Saturday, December 26, 2015

Youth Writing Contest Sponsored by NE Outdoor Writers

The NEOWA (New England Outdoor Writers' Association) of which I am a member is running its annual Youth Writing Contest for 2016.  This contest is open to kids from 6th to 12th grade and is divided into a junior (grades 6-8) and senior (grades 9-12) division. State winners receive $125 cash awards with the possibility of winning the best of NE award ($150 additional).
The whole idea is to come up with a story or poem about anything outdoor related.  Here in RI we had several real good fishing stories last year from kids who entered after seeing a post like this on my blog. We had a couple of very deserving winners from RI and we are hoping to get the same this year.
The rules for the contest and other details are spelled out in the this link: Youth Writing Contest.
So, if you know a kid who likes to fish or likes to do anything outdoor related, think about getting him or her to enter out contest. Every NE state is running their own contest.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Just Nothing to Report from Saltwater; Freshwater Hot

I can't get a striper this December, but fishing for carp
in freshwater has been spectacular, the best ever for
this time of year.
I have nothing to report from saltwater.  Yes, I have been numerous times looking for holdover fish in the Providence River, but I have found nothing but bait.  There are schools of large menhaden as well as peanut bunker, but I have found no stripers. I've tried in the daytime as well as at night.  Man, this area has really taken a plunge.  At one time, as recently as five years ago, I was catching hundreds of stripers a month in the wintertime in this area. But, it has gone so far downhill in the last few years that I am beginning to doubt that I will get even one fish this winter. That should tell you a lot about the state of our striped bass numbers.
On the other hand, I am still fishing, and have turned my attention to freshwater carp.  This has been a record late fall/early winter for me as the warm weather has the fish feeding as if it is September.  Some days I catch 10, 15 and even 20 fish with numerous fish between 10 and 20 lbs. So, long as this weather remains ice free, the carp will continue hitting.  If you are looking for info about carp fishing, one of the fastest growing fisheries in the entire US, check out my popular blog at RI Carp Fishing.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Alls Quiet with the Winter Fishing

The disappointing fall fishing has extended into my winter fishing. Normally at this time I am racking up some big catches in the upper Bay.  But, I have been out several times in the last couple of weeks and it has been a big fat ZERO. No fish, no one fishing, which seems to be a familiar theme this fall in RI..
I was out tonight. Just like along the oceanfront in the last few weeks there was a lot bait where I was fishing.  There were lots of large menhaden just lazily circling about. I saw peanut bucker schools also milling around the lighted areas and shadow line. There was some sort of skinny small bait (bay anchovies?). But, no striper hits and no whirls.
In the last few years, winter fishing has been on a downhill slide which has mirrored the downhill slide of the striper stocks. Ten short years ago I was catching over a thousand stripers a winter in upper Gansett Bay. The way things are going I am wondering if I will even catch one this winter.

Monday, November 30, 2015

A Disappointing November

Hickory shad were abundant
in some backwaters.
A familiar November scene....
lots of bait, little fish.
A few years ago I wrote an article for one of the magazines in which I described November as the "new best fall month" here in RI.  We had been on a roll for many years with November providing spectacular action along the RI south coast.  This was fueled by an ocean herring migration along with big schools of peanut bunker and adult bunker also moving southward. The big blues, large stripers and schoolies were plentiful, and it seemed that there was almost a daily blitz along the south shore if you could find it.
This November could be described as a dud. It turned out to be the poorest of the three fall months.  I would rate September as our best fall month this year. The strange thing about this November was that it was warm with warm water temperatures which tends to favor good fishing lasting until the end of the month.  In addition, there was a lot of bait, but few fish after it. Big numbers of fish were just not around.
I fished a lot in November and was
able to land only one decent fish
of 40 inches.
The marginal fishing took its toll on the number of fishermen out and about.  By the third week in November, it was rare for me to run into anyone. It got that bad. Most had given up by mid November. On beautiful weather days I would find no one fishing.
I got out a good number of times in November.  I was able to catch one good size keeper (40 inches), another smaller keeper (28 inches) and 25 schoolies. I never saw what I would call a blitz of fish. Those numbers are really poor compared to past years.  I caught no bluefish and never saw a bluefish caught. In addition, I got a load of hickory shad but only in the backwaters.  I got one lone shad in the high surf of the oceanfront.
Many will look at this fall and say we are seeing the downward trend and shortage of stripers in the poor November numbers. Others will say the fish just bypassed the south shore of RI. Still, others will point to severe weather that drove big numbers of fish out in October. However you want to frame it, most will agree that November, 2015, was disappointing for striper fishing. One of the poorest Novembers in the last decade.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Slim Pickings

This was one of two stripers landed today right
at dark. There's still a lot of bait but few fish.
I fished the oceanfront today.  Conditions were good with moderately rough water and a cloudy day with rain on the way. However, the south shore beaches looked like a ghost town as you really had to look to find anyone fishing.  That tells a lot about the state of our fishing.
Everywhere I went I saw bait and birds working.  I saw good numbers of gannets, cormorants and gulls working, the same activity I have seen in the last few outings. However, there seemed to be no fish working under the bait.  Another observation I can report is the presence of seals.  I saw them in every spot I fished.  It's never good when seals are on the prowl.
As far as fish, I managed to find two stripers (schoolies) and one hickory shad right at dark along an oceanfront location.  That was it....a couple of fish moved in close as darkness arrived.  I stayed later, but had no success.
In other years, this weekend before Thanksgiving has been a hot time to fish, but not this year.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Lots of Bait; Few Fish

There's bait and lots of birds hitting the water, but no stripers
are under them.
There are strange happenings this November along the south shore oceanfront.  I was out several times this week and found good amounts of bait, especially in the area from Charlestown southward.  I fished multiple spots and saw gannets hitting the water in close and gulls and cormorants going nuts almost in the wash in many places.  In one spot, I stood on a rock with my waders  and watched a continuous line of bait go by me for an hour.  Yet, in all of this I saw no fish.
In other years, lots of bait at this time meant lots of stripers and maybe bluefish.  Not this year.  The shortage of stripers is really showing itself in our late fall fishing. While there are some fish hitting the shore in short bursts, it is not consistent. In one spot where I saw a lot of bait, one guy told me the schoolies made a pass and for about 20 minutes they were there and then gone for the day. I am still hitting a fish here and there at night, but that is no sure bet either.
With the calendar moving into late November, many are abandoning the fishing as evidenced by the lack of fishermen.  Is it coming to an end?  I just don't know.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Back in the Game in a Big Way

