Monday, December 24, 2018

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Grading the 2018 Season

Here's a typical "big"
RI keeper. Most of the
keepers from shore
were 28 to 32 inches
It was just loaded with
schoolies in the 16 to 24
inch range this year. They
seemed to be everywhere.
It was the year of the schoolie. From start to finish it was loaded with them. And, while I caught big numbers of schoolies in RI, they also seemed to be everywhere I fished this year including the Cape and Boston Harbor.  Thank God for all those schoolies because for other fish such as bluefish and albies, it was not good. So here's a rundown of how I saw the fishing year here in RI.
Schoolies-I started my year catching holdovers in early April, and it was a bonanza from that time forward until late November. I found big numbers of migrating fish in late April along the oceanfront, and early May brought huge numbers to Narragansett Bay. Most of these fish were in the 14 to 24 inch range which was about 4 inches bigger on average than in 2017 (yes, they are growing). Summer fishing had good numbers of schoolies in the Bay even though the water was abnormally warm. Fall fishing began early this year with August delivering massive numbers of schoolies along the oceanfront  after huge schools of peanut bunker which seemed to arrive earlier than normal. The rest of the fall featured some of the biggest blitzes of schoolies I have ever seen.  Just phenomenal at times. These were the good 'ole days coming back to life. Grade for schoolies- A+
Keepers- Not so rosy here. There was a noticeable shortage of large keepers, say fish over 40 inches.  It tells you a lot when not one striper over 30 lbs. was entered from shore in the annual RISAA Tournament. But, we did see more small keepers than were around in 2017.  In spring and fall I was catching occasional keepers in the 28 to 32 inch range from shore and boat that were mixed with the schoolies. There were no big numbers of larger fish after pogies in Gansett Bay this year which was a disappointment. Summer fishing for keepers was poor for me in RI which prompted me to head to the Canal on a regular basis. I had a summer to remember there with big numbers of big fish (no shortage there). Fall brought a few more keepers than expected but once again, these were small keepers in the 28 to 32 inch range. Grade for RI keepers- C
Here's a rare bluefish taken
from the boat in Gansett Bay.
It was a poor year for
bluefish as they seem to be in
steep decline.
Bluefish- It was POOR.  They seem to be disappearing from our waters, and no one seems to care. I got a few from the boat in Gansett Bay in the spring, got a couple from the shore in early summer, and landed a dozen in the fall (most of which came on one outing). I saw days in which there were massive schools of peanut bunker ( a favorite of bluefish), and there would not be a single blue after them. With these fish in steep decline, the RI regs still allow 15 fish a day and no size limit.....simply ridiculous. Grade for bluefish- D
Everyone was all wound up for
a big albie year, but it didn't happen.
There were some, but their numbers
were way off compared to the last
two years.
Albies- Boy, there was a lot of hype and high hopes for another great year, but that faded quickly. Remember, these are pelagic fish that come in from the ocean depths.  History will tell us that it just doesn't always happen, but after a couple of great years, many thought this year would be a sure bet. The few that did arrive came late in late September along the oceanfront. With fewer albies around this year, boaters had a better shot at them than shore fishermen. Boaters also had a good shot at bonito which were around in fair numbers.  I never saw many albies showing in my travels, and landed only two this year. By October, I realized this wasn't happening and turned my attention to targeting stripers. Still, the diehards who sat on a rock all day and waited in some of the high percentage spots did get some fish, but by all standards, 2018 was not a great year. Grade for albies- C- 

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Thankful for More than Just Fishing

My son, Matt, who you have seen fishing
many times on this blog, holds his
newborn daughter, Hailey, as his wife
Kristy looks on from her hospital bed
in Boston. She is his their child and
our first grandchild.
Oh, the striper fishing was great in 2018 and I am thankful for that.  For me, it ranked as one of my very best years in terms of keepers as well as huge numbers of schoolie stripers landed. We should all look forward to 2019 which is sure to be another banner year, maybe even better, for striped bass fishing.
As most of us experienced and mature fishermen know, life is more than just fishing.  Just one week ago, I had plans to fish the south shore on Thursday. Very early that morning we got a call from my son, Matt, that his wife, Kristy, who was expecting was in labor. Six hours later, the phone rang again, and we got the great news that their baby had been born.  This is their first child and our first grandchild. It was a baby girl.That day the fishing was put on hold as my wife and I headed to the hospital in Boston to see our grand daughter.
She was beautiful.  When I was in the hospital, it really brought back memories of when my my four sons were born. As we sat in the hospital room, taking turns holding the baby, I couldn't help but think that this is the start of a new generation in our family. I also couldn't help but think how fortunate this baby will be. She's got two wonderful parents as well as a supportive extended family.  She can look forward to accomplishing anything she wants and a wonderful life. Her parents lead a charmed life of great jobs, fun and adventure, and she will be a big part of it. My son, Matt, will pass on all that he loves to do to this lucky kid....hiking, biking, traveling, skiing, baseball, gardening, photography and fishing. Before the baby was even born he talked about teaching his daughter how to fish from shore and the boat just as my father did with his three sons and just as I did with my four sons.
Fishing is one of those hobbies or sports that gets passed down from generation to generation in many families. For our family, this is the start of a new generation of fishermen and fisherwomen.
We have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, 2018, and it involves more than just fishing.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

