Monday, December 25, 2017

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Grading the Past Year Here in RI

Here we go again this year.  With fishing over except for limited holdover action, it's time to grade the past season. The highlights will be the tons of schoolies and the hot albie action; the disappointments will be the lack of keeper stripers here in RI and the dreadful low numbers of bluefish.
It was loaded with schoolies in 2017.
Schoolies- It was a banner year for schoolies, and that bodes well for the future.  From the get go in mid April, there were tons of schoolies around both the oceanfront and the Bay. For the year I landed 2300 stripers and the majority were under 24 inches. My first big hit along the south shore oceanfront happened on April 13 when I landed 35 schoolies.  From then on it was a glut of fish along the south shore as well as in the Bay until the action started to slow in early June. Summer fishing as always was a bit spotty but I still had good action in the Bay from shore.  Fall fishing was fantastic, especially in November where big numbers were being caught almost daily along the south shore beachfront. Grade for 2017....A

Keeper stripers were a disappointment
here in RI. The few that were around
were generally 28-34 inches. 
Keeper Stripers- These were a disappointment here in RI. My first keeper of the year came from the Bay on April 26. Fishing for keepers was better in May and June but they were few and far between, even from the boat.  We found tons of menhaden around from the boat but  there were few keepers under them. There was a good pod of keepers holed up in the Bay near the Hurricane Barrier but there were loads of shore guys and boaters after them. We scored better on keepers from the boat than from the shore, but even the boat saw far fewer than other years. I tried a lot in the fall for RI keepers and it was a few here and there with no big numbers and no big fish.  The biggest I was able to get from RI waters was a disappointing 20 lbs. Now, for those thinking the big ones are in decline, all you had to do was travel a short distance to the Cape Cod Canal where a bonanza of big fish over 20 lbs were holed up all summer.  If I were grading the Canal, I would give it an A+.  Here in RI was a different story. Grade for RI keepers....C-
It was another fantastic year for albies.
Albies- It was another record year in terms of numbers. Right on schedule, I got my first ones from shore on Sept. 14. From then until early November (yes, very late), it was lights out.  I found them in multiple locations from the mouth of the Bay down to the south shore.  There was rarely a day in which I didn't see them jumping. The beginning of the season, from mid September until mid October, was very good, though some days the fish were especially fussy. I think the increased albie action in recent years is a result of the warming ocean.  Expect this hot fishing to continue in the next few years. Grade for 2017...A
Bluefish were a major
disappointment in 2017.
Bluefish- Wow, this was the  disappointment of 2017. They were very few and far between. I landed my first one on the late date of May 28 from shore in the Bay. We had a couple of good outings with big blues (over 10 lbs.)in the Bay in late spring from the boat.  My brother Steve got the whopper of a lifetime with a 40 inch blue on May 31.  However, that action died in early summer.  Late in the fall we landed a few from the boat, but they were almost non-existent from shore.  Heck, I didn't even see any snapper blues in the Bay. All fall I landed exactly 7 bluefish and 6 of those were caught on one day.  I saw no blitzes of big blues along the south shore in November as we usually see. I think the blues are in trouble but no one seems worried about it. Grade for bluefish for 2017....D

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The White Perch Option

I'm still fishing with all this ice and snow around.  With few stripers in my winter spots, I have turned my attention to white perch. 
These are a mystery fish around here, but they can suddenly appear in places in good numbers.  The most likely spots to find them are in brackish river systems that enter estuaries and bays.  Both the east side of the Bay as well as the upper Bay and even the oceanfront are loaded with places that fit that description.They often hang out in the very same places where holdover stripers are found.
Before catching any, you have to find them as they often travel in schools in early winter looking for food. Once you find them, you'll quickly discover that they will aggressively take small lures and jigs fished on or near the bottom.  I like to either use small bucktail jigs (1/4 or 1/8 oz.) or small jigheads spiced with plastic curly tails (see photo).
These fish generally run from 8 to 12 inches, although I have landed some real big ones in the past that have gone 14-15 inches.  Light tackle is ideally suited to fishing for these.White perch are just one more options for open water winter fishing here in RI.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Check Out These New Swimmers from Yo-Zuri

These are the new Yo-Zuri Hydro Minnow LC swiummers.
That green mackerel colored one looks like a winner for
the Cape Cod Canal.
Yo-Zuri has come out with a brand new swimmer called the Yo-Zuri Hydro Minnow LC. I was fortunate to receive a number of samples from the company. This plug looks and feels a lot like the Daiwa SP Minnow, but with a number of differences. First off, it comes in two different sizes, a 6 inch model that weighs 1 1/4 oz. and a 6 3/4 inch model that weighs 1 3/4 oz.  It has the weighting system inside the plug that moves to the rear on the cast. I have the larger model and it looks like it would cast a mile (Canal guys will love this). Both models have are heavy duty with heavy duty hooks (3X), heavy duty split rings and strong anchors that hold the rings.  I suspect no modification will have to be done on this plug. Finally, it comes in a number of colors.  Of the ones I have, the green mackerel color looks like a winner for the Canal. I also have a white model that has a chartreuse back that looks like it will be a killer in RI waters. The company claims this plug has a tight wiggle on the retrieve. The smaller one sells for about 10 bucks while the larger one is about 12 dollars.
I can't wait to try these out.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Hundreds of Dying Stripers