I got back to the ocean today.  My son, Ben, had a good day along the south shore with stripers on Saturday so that gave me some encouragement to get back down there and try.  I found lots of bait in the daytime from Charlestown to Misquamicut, but I found no fish under the bait....just gulls, cormorants and gannets having a feast.  I saw more guys out and about fishing than I've seen in recent outings as the bait was attracting a lot of attention. But, I didn't see a single fish caught.
It all changed for me after dark as I was able to find some fish.  Right at dark a good size fish slammed my white Slug-go.  As the fish ripped off line and sent the drag humming, I knew I was onto a good fish.  As it turned out this fish went about 40 inches, the biggest one I have taken in a while.  I landed several more schoolies after dark with one of the fish up near keeper size. I also tried one of my backwater spots and landed a load of hickory shad.
So, things were looking up for me today.  Yes, the fish are back, though you still have to do some looking to find them.  And, as I found out today, there are some decent ones in the mix.
I landed this 40 inch keeper on a white Slug-go right at dark.  I also had several more
schoolies. Fish are around but you have to do some looking to find them.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

It's that bad.....

After Sunday's poor outing, I told myself I would not head down for at least a few days.  Well, I couldn't resist heading down yesterday.  Everything was in place for a great time, storm coming, a little rough water and a dark day. That had to bring some fish around.
As it turned out yesterday turned out to be the worst day of the fall for me.  I started in Westerly and hit the waters around Weekapaug Breachway and the beach.  From there I fished the Fire District Beach.  Later, I checked out East Beach and Quonny and then fished Charlestown.  From there I headed north to Green Hill and Matunuck.  From there I went to some Gansett spots after dark.  So, I really covered the oceanfront.  And, I fished for about 8 straight hours to the point that I have a sore arm today.  It wasn't until well after dark that I landed one lone hickory shad.  Yup, it was that bad.  This is the first time this fall that I failed to catch a striper or a bluefish on a given outing.
Forget catching, I never saw a thing.  No birds, no bait, no fish breaking.  In all I saw maybe 4 fishermen all day.  I seems like many are tossing in the towel and hanging it up for the season. Yup, it's that bad.
Jump forward to today.  My son, Ben, had the day off from work so he headed down to the oceanfront against my recommendation to come carp fishing in freshwater with me.  He reports catching two hickory shad along one of the south shore beaches. He did see some small bait and some hickory shad jumping but no stripers or blues.  There were also scant few guys out fishing on this holiday. In past years, Veterans' Day brought out big numbers of fishermen. Yup, it was bad again.
So, at this point, I am almost ready to cash it in.  I will be sitting on the sidelines waiting to hear some good news from some of my friends who live along the shore.  In the absence of any good news, I will stick with freshwater fishing for now.  Yup, it's that bad.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Averting the Blank

Several shad were landed after
dark on small bucktail jigs.
It was one lone schoolie on the
day after dark.  Fishing yesterday
was poor for me.
I knew I was in for a dead day yesterday.  As I walked out onto Charlestown Beach in mid afternoon, I could not find one fisherman, NO ONE, from the breachway to Green Hill. There's good reason for this...there were no fish.  I slugged it out for two hours, casting and walking with not so much as a tap.  I saw no bait, no birds working and no fish.  I checked out several more spots to the north and saw nothing at those spots either.  By now, it was getting dark and I tried a couple of high percentage spots after dark.  Still nothing.
So, now I am staring at a blank for the day.  I decided to try one more backwater spot with ultralight gear that I had stored in my car for a night such as this.  Fortunately, I did land one schoolie and a several hickory shad on a small, homemade 1/8 oz. bucktail jig. Not exactly a big find, but I will take it considering I found nothing all day.
Yesterday was one of the deadest days I have ever seen along the RI oceanfront in early November.  This is supposed to be prime time. But, this is just what has been happening for the last few weeks.  It's a hit-or-miss deal that is greatly influenced by the bait situation.  With another big blow coming tomorrow and Wednesday and a calendar that keeps ticking away, there is little time left for the fishing to perk up (if it even does). I'm guessing we will see one more good push of fish in mid to late November, but how long they will stick around is another matter.

Friday, November 6, 2015


This keeper took a Slug-Go after dark.  Fishing today was
hot in some rough water.
While yesterday was a "miss" for me along the south shore, today was a "hit".  I knew I was in for a good day as I drove to my beachfront location.  As the water came into view I could see big numbers of gannets along with gulls divebombing into the water.  They were almost at the surf line, very unusual for gannets. It could only mean bait, and lots of it. So, I quickly suited up and started fishing.  Funny thing was that there were no fish where the birds were diving, but plenty nearby in another section of the beach.  It was loads of schoolies before dark on Cocahoes and bigger fish up to keeper size after dark on white Slug-Gos. The water was really charged up today with a big southwest wind and a heavy surf which certainly helped the fishing.  Combine those conditions with lots of bait and I had the perfect recipe for a big hit.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

A Hit-or-Miss Deal

This is one of 6 schoolies that I landed today
at and after dark.  A small school of  peanut
bunker hit the shore and the stripers were
on them. Find the bait and you will
most likely find the fish.
I was talking to a guy today at one of  the south shore beaches.  He drove two hours from a location in MA to come and fish the RI south shore.  He has been doing this for many years and commented about how he used to do this a lot years back, and catching fish used to be a sure bet at this time of year.  Not these days. Today he fished multiple spots from early AM until near dark and got nothing.
I can tell you that others have caught good numbers of fish in the last few days along the south shore, the place to be at this time of year.  Most of those who did make out well found a lot of bait.  Where bait moves, especially peanut bunker or large menhaden, it is almost a sure bet you will find stripers and bluefish. But, finding that bait and the fish is very much a hit-or-miss deal.  Trying to pick off a fish here and there with no bait around is difficult, if not impossible along the south shore beachfront these days.
I was heading for a blank today.  I fished the south shore for much of the daylight hours and got nothing.  Then, I decided to ditch this area and headed north right before dark.  I fished my new spot for half an hour with no success.  Then, it happened.  Right at dark I saw a small school (about the size of my truck hood) of peanut bunker in front of me.  As soon as I saw this bait I hooked up with a schoolie. In the next 45 minutes, I landed 5 more stripers proving once again that if you find the bait, you most likely will find the fish.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Some Here, Some There