The stripers along with the bait are on the move.  I mean really moving.  That big pile of fish I hit just two days ago were nowhere to be found yesterday.  In fact, the fishing has really taken a dive just like the temperatures. Two days ago I landed 36 stripers.  Yesterday I had 7.  Today I had just one. No question, the fishing is on a steep downhill slide and is nearing the end.  I suspect this big time cold and wind predicted for the next few days will put the final nail in the coffin. For me, it's time to check out the holdover winter spots, head up to the ski slopes and get ready for my winter show season. I'll head back to the oceanfront if I hear some big news; otherwise, it's time to move on.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Just When You Think Its Over.....

This is one of 36 stripers landed today.  Yes,
they are still around in good numbers. This one
was landed on a small Yo-Zuri swimmer.  Jigs
also accounted for good numbers.
Along comes a big day, and I'm back in business.
I went down to the oceanfront today with low expectations based on what I heard was going on in the last few days. But, I'll tell you today was a BANNER day.  I landed 36 stripers while fishing multiple spots. They ranged from small schoolies to hefty ones in the 24 inch range.  I even had one "big" fish that was either just a keeper or just shy of a keeper. I got good numbers of fish in the daytime and even better numbers after dark. They seemed to be everywhere I fished, but you saw no flocks of birds diving, no bait visible, no schools of fish breaking, but the fish were there. You just had to put in the time and fish for them (which few fishermen were doing today).
So, with a few days of normal weather coming up, I'm guessing this new surge of fish should continue to hit. I'm back in business!

Friday, November 16, 2018

Ticking Away

I don't have a good feeling about this. In the last week, the fishing overall has gone from excellent to only fair.  Yes, there are still some fish around, but I have not seen the big numbers I saw back in the beginning of November. I saw no big schools way out and no big flocks of birds diving. Could the end be near?
Storms have taken their toll.  This has been a vicious fall weather-wise, and we have seen one BIG storm after another blow by. I have never seen a fall in which I have fished in so many 40 mph + windy days.  Add to all that dropping temperatures, and it is not a formula for an extended season. Today, NOAA posted the water temps off Newport to be 49 degrees.  In parts of the Bay it is down to 46 degrees. All not good.
Many will point to the fact that we have had years in which the consistent fishing has held up well until late November and even early December along the south shore.  I will tell you that those years featured warm and tranquil late fall weather, nothing like we are seeing now.
As I write this, I'm looking at over 6 inches of snow in my backyard. I'll be skiing tomorrow. But, this is New England, and I still know there will be some fish around next week when I get out again. How many fish will still be there is the big question?

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Nighttime Produces After a Poor Day

This is one of many schoolies taken last night after dark.
Daytime fishing was poor all over yesterday.
Yesterday broke a string of fantastic fishing days for me,  My son Ben and I traversed and fished just about the whole RI South Shore in the daytime and found nothing.  No bait, no birds, no fish. It looked like I was heading for the big blank.
I decided to stick it out at night in some of my past good spots.  I hit the jackpot in one location, catching schoolie after schoolie on jigs.  While I was having success in my spot a couple of friends of mine were fishing miles away after dark in another spot that fished poor in the daytime.  They were banging away at fish after fish on Slug-Gos after dark.  They even had some keepers in the mix.
With fishing being so good in past weeks in the daytime, just about no one is fishing after dark these days.  Heck, if this were ten or fifteen years ago, most of my fishing would be happening at night. It was real good back then, so why not now?
The point here is that stripers, nocturnal by nature, still hit after dark. So, on those days when they are not hitting in the daytime, staying into the night might just deliver good numbers of fish. With darkness arriving so early these days, you can get in three hours of fishing the nighttime and still be home by 8 PM.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

As Good As It Gets

Here is a 30 inch keeper that I landed on a
Cocahoe fished off a float yesterday.  While
schoolies make up the majority of stripers
around, there have also been good numbers
of small keepers and occasional bluefish.
Wow, the fishing right now is really good.  This has been a great week so far.  While the weather has been all over the place, the fishing has been rock solid. I fished two days ago in torrential rain, wild wind and a real heavy surf.  The fish were on the rampage.  I fished yesterday in the clearing weather with very strong winds out of the west and southwest that kicked up a heavy surf that had some sand in it.  Didn't matter, the fish were still on the rampage.  And, finally, I was out today in some beautiful, tranquil weather that had the surf as flat as a pancake.  Still, it didn't matter as the fish were around again in big numbers.
Besides the fishing being so consistent, the bait has also been consistent.  Huge schools of peanut bunker have been moving along the south shore, and the stripers have them in their sights. Occasional bluefish are also around.  My son Jon got two today; I had a couple two days ago. Most of the stripers are hefty schoolies that are averaging 20 to 25 inches.  These fish are as fat as footballs. There are also good numbers of small keepers around.  In the last three days we have landed 5 fish that went 28 to 30 inches.  Most of the keepers I have seen have been running that size.
Jigs continue to be the hot ticket. They are working alone or off a float.  Today the fish were a bit fussy in the calm  water and small 4 inch swimmers were outscoring the jigs.  My son Jon had real good luck on a Rapala X-Rap fished close to shore.
I've mentioned many times that November has become the new best month of fall.  It is really playing out this way as the fishing in the first week of November has been excellent.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Most Effective Lures....Jigs in the White Water