Last weekend I went up to the Providence River to explore its winter fishery.  I was up on some high walls in the city above the river when I looked down into the shallow and clear water.  What I saw was shocking.
I saw so many sick and dying fish. Below me in some spots were various schools of small stripers.  In some places they numbered up to fifty or sixty fish.  In other places, there were a few here and there.  In about a half mile stretch I must have spotted hundreds of fish.  Sad to report, they were ALL sick.  They looked like white ghost fish in the water as they had a glowing white fungus all over their bodies. Some were completely covered in the white fungus; others were partially covered.  Some were swimming around in circles as if blinded by the disease. When I looked more closely, I spotted several dead ones on the bottom, white lifeless corpses just laying there in the sand.
I've seen this in Narragansett Bay before, but never this bad. I also caught several that had the white fungus along the RI south shore oceanfront this fall. I'm guessing this is a disease called mycobacteriosis, a skin disease that infects striped bass along various parts of the coastline.  From what I have read, it can be brought about by stress, poor nutrition and also very warm and polluted water (seems to fit in Providence). It spreads among schools of fish in certain areas. They say this disease can also affect humans who come into contact with diseased fish.  I wear gloves when fishing up here and try not to touch any fish that's even slightly diseased.
This is certainly bad news for the Providence River holdover fishery.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Moving On

This is one of 16 schoolies that I landed in the
last week in one of my winter holdover spots.
This is a transition period for me.  For the first time in eight months, I spent more time on the ski slopes than I did at the shore fishing last week. This is the time of the year when I throw in the towel on the south shore striper fishing and move on to other things. I'm done with the oceanfront unless I hear of some fantastic fishing (which is not likely at this point).
I know that there are still fish being caught along the oceanfront, but there are a whole lot less and the game has become more inconsistent compared to a couple of weeks ago.  While I spent a lot of time skiing this past week, I also did some after ski fishing in my winter holdover spots.  I came away with 16 schoolies in three evenings of fishing.  That's not great, but I'm guessing I would not have done much better at the south shore oceanfront, and the winter spots are so much closer to my house. I am also still carp fishing occasionally on the warm days.  They have been sluggish in the cold water.
So, it's that time of the year when fishing opportunities are coming to an end, but for me, other adventures await.

Sunday, November 26, 2017


There are still schoolies to be had along
the oceanfront but their numbers are
trending downward.
Less bait, less birds diving, less fishermen and less fish.  Things are trending downward in saltwater  fishing as the season ticks away.  Realize, though, that less certainly does not mean that the fishing is over.
I got down in the last couple of days and my catches were less than they were last week, though still what many would consider good.  Today I landed a dozen schoolies in an afternoon and evening of fishing.  My son Ben was on a beach miles to the north of me, and he landed a few.  So, the fish are still spread out and moving along the RI south shore oceanfront. It is all schoolies, and I am giving up on a run of large stripers and the bluefish. But, who knows? This whacky fall could still deliver some big fish if you are in the right spot at the right time.
I think this is also one of those years where the end will have a long tail. I'm guessing lesser will be the trend in the next couple of weeks.  If you want to get down and enjoy the quietness of the empty beaches while making some casts in the coming weeks, I suspect you have a good chance at catching a schoolie or two (or maybe even more).

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanks Mike

I want to take this opportunity on Thanksgiving Day to honor a real good fisherman and a real good person.
I met Mike Stevenin through our Carp Anglers Group here in RI. I carp fished with him a couple of times and we got to talking about striper fishing. At the time I didn't realize that Mike is a super dedicated and accomplished salt water fisherman who loves to fish for striped bass. I mean this guy eats, breathes and lives for striper fishing.  I actually fished with him and his wife Reina several times this spring and summer, and we caught fish just about every time.
Mike hasn't fished in a while. Over a month ago Mike was deployed overseas to the Middle East. He is serving in the army, and has left his fishing, left his wife and left his family to serve for the next year in what I am sure is a dangerous place. I marvel at these guys in the military and can't thank them enough for all their sacrifice and dedication to make us safer back at home and protect our freedoms. These guys are real special, and they see service to their country as one of their goals in life.
So, I say to Mike on  this Thanksgiving Day.....THANK YOU very much.
Stay safe and hope see you at the shore at next year's fall run.

