Friday, May 27, 2016

Weekend Outlook....Great from a Boat, Fair from Shore

There will be a ton of people out and about this weekend looking for fish. If you fish from a boat, you shouldn't have any problem finding them.  There are a lot a stripers around and they are all sizes.  If you fish from shore, it's a different story.  The numbers are dwindling, but they are still around if you look for them.
Boating Outlook-  The Bay is the place to be as there are big numbers of keeper bass around chasing loads of menhaden.  Using menhaden is the ticket to getting the big ones.  Not every school of pogies, though, has large stripers under them.  So, it will be a matter of finding the productive schools of fish.  I like to snag and fish the snagged one right under the schools.  You might also opt to reel it in, rehook through the nose and fish it that way.  In addition to the live bait fishing, plugging is another productive option.  Stripers, from schoolies to small keepers, are around in good numbers in many of the shallow coves and shorelines in the Bay.  Such plugs as Jumpin Minnows and Slug-gos are hot numbers from the boat.  Once again, you will have to look around and try to find the productive spots.  That's fairly easy to do from a boat.
Shore Outlook-  The fishing is slowing down for me from shore.  I have tried up and down the Bay from shore, and it seems that I am able to pick up a couple of fish an outing if I hit multiple spots.  I'm not finding many keepers from shore compared to a couple of weeks ago. Try plugging with Jumpin Minnows, poppers or Slug-gos.  Evenings into night is your best time to fish as well as early morning. The oceanfront should also be productive, but expect to find a lot of people out and about.
Expect Some Bluefish- With this warming weather, the bluefish are on the increase.  We are getting some from the boat and I know others who are catching them from the shore.  Put the plastic away and fish with a hard plug if you find blues.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Pic of the Day: "Big Fish on the Rampage!"

The big fish were on the rampage today. We used pogies to catch good numbers
of big keeper bass. This is just one of a number of fish in this size range that
we landed today.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

From the Boat: Skinny Water Strategies

We are on a roll, especially from the boat.  We are catching big numbers of stripers and that includes small ones, good size schoolies and keepers up to over 40 inches. It is about the best I have seen in years in terms of numbers of fish in Narragansett Bay.
So, what's been our key to success? For the most part, we are targeting low water and we are plugging.  I can tell you that most boaters fish Gansett Bay in two ways.  They are either trolling or they are fishing bait (chunks or live menhaden).  With both methods, boaters are usually fishing water that is over 15 feet deep. Very few use plugs.
We have concentrated out plugging in shallow water that is 3-6 feet deep for the most part. The
advantage to that shallow water is that it heats up quickly on sunny days and the fish and bait tend to gravitate to that warmer water.  Shallow water flats that extend out from shore are prime spots to hit.  We also try to find skinny water in which there is structure like small rocks along the bottom, grass near the shore or even transition areas where the bottom moves from sand to rocks.
In these skinny spots we are drifting and plugging. The motor is shut off while drifting to keep things quiet in the low water.   In recent outings some of our hot plugs have been poppers, Rebel Jumpin Minnows, plastic forked tailed flukes fished on top and Slug-gos.  The color white has been most effective. It is all the same stuff that has worked for me from shore.
Most boaters will tell you the larger fish in the Bay, stripers over 40 inches, will be caught on menhaden for the most part.  They are right.  And, we do this type of fishing when we can get the bait and find a productive spot.  However, when this isn't working (which is a lot of times), we quickly switch gears and start plugging shallow water.  That has accounted for big numbers of fish up to 34 inches this spring.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

A Hot Day in the Bay

Here's a good size keeper that was taken on a live menhaden.
The fishing was fast and furious today in the Bay.  My brothers and I went out in the boat and hit it big, catching lots of fish and some big ones.
This nice fish was caught
on a Rebel Jumpin Minnow.
There is a dual game of striper fishing going on right now.  Large stripers, fish over 40 inches, are now in the Bay and are generally being taken on menhaden. We landed several large fish today livelining menhaden. There is also the plugging game going on.  We landed well over 50 fish today on plugs.  The hot plug was a Rebel Jumpin Minnow.  Generally, the smaller fish, schoolies of 12-25 inches, are being caught on plugs.  But, not always.  We had several keepers today on plugs.
So, the striper fishing continues to be hot here in RI. In fact, I would say it is as good as it gets at this time of year. Our year of plenty just continues to roll along!
The Rebel Jumpin Minnow was a hot plug today in the Bay
accounting for well over 50 fish from schoolies to keepers.
The bone color was especially effective.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Pic of the Day.....Bluefish In

