jumping all over this tonight and last night.
There continues to be good numbers of schoolies around especially the smaller variety under 20 inches. They have been in abundance all May.  However, keepers are scarce from shore.  You hear about a large fish here and there, but I've yet to see anything over 30 inches and I've seen hundreds of them in the last month.  I have also seen no blues in the past three outings.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Should Be Better

I got six small ones tonight.  Schoolie
fishing is mediocre; fishing for keepers
is poor.
I'll give you a fishing report in three words: Should Be Better! 
I got out tonight and fished in a popular spot in the Bay.  There were two other guys fishing this place when I got there, however, by 8:00 PM I was the only guy fishing.  I have to surmise that many fishermen are discouraged and not even going out and trying.  I did get 6 schoolies in this spot using a float and 6 inch Hogy combination.  This was my best outing of the last four.  My previous three outings this week I got a grand total of 7 schooolies. In other years we would be catching big numbers of schoolies mixed in with keepers at this time of year.  Not this year.  Friends and my sons report similar mediocre fishing along the oceanfront.
This was the hot combo tonight....
a float with a 6 inch Hogy tailing
off the float.
Where are the larger fish?  There are lots of menhaden in the Bay, yet very few keeper bass under them.  I watched a school of pogies swim lazily by me last night in only about three feet of water with nothing after them. I'm not buying the cold weather/cold water excuse anymore.  We are at the end of May and there should be more larger fish around.  I'm certain this is the start of a year that will see a big decline in large fish.  You are seeing it now.
On a positive note, there have been pods of bluefish around the Bay and the oceanfront this week.  There are not tons of them but if you can find some bait, you have a shot at getting some bluefish.
Memorial Day weekend is upon us.  I'm guessing many fishermen will be wetting a line this weekend.  Good luck if you get'll need it!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Action Cools, Lack of Keepers, and First Bluefish Caught

Since that big blow on Friday and the big rainstorm that came with it the action has really cooled in both the Bay and the oceanfront.  I fished the Bay the last two evenings and came away with only two small schoolies in two different spots.  Friends and my sons report a cool down along the oceanfront also as my sons only landed a couple of fish in two outings this week.  In addition, my brother was all over the Bay today in his boat and got nothing.
Many fishermen are starting to complain about the absence of larger stripers.  The couple of keepers that I have landed thus far have been just 28 inches.  I know of NO ONE who has caught anything larger.  Strange thing is that the Bay is loaded with menhaden in a lot of places but there seems to be no big fish after them.  Many fishermen in the know are claiming this will be a poor year for keepers as their numbers are way down.  It certainly is starting off that way.
Surprisingly, I saw a bluefish landed tonight from shore in the Bay.  A guy right next to me caught it on a Jumpin' Minnow.  Water temperatures are way below normal so I an quite surprised that there was even one around.  However, in normal years I do usually get my first one around the first week of May.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Three Hot Lures for the Bay

Schoolie and small keepers are plentiful in the Bay right now.  This has been a week of close to a hundred fish landed for me.  Yet, I have seen frustrated fishermen catching nothing.  Many of these guys are using the wrong stuff.
Here are the hottest three lures to use:
1.  Bucktail jigs-  I especially like a small, homemade (1/4-1/2 oz) flathead jig or "Upperman" style jig.  I like these jigs in all white made with red thread.  Add a three inch white plastic grub tail for added action.  You can fish the bucktail alone or off a float.
2.  Fork tailed plastic on a jighead-  My favorite here is a Zoom fluke mounted on a 3/8 oz. jighead.  My favorite color is albino.  These can be used alone or off a float also.
3.  Skinny plastic-  I have been using a white, 7 1/2 inch Slug-Gos all week to take some decent fish.  This lure can be used alone or put on a leader with a teaser ahead of it.  Rig this with a Texas style curved hook or a swimbait hook.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Bay or Oceanfront? ..........A Toss-Up

This decent size schoolie was landed
tonight in the Bay using a Slug-Go.
So, where's the hottest spring fishing right now.  In my opinion, it's toss-up between the Bay and the oceanfront.
In the last week I have been fishing just about every evening/night.  I have concentrated on the Bay.  These are spots that are anywhere from a quarter to half the distance to the oceanfront for me.  The Bay is much closer to home and a big saving on gas.  And, the Bay is running hot right now in multiple spots.  I've been getting anywhere from 4-15 fish an evening with usually a small keeper in the mix.  The fish I am getting are considerably bigger than the fish I was getting along the oceanfront.  The Bay fish are also more active, hitting Slug-Gos along the surface.  They are also hitting at night.
My two youngest sons who live in Narragansett continue to see very good action along the oceanfront.  They are getting big numbers of fish, but the fish are small with nothing close to a keeper.  The fish are also hitting only in the daylight hours with high noon being terrific at times.  The other day my son, Ben, was fishing during mid day and had a hit or a fish on every cast for an hour. The hot lures along the oceanfront have been Cocahoes or small bucktail jigs with shrimp fly teasers. My kids seem to be getting more fish an outing but I am getting bigger ones.
So, in my mind, it's a toss-up as to where the best fishing is right now in RI.  The good news is both the oceanfront and the Bay are really good right now.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Slug Go and Teaser......Deadly Combo