Monday, November 20, 2017

What's Happening, What's Not

Schoolies continue to be around in huge
I haven't posted in a few days.  That's not because I haven't been fishing.  In fact, I have fished the last 3 out of 4 days and there has been little change in the fishing. It just keeps rolling along though I believe we are nearing the end of the real productive fishing (maybe another week or so).
So, here's what and what's not happening along the south shore oceanfront:
Ocean Herring Runs- NOT HAPPENING- I saw a few gannets dive bombing way out today (maybe after herring/ maybe not) but I have seen no sign of herring in close to shore. This bait usually brings out the bigger stripers and big blues. It's late, but hey, this is a year where anything can happen.
Good runs of keeper bass- NOT HAPPENING- I've seen no uptick in numbers of keeper bass.  There's a few keepers being caught here and there but your chances of getting one are slim considering the meager numbers.  I landed two stripers today that either were small keepers or just under.  Out of the 300 + fish I have landed in the last ten days these are the only two that come even close to keeper size.  Kind of a reflection of our year here in RI.
Runs of big blues- NOT HAPPENING- I'm writing off the season for big blues.  There have been very few to none all fall.  They are just not around in any consistent numbers like in other years.
Schoolies- HAPPENING- Still loaded with those 14-20 inch fish.  Mixed in with them are some hickory shad. I like to use a single hooked jig to catch these since it minimizes the damage to the fish. There were lots of them today and lots all weekend. Looks like the glut is just continuing. Again, kind of a reflection of our year here in RI.

Friday, November 17, 2017

the beat goes on....

Here's the fishing report for the week in a nutshell:
Loads of schoolies, very few keepers, even fewer blues, no albies.
This is one of many, many schoolies landed yesterday.
There are loads of them around.
I fished in the nasty weather yesterday and found loads and loads of schoolies that were aggressively hitting my Cocahoe on a jighead.  My son Jon and his girlfriend joined me later in the day and they were catching loads of them too. These fish ran 12 to 22 inches, generally what has been the case most of the fall.
The big news of the week is the disappearance of the albies. I have seen any in the last week and have not heard of any caught since the big cold spell hit last week. With water temperatures dropping and cold weather here to stay, I think it is a safe bet to say the season is over for them.
There has also been no sign of an ocean herring run yet.  It will take a run of this big bait to move keeper bass and big blues close to shore. If it doesn't happen within the next week, I would guess it is not going to happen.
So, at this point, it is loads of schoolies, much like the rest of the year. Use a light outfit and some single hooked jigs and you are in business for action this coming weekend.

Friday, November 10, 2017


If you are content to catch schoolies, there are millions of them around (and I'm not exaggerating)! I went down to the RI south shore beachfront today and saw some of the biggest schoolie blitzes imaginable.  On some of the south shore beaches the flocks of diving birds, bait and fish extended for miles.  In one particular spot that I fished I had a fish or a hit on every single cast using a Cocahoe for two hours straight. I caught loads of fish off three different beaches that were miles apart.  It seemed like the fish were everywhere.
In all this mayhem, I did not see one keeper caught. I must have seen 500 fish landed, and the biggest one was maybe 22-23 inches. The average fish went 16 to 18 inches.  In addition, I didn't see a single blue and did not see any albies breaking.
I spoke to one guy who said his buddy landed a 36 inch fish at daybreak this morning. I'm guessing this was a one in a million catch.
I will also tell you that it was mighty cold.  As the afternoon wore on, the wind increased as the temperature plummeted.  When I got back to my car around 4:00, the water on my waders was frozen solid! Still, there was a good number of hardy fishermen out there today who didn't seem to be bothered by the cold or the wind. Catching fish will do that to you.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Where are the Bigger Fish?

Nowhere to be found.  It's been a fall with loads of small stripers, but the bigger ones, the keepers, are few and far between.  It's even worse with bluefish.  Plain and simple, there are just about none.
Another schoolie comes onto the beach.
They seemed to be all over the south shore
today.  A Cocahoe minnow on a jighead
proved to be my hot lure.
Hopes were high this fall as we all heard about the record numbers of big stripers just to our north in the Cape Cod Canal.  Many were hoping those fish would hug the shoreline on their migration southward, and that would set up some big time fishing here in RI. It doesn't look like that is happening.
The bait situation has also been strange.  I know there were tons of big menhaden in Narragansett Bay this spring and summer.  They usually attract large keeper stripers and big blues.  Yet, in all my times down the RI oceanfront this fall, I have not seen a single large pogy. Heck, I haven't even seen that much peanut bunker yet. I'm also hoping an ocean herring migration will materialize.  I saw positive signs today as I saw gannets dive bombing about a quarter mile off the beaches, sometimes a sign of herring around. The herring usually have some big fish on their tails.  They tend to come around in mid November if they do appear.
I fished the sands of the south shore beachfront today.  There seemed to be those 12 to 20 inch schoolies all over the place.  Some places had more than others.  If you tossed a Cocahoe on a jighead or a bucktail jig, you most likely would catch a schoolie along one of the beaches.
But, everyone  I talked to today had the same question, "Where are the bigger fish?"