This 30 inch keeper was landed
today along with 4 other schoolies.
There are fish around, but you have
to work for them.
For me, this has not been a normal October.  In past years, October has defined fall fishing for stripers here in RI. In previous years, I could simply drive around until I found a blitz.  Not this year. I have fished a lot in the last couple of weeks and there was only one blitz that I can report being a part of, and that was short lived.
However, I don't want to sound like I am complaining because I am consistently catching fish, though not as many as I would like to be catching.  In the last two weeks I have fished just about every day and have not blanked at all. I have caught two stripers or more on every outing.  Take today for instance. I headed down in the afternoon and really worked one particular area along the oceanfront with swimmers (Daiwa SP Minnow).  I landed 4 stripers and had a few more hits.  One of those fish was a keeper.  Later, I worked another spot after dark and landed one more fish.  So, not too bad on a day in which I saw no bait, no birds and no fish breaking.
So, there are fish around.  Yes, some here, some there. A lot of fishermen are complaining that they are not seeing many fish, but I suspect those same guys are not doing much casting.  It is a matter of getting the plug in the water and working the spots to come up with a fish or two. They are around.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Pic of the Week

Daughter-in -law Kristy Pickering holds a nice striper landed from the boat in Boston Harbor.
This was Matt and Kristy's first fishing adventure in their new boat.  This was one of many fish
landed.  Not bad for the first outing!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Jumpin' Minnow....Topwater Alternative

I have been catching a lot of fish in the last week in the daytime using a Jumpin' Minnow.  This is a great plug to use when stripers are feeding on peanut bunker as they have been in the places I have been fishing.
This  pointy nosed plug, made by Rebel is a low cost plug (got mine on sale at Walmart for $2.50 last year).  Out of the box, it comes with flimsy hooks and split rings that should be changed.  I replaced the original hooks with VMC 4x trebles, and that has gotten the job done.  I have used the black back, blue back and white top models and all have produced.
You want to work this plug just like skinny plastic.  Use a slow retrieve with the reel and move the rod tip in short, continuous jerks so that the plug has a dipping and back and forth movement to it.  It casts better than skinny plastic and is more durable when stripers and blues are mixed as they are a lot these days.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Change in Wind and Weather Change the Fishing

It was really good fishing for several nights until a big
wind shift put an end to it.
I was on a roll for several evenings/ nights this week.  I was getting good numbers of schoolies, keeper stripers and big blues.  I found big amounts of bait and the fish were on it.  Then the wind changed, the weather changed and it was all downhill from there. The fourth night in my hotspot produced nothing.
This happens so many times in the fall. You find good fishing in a certain location and it will remain good so long as conditions stay the same.  Get a big wind shift to northwest as we did yesterday along with a big drop in temperature and the surf  conditions as well as the fishing will change almost instantly.  The bait departs and the predators leave.
However, I have found that as the wind shift drives the fish out of one spot, it might deliver them to a different location. Ideal wind and surf conditions vary from location to location. Experienced surf guys know that.  In addtion, the bait and stripers are on the move at this time of year, and it's a matter of really looking around to find the best fishing.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

One Heck of a Plug

The Daiwa SP (Salt Pro) Minnow has been my go to swimmer all summer and fall.  I have been having very good luck this fall along the RI oceanfront with a white version that the company lists as "Mother of Pearl".  I love the way these things cast and their tight wiggle on the retrieve seems to elicit more hits from blues and stripers than any other swimmer. The only drawback to these plugs is that they have flimsy hooks and split rings right out of the box.  I replace the split rings with a heavy duty version and replace the hooks with VMC 4 x size 1/0 trebles.  Once that is done, no problem with bent hooks.
Today the plug worked like a charm landing good numbers of big blues and stripers (see photos of keeper bass and large blue).  This week my fishing went from "slim pickings" to bonanza.  It was a matter of finding the bait, and I found it in one small particular spot today and the stripers and blues were on it. This is what has been happening along the oceanfront.  You can search for miles and there is nothing and suddenly around the next bend you find the Mother Lode. In this one spot I found numbers of big menhaden, peanut bunker and bay anchovies.
So, in order to hit it big, it becomes a matter of finding the fish as well as fishing the right plugs and lures that will catch them. The Daiwa Minnow has been a super hot producer for me in the daytime and at night all fall.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Slim Pickings

This is one of four hefty schoolies landed today in some
rough, white water. Fishing in October is way off.
There are a few fish around but you have to look long and hard to find them along the oceanfront.  We went through two weeks of northeast winds and real rough water, and now it's the southwesterly blows that have churned up the water.  This has all made the fishing difficult and sent a lot of the bait packing. While September fishing was phenomenal, October has been a bust thus far.
I fished twice in the last three days and landed some schoolies.  I have found little or no bait, and that is why finding any fish has been difficult. For mid October, it is amazing how few fishermen I have run into.  And, the ones I have seen have been complaining about the lack of fish and the disappearance of the bait. In fact, many of the striper regulars have turned to fishing the bottom for tautog.
There still is a solid six weeks left to the season.  And, there is lots of bait in 'Gansett Bay. I'm guessing things will really perk up when the ocean calms down and the bait returns.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

No Bait, No Fish

A basic tenet of saltwater surf fishing for stripers and blues is that the fish are where the bait is.  That is really magnified in the fall.  Unlike the summer where you can pick off a resident fish here and there in some white water, catching a loner in the fall is tough. The fish are schooling up in the fall and moving with the schools of bait.
I got out yesterday and spent a good six hours casting and looking for fish.  I covered a good piece of the oceanfront from Jamestown to Galilee.  I can only describe yesterday's water in spots as a perfect "10" for surf fishing.  It was rough, but clean and had good movement to it.  There was no sand or weed in the spots I fished. Yet, I never got a hit. I saw no bait and no birds working. I did see a few guys trying and all commented on the poor fishing.  They expected it to be better based on the reports they had been reading. Yes, last week's big NE blow and heavy surf did bring some real good fishing to a few pinpoint spots, mainly protected areas from the heavy surf.  Those spots that were good had big amounts of peanut bunker that drew in big numbers of keeper bass and big blues.  For the most past, that bait seems to have disappeared since the storm.  I suspect a lot of it went into the coastal ponds and Gansett Bay.
We will just have to wait until the bait begins its movement southward to see a return to good fishing.  It will happen....just a matter of time.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