Big bucktail jigs fished right
along the bottom were hot
one day for decent sized fish.
Most of the fish were in the
white water in close.
The float and jig combo, in this case,
a Cocahoe on a jighead, has also been
a hot ticket all week.  Fish in the rocks
or on sandy beaches.  Focus on fishing
in the white water.
The hottest striper fishing of the year in RI is going on right now. This past week has seen MASSIVE schools of stripers moving all along the oceanfront. I've fished every day in the last five days and have been into blitz-type action ever single day. The fishing is so good that it has not been unusual for many fishermen to be landing upwards of a hundred fish a day.  While the vast majority of the fish are schoolies, my sons and I have landed some keepers every day up to 32 inches.
BY FAR, the hottest lures of the week have been jigs fished in any type of white water. Jigs are far outfishing swimmers and poppers. On several days this week, I did really well fishing a 3 inch Cocahoe off a wooden egg float.  I was using a small half ounce jighead on the Cocahoie.  That float 'n' jig combo is deadly in shallow, rocky waters though I got a lot of fish one day off one of the south shore beaches while using this.  The other killer for us this week was a larger 1 1/2 oz. homemade bullet head bucktail jig spiced with a 4 inch curly tail.  One day I hit the fish off the beaches where they were lurking right on the bottom under schools of peanut bunker.  My son Ben and I killed fish from 24 to 28 inches one day on those big bucktail jigs.
I'm amazed at how many fishermen continue to use large poppers when most of these stripers are feeding on 1 to 2 inch peanut bunker, and fellow fishermen are scoring like crazy on jigs.  While it is exciting to see a fish hit a popper, it's effectiveness has been fair to poor this week. Save those big poppers for days when we have big bait like adult menhaden or herring.
Right in back of that wave produced loads of fish for me this week on jigs.  Focus on
fishing the white water whether you see fish or not.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018


A white Cocahoe trailing off a float has been the hot producer.
The past two days have been the best back-to-back days I've had fishing this year. The stripers were around in incredible numbers. The sight of these vast schools of fish have brought back memories of "the good ole days".
Yesterday I saw about the biggest school of fish I have ever witnessed. I fished in an area along the oceanfront where there were several large schools of fish at first.  Thousands of birds were diving and acres of fish were breaking after huge schools of peanut bunker in what started off as three to five schools of fish in a mile long stretch of shoreline.  Much of it was close to shore and reachable. At one point, late in the afternoon, all of those schools of stripers, birds and bait came together in one MASSIVE school. I estimate this school of fish was at least a half a mile long and hundreds of feet wide. I have never seen a school like this. I just sat there in awe watching as this blitz unfolded.
In the last two days, my son Jon and I have landed well over 200 stripers.  Nearly all were schoolies in the 20 to 25 inch range, but we also had a couple of small keepers. All were taken on a float with a three inch Cocahoe on a jighead trailing off (see photo at right).
As I sat there watching the big blitz, I couldn't help but thinking that we are in for some incredible fishing in the next year or two when all these schoolies reach small keeper size.
But, for now, the good ole days are back!

Thursday, October 25, 2018


Here's a small keeper that I landed last week
after dark. Recent fishing has been an on/off
deal as the weather is playing havoc with
the fishing.
Last week I hit four days of some of the best fishing I have seen in recent years along the RI oceanfront in October.  Large schools of peanut bunker up to 5 inches long seemed to be everywhere, and they were luring big numbers of stripers, many of which were keepers. Then, a cold front hit and everything ended. The bait moved on and the big numbers of stripers disappeared. That was followed by several days of real tough fishing with a few fish here and there for those few guys willing to work for them.
The weather has turned brutal, feeling much more like early December weather rather than October weather.  And, the wind has been relentless.  One day it's blowing hard northwest, the next day is a gale from the northeast, the next day a huge blow from the southwest.  I think all that windy turmoil has put the gaff into consistent fishing.  As long as this weather remains unstable, I think the fishing will continue to be a hit or miss deal.
I was down the oceanfront yesterday and while I only managed one schoolie, I saw phenomenal numbers of birds, bait, and breaking fish about a quarter mile offshore. At one point I saw a school of fish that had to be a half mile long. They never came to within a cast of shore. This has been going on in multiple locations along the oceanfront in this big northwest wind of the last couple of days.  That wind which tends to push migrating fish offshore.
The migration is full steam right now.  It is only a matter of being at the right spot at the right time when mayhem comes ashore.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Going Big