Monday, November 6, 2017

Photo of the Day....Another Schoolie Comes Ashore

There is a glut of schoolies right now along
the RI oceanfront.  This one, landed today, fell for a homemade
bucktail jig.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Schoolies All Over RI Oceanfront

There were big numbers of schoolies along
the RI oceanfront today.  This one hit a
Cocahoe Minnow at dark.
I tried a number of places along the RI oceanfront today, and it seemed that schoolies were everywhere I went. In many of the spots I fished nothing was showing but the fish were still there in good numbers.  Two lures got all my fish today.  In some shallow, rocky areas I used a float with a 3/8 oz. bucktail jig that had a curly tail attached to it.  In other sandy areas I used just a jighead with a three inch Cocahoe attached.  Both set-ups caught fish with equal efficiency.  My son Jon and my friend Nick were also out and about in other locations than where I was fishing, and they reported catching good numbers of schoolies also.
These fish are on the small side with most running 12 to 20 inches.  Keeper stripers continue to be in short supply here in RI.  Bluefish are also way down in numbers so far this fall although I did get a small one today.
If you are happy with catching schoolies, looks like a good weekend is on the way along the RI oceanfront.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Back in Business

This homemade bucktail jig did the trick for me today
as it landed good numbers of  hefty schoolies.
We're back in business.  I was fishing the Canal today, one friend of mine was fishing Newport, and another friend was fishing along one of the RI south shore beaches. And, we were ALL catching fish at the same time. The fishing is back after that big blow on Sunday.
I went to the Canal because I was not sure the water had cleared up in RI yet. I have never fished the Canal in November so this was a first for me.  It was a far different place than I fished this summer and early fall. It had a quiet charm to it today with just about no one around. There were times I pedaled my bike for miles without seeing another fisherman. Although I found no large fish, I did find a good number of schoolies. I was getting them on the bottom in a number of spots while jigging a homemade bucktail jig.
One of my friends who was fishing today did report catching an albie. I've heard of others who also caught in the last two days along the RI shore. I guess this is one of the benefits of global warming since they have rarely been caught in the past in RI waters in November.
My attention will shift to the south shore beachfront in the coming days and weeks.  Stripers and possibly bluefish will be the main attraction.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The STORM: Before, During and After

Stripers were on the feed prior to the big storm.
Sunday's storm wasn't a hurrincane, a tropical storm or a northeaster, but it has to rank as one of the biggest unnamed storms to hit the state. Besides all the tree damage and knocking out power, it really tore through the oceanfront.  Two days later, the ocean remains unfishable.
Before: Prior to the storm the fishing for stripers was on the upswing.  I was out just about every day/night at the end of last week and I found good numbers of fish up to small keeper size just about everywhere I fished along the oceanfront.  Even when nothing was showing, I was able to pick off fish here and there in white water. I also found good numbers of hickory shad that were on the feed. Albies were heading downhill but even on Saturday, I heard about several being landed.
Day of the Storm:  I did not fish, but my son Ben was out Sunday afternoon while the storm was just beginning to get cranked up.  He found good numbers of hefty schoolies up to near keeper size in some clean, white water. The fish were definitely on the feed and the float and jig did the trick. He never saw another guy fishing.
After: Forget it.  I don't know of a single area along the south shore that is fishable right now, two days after the storm. The surf is still real rough and the wind continues to howl.  The south shore beachfront is especially bad with sand and silt out as far as one can see. I suspect the rocky areas around Narragansett, Jamestown and Newport will clear first, but even those places are all fouled up right now.
The reminds me of Hurricane Sandy, which by the way hit on the same date.  It took almost two weeks for the water to clean and settle down, and the good fishing never really recovered. I'm hoping this is not the case, and I will be out trying by the end of the week.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Expect Big Changes After this Storminess

I landed this schoolie a couple of days ago.
Their numbers have been on and off so far,
but I am guessing it will all get
more consistent in the coming days and weeks.
These big storms like we are currently experiencing really change things.  I got a call from a friend who was in 'Gansett today.  He said there were birds working and big schools of fish breaking way out, way out of casting range. He also said the waves were huge and the water was filthy and unfishable.
It all tells me things are moving and changing.
After this storm moves on and the water clears I am guessing the albies will be gone or their numbers will be greatly reduced.  I have never caught an albie nor seen an albie landed from shore in the month of November.  We are almost there.  I am guessing the albies will be replaced by stripers and blues.  So far, the bass fishing has been inconsistent, and the blues have been just about non-existent.  But, I am guessing this will all change soon.  Last year our best fall month from shore here in RI was November, and I think it will play out that way again. There are massive numbers of schoolies and lots of bait to our north, and they will all be moving down soon. 
The main area to fish in RI will also shift to the south shore beachfront from Matunuck to Westerly. I plan to start fishing that area seriously once we get into November.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Albies Still the Main Attraction

I have never seen this many albies around this late in the season. Today they seemed to be everywhere I fished.  Although I saw a lot breaking, I didn't see a lot caught. They were fussy, very fussy something that seems to happen late in the season. I managed to get four of them on a float and Deceiver fly combo. I also tried metal and an Albie Snax today, and those offerings did not even get a look.
This albie is one of four landed today.  It has a blue Deceiver
fly in its mouth, the hot lure today.  The fly was fished off a
wooden egg float.
For the last few days there have been few stripers and no bluefish. Fishing for stripers and blues has been inconsistent at best this last month. Only when there is a lot of bait around (like I had on Monday) do we see the stripers and blues. It's late October and the fishing for them should be better.  It looks to me like we are heading for another good November as I believe it will be another late run of migrating fish like last year.
So, for now albies continue to be the main attraction for saltwater fishermen. Enjoy it while it lasts because it will end soon.