One Fisherman's Disappointment is Another's Good Fortune

This beauty was landed in the last few days. Carp just
love nasty weather at this time of year.
Plain and simple.  The weather is going to suck in the next week to ten days if you are a surf fisherman. Believe me when I say NOTHING will be going on in that time period.  I had one friend at the Canal today reporting disappointment over the big waves, sand and weeds in the canal, making fishing impossible.  My son Jon called to tell me the water was going over the rocks at Pier 5 in Narragansett and even the Harbor of Refuge was all crapped up.  Still, another friend called to tell me that the south shore was all sandy and weeded up due to the big surf.  Hate to say this, but it will only get worse in the coming days.  This reminds me a lot of Hurricane Sandy. The build up to the storm really screwed up the water, the storm itself wreaked havoc and then it took a week to clear up. We are facing the same scenario with this double whammy of a lingering northeaster and the effects of a hurricane offshore.
Now, while all my friends and son were bemoaning the loss of fishing along the oceanfront I was sitting at a local pond tending my carp rods.  I've got to tell you, carp just LOVE this nasty weather. I fished for them during Hurricane Sandy itself and had a banner day. I fished yesterday in the pouring rain and gusty winds and carp were jumping all over the place as if they were celebrating the storm. And, they were hitting.  In a few hours I  had 11 fish up to 21 lbs.  That would even be a great striper outing.  In my old age I have learned not to sweat it when the oceanfront shuts down because there are plenty of other fishing opportunities in lousy weather.Sure, I want to be striper fishing in October, but for the next week I will be taking advantage of the good fortune the nasty weather brings, and I'll be targeting freshwater carp.
For anyone out there looking for info on how to catch freshwater carp, check out my carp fishing blog.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Not Good

The last time the fishing was good was a week ago, During this week we have had persistent NE winds and a heavy surf.  Most east facing shorelines were completely shut down due to high waves, sand, weed and roiled water. Enter round two today with another round of stormy weather on the way.  Only thing, this is even worse. NOAA is forecasting a week of very heavy surf and high winds.  The predictions are generally for 7-12 foot waves for the next 5 days with gale warnings at times.  Not good.  Add to that the fact that we may see hurricane waves later in the weekend as the effects of Hurricane Joaquin come northward.  Not good.
Even once this weather passes, I am guessing it will take days for the water to clear up. I suspect there will be limited or no surf fishing along the whole oceanfront until mid next week at the earliest.
I don't know if this is by coincidence or planned, but my latest article in the Fisherman magazine (which I got today) is called "Rough Water Strategies for Fall Stripers". It basically outlines how to deal with rough water but emphasizes there is a fine line between rough water which can be productive and water that is too rough and dangerous to fish. In the next few days it will be too rough unless you want to fish the protected backwaters, inside the breachways, the coastal ponds or the Bay.
What we find when this mess clears up will be very different than what we had in mid Sept. I suspect the albies will be gone.  Yup, short and sweet this year, but kiss em good-bye.  We'll have to chase the bait on their migration southward (Bay is loaded right now), and hopefully we'll still have a good month left of stripers and bluefish, if we have no more severe weather.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Long Cast Outfit Getting It Done

For the last month I have been using a "long cast"outfit that I set up to specifically cast to false albacore that are way out.  The outfit has really delivered a number of albies as well as stripers and big blues that I would not have been able to reach with any other outfit.
Here are the details of what I am using:
Reel- Shimano Ultegra 5500 XSC- This is one of those reels that has an elongated spool for long distance casting.  It will far outcast traditional narrow spooled reels.  It looks like a big reel but weighs in at just 17.5 oz.  It is one of the smoothest reels I have ever used.  The line lays perfectly in tight, close loops on the reel due the slow oscillation of the reel, and I have not thrown a loop yet. The drag is simply superb. While I wonder how it would hold up to a heavy surf and constant splash, I can tell you it is ideally suited for the beach, jetties and dry, rocky areas, places I fish a lot.  It sells in most places for $189. Well worth the money.
Rod- St. Croix Mojo 10 1/2 footer  (moderate action)- Most fishermen know I am a big fan of St. Croix  Mojos and this one is a home run in my book.  It is 10 1/2 feet long but weighs just 12.8 oz. Check it out at St. Croix rods.  It has the backbone to heave out plugs and lures in the 2+ ounce range yet has a light enough tip to cast lures in the 1/2 to 1 oz. range.  It is ideally suited for long distance plugging. It balances perfectly with the Shimano 5500 described above. Highly recommended.
Line- Power Pro 30 lb. test braided line.  I loaded the reel above with about 50 yards of backing and then loaded it up with a 300 yd. spool of Power Pro. The line lays perfectly on the reel (check out photo) and you can actually load the reel right up to the lip of the spool.
In the last two weeks I have landed at least 15 albies, at least 15 keeper bass and 7 big blues along with some smaller fish with this outfit.  It has really delivered in areas where a long cast is needed to reach feeding fish, and its operation has been flawless.

The outfit has allowed me to cast way out to breaking albies, stripers, and blues
and has really delivered in the last month.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Persistent NE Wind, Big Surf, Roiled Water Slow Fishing

Fishing along the oceanfront, so good most of the month, has really slowed this week.  The oceanfront has seen a persistent NE wind that has been blowing for the last five days.  A big surf has also developed.  This is all a result of a low pressure of storminess in the mid Atlantic and a high pressure area to the north.  Nothing is moving so the winds and waves continue to mess up the water. Many areas are not even fishable. The water is sandy, weedy and roiled in most  places.  That has sent a lot of the bait and predators packing.  The albies, so abundant a week ago, are hard to find right now. There is little fishing activity from shore or boat. Still, there are fish to be had in some of the protected waters, the breachways on the outgoing tides (clean water), and the backwaters.
I got out yesterday early to mainly scout around.  I tried slugging it out in the rough water and had no luck. I searched the ocean way out with my binoculars in multiple locations and could find no breaking fish or diving birds.  All was dead in the daylight. I did fish a protected spot after dark and came away with one keeper striper about 30 inches long.  My son, Jon, who was with me landed a schoolie.
So, the weekend outlook is not good.  The forecast is calling for more of the same with an increasing surf with a moderate risk of beach erosion. Yikes, not good.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Gators on the Prowl

