Monday, October 31, 2016

Photo of the Day....The Birthday Blue!

What better way to celebrate your birthday than with a BIG blue!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Gators on the Prowl

Some of the largest bluefish seen in years were caught this week along the RI oceanfront.  These are gators in the 15 pound plus category.  And, they are being caught in a wide stretch of the oceanfront from the rocky shores along the mouth of Gansett Bay to sandy beaches of Westerly.  They are around because adult bunker are around.  Find the schools of adult menhaden, and you will likely find the big blues.
I got down to the oceanfront again today.  I found small pods of menhaden along one beach.  Blues were also on the prowl along here.  I ended up getting the my biggest shore blue of the year.  It was a brute of 15-16 lbs. (see photo at left).  It was caught on a white, Daiwa SP Minnow. I saw several more blues in this size range landed by other fishermen. Word is that yesterday featured even better action.
So, keep you eyes open for menhaden moving along the oceanfront this weekend.  It could by your ticket to a trophy bluefish.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Cold Nights Get the Fish Moving

There were lots of schoolies around
today.  The Cocahoe fished off a
float was our best catcher.
I'm guessing the cold nights of the last few days and dropping water temperatures have gotten the fish moving. Today was a real good day for us along the oceanfront.  My son Jon and I fished the afternoon into the evening and found good numbers of stripers in multiple spots. It was old fashioned October action with big flocks of birds diving and schools of stripers blitzing on small bait. I will admit, though, the fish were fussy as once again, they were feasting on one inch bay anchovies.  We ended up catching over 30 schoolies using such small bait imitators as small bucktail jigs, small Cocahoes off the float, Jumpin Minnows, and even small swimmers. We kept changing lures but nothing proved to be real effective.  The Cocahoe off the float seemed to catch the most fish.  Most of the schoolies we caught were from 20-27 inches (just below keeper size).
While we were catching in the afternoon, I found out that big bluefish along with some keeper stripers seemed to be in multiple locations along the oceanfront in the morning and early afternoon.  These larger predators have been chasing big menhaden in the last couple of days that have been showing up randomly in various locations.  Find that big bait and most likely you will find some big blues and large stripers chasing them.
Who knows what's in store for tomorrow as stormy weather along with a big east wind comes howling? I'm guessing the start of the storm could bring some opportunities for good fishing, but it will likely head downhill real fast.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

From the Observation Deck....

I've been fishing up a storm in the last week.  The past week has been dominated not by fish, but by WIND and big surf.  However, I have managed to catch a few fish in some tough conditions.  Here are a few observations from the last week of fishing:
* This has been a fall season with a lot of schoolies.  It has been loaded with 12-20 inch stripers. Bodes well for the future.
*On the other hand, keeper stripers, especially the larger ones over 40 inches, have been in short supply.
*Bluefish have also been scarce along the oceanfront.  There seems to be a few big ones here and there but no numbers yet.
*Did you see the latest young-of-the-year index from the Chesapeake Bay?.  It is a dismal 2.2, way below the average of 11+. As usual, they blame the weather...too wet, too dry, etc.  I say there is a shortage of breeding fish.
* One thing in abundance this fall along the oceanfront are seals.  I have never seen so many big ones along the beachfront.  Some of these have heads the size of basketballs and must weigh hundreds of pounds.  I have to wonder how many stripers they are eating a day.
*I saw my first gannet a couple of days ago.  You know we are getting late in the season when these birds come around.
*There is a noticeable lack of fishermen around when the fishing is tough.  When fish are busting all over the place, fishermen come out of the woodwork.  Welcome to our high tech world of text messaging and cell phones. Does anyone work for their fish anymore?

Thursday, October 20, 2016

East Wind Lights It Up

This big blue hit a Daiwa
SP Minnow at dark.
The schoolies were
on small stuff like
this jig fished off
a float.
I'm not a fan of the east wind.  Most fishermen will tell you that this is the very worst wind to fish in.  Knowing that, I did go down today and faced a strong east wind right in my face.  But, here's the tricky thing about an east wind.  It can be real good at the start (say the first few hours), but once it is blowing for a while, it can foul the water and ruin the fishing.  Well, today's start was good, real good.
It's been an up and down week for me.  One day lots of fish, the next day a blank.  The last two days were not good for me.  Yet, today I found tons of schoolies with fish breaking and birds diving in the white water where I was fishing.  This went on all afternoon and my son Jon and I had a ton of fish all to ourselves. The glut of schoolies were feeding on small bay anchovies that were one to two inches long.  I was using a small bucktail jig off a float, and Jon was using a small Cocahoe off the float.  Both were very effective.
Later, I hit another spot after dark and came away with the biggest blue of the fall for me, a brute of 11-12 lbs. that hit a Daiwa SP Minnow.  I also had a good size schoolie after dark.
I must say that there have been lots of schoolies around this fall, but keepers have been in short supply.  I've put in a lot of time after dark in October and have landed only a couple of small keepers. Hopefully that will change in the coming weeks.