This Sebile stick shad has landed good numbers
of keeper bass for us this week.
It's been a real  hot week of fishing for stripers here in RI.  That terrific fishing has been fueled by an influx of massive amounts of large peanut bunker.  I'm talking peanuts in the 4, 5 and even size inch lengths. With bait that size, many larger plugs and jigs have been working. Here are a few examples of what has caught most of our fish in the last week:
Sebile Stick Shads- My son Jon scored a thirty-five fish night ( at least a half dozen keepers) using this plug in a size 155 that we frequently use at the Canal. I used it the next day to take several more keepers. Seems like the bigger fish were keying on this plug.
Sebile Magic Swimmers- Jon has been using this 6 1/2 inch Sebile in a Ghostescent color to score many more fish, especially in the daytime. It works great when the fish are on large peanut bunker.
Big Bucks- I used a 1 1/2 oz. bucktail jig with a 4 inch white curly tail today to land 20 stripers (2 keepers) in some real rough water. The bucks have been very effective all week, especially in rough water.
Float and Big Buck- I've been using bigger bucktail jigs ( 3/4 ounce) off the float this week.  I had a 37 fish day (several keepers)  this week using this set-up when the stripers were just below the schools of peanut bunker in shallow water.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Cold Nights Lead to Hot Fishing

It was loaded with good size
schoolies in the 24 inch
range with some keepers
in the mix in the last couple
of days. This one was landed
on a Cocahoe today.
Air temperatures are dropping, water temperatures are dropping and the fish are now on the move. There has been a major uptick in fishing along the oceanfront in the last two days. Peanut bunker have moved along the oceanfront in big numbers attracting large numbers of stripers. The peanuts have also been a good size with the bait running 4 to 5 inches in length.  That "bigger" bait has attracted a lot of bigger fish.  While schoolies dominate the fishing, there have also been good numbers of small keeper stripers in the 28 to 32 inch range. Of the hundred or so stripers my son Jon and I have caught in the last two days, about 10 of them have been keepers.
The fishing has also been good in both the daytime and at night. We had our best night of the fall last night catching loads of stripers with many of them keepers.
The hot lures have been swimmers and stick shads at night and jigs, Jumpin Minnows and Sebile magic swimmers in the daytime.
Make no mistake about it.....the fall run is underway.

Jon Pickering holds a good size keeper that was landed after dark yesterday.
There have been good numbers of keepers around in the last two days.
Nighttime produced the best fish yesterday.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Should Be Better

Schoolies dominate the fishing scene in southern New England.
This one came from a recent outing in Boston Harbor.
Fishing is just ok for me right now.  It's October, the month that is supposed to be real good.  But, this October and recent Octobers, are not your father's or grandfather's October.  As I type this post, the temperature outside is in the 70's and I'll be fishing the oceanfront tonight in a t-shirt.  Welcome to global warming.  It's having a big effect on the fishing.
My sons and I have been out several times in the last week.  The results seem to be two or three fish an outing, and they are all schoolies. There is no evidence of any big numbers of fish or bait beginning to move southward.  That is what is going on here in RI.  Keepers, especially larger ones, are scarce. Blues are few and far between. Albie numbers, the few that have been around, are on a downhill slide and coming to an end.
But, all is not doom and gloom since November is only a few weeks away.  In recent years, November has been THE month to be fishing along the RI oceanfront.  We've seen huge numbers of schoolies, and more keepers than the rest of the year in recent Novembers. We might even a shot of big blues if we have big bait.  November is the new migration month here in RI and predators as well as huge amounts of bait should be migrating right along the south shore.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Photo of the Day.....Breaking Out of a Lull

This good size schoolie was one of more than a dozen fish that I landed today.
The past week has brought a lull to RI fishing for me, but today's action was a much
needed good day! 

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Striper Action Lights Up in This Week's Rough Water

Here's a long, skinny keeper that I landed today.
Striper fishing has been good in the rough water
this week. 
It's been another week of very rough conditions along the oceanfront.  And, it's been another week of good striper fishing.  My son Jon and I have been fishing up a storm and catching good numbers of fish.
I was down the oceanfront today.  There was a strong northeast wind and conditions were as rough as I have seen it this year (and that includes the week of hurricane waves), yet I found a pile of fish in the white, clean water.  I landed 18 stripers.  The were mostly hefty schoolies that averaged 22 to 24 inches, but I had one small keeper in the bunch.  The hot lure for me was a queen Cocahoe fished on a 3/4 ounce jighead.
My son Jon fished yesterday and Tuesday. His total for both days was 29 stripers.  Of that bunch, he had 10 keepers that ranged from 28 to 32 inches. The rest of his fish were schoolies that averaged about 24 inches. He got all his fish on a float and bucktail jig combination.
This fall's stripers are definitely bigger than what we saw last year and this spring.  Most of the schoolies are averaging about 24 inches.  There are also good numbers of small keepers up to about 32 inches.  Fish bigger than that have been scarce from shore so far.
As far as albies are concerned, Jon landed one on Monday.  For the rest of the week, neither one of us has seen any, although we saw a lot of other fishermen looking.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018