Jon Pickering holds a gator bluefish that
was caught last night.  It was one of ten
big blues that we caught along with multiple
keeper bass.
The Daiwa SP Minnow
accounted for most of
last night's fish.
Our fabulous September fishing just keeps rolling on delivering one surprise after another.  In the last two weeks I have seen acres of small blues, big schools of albies and more keeper bass than I expected.  But, the latest twist this week was the big number of alligator bluefish.  I'm talking blues in the 12-15 lb. range. They are around in a wide area of the oceanfront.  I have not seen blues like this in years, maybe decades!
I fished last night with my son, Jon.  We landed ten of these monster bluefish along with numerous keeper bass and some schoolies.  It was one of the best nights of fishing I have experienced this year.  We got all our fish on Daiwa SP minnows.  I was using a pearl colored one while he was using a mackerel model.
All of this fishing activity is being fueled by massive amounts of bait.  This week I have seen big schools of peanut bunker, adult menhaden and bay anchovies.  All of that bait has set up some of the best September fishing for multiple species that I have ever seen along the RI shoreline.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Keepers Around in Good Numbers

In the last two outings from shore I have landed 11 stripers.  Of those 11 fish, TEN have been keepers.  Yes, keeper bass, especially those fish in the 28 to 38 inch range have been around in good numbers this month.  They are keying on peanut bunker that is around in astounding numbers all along the RI oceanfront.
Yesterday I went down to target false albacore.  They were around in the morning in good numbers and I got a couple, but as the day went on, a big northeast wind developed and put an end to the bite.  I  later found acres of peanut bunker in one location and they were being blasted by large stripers just before dark.  While stripers are fussy when feeding on this stuff, they can be caught with a little persistence on the angler's part.  It is also easier to get them after dark.
So, I worked this area at and after dark and came away with a couple of fish that were just shy of 40 inches (see photos left and right).  Both fish fell for a pearl colored Daiwa SP minnow. The stripers are after this small bunker but there are also adult menhaden here and there along the shoreline.  They, too, are attracting some big fish.
It is interesting to note that I have seen very few fishermen targeting stripers from shore.  Everyone seems to be crazed about the albies and the stripers are getting little attention these days.

Friday, September 18, 2015

A Fantastic Outing from Shore

I hit it big today from shore.  I landed 7 albies and 8 keeper bass (see photos at right and left) as I walked into pandemonium this morning. For hours fish were all over the spot I fished.  Stripers were breaking in close, blues a little further out and albies busting way out.  They were all feeding on massive schools of bay anchovies as well as peanut bunker. At times, there were acres of fish in a feeding frenzy.   Even when the blitz subsided, albies were still roaming around and hitting when nothing was showing.  It was that good.
I got some albies on a Kastmaster XL and some on the float and Deceiver fly.  I saw other guys catching them on swimmers and Jumpin Minnows.  They were aggressive and were hitting just about anything that moves, very unusual for this finicky fish.  The stripers were fussy.  At times there were hundreds in front of me, all keepers in the 28-34 inch range, but they were difficult to fool.  The most successful plug for me was a homemade 4-inch popper.
Hard to believe, but with all these fish around, I saw very few fishermen in a very public spot.  I don't know where everyone is these days as there have been very few shore fishermen out trying. This week has been about as good as it gets in September. It's really happening right now.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Suddenly, Bluefish Dominate Oceanfront

The big story of the last few days has been
the arrival of tons of bluefish along the
oceanfront.  Some of them have been huge.
There are some schoolies
around but there are no big numbers.
There are some albies around, but it remains spotty.  There are some stripers around, but you have to really look to find them. And, there are tons of bluefish around.  The big news of the last few days is the arrival of loads of bluefish of all sizes.  These are being caught from shore as well as from the boat. Today I got out in the boat and hit the trifecta, landing stripers, bluefish and a lone albie. The blues were the most abundant of the three species as they were feeding on the masses of peanut bunker that have been moving along the oceanfront.  We found blues in numerous locations.  Poppers worked especially well for these aggressive feeders.  While most of the blues were in the 3-6 lb. range, we did manage a huge one that went into the teens.  If you hit the right spot there are some schools of real big blues moving around.
So, if you like bluefish, they are around now in big numbers. Compared to recent years, this is already the best bluefish year we have seen in a long time.  Credit the peanut bunker for delivering the blues.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Albie Fishing Heats Up

I got my first one from the shore today.
Albie fishing has really heated up
in the last couple of days.
Albie fishing has taken a BIG turn for the better in the last few days.  I got out today and landed my first one from the shore this year on a Kastmaster XL.  I saw good numbers landed from the shore in multiple spots, and there was an absolute glut of them way out in front of me at one point.  I saw lots of boats chasing them.
All of this began a couple of days ago. Up until then it was a few pods here and there with no big numbers.  That has all changed as more and more albies have hit the oceanfront.  No doubt this is happening because we have massive amounts of bait to draw in these fish.  There are huge schools of peanut bunker around.  We haven't seen this many in years.  There are also good numbers of bay anchovies.  With all this bait and a lack of stormy weather, I see this albie fishing remaining very good for some time to come.
While  albie fishing is not as hot as last year yet, the numbers are building.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Photo of the Day

Yup, they are around if you can find them.  Would you believe 7 keepers from shore today!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

TONS of Bait but Where's the Fish

A guy walked up to me on the beach yesterday and asked, "Did you see all that bait? What's going come there are no fish?"
Indeed, I saw the most bait yesterday that I have seen in years.  One massive school (size of a school gym) after another was passing right along the shore.  One massive bunch area of dark water moves by, and thirty yards in back of it is another huge bunch.  It was all peanut bunker.  And, NOTHING was after it!
I figured there must be a black sea bass, fluke, striper, or bluefish under it so I worked below it with a bucktail jig.  All I could jig up for an afternoon's effort was a big sea robin.
Strange times. There are tons of bait and few fish except for an occasional small pod of albies, but even they are scarce. In the past those peanut bunker would attract loads of blues, stripers and albies at this time of year.
I have to think the real warm water is having a big effect on the slower than normal shore fishing.  The surface water yesterday was in the low to mid 70's.  I was fishing in a bathing suit and the water felt just as warm as the air on that hot day.
I ended up seeing three small pods of albies yesterday, but they were way out. Up for about ten seconds and then gone. So, I  got none from the shore and I know on no one else that got any yesterday.  From what I can piece together, there have been a scant few taken from shore along the oceanfront, better numbers from the boat, though still way off. Many fishermen are beginning to question whether we will see the good fishing for albies this year.  I know of fly rodders who have been out in good numbers in one particular location,  They have been at it just about every day for the last two weeks.  One fish has been caught by these guys. Not good.
All was not lost yesterday.  I did manage to nail two stripers right at dark and one was a keeper. I got them in a dropaway deep water spot in which, surprisingly. there was no bait. I got both on a white Slug-go.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Big ALBIE Hit Today!

