Friday, October 31, 2014

A Halloween Treat

Can you believe it?  Ben Pickering scores a Halloween treat as he lands
this bonito along with another one from shore today.  And,. I thought they
left two weeks ago!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Lack of Bait, Less Stripers, No Blues

It was just one fish today but it was a keeper that was
taken after dark.  Recently, the nighttime fishing
has been better than the daytime fishing.
We are in a major lull, especially when describing the daytime fishing from shore.  It has been really dead along the oceanfront in the last week.  Those big schools of bait (bay anchovies) that were around several weeks ago are gone and with it the abundant schoolies have also left. As far as bluefish....there are NON E.  I've gotten only one blue since Sept. 1.
On a somewhat positive note, there are fish to be had after dark though I am seeing very few fishermen trying after dark.  I have not been catching lots of fish, but I have been getting some keepers after dark along with occasional schoolies.  For instance, I fished all over today and found absolutely nothing in the daytime.  After dark I landed one 30 inch keeper on a Daiwa SP Minnow.  It was my only hit today. Two days ago I landed three hefty schoolies after dark on swimmers. Several days ago my son Jon landed a big fish at dark.  So, in my mind the nighttime fishing is worthwhile, though not great.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Don't leave home without one.....

This large striper, the fish from the previous
post, was landed on a snagged menhaden.
Add a snagger or two
in your surf bag.
Expect to find schools
of menhaden along
the oceanfront in the
next month as they
drop out of
Gansett Bay.
A snagger is a key device that should be in every surf bag.  I can't tell you how many times I've gone down to the ocean in late fall and found an isolated school of menhaden or pogies within a cast of where I am standing.  I also can't tell you how many big bass and big blues I have caught on a snagged menhaden over the years.
It happened again yesterday with that big bass my son Jon caught.  Just out of the blue a school of menhaden came ashore right where we were fishing.  Jon snagged a pogy, let it swim around and with a few minutes the line was ripping off with a cow charging seaward.
Don't think for one minute that he could have caught that fish on a plug.  When large fish, whether blues or stripers, are on menhaden, that is what they want. A plug is usually not even a consideration. Do yourself a favor and pack a snagger or two in your surf bag.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Fish of the Day

Jon Pickering holds a real good fish that was caught from
shore on a snagged menhaden. While schoolies have dominated the
fall scene, there are some good fish around.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

a MILLION hits

You might have noticed the hit counter on the blog ran over a million today.  Simply phenomenal.   No question, the blog is popular, and shows the tremendous interest in striper fishing here in southern New England. I have met countless fishermen along the shoreline this year who have complimented me on the blog, the info that is posted and the honesty in reporting. One guy I met last week told me he goes to the blog first thing in the morning as he's drinking his coffee, goes back to the blog at lunchtime and visits it again before he goes to bed. Now, that's hooked.
I have stats on my management page that tells me a lot about my audience. You might be very surprised that the interest in the blog is worldwide.  For instance, in the last week here are the top 5 countries where the audience came from along with the number of hits: US-9,000, Ukraine-209, China-61, UK-12, and Russia-11.
In the last month the blog has been especially active with 50,000 hits. I think this reflects some high interest in the excellent fishing we have been seeing this fall.
Enjoy the blog and good luck fishing,

Adjustments in Unfishable Conditions

Hickory shad
were on the rampage
today in protected
backwaters that
I fished.
Even the stripers were keying on
my shrimp fly teasers.  They were
mixed in with the abundant hickory shad.
I love fishing nasty weather.  However, there is a fine line between rough, productive water and water that is not fishable.  This afternoon I headed to the oceanfront and was greeted by a huge, rough surf that was charged up by a vicious northeast wind that was gusting to 40 and 50 knots.  One gust that hit me almost knocked me over.  It was that bad.  The oceanfront was simply not fishable.
I nearly turned around and headed home, but I told myself "adjust".  So, I headed to some protected backwaters where I actually found a lot of fish.  I landed big numbers of hickory shad on shrimp fly teasers, and I also landed some stripers on a Cocahoe that was teamed up with the the teasers. I saw good numbers of these fish busting all around the area I was fishing.
When the surf gets big, dangerous and unfishable, head to the protected backwaters along the oceanfront. Places like the backs of the breachways or in the coastal ponds are good places to fish in unfishable conditions out front. These are places that have saved the day for  me in the past and worked like a charm again today.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Back in Business

