Monday, May 29, 2017

Photo of the Day....Keeper at Dark

First Blue

Yes, they are around, but no big numbers.
It was late incoming, but I got my first bluefish last evening in Narragansett Bay from shore.  I know that they have been around for the last ten days or so along the oceanfront, but this is the first one that I have caught and even heard of in the Bay. Note that it was one lone fish that hit a Rebel Jumpin Minnow, so I don't think there are any big numbers around.  Until we see some warmer weather and more bait, I don't think you are going to see big numbers of bluefish.
In recent years, the trend for blues has been more of a late summer and fall thing.  They usually arrive when schools of peanut bunker come around and that happens in mid to late summer.
The fishing in general has become an up and down thing in recent days.  The unusual cool weather, lots of rain, and really big tides has had a negative effect on the shore fishing for stripers.   I also notice the water quality in the Bay is poor.  There is also a lot of weed and grass in the water due to this week's higher than normal tides, and the water has had a greenish/brown tint to it.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

700 to 3

There have been huge numbers of 10-18 inch
schoolies around, but keepers are in short supply.
Where are the keepers? So far this year I have landed over 700 stripers. Of that number, a mere 3 have been keepers from 28-32 inches. That is an incredible difference between schoolies and keepers. While we have a glut of schoolies, there clearly is a shortage of keepers. Shore fishermen who use plugs are especially finding it difficult to catch a good fish. I am guessing this trend is going to continue for the rest of the season.
There have been an incredible number of small schoolies in the 10-18 inch range. I am finding them just about everywhere I fish, even in those big fish spots of past years.  Heck, even those larger schoolies that run 20-27 inches have been in short supply. I haven't gotten many of those either.
We keep hearing inflated reports about the abundance of large stripers in the Bay chasing pogies. Both my brother and I have not seen it. At best, that menhaden thing is hit or miss, and there seems to be no consistent big numbers of larger fish chasing them.  For instance, my brother Steve was out in boat in the Bay last week looking all over the place for large fish on pogies.  He ended up catching one good striper of 45 inches.  That was it for the day, and he never saw another boater catch a fish even though he saw dozens of them trying.  There were lots of pogies, but few large stripers under them.
Many are pointing to the fact that the weather and the water is still cold.  I know that last year the real good fishing for large fish in the Bay happened in June. Hopefully, that will happen again this year.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

A Change in the "Best Bet" Lures and Plugs

Matt Pickering landed this nice
fish from the boat on a Zara "Super
Spook" fished at Boston Harbor
this morning..
The saltwater game is changing.  Up until this week, I had been getting nearly all my stripers on jigs. I was getting them on Cocahoes on jigheads, flukes on jigheads and bucktail jigs. While fish can still be caught on these, the past week's warm weather has gotten the fish more active, and they are now hitting and favoring different plugs. One big change is that small topwater  lures and plugs are now really producing.
This schoolie hit a bone colored Rebel
Jumpin Minnow last evening from
shore in Narragansett Bay.
I am getting good numbers of fish up to keeper size from the boat as well as from shore on such plugs as white Slug-gos, Rebel Jumpin Minnows and Zara Spooks. These are all plugs that jump and dart on the surface as you retrieve with short pulls of the rod tip. These plugs are far more effective than traditional poppers and will often really produce when the fish turn fussy.
I like all of the above mentioned plugs in a white or bone color. Note that the Zara Super Spook is the best caster of the three and is a good choice when the fish are out far or the wind is in your face. Note also that some blues are now around and the hard plastic lures such as the Spook and Jumpin Minnow are good bets to use when toothy blues are mixed with stripers.
This small keeper was landed on a white, 7 1/2 inch Slug-go in Narragansett
Bay this week from the boat. 

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Photo of the Day....Flukes Still Hot Lure

I landed this near keeper toninght along with several small ones.  The albino Zoom fluke
on a half ounce jighead continues to be a hot lure in the Bay.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