Up until today I had not seen an albie in RI waters and I did not know of anyone who had caught one.  I was beginning to think this albie season would be a bust. That all changed with an afternoon blitz that we ran into along the south shore from the boat.
They were around the location we fished, big time.  We found marauding schools of them tearing through schools of bay anchovies. The water would be boiling with them at times as they were really in a feeding frenzy.  However, as is often the case, the fish were fussy.  I started off with the ole reliable Kastamster XL and got one fish on it.  After casting it into several boiling schools and getting nothing, I switched to the float and blue Deceiver fly set up, my albie killer from past years.  That did the trick as my brother Steve and I landed good numbers of them.
While we got all our fish from the boat, I can tell you these fish were close enough for shore anglers to catch them.  At times they were busting practically in the wash.  But, I saw no one fishing from the shore for them.
I will also tell you that these fish were along one specific shoreline today.  They were not in multiple spots.  We searched miles and miles of shoreline before finding a concentration of them along with bait.  There was little or no bait along most of the oceanfront that we covered. So, while we hit it big today, I don't feel as if there are a lot of them around yet. They are concentrated in specific locations and you have to find them. Not like other years when they were all over the place.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Walking into a Daytime Blitz

There were good numbers of stripers
today blitzing peanut bunker.
The fish ranged from large schoolies
to small keepers. The fall fishing
has started with a bang.
Wow, we found something hot today.  My son Jon and I headed to the oceanfront this afternoon to escape the afternoon heat.  We weren't expecting much in terms of fishing till right before dark.  Were we wrong!
We walked into a daytime fall blitz in progress as good size stripers (25-28 inches) were tearing through schools of peanut bunker.  It was wild with birds diving and fish breaking.  At one point I was standing in water in my waders and I had peanut bunker all around me, and stripers were ripping through the bait right in front of me.  Further out I saw some serious breaks as larger fish (albies or bonito?) were charging through the bait like torpedoes blasting through the water.
We landed good numbers of stripers though they were fussy (they always are when on peanut bunker). The best lure today was a small flathead bucktail jig spiced with a curly tail and fished off a float.
Make no mistake about it.  Fall fishing is here. With huge amounts of bait around and increasing numbers of stripers and bonito along with albies on the way, it is shaping up to be a banner fall.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Black Sea Bass Regs Change......Bag Limit up to 7

Black sea bass have been one of our most abundant gamefish
this summer. You can now keep 7 a day.
This monster was in the 7-8 lb. range and was landed recently.
Good bye to one of the dumbest regulations in the history of saltwater fishing here in RI regarding black sea bass.  All summer the limit was one fish a day. This comes at a time when we have record numbers of them all over the oceanfront.  In places the bottom was just paved with them and you could catch all you wanted. They are one of our most abundant gamefish. As of today, you can now keep 7 of them.
Here's a suggestion for our Marine Fisheries Council that comes up with these regulations.  Instead of allowing one fish a day for all the summer months and then increasing it to 7 fish in the fall, why not make it 3 or 4 fish a day for the year.  That would seem to make more sense to me.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Albie Watch

None around yet, but if  it is going to happen,
it should occur in the next week to ten days.
There's a lot of fishermen looking.  One of the most anticipated events of the fishing season is the arrival of the false albacore, or albies.  These fish are the ultimate light tackle gamesters as they will put on a fight that would most fish to shame.  They are the most sought after fish by fly rodders.
To my knowledge (and I talk to a lot of people and have gotten out a lot in the last week), there are none around yet.  Last year they showed up at this during the last couple of days of August. In previous years, the start for the most part has been the first week of September if they are going to show.
And, that is a big "IF". These fish are not a sure bet. If we look back at the last few years, 2014 and 2013 were banner years that saw record numbers of them along the RI shoreline but there were none in 2012. If we look back over the last 30 years, about a third of those years there were none, a third of those years a few were around and it was good to great about a third of the years.  So, what will happen this year is anyone's guess.
If I were a betting fisherman, I would bet it will be a good year.  There is a lot of bait in place and the bonito have been around in good numbers.  Good numbers of bonito usually means good numbers of albies.
The next week to ten days should tell the story.  If they are going to show, it will be in that time period.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Monsters From the Depths

This is the biggest fluke we have ever taken
from the boat.  The fish was close to 30 in. and
was caught on a bucktail jig fished
in 70-80 ft. of water.
My brother Steve and I got out in the boat today.  We were looking for bonito and big blues, the fish we have had so much success with this week.  But, we found none. We looked all over the oceanfront and found tons of bait but not a darn thing after it. So, we went to our back-up plan which was to fish the bottom for bottom feeders such as black sea bass and fluke.
Big black sea bass were in
abundance today as we
landed many between 5-7 lbs.
That's when we hit the jackpot.  With surface water temperatures running 76 to 77 degrees today (way too warm), we tried working the bottom in 20-30 feet of water. But no luck doing that so we decided to head out further and try our luck in deep water reasoning that the deeper water would be cooler and possibly more productive.  We were fishing in 75 to 80 feet of water.  We were vertically jigging Kastmaster XLs and bucktail jigs spiced with fresh squid that we jigged up.
Our luck changed dramatically. My brother Steve landed the biggest fluke that we've ever caught from the boat, a doormat that measured close to 30 inches and that we estimated went about 8-9 lbs.  We also landed some of the biggest black sea bass that we ever caught in RI waters.  We had many in the 5-7 lb. range along with countless other keepers.  The bottom seemed to be paved with large black sea bass. We also had another big fluke that went over 20 inches.
So, a day that started off poorly turned into one of our best days of the year.  As I've said many times before.....the fish are there, you just have to find them!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Everything in Place for a Great Fall

For the boat fishermen, big blues have been around in
good numbers this past week. Expect this action to
continue into the fall with albies, bonito and stripers
joining the hit parade of September fish.
It is shaping up to be a great fall.  All we need now is a little cool weather to drop the water temperatures and the fishing will explode.  There is a large amount of bait along the oceanfront.  I have seen more peanut bunker than I have seen in years. Already it is attracting good numbers of bluefish and bonito.  Bay anchovies are also around in abundance.  There is even squid around as we hooked a couple yesterday with a jig.  A big blue I landed yesterday was puking both squid and baby scup. In addition, there is the occasional school of large menhaden. With all that bait around, the fishing has to get real good once the fall migrations begin.
Right now the surface water temperatures along the oceanfront are in the low to mid 70's.  Way too warm for stripers.  That explains the downturn in striper fishing for shore fishermen in the last couple of weeks. Once the cooler weather arrives and the water temperatures drop into the upper sixties I expect the striper fishing to explode. The blues are active in that warm water. That explains why we are catching them.  I've landed more blues this week than all of last year, and they have been good sizes.
I know of no albies that have been caught yet, but I suspect it is a matter of time.  In the past they have arrived in the final days of August or the first week in September. By mid September, that fishery should be hopping.
So long as we don't get any big storms such as a tropical storm or a hurricane, expect September to be a banner month.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Photo of the Day