First off, better late than never.  Yes, the albies have been around.  How many depends on who you talk to.  Some guys are boasting about big numbers, but I have not seen it. Let's also get something straight....this is not last year, not even close. Last year saw record numbers, and I could find fish on just about every outing from mid September on from shore. Most of the better albie fishermen have caught far less this year than last year.
Yes, there are some around from shore,
but you will have to be lucky to find them.
This one was caught last week.
I have been out just about every day from shore in the last week and I have not seen that many fish caught.  When thirty guys are fishing an "albie hotspot" and about thirty fish are caught, that amounts to an average of one fish a guy.  Not exactly hot fishing.  Of all those days I have been out, there was only one day that I saw good numbers of fish breaking, and that was a day that they showed just about everywhere along the RI oceanfront.
Still, there are fish to be had.  Boaters seem to catching far more than the shore guys.  That is always the case. I also think you could luck out from shore and stumble on a big pile of fish. But, for consistency, let's just say there are some around.  Not that many, just some.
My plan is still to target stripers and if I find some albies, I am prepared with the stuff to fish for them.  Striper fishing has been more consistent than albie fishing so far in September, and the fish seem to be running bigger and bigger.  My son, Jon, was out today in this messy weather.  He didn't get any albies, but he landed 13 stripers from 24 to 32 inches. Pretty darn good.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Photo of the Day....On the Board!

I was fishing for stripers today and guess what popped up in front of me?  Here
is a photo of my first albie of the year taken on the float and blue tailed Deceiver fly.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Albie Outlook Turns Negative

It's not looking good for those expecting big numbers of albies to hit the shore. They usually arrive along the RI shoreline in big numbers from Sept. 10 to Sept. 15. That did not happen.  Some speculate it was because of the hurricane waves and the super rough water. Last year we also had rough water in September, yet albie fishing was still excellent, so I am not buying that excuse.
I've said many times that if you look back over the last 50 years, about a third of those years had good numbers of albies, about a third of those years had none and a third of those years had a few.  I am of the opinion that this year we will see a few. There have been a few around and some have been caught, but they are so few and far between that targeting them is basically a waste of time.  I plan to continue to target stripers and if I run into albies, I will be ready with my stuff.
There are those who think the fish are still coming, and I suspect that many of the reports that come out this weekend will spin that angle.  These are pelagic fish that come from the depths of the ocean inward.  They don't migrate along the shore like stripers. Stripers can be late in arriving.  These fish come in from deep water at a certain time, and if they don't (for whatever reason), they are not coming.
Many fishermen either forgot or were not around just 4 years ago. That year there were NONE, not a single albie was caught that I know of.  Yup, it was one of those "off" years.  Many also have come to believe this albie invasion is a sure thing.  Anyone with an historical perspective of what happens knows this fishing is never a sure bet.  We have been spoiled in recent years with outstanding albie fishing. It doesn't always happen this way and this year will prove that.
Geez, I hope I am wrong.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Huge Waves Pummel RI Oceanfront

The hurricane is hundreds of miles away yet its effects are being felt here.  Huge waves, some that I estimated to be 10 to 15 feet,  pummeled the RI oceanfront today making fishing near impossible in most areas.  I was able to fish a couple of protected spots and came away with good numbers of schoolies.  These photos tell today's story.....
Huge waves were going right over the East Wall at Point Judith at low tide making
for dangerous and impossible fishing conditions. The parking lots were loaded
with gawkers and surfers.

The waves were so big that the Town of Narragansett closed off all public access
along roads leading down to the shore. Here barriers block access to the
shoreline in front of Newton Avenue.

While fishing was impossible along much of the oceanfront, I did find good
numbers of schoolies in a couple of protected areas.  This fish hit a bucktail
jig fished off a float.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

ROUGH but Good

The Rebel Jumpin Minnow
has been hot in the last month.
I suggest you crush the barbs
on the trebles for easier
This fish hit a bucktail jig
fished off a wooden egg
float. That is a real effective
combo in rough water.
Man, it has been really rough at the oceanfront for the last couple of days here in RI. But, the fishing for stripers still remains real good in this churned up white water. In fact, the rough water seems to have charged the fish up!
Use caution if you do fish in this rough stuff.  Some areas are too dangerous to fish, but other spots that are somewhat protected are fishable.  You'll have to look around for fishable and safe water.
My son, Jon fished this morning.  He came away with 20 stripers on the float and jig.  While the majority of the fish were hefty schoolies, he did get three small keepers.
I fished later in the afternoon and evening.  I had 10 schoolies in a couple of different spots.  I got mine on both the float and jig as well as a Rebel Jumpin Minnow.
We are seeing more and more small keepers (28-32 inch range) mixing in with the masses of schoolies that have been around all year here in RI.
As far as albies, the first ones were taken from shore prior to this real rough water. I know of only a few that have been caught from shore. Many deep water spots that usually give up good numbers of albies have been unfishable in this big water.  When the oceanfront calms down, I am hoping we see better numbers of these fish.

