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.