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.