This good size schoolie
hit the Slug-Go at dark.
This combination of a Slug-Go and
Red Gill teaser has been a deadly
combination in the last two evenings.
I fished the Bay again tonight and loaded up on fish.  Most were schoolies in the 16-22 inch range, but I also had another large fish that was maybe a keeper, maybe just under a keeper. The fish tonight were hitting well after dark, a real good sign that the fish are becoming more active.
The hot artificial combination that has been scoring big time in the last two nights has been a Red Gill teaser set up on a leader along with a white, 7 1/2 inch Slug-Go at the terminal end.  The leader that holds this all this together is made with 30 lb. test mono and is about 2 1/2 feet long.  The teaser (Red Gill) dangles about 6 inches off the leader's swivel.  This is cast out and twitched along with short pulls of the rod tip as you retrieve at a slow to moderate speed.  The Slug-Go moves erratically in the water and stripers simply can not resist slamming it.  One fish out of seven or eight will take the teaser which sometimes leads to double headers.  This is hot stuff right now.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

First Bay Fish; First Keeper

My first keeper of the year was landed in the
Bay and was taken on a Red Gill teaser.
Things are now moving quickly as fishing is dramatically improving all over the state. I got out tonight in the Bay from shore and had a very good outing, landing 10 stripers.  While most were schoolies, I did get one small keeper, the first of the year for me.  The fish were also active with many slamming Slug-Gos twitched along the surface. Shallow Bay waters heat up quickly at this time of the year as Bay water temperatures tend to run about 5-8 degrees warmer than the oceanfront. That will cause the fish to be more active.  Besides the Slug-Go being hot, I also landed fish on a Zoom fluke on a jighead as well as a Red Gill teaser. With warmer weather headed our way this weekend, I suspect we will see an increase in the number and sizes of keeper fish around.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Fish Spreading Out All Over

Sea lice is on the tail of this schoolie.
Most of the fish taken today were
loaded with sea lice.
I headed down to the oceanfront today to fish different areas.  I put on the waders, walked and plugged along a sandy beachfront.  I ended up landing 17 schoolies with some hefty fish in the 25 inch range.  Got most of them on Cocahoes. While I was catching in my location, my son, Jon, was fishing an area several miles north of where I was.  He reports landing 26 schoolies and one hickory shad on shrimp fly teasers and Cocahoes.  At the same time, my friend Dennis was fishing 20 miles north of us up in the Bay.  He called to tell me he landed 18 schoolies up to near keeper size.  He was getting them on Slug-Gos and Red Gill teasers.
The fish are now ALL OVER the place and you can catch them whether you are fishing the oceanfront or the Bay.  It's simply a matter of getting out there and fishing.  Spring schoolie fishing is hitting its stride right now.  It's happening.

A Cocahoe matched with a shrimp fly teaser accounted for this double header.
Fish are now plentiful in the Bay as well as along the oceanfront.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Schoolie Fishing EXPLODES

Over a hundred schoolies were
landed in one spot tonight.
The spring migration has arrived.
Fan tailed plastics threaded onto
lightweight jigheads were the hot
lures this evening.
One spot. One hundred fish landed tonight.  Any doubts that we would even get a  spring migration were erased tonight as I saw a small army of fisherman hauling in one fish after another in a popular spot along the oceanfront.  And, I didn't see just schoolies.  I also saw a couple of fish that were right around keeper size.  The hot lures were plastics with a fan tail.  My son, Ben, and I landed good numbers on a Cocahoe minnow (white, 3 inch) threaded onto a half ounce jighead.  Ben also got one on a shrimp fly teaser. Many of these fish were loaded with sea lice, a sure sign that these are migrating fish. With warm weather and southwest winds in the forecast for this weekend, it looks like banner fishing.  The spring migration is here, and it's about time!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

FINALLY, Some Good News

My son, Jon, is the first in the Pickering family to hit it big this year.  He fished the oceanfront this evening and landed 12 schoolies up to 20 inches.  Previous to tonight he had been catching a fish here and there in the last couple of days, but tonight was the first "good" night of the new season in which he was able to catch more than one fish.  All his schoolies fell for Cocahoe minnows fished on a lightweight jighead.
With warm weather and favorable winds expected in the next few days, I'm guessing the fishing will light up along the oceanfront and maybe even up in the Bay. This should be the weekend to get your first fish of the year.  FINALLY!