Monday, October 16, 2017


Good size peanut bunker fueled this
massive blitz
There were loads of
keeper stripers in the mix.
These were 28-30 in. fish.
The bucktail jig was hot.
Today I hit one of the greatest blitzes I have hit along the RI shore in years. It featured keeper bass, big blues and albies all blitzing on good size peanut bunker at the same time! And, this went on from morning until night. Simply an incredible sight!
I had not been getting many stripers in the last couple of weeks along the RI oceanfront.  The few I was catching were small, around 20 inches.  Blues had been non-existent. That all changed today.

The biggest blue of the
day was a fish in the teens.
Albies were also in the
mix with good numbers
breaking along with
stripers and bluefish.
I walked into a major blitz this morning as birds were diving, the water was black with peanut bunker and fish were busting everywhere along a half mile stretch of shoreline. Stripers were in tight to the rocks, blues were out a little further and albies were all over the place. The stripers were real good size, generally keepers in the 28 to 30 inch range, a size I have not seen in any abundance this year.  There were also a few hefty 24-27 inch schoolies in the mix.  The hot lure was a flathead bucktail jig with a curly tail fished off the float or alone. At the end of the day, I had a total of over 30 stripers with the majority of them small keepers.  The blues were also good size, running 6-10 lbs. on average, and I had one real big one that went about 14 lbs. I landed 7 blues on the day. They were hitting the jig but were also taking skinny metal.  With so many blues around I turned to metal to catch the albies.  I landed 4 of them on the Kastmaster XL but had a lot of hits and smashes.
Today's blitz was fueled by large peanut bunker that went 4-5 inches long. I had not seen loads of peanut bunker around the oceanfront until today.  I am guessing this bait is starting to move southward from Gansett Bay and points further north.  That bait should continue to light up the fishing in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

More Than One Way to LURE an Albie

The Hogy Epoxy Jig has been a hot
lure for me in the last week. I
like this gold/olive color.
I've written over and over again how effective the float and fly is for albies. In my opinion, this is your best bet most of the time.  However, like any type of plug or lure fishing sometimes the best bet doesn't always work.
Yes, that is a bucktail
jig in this albie's mouth.
This lure worked today while
others did not.
In the last week, the albies have decreased in numbers, and they have gotten more picky.  So, I have been switching up my offerings in the hopes of finding something hot. In that time period I have landed a good number of albies on Hogy Epoxy Jigs.  This is a lure that looks like skinny metal but it is made out of epoxy and has a realistic fish-like finish.  The one that has worked best for me is a gold/olive color in a size 1 1/4 ounces.  I saw others catching on the pink and silver model. Another hot lure in recent weeks that has been is something called an Albie Snax.  This is a plastic lure that looks like a short stubby Hogy.  It darts and dances in the water with pulls of your rod tip and the albies can't seem to resist hitting it.  The drawback with this lure is that it is lightweight, but works well when the fish are in close. Finally, I fished today and was actually trying for schoolies with a small, flat head bucktail jig with a plastic curly tail.  You guessed it....I landed an albie on this after not getting a sniff on all my other "sure bet" offerings.
So, yes, there are many ways to lure albies into hitting.  Like an other plug fishing, if one thing doesn't work, try something else.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Photo of the Week- Portrait of an Albie

Another albie comes to the boat as I snapped this photo before grabbing it.
With an eye like that, you have to think they have fantastic vision.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Albies Still Around but Scattered

We went out in the boat today for the last time this year since my brother Steve is headed for hip replacement surgery tomorrow. We found plenty of albies that were scattered over wide areas of the oceanfront.  However, there were lots of individual fish breaking with occasional small pods of them which made catching them difficult. And, they were fussy.
The three of us in the boat managed to land 13 albies.  We also had a lot of fish on and lost along with a lot of hits.  The only thing we could get them on was the float and fly.  My son Ben tried metal for a good amount of time and he could not even get a hit. The fish today were spitting up small bay anchovies.  They are usually very fussy when on this small bait, and generally the fly, in this case a Blue Deceiver, was the only thing they would hit.
In addition to the albies, we also landed a half dozen bluefish. These are the first ones we have seen from the boat along the oceanfront this fall.  Hopefully, their numbers are starting to increase.  We'll see in the coming days and weeks.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Big Waves Have Changed the Fishing