Friday, September 7, 2018

No Albies Yet

This is a bonito. They have been around in fair
numbers this year. Many fishermen confuse this
fish with an albie, or false albacore.
I can say with just about certainty that there are no albies here in RI yet.  I have been out fishing (mainly for stripers) the last five days, and I have tried some of my albie stuff.  I also know of many real good fishermen that have been trying from shore.  No one has caught one. No one has seen one caught. They are not in yet.
There are constant rumors from the reports out there that some are around. As I have said before, many fisherman use the words "albies" and "bonito" interchangeably. Many fishermen out there don't know the difference. There have been a fair number of bonito around this year and more fishermen than normal are catching them, so I believe this is where the "albie" reports are coming from. Realize, though, your chances are slim of getting a bonito since their numbers pale in comparison to albies.
I'm still sticking with the timetable of Sept. 10 to Sept. 15 for the start of the albie invasion if it happens here in RI. Judging from what has happened in the past 40 years, I would say we have a 70 % chance of seeing good numbers.  On the flip side, you have about a 30% chance seeing few or none. If you don't see them by Sept. 15th, all bets are off that this will be a good year.
If they do hit the shore next week, be prepared to see some big numbers.  The start of it and the first couple of weeks of action have been the most epic in recent years. And, the early arrivals seem to be the easiest ones to catch.

Monday, September 3, 2018

An EPIC August

It was an August with the most keepers I have ever landed
this month from shore.
By far, it was the best August fishing I have ever experienced for stripers. For me, it was a month filled with loads of big keeper fish as well as countless numbers of schoolies. August was simply fabulous from start to finish, and it shows all signs of continuing into September.
If you were to ask me before the season started what the worst month of the year would be, I would have said "August". In the past, striper fishing from shore would bottom out in the beginning of August and would remain fair at best through the end of the month. In past years, there would be an uptick near the end of the month, but I'm talking a few fish here and there. Not this year.
I landed nearly 300 stripers from shore in August.  Of that total, I had close to 100 keepers. I expected to catch good numbers of keepers based on last year's  and this year's fishing in the only spot in New England that has any numbers of keepers. But, I found way, way more than even I expected. There were days in which I stared in awe as school after school of huge stripers would blitz the shore in the middle of the daytime.
Fishing for schoolies has been epic here in RI.  Huge amounts
of bait have triggered blitz after blitz along the oceanfront.
There have even been some small keepers in the mix.
The 200 schoolies I landed from shore was completely unexpected, and nearly all of these fish came from RI waters. Who would guess that there would be these numbers in the hottest summer on record with water temperatures along the oceanfront pushing into the 70's? Bait and loads of it (peanut bunker and bay achovies) lured millions of schoolies to the oceanfront with blitzes that looked like October rampages. For two weeks straight, I was able to find massive amounts of bait that triggered a blitz somewhere along the oceanfront in the middle of the daytime under (at times) a 90 degree August sun. This would be unheard of in past years.
So, now we move onto September with even more potential if that is possible. I've fished the last few days, and I can tell you that things are still red hot. Bluefish and even some bonito are in the mix. While there are no albies around just yet, I am guessing they are coming in the next couple of weeks, and then we will seem even more pandemonium. Get ready for an epic September.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

A Wild One from the Boat

First bonito of the year for me landed today.
It was a wild week of striper blitzes from the shore this week. And, today was a wild one from the boat as my brother Steve and I got more than just stripers.
Oh, the stripers and the bait were just about everywhere we went along the oceanfront. There were vast areas where stripers by the thousands were blitzing on peanut bunker by the millions!  There were blitzes of stripers in multiple spots we fished, and we caught countless amounts of them.  We estimated we landed over 70 stripers, all schoolies up to 24 inches. The hot striper lures were a Jumpin Minnow which I used and a Finesse Fish that Steve used. The Jumpin Minnow in a bone color has been my hottest lure all week.
Schoolies seemed to be
everywhere today as we hit
multiple blitzes. The Jumpin
Minnow was a hot lure.
The highlight of the day, though, was the 2 bonito we landed.  We found a small pod of them and we both hooked up at once.  I got mine on a Kastmaster XL and Steve got his on a Finesse Fish.  These were the first we landed this year although there have been a good number caught in the last week from shore and boat.
We also had a couple of large bluefish
 that are mixing in with the stripers.
In addition, we each landed a couple of decent size bluefish. Both of us had the rare September hat trick of a striper, a bluefish and a bonito on the same day.
That phenomenal August fishing along the RI oceanfront has moved right into September, and it shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, when we add albies to the mix in a couple of weeks, it will get even better!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Photo of the Day....End to a PHENOMENAL Evening

Jon Pickering hoists a good size schoolie to end a fantastic
evening of fishing.  Jon and I together landed over 100
schoolies in a few hours of fishing.  The fishing this week
has been nothing short of phenomenal.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Blues on the Increase