Today's stripers were feeding on big schools of small bait. Here are two
bay achovies that a striper coughed up. 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Lots of Fish on Small Bait

A small bucktail jig landed good numbers
of schoolies that were feeding on bay
A good way to fish a small
jig is off a float.
I've seen a lot of fish in the last few days along the oceanfront.  If you can find the bait, you will most likely find a lot of fish. A couple of days ago my son Jon and I were into massive numbers of schoolies that were feeding on big schools of bay anchovies. When this happens, some fishermen get frustrated because the stripers can get very finicky when feeding on small bait. Seeing the fish and getting them to hit your offering is sometimes not an easy thing. While we landed about 60 fish, I saw many fishermen go fishless.
So, what were we doing that they weren't?  We were using small stuff that closely resembled the 1-3 inch baitfish that the stripers were feeding on.  I was using a small, homemade, flathead, 3/8 oz. bucktail jig with a three inch curly tail attached to it. This is too light to cast with a surf rod so I fished it off an egg float.  At first Jon was using a small Cocahoe off a float.  He did get a few fish on that but the ole reliable Cocahoe was not getting it done this day.  So, he snapped on a small, 4 inch Rapala X-Rap swimmer in a white color.  This is one of his favorites when the fish are on small bait, and it worked wonders on this day.
Most of the frustrated fishermen who were not catching were using big, 5-6 inch poppers, large swimmers, big metal or large jigs.  Those bigger lures are great when the big bait (menhaden, herring and mullet) are around, but are generally ineffective when the stripers are feeding on small bait.
The water is just boiling with schoolies feeding on small bait. There have been
big numbers of fish around this week where there is bait.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Ups and Downs of October Fishing

The beginning of the week
featured schoolies, keepers
and blues and after that things went
downhill.  October fishing
has been inconsistent.
Man, I am on a bad streak.  I've gotten exactly 2 schoolies in the last three days.  And, I have put in some serious time in multiple spots fishing in the daytime as well as at night.  Welcome to fall fishing.
This all comes on the heels of a week that started off super in the beginning of the week.  The week began with good numbers of schoolies and small keepers for me.  Then, my son Jon got into some of the biggest blues we have seen in years in midweek.  And, then it all went downhill.
This is a time of year in which the predators and the bait are on the move.  What is around one day is often gone the next.  The fish are also following the bait. Find the bait and you often will find the stripers and blues.  Such was the case this week with loads of bait in the beginning of the week and nothing at the end of the week. I could not find a stitch of bait on Thursday and Friday in multiple spots along the oceanfront.
In recent years, this all or nothing scenario seems to be a trend in our fall fishing. So, if you don't do anything today, my advice is to get out again tomorrow, because fall fishing can all change dramatically from one day to the next.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

On the Cocahoe

Lots of stripers in the last two
day on this Cocahoe/float set up.
It is a real good choice in rough
The Queen Cocahoe mounted on
a half ounce jighead and attached
to a float has been a big producer.
I've caught big numbers of stripers in the last two days, and they have all come on plastic Cocahoe minnows mounted on half ounce jigheads.  The Cocahoe is a fan tailed plastic body that is a hot lure in the spring, but it is also hot in the fall, especially when the stripers are feeding on bay anchovies.  And, that has been what they have been eating in the spots that I am fishing.
The Cocahoe can be used alone or can be fished off a float.  I used the float today because of some very rough water and a strong wind.  I was able to punch out the heaview float and Cocahoe just far enough to get into fish.  If you are using this set up, simply cast it and reel in.  The white water and the turbulence with give the lure plenty of action.  In calmer water, you might want to pop the float to give the jig added action. All of the fish I have landed in the last two days ranged from schoolies to small keepers.
I sense that the stripers and bait are starting to move.  Suddenly, there are a lot of stripers around and they are spread out all over the state's oceanfront from the rocky shores at the mouth of the Bay to the sandy shores farther southward.
On a negative note, I have seen no albies in the last three days from shore and know of no one that has caught any from shore.  There are rumors that the boat guys are getting a few, but I haven't seen it. I'm guessing that there could still be a few around if you are lucky enough to find them.
So, we are clearly in a fall pattern of fishing.  Yes, it is good right now, but you will have to work around some rough surf and strong winds if you want to catch some fish.