The bonito continue to hit along RI's south shore oceanfront.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Found 'Em

We have been looking all week and we finally found what we were looking for. BON ITO!  Yes, they are around as we found them blasting through a pile of bait along the south shore where we fished from the boat today.  It was a mix of good size bluefish along with good size bonito.  They were tearing through big schools of peanut bunker.
The lure that got them was a Kastmaster XL reeled in at a fast pace just below the surface.
Steve Pickering holds a good size bonito that was landed from the boat
along the oceanfront today. They were around in good numbers.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Best Day for Bluefish in YEARS!

There were big numbers of bluefish around yesterday
feeding on big schools of peanut bunker.
We got out in my brother's boat yesterday, and found big numbers of bluefish.  Schools of marauding blues covered a large area of the south shore oceanfront that we were fishing.  In fact, this was the most bluefish we have seen in years, either from the boat or from shore.
Suddenly, there are massive schools of peanut bunker around to add to the massive number of bay achovies.  We now have the bait, BIG TIME, and that is attracting all kinds of fish.  These blues, which ranged from 5-10 lbs., were in small schools attacking pods of peanut bunker. They were quite fussy and would not take a popper, usually the artificial of choice when blues are around.  The best lure we used yesterday was a Kastmaster XL worked fast.  I kept it just below the surface or actually "popped" it on the surface.  Either way, it was very effective.
While we were catching these fish from the boat, they could be caught at times from the shore.  Pods of them were close enough to reach, but we never saw anyone fishing from the shore. Where are all the shore fishermen?
With massive amounts of bait along the RI shoreline, it's looking like this will be a fabulous early fall. When we get some cooler weather, look for the fishing to really explode with stripers, bluefish and albies leading the hit parade.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Bait, Stripers Back, BUT Loads of Weed

I landed this hefty schoolie last evening right at dark.
There's lots of bait around the oceanfront and some
fussy stripers feeding on it.
There's a lot of bait around and stripers are also around in good numbers though the oceanfront has really been kicked up in the last week making fishing from shore difficult in many areas.  I got out a couple of times this week and landed some fish, but no big numbers.
Here's what has been happening.  First off, you have to find a weed free spot to fish which is not that easy.  Most of the south facing shorelines are so clogged with weed that fishing is impossible from shore.  The rocky, east facing shorelines are better, but not great.  Each time I fished, you could see birds working way out in the evening daylight.  As it got closer to dark, the birds and schools of small bait moved closer to shore.  Right before dark I would see sporadic jumps of stripers hitting the small bait.  There was no frenzy as they were just whirling and lazily feeding.  There were also no schools of fish as there were jumps here and there in the places I fished.  These fish were very fussy.  About the only thing they would occasionally hit was a 7 1/2 inch white Slug-Go.  I tried everything else in my bag with no success.  I suspect that the warm water combined with the tiny bait (bay anchovies) has them very finicky. Once it was pitch dark everything seemed to come to an end.
One other note here is that I never saw another fisherman in the two evenings I fished.  From what I have heard, the few fishermen who are getting out are hitting the shore in the early morning and doing fairly well.
With all this bait around, expect the fishing to explode in September with albies and stripers leading the hit parade.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Yesterday's Super Storm Really Messes Things Up

Yesterday's super thunderstorms really did a job on the state with damage, downed trees and power lines.  From a fisherman's point of view, it also wreaked havoc on the oceanfront and the fishing.
I went down yesterday afternoon, almost twelve hours after the storm blew through.  The ocean was fully charged.  I would estimate there were 6-10 foot waves crashing ashore, making fishing impossible in most places.  Couple that with a big southwest wind.  To add to the misery, the water near any beach was a mess with sand and weeds.  Even far from the sandy beaches, weed and some sand seemed to be everywhere. In some places the breaking waves were brown with thick, globby weed.  Along miles of a rocky shoreline that was clean a day earlier, I could find only one small spot where there was some weed, but barely fishable water.  I saw no birds diving anywhere, no bait visible, no stripers jumping and just about no fishermen.  I was able to catch one lone schoolie at dark on a Slug-Go, and I was darn lucky to get one fish considering the conditions.
My brother was out this morning in his boat and covered a wide area of the oceanfront.  While the waves had calmed down, there were still rollers coming in and the water was still a weedy and silty mess as far out as a mile in some places.  He found no birds working and for all his efforts, he landed one small bluefish. Not good.
Only time will tell if this storm has ruined our very good summer fishing and sent the stripers and bait packing.  The oceanfront will need to calm down and clear up.  This might take a few days before things return to normal.  What the fishing will be like is any one's guess.

Monday, August 3, 2015

More and More Bait, Snapper Blues Arrive and Lots of Weed

Wild!  That is the only way I can describe the scene yesterday.  I got down to the oceanfront in the evening and as I looked out in the first spot I stopped I could see hundreds of birds diving in a wide area.  They were in close, out far, everywhere.  So, I quickly grabbed my rod and headed to the shore. What was causing all the commotion were vast schools of tiny bait.  That was being attacked by big schools of small snapper blues.  And, that was being attacked by an occasional striper.  Everywhere you looked there was bait and some kind of fish breaking.
It was all schoolies yesterday.  A small bucktail jig with a
curly tail was the hot lure.
The stripers were scattered.  It was an individual fish here and there breaking or just hanging in the white water.  They were not schooled up and not very aggressively feeding.  Maybe it's the warm water (low to mid 70's).  Still, I managed to pick up a few fish on a bucktail jig and the other guys I was with were also picking up a few. Yesterday's fish were schoolies in the 22-24 inch range. These fish seem to be everywhere that bait exists.  Some places have more fish than others.  It's a matter of finding them.
For anyone looking for action, I will warn you that there is a lot of weed around, especially along the sandy south shore that is vulnerable to a south and southwest wind.  I know one state beach where even swimming is impossible in some sections in the thick red and black weed that covers the shoreline and shallow water.  From my travels I can tell you that there is more weed south of Point Judith than there is north of there.  The rocky areas around Narragansett, Jamestown and Newport seem to have cleaner and more fishable water than along the south shore beachfront. There are pockets of clean water along the beachfront, but you have to find them. If you are fishing from a boat it doesn't matter since the weed is generally close to shore.
So, we are in the midst of a very good stretch of striper fishing.  I would say unusually good for early August.