The Rebel Jumpin Minnow has been
effective for both large bluefish and
stripers this week.
We haven't seen them all year, but we are seeing them now.  The blues are back! Those massive schools of peanut bunker moving along the oceanfront have attracted a lot of attention from both stripers and bluefish this week.  This week my son Jon and I have landed some blues that have mixed in with the massive numbers of feeding stripers.  These are all good size bluefish ranging from 5 to 10 lbs. I have heard of bigger ones landed, but can not confirm this.
The blues are hitting the same stuff as the stripers. A problem comes when using a jig that is so effective on the bass.  The blues are cutting the jigs right off.  Tie on a wire leader and you turn off the stripers.  I have gone with hard plugs when the stripers and blues are mixed. The Rebel Jumpin Minnow has been a hot number although I have seen others using large poppers and catching blues on that.  The Jumpin Minnow has also been effective on stripers. Try crimping down those trebles for easier release.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Photo of the Day....A Rare RI Keeper

It was another big night of fishing along the RI oceanfront.
I landed dozens of schoolies and this one "rare" RI  keeper.
All the action was on a Cocahoe mounted to a 3/4 oz jighead.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Big Time August Blitz

Schools of peanut bunker
seem to be everywhere
along the oceanfront.  This
bait touched off a big blitz
tonight in the NE wind.
This schoolie hit a small Cocahoe that was
fish off a float.  The float and jig was really
hot tonight.
I hit one of the biggest August blitzes of stripers I have ever seen along the RI oceanfront tonight. The northeast wind brought lots of white water along with masses of peanut bunker to the shore where I was fishing. Feeding on the peanuts were tons of stripers. It was wild with so many birds diving for bait in front of me I was worried I was going to hook a bird.  At one point under the birds there were thousands of schoolies in a frenzy after the schools of small peanut bunker.
Using a float and jig (tried a small Cocahoe as well as a bucktail at the jig end) I was able to catch fish after fish.  These were all schoolies in the 18 to 25 inch range. These were bigger fish than I have been seeing along the oceanfront in the last month.  I also had two decent fish on (small keepers?).  One broke me off on a rock and the other straightened out the hook. Now, that's a good sign that some decent fish are prowling RI waters.
August is usually a dead time from shore along the RI oceanfront, but this year is different.  There's a ton of bait around and loads of schoolies. That combination has kept things hopping along the oceanfront.  In addition, pods of bonito are roaming around. It's fishing more like October rather than August. Looks like it is shaping up to be a banner fall here in RI!

Saturday, August 18, 2018

The Albie Hype.....Starting Early

We are less than a month away from albie
fishing. While there may be some bonito
around right now, the albies are basically
a September fish.  Note, this is a photo from
last year.
Already I saw a report this past week about albies and bonito off the RI shoreline. Really? I can believe the bonito, but no way there are albies around now. The hype starts early every year in mid to late August, and much of those early reports of albies are fake news. One issue is that many fishermen simply don't know the difference between an albie and a bonito.  I know that some bonito have been caught already, but realize many fishermen use the words bonito and albies interchangeably and that's how this gets into a report.  In addition, many fishermen in boats see fish breaking at this time of year. They are certain they are seeing albies. Most likely they are bluefish. Still others looking for some headlines will post an old photo of an albie caught years ago and claim they caught it this year.  You've got to love social media!
Here are a few FACTS about albies that I have gathered over the years:
*They most likely will appear in big numbers along the RI shore from Sept. 10th to Sept. 15th.  They will show in Vineyard Sound in big numbers about a week earlier, so look at those reports to get an idea as to when it will happen here.
*In all the years I have been fishing, there is only one year in which I landed an albie in August, and that was at the very end of the month.  It is rare to find them around here in August.
*I can count on one hand the number of bonito I have landed from shore.  Several of those came in August while I was targeting stripers and blues. I've had better luck with bonito from the boat, but still they are rare.
*If you look back over the last 40 years, about a third of those years saw good numbers of albies, a third saw a few and a third of those years had none.
* Recent years have been very good for albies here in RI and most fishermen new to the sport think this is a sure bet.  I am guessing that between the warm water and the good amount of bait around this year, we should see good numbers of albies, but you never know.
*The start of the action will be the best.  When these fish first arrive, they will hit the shore in big numbers and they will be super active.  The first arrivals will be the easiest to catch on a variety of lures.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Best Three Days of All Time for Big Fish

This 7 1/2 inche fast sinker has been
very effective this week.
This fish that I just
grabbed with the Boga
measured 45 inches. It was
caught on the plug on
the left. The fish was
I'm having an epic week of fishing catching one keeper after another from shore. In fact, these past few days have been the best three days of big fish fishing that I have ever experienced with keeper bass. I've landed and released well over 50 keepers in the last three days along with a few schoolies.  These have not been small keepers either.  I measured several fish over 40 inches with the biggest going a whopping 45 inches. I got two this size.  One 45 incher had a big head and a massive gut.  I'm guessing that fish was over 40 lbs.
 Yes, I am fishing the same place that most people in New England are fishing these days.  I'll let you figure that one out.
I have gotten all these fish this week on two plugs. The 9 inch Sebile magic swimmer in a ghostescent color has been the killer and has taken most of the keepers of the week including one 45 inch fish.  The other plug that has worked well has been a fast sinking  7 1/2 inchSebile Magic Swimmer in a blueback color.  That also caught fish up to 45 inches. The Sebiles have been the hot ticket with no other plug coming even close as far as effectiveness.