A Cocahoe mounted
on a 3/4 oz jighead
was hot today.
I got back to the oceanfront today.  The big surf and storminess that has plagued the oceanfront for the past few days has calmed down, and I found good numbers of schoolies hitting in the daytime and even at night.
Today was unusual because there was just about no one fishing and nothing showing.  I saw no fish breaking and only saw two small flocks of birds diving where cormorants were driving up bait.  It just seemed like there was nothing around.  But, when I started casting away in various spots, I began picking up fish.  These were hefty schoolies in the 20-24 inch range.  The hot lure proved to be a Cocahoe mounted onto a 3/4 oz. jighead.  I went with a larger jighead because I was fishing deeper water.
So, the lesson here is that even when nothing is showing, stripers can still be around.  You simply have to get out and fish.
There were good numbers of schoolies around today but nothing was
showing.  There were no diving birds, no bait visible and
no fish breaking, but stripers were around in good numbers.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Weekend Outlook......Not Good

This has not been a week of good fishing.  We had been spoiled by the previous month of almost non-stop action for albies and stripers.  This was all fueled by massive schools of bay anchovies that seemed to be everywhere. Daily blitzes were expected and happening just about every day.
The breachways and backwaters offer the best bets this
weekend along the oceanfront. The surf is expected to be
big, dangerous and rough.
But, the good times have come to a crashing halt. For most of the week, I have seen no birds, no breaking fish and very few fishermen.  The daytime action along the oceanfront has been poor.  It seems like the big schools of bay anchovies are gone, and the albies and stripers have left with them. The only action I had all week was a slow pick of fish after dark in the breachway currents.There are always some fish just snooping around moving waters after dark, but it is a fish here a fish there with no numbers. However, some of these fish have been keepers.  
To add to the misery, the marine forecast calls for big seas and rough water all weekend due to the hurricane in the Atlantic.  One of my friends who was at the oceanfront today reported waves coming right over the front of the breachway rocks along the south shore. He also reported dirty and sandy water with no one fishing anywhere. There has been been very few fishermen most of the week in the daytime because they are not catching.
Your best bet this weekend is to fish protected waters.  If you are along the oceanfront, that means the breachway backwaters or maybe in the coastal ponds.  You might even want to try the Bay though I have no reports of what is going on in the Bay.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Fish of the Day

Yes, nighttime is the right time if you are looking for a big fish.

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Bad Day

Today was a reminder that fishing is not always good. The hot fishing that we had experienced along the oceanfront in the last three weeks came to a screeching halt today.  I fished from the shore and for the first time in a long time I saw no birds working, no bait and no fish caught in the daylight.  I worked some good looking white water in multiple spots with no success. I did manage to avoid the dreaded blank with a lone fish after dark that hit a teaser.  That fish was a skinny 24 inch schoolie. A guy who was fishing with me also got a schoolie and those were the only two fish I saw caught all day.
There are some trends to watch for along the oceanfront in the next week or so based on what has happened in other years at this time.  No question, the albies are thinning out especially for shore fishermen.  In most past years, there were few around past mid October.  We are almost there. Those abundant bay anchovies have been a September up to mid October thing in past years.  I expect those to also thin out. We have seen no peanut bunker along the oceanfront yet, but I know there are a lot of them in the Bay along with good numbers of adult menhaden.  Watch for that bait to migrate along the oceanfront in the coming weeks.
We are a long way from the end with a lot of good fishing expected in the next month or so. However, we will have those bad days along the way.  Today was one of them.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Record Albie?