Friday, July 31, 2015

September Fishing Arrives Early; Stripers Around in Good Numbers

I landed this 30 inch keeper tonight.
Many keepers along with schoolies
and bluefish have been landed from
shore in the last week along the
In most years, September marks the start of very good fishing from shore here in RI.  Here it is mid summer and the fishing along the oceanfront has suddenly turned very good, about as good as it gets in September.  In fact, many are saying this is about as good as it gets in the summertime.
All this good fishing is being fueled by massive schools of tiny bay anchovies that are moving northward along our oceanfront shores. Normally that happens in September, but it is going on right now. Stripers, blues and black sea bass are in pursuit and feeding.
I was out this evening and I found the bait.  Problem was that small bait was being attacked by some very fussy, but good sized stripers. Just before dark, I  had a breaking fish to cast to just about every cast.  I finally got one to hit a white Slug-Go but missed it.  A few minutes later, I hooked a good size one that I eventually got to shore.  The fish went 30 inches, a nice summer catch.
I spoke to many other fishermen today.  One guy told of a blitz of fish he was into yesterday.  He reports many stripers up to 35 inches were caught along with some big blues.  Another guy told me he landed 50 stripers in the last three days with many keepers in the mix.  My brother called this morning to report he was catching good numbers of schoolies and black sea bass from his boat.
So, things are looking real good right now for shore fishermen. It's September fishing in mid summer.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Find the Bait and You'll Likely Find Fish

It's late July, but we are suddenly in an early September pattern of fishing.  There are big schools of bait, various kinds, moving along the oceanfront.  It is attracting schools of stripers, blues, black sea bass and fluke.  The problem is that the bait is not always around.  In the last two weeks it has come and gone.  But, when you find it, you will likely find fish.
Several evenings ago, I found big numbers of schools of small bay anchovies along a south shore beach.  Schools of small bluefish were on this bait.  The next night my son, Jon, went down to a different spot.  As he got to the water's edge, he was greeted by a massive school of stripers that were feeding on small bait.  According to him, the huge school of fish was feeding on the surface way out but would occasionally come close into casting range.  He landed numerous schoolies that were in the 15-20 inch range on a float and Cocahoe.  I went to the same spot yesterday evening.  There was no bait, no fish. Even though I casted away at a good spot, I was not able to get a hit.  You won't find many loners at this time of year. The fish are on the bait, period.
This thing has been happening for the last two weeks according to many regulars I know who have been fishing the oceanfront surf. Some of these guys have walked into spots to find bait and stripers all over the place.  But, these fish tend to come and go with lots of fish around one minute, gone the next. The best times to fish seem to be early morning and evening. The bait these guys are reporting range from bay anchovies to peanut bunker to silversides to small butterfish.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Tons of Small Bait, Blues Invade South Shore

Tons of small bait has attracted good numbers of small
bluefish to the south shore oceanfront.  The Kastmaster XL
was the hot producer tonight.
Suddenly, things are looking up, especially if you are a fan of bluefish.  Earlier than expected, a ton of small bait, bay anchovies I assume, has invaded the south shore.  I saw it yesterday moving along the shoreline like a continuous black winding road.  It was also way out as terns were in a vast area diving here and there for the bait.  This bait was tiny, probably about a half inch long.
The sudden influx of bait has attracted schools of small bluefish.  I landed several on a Kastmaster XL and lost a bunch more.  The blues went up to about 3 lbs. Yes, small stuff, but, hey, it's action that I have not seen in weeks.  Unfortunately, I saw and caught no schoolies along the beach that I was fishing and that includes working it after dark.
The big amount of bait is welcome news.  If it sticks around, it might just set up an earlier than expected run of albies (late August, maybe).  It might also get an early striper run going once the water cools a bit. Things are looking up!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Lack of Bait + Fewer Fish = Slim Pickings

If you have been reading recent reports about RI fishing, you would think forty and fifty pound stripers would be jumping in your waders.  Realize these are "highlight fish".  Yes, a few of these fish are being taken by boaters fishing at Block Island for the most part. With hundreds of boats a day probing the Block's waters, some fish are bound to be caught. Fishing from shore is a different ballgame.
If shore fishing were a hospital patient, it would be on life support.  Not much is going on.  There is a noticeable lack of bait near shore.  Sure, there are some menhaden in the Bay, and pods of sandeels seem to be showing up way off shore.  But, close shore there is little or nothing. Don't expect the bait situation to change until at least mid August when bay anchovies start to move along the oceanfront.
No question, there are fewer fish around.  Most will agree that numbers are down.  That's why we can only keep one fish a day. From shore the shortage is magnified as shore fishing in the summer has been on a downhill slide here in RI for the last several years.
I was out last evening/night fishing a high percentage spot.  The water was rough, but clean.  Ideal conditions.  I slugged it out in multiple spots along a shoreline.  The results were just one lone schoolie about 20 inches that was caught on a white Slug-go after dark. It was odd that there was just one other person fishing this popular spot, and he got nothing.  It seems to me that shore fishermen are giving up striper fishing in droves in the summertime. I know a lot of shore fishermen and most have either given it up or cut back big time.  Most realize there is little to catch right now.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Going After the Best Bets

It's summertime here in RI, a poor time of the year to fish for striped bass from shore along the mainland oceanfront  I was looking for the best bet in daytime fishing, so my brother and I decided to head out to the south shore and fish the bottom from his boat. We were after the Big 3 of summer....fluke, black sea bass and scup.  We found a lot of black sea bass and fluke.
We landed about a dozen black sea bass with several keepers in the mix.  My brother was using a jig spiced with a squid strip while I was vertically jigging a Kastmaster XL. Both were working.
Fluke were tough to come by at first, and then we hit a real hotspot where we landed at least 50 of them in an hour.  Of those fifty we had several keepers in the 20+ inch range.  He got his fish on bucktail jigs spiced with squid strips, and I got my fish on bucktail jigs spiced with a plastic curly tail.
So, if you have a boat, the bottom fishing is very good right now along the oceanfront.  As for stripers and bluefish, we found none today.  We also saw no bait and no birds working.

The bottom fishing was good today for fluke and black sea bass.