Add one more species of fish to the mix.  Yes, the bluefish
are here. Some have been taken along the south shore
oceanfront and some are in the Bay.  Chris Mainor holds this good
size one that was taken yesterday evening in the Bay.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

A Real Hot Plug.....Rebel Jumpin' Minnow

The Rebel Jumpin' Minnow has been a hot
producer in the last week for keepers.
 I especially like the bone color (pic at right).
At first I was getting all my fish on jigs back in April.  Then, the white Slug-go was real hot.  And, now it's the Rebel Jumpin' Minnow.  I've written about this plug before and I feature it in my striper seminars.  Yes, it is that good and works just about every season.
I've landed several keepers in the last few evenings along with good numbers of schoolies.  They have all fallen for this plug.  It has even outperformed the Slug-go.  It has similar movement to skinny plastic but casts far better, especially into the wind.  That's why I have opted for this plug in the last few evenings of fishing into the wind.
Many fishermen ask how I work this plug.  Retrieve at a slow to moderate rate and pull the rod tip with a lot of short jerks, basically the same way you would fish skinny plastic.  You want the plug to dance on the surface and wiggle from side to side.
I especially like the "bone" color. I have also has good success with a blue and black model.  If you purchase one of these plugs, be aware that the hooks and hardware suck.  I replace the hooks with VMC 4x size # 1 hooks and I replace the split rings with something more heavy duty.
If you never tried this plug, give it a whirl.  In Gansett Bay and along the oceanfront I consider it one of the top 5 plugs you can use.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Pic of the Day

Steve Pickering hoists a keeper striper that was caught
in some very rough water. Keepers are around in good numbers
but you will have to look around to find them.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Epic Day, One of the Wildest of All Time!

Biggest fish of the night was this 28 inch keeper.
Today had to be the wildest day I have EVER fished in the month of May.  The wind howling up to 50 mph, bait was all over the place, birds were diving, fish were busting and the numbers of fish I landed was staggering.
I hit the oceanfront in late afternoon, just driving about checking a few spots when I spotted a mass of birds diving in the water along a deserted beach.  Yup, I found what I was looking for, big time. I got my stuff on and headed to the water.  What I found was huge numbers of stripers very close to shore. On the first four casts, I had 5 fish and it just continued from there. Birds would start diving after bait, fish would start breaking and I was running from spot to spot like a nut casting and catching on my Cocahoes and teasers.
At one point before dark, masses of baitfish, a combination of silversides and peanut bunker, got driven onto the beach by huge numbers of foraging stripers.  Waves started washing the bait onto the beach.  Within a half hour there were thousands of stranded baitfish just flopping on the beach. In the wash were also thousands of baitfish getting slammed by schools of stripers. I have never seen such mayhem in the springtime.  It was crazy.
While most of the fish were small (10-20 inches). I did manage to snare a keeper in the 28-30 inch range.  By the time my evening ended I had landed over 80 stripers, making this one of my biggest hauls on a May day in my 50 years of striper fishing!

Big schools of stripers are breaking for bait.

Marauding schools of stripers have driven the bait right up onto the sand
of the beach.  Thousands of silversides and peanut bunker have been stranded.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Best April in DECADES

Action from the boat has been
good.  Mike Pickering hoists
a hefty schoolie landed
this weekend.
This good size one
was landed tonight
on a Zoom fluke. The
hot action has
continued into May.
Personally, this was my best April in decades.  There may have been a better start back 30 or 40 years ago, but I can't remember anything better.
I started catching on April 11 and from that date to the end of the month it was almost non-stop action in all the spots I fished.  I can't tell you what the guys along the far south beaches of Westerly were doing or what those along Newport or Jamestown were doing, but I can say that in the spots that I fish it was outstanding.  In three glorious weeks, I have landed just about as many stripers as I caught ALL last year.
What also made this April so unusual was the fact that all sizes were abundant.  I landed a lot of small ones under 16 inches in the early going, and then I started getting bigger schoolies and lots of them in the 16-26 inch range.  And, recently it has been a lot of keepers in the 28-34 inch range. The only thing I didn't get is a real large fish, but I have never gotten a real big one in April.
The fishing shows no sign of slowing down as I continue to score good numbers in these first couple of days of May.
While many out there were predicting gloom and doom for 2016 with decreasing numbers of fish, it has been just the opposite. We have them, and lots and lots of them so far. Hopefully this trend will continue.