My brother and I got out in the boat today.  Once again, there were fish all over the place wherever you found bait and birds working.  However, the highlight of the day was a huge albie that my brother Steve landed.
He hooked this fish with a float and fly after casting into a pod of breaking fish.  This fish ripped off line and drag as they often do. Then it headed straight for the bottom in 60 feet of water where it was near impossible to lift it upwards.  It was a tug of war to slowly pull it off the bottom and that was with 30 lb. test Power Pro braid.  As the fish came into view, we immediately thought we had some kind of tuna.  It was that big.  But, closer to the boat we realized we had a huge false albacore.  We had no scale on the boat, but I  have caught enough big fish to come up with a real good estimate.  I am guessing this albie went 16-20 lbs. It was, by far, the biggest one I have ever seen and I have seen and caught hundreds of them over the years..
I checked the record books and found there is no listing of false albacore in the RI saltwater records (why not???).  The only thing I found as far as big albies are concerned was the RISAA Hall of Fame Record which is a whopping 16 lbs. from the boat. Other state records for albies seem to be in the mid teens.  So, I'm sure this fish was in record territory as far as albies go.
But, we'll never know. The fish was barely hooked in the lip, showed no sign of blood, was still fiesty in the boat and was released in great shape to Fight again. We did, however, get a good picture of the fish, and that was a great memory for us.

Just About a Daily Event

Find the birds and you will find the fish along the RI oceanfront as our fabulous fall continues. And, it can happen just about anywhere along our miles of shorefront.  You never know what you'll find under the bait....albies, stripers, blues, bonito, black seas bass or a combination of all five!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Picture of the Day

It was a free-for-all today as everything seemed to be around.  I caught
loads of stripers, albies, bluefish, black sea bass and this prize.....a bonito.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Bucktail jigs spiced with plastic curly tails have been hot
for stripers this week.  Fish the jig alone or off a float.
The fantastic RI oceanfront fishing just keeps rolling along, unabated.  I thought the big surf, stormy weather and strong winds that we had today would put an end to the fantastic fishing, but no way.  Today was equally as good and any other day I have fished in the last two weeks.  Stripers were thick in the white water where I fished today.
Conditions today were extreme.  I estimate the surf in front of me was running 7-10 feet, yet there were thouands of birds diving and picking up bait right outside the surf line and fish were busting right under those birds.  The foamy surf was also thick with stripers even though little was showing close to shore.  The hot lure continues to be some type of jig used alone or off a float.  I used both bucktail jigs and jigheads mounted with Cocahoes today to land a big number of fish.  Like most of the other days, all the fish today were schoolies that generally were in the 24-25 inch range.  Some were near keepers.
The recent run of stripers is some of the best fishing I have seen in years.  Blitzes have been occurring on a daily basis.  Find the bait and you will find the fish.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Can't get much better than today
as it was non-stop action all
The good times just keep getting better if that is possible.  I hit the shoreline today and unlike the last three outings, there appeared to be little around. There were few fishermen, no fish breaking and few birds.  However, there was loads of white water so I went searching for fish in the white water and I found them, BIG TIME.
I was all alone in one particular spot for over an hour and I had a hit or a fish on every single cast while casting in turbulent white water.  I was using a float and bucktail jig. At first the fish in the area were not showing but then they started whirling in the white water in front of me.  At times, everywhere I looked there were fish.  They provided non-stop action.  Several more guys showed up in this spot and at times, everyone was fighting a fish at once. I lost count at 40 fish that I landed and know I caught at least 15 or 20 more.  These were all good size schoolies in the 22-27 inch range.  I had several fish just shy of keeper size. Just phenomenal action.
This last week has featured some of the very best striper fishing I have ever seen. No doubt these are migrating fish as we have had very few resident fish during the summer and early fall.  I suspect the big northeast winds we had last week has driven large numbers of stripers to the RI oceanfront.  Let's hope they stick around!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Un Freakin' Real