This cow also measured 45 inches.  It had a large head
and a big body.  It hit a nine inch Sebile Magic Swimmer.
It was released.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Photo of the Day....Sebile Magic Swimmer Strikes Again

Another keeper comes ashore today.  The Sebile Magic Swimmer
was working its magic once again today as my son Jon and I
banked ten keepers on this hot plug.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Photo of the Day......Catch of a Lifetime!

How's this for the catch of a lifetime! Ben Pickering ties
the knot this weekend with his girlfriend Amanda.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Magical and Nearly Impossible to Find!

This plug, a 9-inch Sebile Magic
Swimmer has been my hottest plug in
the last two weeks. They are near
impossible to find in tackle shops.
I have been targeting big fish for the last month.  And, yes, I have been fishing the same place that just about everyone in New England has been fishing from shore.
The hottest plug going for me and many others has been the Sebile Magic Swimmer. I am using the biggest one made, a monster, 9-inch, 4 1/2 ounce model. This thing is a slow sinker that crawls shoreward with a slow, alluring wiggle that seems to attract fish and elicit some of the most savage hits you will ever see. I am using the Ghostescent color, the color of choice for most anglers.
This photo has played out many times in the
last two weeks as stripers really key on this
hot plug.
This plug has become so popular that just about everyone from tackle shops to online vendors have sold out. The tackle shops tell me these are in such demand that they can't even reorder them from the Sebile company.  Two weeks ago I bought one from Red Top Bait and Tackle.  I went back two days later to get a couple of spares, and they had none left on the shelves. The guy at the counter said they put out the last two boxes of them in the morning and they were gone within two hours! Yikes, that's how hot these things are. Bass Pro, Cabelas  and Tackle Direct are all out.
So, I had just one in my bag.  I fished a couple of days ago and landed one decent keeper and a couple of big schoolies on the plug when nothing else was working.  Later while casting blindly since no fish were showing, the plug was on its way to shore when a huge, and I mean huge, striper blasted it not more than twenty feet from the where I was standing. I got a real good look a the fish and it was by far, the biggest fish I had hooked this year.  The beast tore off and headed straight for the bottom.  I could do nothing but watch as the line melted away from the reel.  Suddenly, the fish had me stuck on the bottom, I suspect it wrapped around a rock. Seconds later the line parted, my fish of the year was gone and my magical plug was history.
As soon as I got home, I scoured the Internet and found a store halfway across the country that had some of these plugs. So, this time I ordered a bunch, and I can't wait until they arrive.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Photo of the Day....Another Biggie Falls for an SP Minnow!

Another large striiper has fallen for a green mac colored SP Minnow.
 This has been a great week of catching large stripers for me.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Newest Seminar, Catching Albie Fever, to Debut Tomorrow Night at CT Surfcasters!

My latest seminar, Catching Albie Fever,
will debut tomorrow, Aug. 1, at the CT
Surfcasters Meeting in Madison, CT.
My newest seminar, Catching Albie Fever,  will debut tomorrow evening at the CT Surfcasters meeting at the Madison Surf Club in Madison, CT.
This seminar will reveal all you need to know about catching false albacore, or albies.  In recent years, albies have taken over the early fall fishing by storm.  They have been numerous, and they have been caught in big numbers by surf fishermen and boaters.  This fish has become one of the most sought after gamefish in New England waters because of its superior fighting ability which is second to none in the inshore waters.  The seminar will outline timetables, equipment, ways to catch them and a general overview of places to fish. There will be info on fishing from shore and boat.
The albies are coming soon.  Will you be ready?

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Float 'n' Jig a Killer in Rough, White Water

The float 'n' bucktail jig
did the trick this week in
the rough water.
It's been all schoolies, and their numbers have
been staggering in the rough and turbulent
water of the oceanfront this week.
That persistent flow of strong southerly winds in the last week really roughed up the ocean.  It also lit up the fishing where the water was clean and rough.  I found staggering numbers of stripers.  These were all schoolies.
The hot lure combo for me in the last week has been the wooden egg float with a bucktail jig.  My floats are all homemade from a wooden egg that can be purchased in a craft store.  My bucktail jig is also homemade. It is a flathead, 3/8 ounce jig that is all white and tied with red thread.  Add a plastic curly tail to the jig and you are ready to go.
There were evenings when I saw schoolies breaking all over in the white water.  A wave would come in and dump thousands of gallons of foamy white water and the fish would go nuts, jumping and rolling in the turbulent water. In one evening this went on for two solid hours. The float and jig was a killer.  I would just cast it out to breaking fish and reel in slowly.  The current and turbulence would bring the jig to life.
In the past week, I have probably seen the most schoolies I have ever seen in July. While that is great news, the lack of larger fish and bluefish is disappointing.  They are just not around in the surf in any numbers here in RI.