A Big Week of Fishing

Steve Pickering with a Gansett Bay keeper.
It didn't matter whether I was fishing from the boat or fishing from shore.  This was a real big week of fishing for me as I landed well over a hundred stripers up to keeper size. I concentrated all my efforts in Narragansett and Mt. Hope Bays. My sons have been also cleaning up as Jon and Ben are getting good numbers of fish from shore in the Bay, and Matt is getting fish up to keeper size at Boston Harbor from shore.
This fish took a Cocahoe
mounted on a small
jighead.  These have
been hot when the fish
have been fussy.
The fish are really spread out right now.  When fishing from the boat we plugged various shorelines and it seemed like the fish were hitting all over the place.  Some spots had more, some less, but still, fish all over. Fishing low water under ten feet was a key to success.
Plastics continue to be the hot numbers from shore and boat.  I landed lots of fish on albino Zoom flukes on half ounce jigheads from shore.  One day we were out in the boat and fussy fish were breaking all over the place. I assume they were on small bait.  That day a small three inch, white Cocahoe was hot.  On another day I used a 7 and 1/2 inch white Slug-Go to catch a lot of fish from the boat. I have done very little on hard plugs, but one day my son, Jon, hit a good number of fish from shore on a small Rapala X-rap swimmer. Small artificials are producing the best right now.
This keeper hit an albino Zoom fluke,
 a hot lure from shore and boat this
The fish continue to get bigger.  The average schoolie is now running 16-20 inches with good numbers of 20-25 inch fish and a lot less micro fish.  Occasionally we are getting keepers in the 28-33 inch range.
So, everything is hot right now. Mid May is just a terrific time to fish.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Photo of the Day....Scoring from the Boat

It was a big day from the boat today in Narragansett Bay as we hit large numbers
of good size schoolies and good numbers of keepers.  This was my biggest of the
day at 32 inches. More and more large fish are entering the Bay. 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Catching in the Nastiness

This is one of 40 stripers landed
this evening in the Bay. Zoom
flukes on a jighead continue
to be very effective in the Bay.
It's been no let up from my end as the glut of schoolies continues to roll along. The oceanfront was battered from that big storm on Friday and Saturday and then the big southerly blow today.  So, rather than fighting the heavy surf and roiled water along the oceanfront, I concentrated on the Bay in the last few days. And, the fishing there was good as it seems to improve by the day, even in the nasty weather.
This evening I had my best outing yet in the Bay this spring as I landed over 40 schoolies in just a couple of hours of  fishing.  They were hitting the albino Zoom fluke on a 3/4 ounce jighead. While most of the fish were on the small side, I did have a number of them over 20 inches.  I'm guessing those millions of small ones that have been moving along the oceanfront are probably pouring into the Bay right now.
Prior to the storm I heard of some keepers up to 34 inches along the oceanfront and in the Bay.  But, I still have not seen or heard of a forty inch striper.  Rest assured, that is coming as the Bay is also loaded with menhaden, and it is only a matter of time until the large fish come looking for them.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Photo of the Day....Near Keeper

Got this near keeper in the Bay tonight along with a bunch of other smaller ones.
The fish took a four inch Zoom fluke mounted on a half ounce jighead, a hot
lure all week in the Bay.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Small Fish Continue to Dominate

Schoolies in the 8-14 inch range continue to dominate the
spring fishing. We might be a couple of weeks away
until the real large fish arrive.
There are a lot of small ones, I mean tons of small ones. Schoolies in the 8-14 inch range continue to dominate the fishing along both the oceanfront and the Bay. Occasionally, you will see a fish of 24-28 inches but I'm guessing you will get fifty small ones to one in that size range.
So, a lot of fishermen are turning to light tackle to catch these fish. Hey, it's either go after small ones or stay home and watch TV. These fish continue to hit jigs, the hottest lures right now.  Cocahoes are your best bet along the oceanfront while a Zoom fluke on a small jighead is getting the job done in the Bay.
One other note here.  I have been seeing BIG numbers of large menhaden nightly in the Bay.  There have been evenings where I am just standing in a mass of them.  On other evenings I was snagging one pogy after another menhaden on my jigs.  So, the big bait is in place.  It is simply a matter of time until the real large fish (over 36 inches) arrive and finds them.  And then, all hell will break loose.  It's coming.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Focusing on the Bay

While the majority of the fish are small,
some are decent size like this fish my son
Jon landed tonight.
Huge numbers of stripers continue to be caught along the oceanfront.  But, realize, too, the Bay is really picking up steam.  I fished in the Bay the last two evenings and came away with 40 schoolies.  Bay fish seem to be just like the oceanfront.  There are lots of small ones in the 8 to 15 inch range with occasional bigger ones that run 24-28 inches.
Zoom flukes are catching most
of my fish in the Bay right now.
The hot lure in the Bay for me has been a 4 inch Zoom fluke mounted onto a small (under half ounce) jighead. I especially like that fluke in an albino color. You want to cast this out and pull the rod tip in short bursts as you reel the lure in slowly. This is light tackle fishing and my 8 ft.,  St. Croix Mojo rod with my 150 Van Stall reel is doing the trick.
While I ran into tons of fishermen last week along the oceanfront, I seem to have the Bay to myself from shore.  I've seen very few fishermen in this area.