Stripers in close and albies out
far as the fish were on the
rampage today.
I've seen some wild days in the last two weeks, but today goes down as one of the wildest I have seen in years.
I almost didn't fish today as I was going to make this one a day of rest after a hard week of fishing.  But, that all changed when my son Jon called to say things were just nuts along the oceanfront with fish all over the place.  So, I grabbed the stuff, jumped into the car and sped toward the oceanfront.
Stripers by the thousands hit the shore
today.  This was the largest of over sixty
stripers that we landed on jigs.
What I found was simply astounding. School after school of stripers were tearing through massive schools of bay anchovies that were collecting close to shore.  Out farther were good numbers of albies tearing through more schools of bait that was out far.  In some rough water in close I saw waves washing big numbers of frenzied stripers and baitfish right onto the rocks, only to be washed back into the sea on the next wave.  THIS WENT ON ALL AFTERNOON!
Jon and I landed over sixty stripers with most of them hefty schoolies in the 24 inch range though we had several near keepers as well as one thirty inch fish. In addition, I landed one good size albie and Jon also got a big blue.  We got all these fish on bucktail jigs and jigheads threaded with Cocahoe minnows.  Jon was using his lure off a float while I was fishing mine without the float. The albie was caught on the float and fly.
We weren't the only ones catching.  A picket fence of fishermen gathered as the afternoon moved on, and it seemed at times that everyone was catching on a variety of lures and plugs.  I must say everyone was having a great time. Reminded me of the good ole days.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Good Number of 40 inch Plus Fish Landed Recently

I'm on a big fish roll as I have landed two fish over 40 inches along with another smaller keeper in the last two evenings/nights of fishing. In addition, I've also gotten a number of hefty schoolies after dark. My son, Jon, got in on the action tonight also as he nailed a 40 inch fish (see photo at right) along with another small keeper. One bait shop along the south shore is also reporting a number of 40 inch fish taken in the last week by shore fishermen.  So, the big fish have finally arrived in good numbers for shore fishermen.  I credit this rough weather of the last week for moving those large fish close to shore and getting them charged up and feeding. This has been the best week of fishing for large fish that I have seen this year along the oceanfront.

Picking 'em Off in the White Water

Fans of the blog were catching in the white
water today.
This hefty schoolie hit a jig fished
off a float in some rough water.
Today was a rough, stormy day along the oceanfront as a big east wind and pounding waves battered the shoreline.  These conditions produced a lot of white water.  And, where there is white water, there is usually good fishing.
I found good numbers of fish along an east facing shoreline and had to haul my casts into the stiff wind and rough water.  The fish were there and surprisingly close to shore. I used a float and jig (one of the few choices that would get out an distance in the rough water) to catch all my fish.  These were hefty schoolies in the 20-25 inch range.
The hot fishing just continues.  It's been a north, east or northeast wind all week with rough water that has brought albies and stripers close to shore. For me, this has been the best fishing week of the year.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Find the Bait and You'll Find the Fish

This near keeper was one of 25 fish
landed today in some rough water.
Today I fished in some very rough and stormy conditions.  I have really scored in the past in conditions like this and today was no different.
The float 'n' jig rig
did the trick today.
This is a real good
choice to fish in
rocky areas with
white water when
the stripers are feeding
on small bait.
In the very first rocky spot I stopped at I walked into a blitz in progress.  The bait was there, birds were diving and fish were breaking.  With a 30 knot wind from the northeast in my face I was able to cast maybe 30 feet with the float and jig, but that's all that was needed since most of the fish were feeding in the white water turbulence right along the shore.  For over an hour I had a hit or a fish on just about every cast.  These were mostly hefty schoolies in the 20-28 inch range.  One fish might have been a keeper. 
There were only two other guys fishing this location today and they were both scoring good numbers of fish also.  Face it....most fishermen are fair weather guys and few venture out on these rainy and windy days, yet those are some of the most productive days you will find in the fall.
I'm on a roll right now.  The score for the last week is 50 stripers, 3 albies and 3 blues.  I must say the fishing has really perked up.  Find the bait and you will find a lot of fish.