I landed 5 schoolies today in multiple spots.
There were no concentrations of fish along
the oceanfront in the places I fished.
 Fishing has cooled after the
big waves of the past week.
Huge waves from Hurricane Maria have been battering the oceanfront for the last week.  Prior to that the fishing was very good.  There were lots of false albacore, good numbers of stripers and increasing numbers of bluefish along with a lot of bait. That great fishing has changed for the worse.
I fished the oceanfront today and my son Ben has been fishing it for the last two days. Ben got three schoolies yesterday afternoon and caught nothing this morning.  I got 5 schoolies this afternoon/evening while fishing in multiple spots.  There were no concentrations of fish anywhere.
I saw no bait, no birds working and no fish breaking.  Realize, too, I was fishing some great water.  It was clean and it was rough, the type of conditions that would appear to be a sure bet for big numbers of fish.
I also saw no albies breaking.  While I don't think they have all left, I think their numbers have really dwindled as big storms tend to move them out. I'm sure you will see some small pods of them here and there in the next couple of weeks but the big blitzes of a couple of weeks ago seem to be a thing of the past.  Let's hope I am wrong.
So, we are in a post storm lull right now.  Rest assured there are a solid two months left to the fishing season and things should perk up in the coming days as bait streams southward.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Photo of the Day....Bay Blue

Surf too big and unfishable along the oceanfront?  Not so in the Bay.  It was flat
as a pancake tonight, and the blues were on the feed!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Too Big to Handle

The waves in the last two weeks have been big thanks to Hurricane/Tropical Storm Jose.  But, what I saw today was the biggest and most dangerous surf I have seen in the last month. I don't say this often, but the oceanfront was unfishable today.  I checked out a number of spots and found waves up to 15 feet overwhelming some shorelines. I saw huge waves going right over the east and west walls.  The DEM closed off the east wall due to dangerous conditions.  I saw monstrous waves going right over the big rocks in front of Hazard and Newton Avenues in Narragansett. I thought I'd be smart and hit the Short Wall at Galilee, a protected spot.  No dice as waves were engulfing the front of that wall. From Galilee, I could see waves washing over the inside of the West Wall as well as going over the outside of the West Wall. The next two days are supposed to be even worse due to the northward track of Hurricane Maria. You get the picture....dangerous and unfishable in most RI oceanfront locations.
I'm off to freshwater or possibly the Bay for the next couple of days.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Stripers/Blues on the Rampage

Some decent blues were in the mix
today as this happy angler landed
a beauty.
It was another wild day of fishing for me along the RI oceanfront.  I found an area of the oceanfront that had rough, but clean white water, ideal conditions for stripers.  In front of me the surf line was black with bait...all peanut bunker. There were vast schools of them that just kept moving along.  For hours, the stripers and blues were rampaging through the bait, often blasting it into the air.  In the mix were some albies though I could get none to hit.
Landed this keeper bass along with a lot of
schoolies on the float and jig rig.
The stripers and blues were in the hitting mood as they jumped all over my float and jig rig. At the end of the rig I was using a white, homemade flathead bucktail jig with a three inch plastic curly tail added. Flathead jigs are great imitators of peanut bunker.
For the afternoon, I landed 32 stripers with most of them schoolies in the 20-25 inch range.  I also had one small keeper.  In addition, I landed 3 bluefish which doubled my total from shore for the year (yes, so far there have been very few).
The big issue today was finding clean water.  Much of the water along the oceanfront is dirty with sand and weed.  In some places, a sand line extends up to half a mile off shore. But, if you can find that clean water along with bait, you most likely will find a lot of stripers and blues and maybe some albies.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Photo of the Day- "Jose Lights Up the Fishing"

Holy Smokes! Can you beat that? How about one keeper after
another in one of the biggest daytime blitzes of big fish I have EVER seen.
The winds from Jose were howling, the rain was coming down and the current
was tearing. And, the fish were on the rampage. I've seen it many, many times
where a stormy event will just light up the fishing as it did today!  

Monday, September 18, 2017

Really Rough and Really Good

This happy angler landed this albie on his very
first cast this morning on a float and fly.
The hurricane/ tropical storm waves are rolling in along the oceanfront.  I've seen some giant waves in the 10 foot range pounding the shore. Under those conditions, the fishing usually would not be good. But, the albie fishing in the rough water has been lights out for the last few days.
Mornings have been phenomenal, and I have seen some mornings like yesterday where maybe 150 albies were landed where I was fishing. Reports are also coming in up and down the RI oceanfront of fantastic albie fishing where fishing is possible.
This morning I saw another all out blitz as fish were breaking for hours in a mile long stretch as the fish were in a frenzy feeding on bay anchovies and peanut bunker in the turbulent water. Luckily I was on a safe, high rock, I landed ten of them on the float and fly in about two hours of casting. However,  I know of two other fishermen who got knocked over from the force of the waves this morning.  So, if you dare go out fishing in this weather, do it in a safe location. It's not worth a serious injury (or even worse) for a fish.
With even rougher conditions expected for the next two days along with a driving northeast wind, I suspect the fishing will head downhill real fast.  As the day wore on today, the water was getting rougher and dirtier, a sign of things to come in the next few days.
Conditions in the last few days were about as extreme as it gets, but the fish
were around in big numbers.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Big Time Albie/Striper Blitz

