Wednesday, December 31, 2014

First Time Ever....A Blank for December

For the first time in decades, I have blanked in the month of December.  In past years, I had caught holdover stripers in the upper Bay along with migrating fish along the oceanfront in December.  Even back in the days when there weren't supposed to be many fish around I was catching in December.  But, not this year.
I have gotten out about a dozen times in December focusing my attention on the Upper Bay where I was hoping the fishing would improve. But, I was not able to land a single fish in December.  Heck, I didn't even see anyone else land a fish.
Bottom line....the fish are not around. Some will point to the weather, the lack of bait, the fact that the fish seem to be in different spots, etc, but the bottom line is that the number of stripers is way down. We saw the proof of that in some poor summer fishing along the RI mainland shore, inconsistent fishing in the fall, and now the poor winter fishing.
I see little reason to think the winter fishing will dramatically improve in the coming weeks and months. I only hope I am wrong.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Youth Writing Contest Sponsored by Outdoor Writers

Does anyone out there know of a student who loves the outdoors and is a good writer?  The New England Outdoor Writers' Association (NEOWA) of which I am a member is sponsoring a Youth Writing Contest (junior high and senior high categories) that focuses on anything outdoor related.  I'm sure many who go to this blog could write about such topics as their largest striped bass you've caught, the greatest blitz you have ever seen, a great day of fishing, the biggest fish of any other species you have caught, a kayaking or boating adventure, or just any nature topic of your choice.  It could be fiction or non-fiction.  The New England overall winner last year wrote a non-fiction hunting story about shooting his first deer.
Ideally, we would like to see schools enter and teachers surpervise this contest. That is one category of the contest.  However, I have sent the rules out to every public school superintendent in the state of RI  for two years now, and sadly, I have not received a single entry from any school. We can also go the "at large" route where any kid can enter the contest and submit his own entry.  The at large winner will receive a cash prize of $125 and be entered into the New England Contest where the winning cash prize is $150.  The two big winners will get $275 in cash prizes, and their entries will be published in a magazine.
So, anyone know of a good student who could write a great outdoor related story?  If you do send him or her the link below that gives all the rules and regulations along with where to send their entry.  I hope some kids choose to enter. I would love to see the big winner come from RI!
Link to contest: NEOWA Youth Writing Contest, 2015

Monday, December 22, 2014

Winter Fishing....So Far, So Poor

Many of my followers know that I spend a lot of time fishing for stripers in the wintertime.  In the last twenty years I have caught tons of wintering over stripers, mostly from the Providence River.  This place has long been well known as THE winter place to wet a line if you wanted to catch a striper in the cold winter months of December, January or February here in RI. Not that long ago I was catching over a THOUSAND stripers a winter in this location. And, there were good numbers of keepers to boot. It was that good.
So far this December I have not been able to catch a single striper.  I have tried all tides, fished mornings, afternoons, and nighttime.  I've fished cold days, warm days, stormy days and real nice weather.  And, I have not caught a single fish.  I've gotten out at least three to four times a week and still have come up empty.  The number of fishermen who are trying has greatly diminished due to the absence of any fish, and I have not seen anyone else catch a fish in December.  Sadly, it is that poor.
This should not come as a big surprise.  We know the population of stripers is way down. The upper Bay fishing was off in the summer and fall.  Less fish then would mean less fish in the winter.  The sudden severe cold and partial icing of the river around Thanksgiving seemed to send any fish (stripers, pogies and peanut bunker) packing and there has been nothing since then.  Even the seals that were around back in November seem to be gone.
So, will this be the year of no winter fish in the Providence River?  I just don't know. I've seen big lulls and inconsistent fishing in the past, even in very good years.  In the past the fish moved in and out of the river. Maybe they are out in the Bay and will move back into the river.
In past years December has proved to be the best month of winter fishing. It's not a good sign that nothing has happened this month. I hope it turns around because I am in for a long winter if it doesn't.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Winter Holdover Fishing off to a Disappointing Start

This is one of two schoolies landed this evening
in some ideal conditions for winter fishing.
Holdover numbers are disappointing thus far.
It should come as no surprise when I say that the number of holdover stripers seem to be way down in numbers. The numbers of fall fish were down also.  Less fish in the fall, mean less fish around to hold over. This seems to be widespread here in RI.  While I am fishing the far reaches of Gansett Bay for holdover fish, I know of others who are fishing holdover locations along the backwaters of the oceanfront and they, too, are reporting less fish and disappointing results.
In past years, the beginning of winter fishing which occurs from late November until late December has been the best time period of the winter season.  So far this year the fishing has been very inconsistent with less fish.  There has been a good amount of bait around but that has not lured big numbers of stripers to these holdover locations. This is just another example that shows that the numbers of stripers are way down compared to past years.