It was a blitz to remember today as albies and stripers hit the shore in force in a spot I was fishing.  It was all set in motion by some rough water and big schools of peanut bunker. The albies were blitzing out a ways from shore smashing through the schools of bait while the bass were tight to the rocks in the white water just whirling and picking off the small bunker close to the rocks.  This went on for hours.
Meanwhile, a picket fence of fishermen quickly developed, and at times just about everyone was hanging on to a bent rod and a screaming drag.  I must have seen about 150 albies landed today, phenomenal numbers from shore.  I landed 8 of them and had an equal number on and lost.  Add to that six stripers including one keeper that I landed. My sons, Ben and Jon (in photos), also landed a load of albies and stripers.
I was using my float and fly rig  to catch the albies. For the fly I was using a homemade Deceiver with a chartreuse hackle tail and that seemed to be very effective. I also saw a lot of fishermen hooking up with metal like Deadly Dicks and Kastmaster XLs. A real hot number all week has also been the Hogy Epoxy Jigs, which scored a lot of fish today.
I will also tell you that the ocean was very rough today with building seas.  If it gets a bit rougher, it will be unfishable in the location I was fishing.  With the forecast calling for crazy wave heights in the next few days due to Hurricane Jose, the albie fishing will almost certainly be put on hold.

The stripers were running with the albies today.  This keeper was one of a
dozen stripers my sone
 Ben and I landed.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Albies Along RI Shoreline in Good Numbers

My first RI albies were landed today in some rough water.
The float 'n' fly was hot.
Yes, they have finally hit the RI shoreline this week in good numbers.  The key is finding them in some very rough water that we have been experiencing along the oceanfront.
I landed my first ones today, a day that I caught three of them from shore and had another on.  They were all caught on the float 'n' fly although I saw others caught today and earlier this week on metal and the Hogy Epoxy Jig, a hot lure here and at the Cape. My fly was a blue homemade Deceiver.
An interesting thing about today is that there was nothing showing.  I never saw any fish breaking but they were around. The key is to get yourself in a safe and good spot and cast away.  If nothing after an hour or so move on to another spot.  With big rollers coming into shore, many spots, mostly south facing locations, are not safe to fish. The water has been rough for the last ten days and the forecast for this weekend calls for even rougher water.
So, the wait is over.  The albies are here!

Monday, September 11, 2017

"Hat Trick" in Buzzards Bay

My first albie of the year came from Buzzards Bay today.
Today I landed my first albie of the year in Buzzards Bay.  I also had the rare hat trick in which I landed the albie, a striper and a bluefish.
We went out in Buzzards Bay and Vineyard Sound today from the boat.  While we found a lot of albies, catching them was a different story.  They were busting all over the place, but they just would not hit for the most part, probably due to the fact that the area was choking with bait.  I saw schools of peanut bunker that stretched for hundreds of yards.  In addition, there were bay anchovies also in the mix. I did manage to get my first albie of the year on a float and fly rig. While I had a few other hits, that would be the only one landed for the day.
Schoolies were also abundant today.
A white shad body on a jighead
worked real well.
Blues in the 5 to 8 lb. range were
also abundant.  They were blitzing
on peanut bunker.
While the albies were tough to fool, the stripers and blues were another story.  They were also all over the place and my brother and I managed to catch about 20 stripers (schoolies, average 20-25 inches) along with a dozen bluefish that ranged from 5 to 8 lbs.  At times, the stripers and blues were blitzing on the bait big time along some shorelines. The best lure was a plastic shad body mounted onto a half ounce jighead, a dead ringer when it comes to imitating peanut bunker.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

RI Albies Few and Far Between; Stripers Abundant

The water has been super rough in the last week.
It's not good for the albies, but the
stripers love it. Look for safe spots
fo fish where you have clean, white
Albies have been for the most part a no show so far in RI waters.  While I have not seen any jumping and have not seen one landed yet from shore, I do know of a few taken as reported by reliable sources.  But, overall, it's been a disappointment so far.
I have to lay some blame on the extremely rough and dirty water for the lack of albies.  We've had this kicked up surf and big winds for over a week now. Those conditions have resulted in sandy and weedy water in lots of spots.  It has kept shore fishing activity to a minimum and has kept most boaters in port. It has also broken up the schools of bait that were around a couple of weeks ago.  I've never seen big numbers of albies in very rough water so I am not expecting much until the water calms down.  Still, I know there are very good numbers just to the north of us towards Buzzards Bay and the Falmouth shore.  Hopefully, they will come our way.
Based on past logs, we should see good numbers of albies in the coming week if they show.  In the past that time period from Sept 10-Sept. 17 has brought big time action.  If they are not here by next weekend, all bets are off for a big year here in RI.
Meanwhile, the striper fishing for me has been excellent.  I have been out just about every day in the last ten days and I have found very good numbers, even blitz like action, on several days.  If you can find safe and fishable white water that is clean, you have a good shot at catching stripers.  Most of these fish have been hefty schoolies in the 20-25 inch range but I have even had small keepers in the mix. The float and jig has accounted for most of the catches.  Make sure to add a plastic curly tail to your jig.  It makes a big difference!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Special Tournament and Fundraiser for a Great Cause

I can picture this little guy standing
next to his father in a few years slinging
a surf rod.
Surf fishermen tend to be a compassionate group.  I found that out first hand several years ago when my son, Chris, was in a devastating fire in Boston.  The kid lost his apartment as well as every possession and article of clothing that he owned.  A fund was set up for him to help him get back on his feet,  and countless fellow fishermen (many I didn’t even know) donated to his cause.  It was a remarkable show of support that our family will never forget.
Another fellow fisherman and his family are in need right now, and the Fisherman magazine has some plans in the works.  The effort is spearheaded by Toby Lapinski and Dave Anderson  who are planning a fundraising event and tournament to help out the Hanecak family. John Hanecak is a well known and respected surf fisherman and he is the RI field editor for the Fisherman magazine.
Back in early July, Owen Hanecak, his son,  was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL.) Owen was about 14 months old at the time of the diagnosis. For the first 6 or so weeks following the diagnosis, Owen was being treated at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford, CT. Both John and his wife, Karyn, “lived” at the hospital along with Owen for this time with both missing a good amount of work. And while insurance covers a good portion of the treatment, there will be some major expenses along the way above and beyond standard medical costs. In light of this, a group of fishermen have banded together to produce two fundraisers this fall to help the Hanecak family.

First up, Dave Anderson is going to be running a catch and release striped bass surf fishing tournament with all of the proceeds going towards Owen’s treatment expenses. The tournament is set to run from September 22 through October 21 and will follow the rules that Dave established through his tournaments. There are no boundaries dictating where an angler can or cannot fish, as long as migratory stripers swim in your chosen waters and you hold all necessary permits to make fishing in said location legal, fish caught in that area are eligible. So this means that anywhere that migratory striped bass can be found, from Canada to Florida and everywhere in between and beyond is open for anglers to participate. An angler’s combined total length of their five longest fish will comprise their score at the end of the tournament, with the angler compiling the greatest length being deemed the winner. A complete look at all of the rules can be found at
The cost to participate in the tournament is just $30, and all participants in the tournament will receive free entry into the Awards Ceremony and Fundraiser (see below) being held in Clinton, CT on October 21. The hope is that this can become an annual event so that we can continue to assist throughout all of Owen’s treatment. If you’d like additional information on the tournament, or if you’d like to sign up, please visit

Immediately following the tournament there will be a fundraiser/awards presentation which is being produced by the combined efforts of Greg McNamara, Jared Clairmont, Chris Blouin, Dave Anderson, Toby Lapinski and members of the Connecticut Surfcasters Association.
On Saturday, October 21, at the Clinton (CT) Town Hall, we will have a full afternoon of seminars, raffles, auctions, food and more with all proceeds going to benefit Owen’s treatment. Festivities kick-off at noon and will conclude around 4:30 p.m. A $10 donation will be requested at the door, but be sure to bring some extra cash as we already have a lengthy list of items that will be up for grabs in the raffles and silent auctions.
There will be two big-time speakers—one discussing surf fishing and the other talking about boat fishing—so there will be something for everyone regardless of your fishing preferences. On the boat side, Capt. Jack Sprengel has agreed to speak. Capt. Jack is a well-rounded angler targeting everything from tuna to carp. He is an engaging speaker and is sure to deliver an awesome presentation!
The Town Hall has a large theatre upstairs where the presentations will take place, and then downstairs we will have some awesome catered food as well as all of the items that will be offered up for auction and raffles.
We have launched an event page on Facebook to track the details of this event, announce raffle and auction items and just generally keep attendees up to speed as to what we have planned for the day. The event can be found here.

On August 16, Owen, John and Karyn left the hospital and returned to their home as Owen has been making substantial improvements in his health. His condition was considered “in remission” by the 29th day of treatment and he was cleared shortly thereafter, a huge relief for all of us! There is still a long road ahead for the Hanecak family, but the outlook is positive and Owen is a strong little kid who will undoubtedly overcome this bump in the road.
If you’d like to make a donation either directly to the Hanecak family, or with raffle/auction items for the fundraiser, please contact Toby Lapinski at for more information on how to donate.

Though I am not a tournament type of guy, I will be signing up for this just to lend my support to a very good cause. Please consider doing the same.  While most surf fishermen are passionate about their sport, most I know rank the family first and foremost. In this case we wish the Hanecak family all the best.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Crazy Good

Two guys on at once in some real rough water. The
fishing was outstanding for early September.
This was a wild day of fishing.  The surf was charged up along the oceanfront.  There was lots of wind, real rough water and rain.  This crazy weather  delivered one of the best early September days I have experienced along the RI shoreline.
My son Jon and I fished the white water surf  from late afternoon until dark, and at times it was a hit or a fish on just about every cast. The float and jig were working wonders today in the wild currents and rough white water.  It was all schoolies but these were decent ones in the 20-26 inch range. After a couple of hours of fishing we had well over 80 fish between the two of us. Surprsingly, we saw few other fishermen except for a couple of guys we knew.
The wooden egg float with a bucktail
jig and curly tail was the most effective
artificial today.
Today felt more like October fishing than September fishing. Make no mistake about it.  We are into the fall run, and it's happening early this year.  Yesterday my brother and I had over 20 blues from the boat.  Today it was a bonanza of schoolies along the oceanfront. The fall fishing is in full swing here in RI.