Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Best Night of the YEAR!

I knew things were going to be hot tonight as my son and I walked toward the water.  There were silversides just washing up on shore and others jumping further out to escape the stripers that were after them. It took just one cast and before I could even crank the reel, I was onto a fish.  The night continued like this for two and a half  hours as we had a fish or a hit on just about every single cast.
The hot ticket tonight was, once again, an albino Zoom fluke mounted onto a half ounce jighead (see photo at left).  That Zoom fluke is a dead ringer for silversides, and it was the ticket to catching loads of fish tonight. When the action subsided after dark, we had landed well over 100 fish.  Though most of them were schoolies of all sizes, my son Jon did manage to land one keeper (see photo at right) at dark.
The last 4 days/nights of fishing have been lights out for me as this has been the best stretch of the year so far.With no real hot weather in sight, the action should continue.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Photos of the Day....Hot Fishing from the Boat!

Steve Pickering plugged up this 32 inch striper (measured) in shallow water. It was the
biggest of dozens landed today. The fishing was hot on this Memorial Day.

I finally landed my first blue of the year, It, too, was plugged up in very
shallow water in 'Gansett Bay.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Hot Night in the Bay

Here is one of the larger schoolies that
was caught right at dark.  Fishing was hot
tonight in the Bay from shore.
It was more than the weather that was hot today.  I had myself the hottest night of the spring tonight in the Bay from shore.
Just yesterday I had written about how the fishing had been marginal in the past couple of weeks.  Well, things changed in a big way tonight for me as everything seemed to come together.  A change in weather was on the way ( a good indicator of good fishing), there was a load of bait in front of me (with fish breaking for them), and the stripers were aggressively on the rampage. I landed well over 30 fish in a two hour stint.  The fishing was especially hot right at dark with a fish or a hit on just about every cast of my Zoom fluke on a half ounce jighead.
Just what I had been seeing in the past couple of weeks, most of these fish were schoolies in the 12-20 inch range with a few larger ones in the mix. I had one fish that was  a near keeper.
So, you never know when luck will come your way.  It's a matter of getting out and fishing and sometimes, big things happen. Like tonight!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Holiday Weekend Outlook....You'll Have to Work to Catch 'Em

Jon Pickering holds a nice fish that was landed in the last week
in the Bay. There are less fish around but the sizes are better,

We have quickly moved into a summer fishing pattern here in RI.  The huge masses of migrating fish that we saw two or three weeks ago have moved on. The fishing scene from shore has become a fish here and there that you have to really work for. From the  boat, the numbers are less, though sometimes you are running into schools on top where there is bait. The shallows are also producing scattered fish that are sometimes fussy on the take.
I have gotten out just about every evening/ night in the last week.  I have been mostly fishing in the Bay. The numbers of fish I am catching in the last week have really dropped off. While I had no blanks, I am now catching 1-6 fish an outing using plastics.  It seems to me like the sizes have gotten better, but there are less of them.  I had no keepers in the last week, but I know many who have caught them.  The keepers in the Bay are generally running small, 28-30 inches. 
Judging by past years, the Bay should be crawling with larger fish by now.  It's not. My brother and I have been in the boat a couple of times in the last week, and we found scattered small schools of menhaden with nothing under them. Are the bigger fish (over 36 inches) just late in arriving or are they not coming? When you hear of bigger fish to the north in the Canal, it makes one wonder if it will happen here ....
I have also noticed in the last week that the fish are now hitting more and more after dark. Yes, that is another characteristic of summer fishing.
Finally, I have not gotten a bluefish yet.  I had one on  and had a chopped Slug-go last night, but no blues to the shore.  There is a lack of bait in the Bay and I think that is contributing to the lack of blues at this point.
So, as we head into the holiday weekend, the outlook is that there are still fish around, but if you want to catch them, you will have to work hard to find and catch them.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Fork Tailed Plastics Scoring in Bay

Fin-S fish on a worm hook
with no weight
Zoom fluke on a half
ounce jighead.
I am now fishing exclusively in the Bay.  It is far closer for me, and I believe it is more productive than the oceanfront right now. I have scored big numbers of fish in the last five days from schoolie up to small keepers.  Just about all of those fish which were taken from boat and from shore were caught on fork tailed plastic lures.
I've written many times about how the fan tailed Cocahoe Minnow is the top producer for spring stripers along the oceanfront.  While it works on occasion in the Bay, a fork tailed plastic lure like a Fin-S fish or a Zoom Fluke is a far better choice. While most fishermen know about these lures, few know the many ways to fish them.  I have caught fish this past week using all three methods described below.
Here are the three ways I fish these fork tailed lures:
1. On a jighead- This is how most fishermen use them.  Simply thread the plastic body like a Zoom fluke onto a lightweight (say half ounce) jighead and you are ready to go.  I like to reel in slowly and jerk the rod tip to get the lure to bounce along.  Most of my hits come as the jig is falling back down. My favorite fork tailed lure in this situation is a Zoom fluke in an albino color.
2.  Off a float-Take the same fork tailed lure described above and run it off a wooden egg float via about two to three feet of mono.  This works well when a long cast is needed or when you are casting into the wind. Just reel it in slowly and let the wave action move the lure.
3. On a worm hook with NO weight- This is one of our top ways to catch finicky fish.  In this case we tend to use a larger fork tailed plastic lure like a 5 inch Fin-S fish. Hook it onto one of those curvy wide gap hooks. Cast it and reel slowly with occasional twitches of the rod tip to make the lure dart and swim. If fish are whirling or following, stop reeling. The fish will often take it when it goes motionless.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

First Outing in Boat; First Keepers from the Boat; First Big Blue

First big blue of the year for
 us comes from the Bay.
We had several keeper bass
today plugging plastics
on top in shallow water.
It was a day of firsts for us today.  We took the boat out for the first time this year in the Bay where  we found lots of fish.  We found many, many schoolies, some keeper stripers and a lone big blue.
There seemed to be  loads of fish around today just sitting in shallow water in various locations.  I'm talking water less than 8 feet deep. There were areas where we found keeper bass in the shallows and other areas where loads of schoolies were hanging out. And, that big blue....we caught him in about 4 feet of water.
The fish in those shallow areas of the Bay were mighty fussy as they sometimes are at this time of year.  We had loads of whirls and probably landed one fish for every ten hits. The only thing working was twitching a large Finesse Fish on the surface (rigged with just a hook). Even then, we would have many hits, whirls and follows without actual takes.  The fish were numerous but just not aggressive.  We also saw no bait.
So, the Bay is heating up, and we are in a period of spring fishing here in RI in which the fishing is productive along the oceanfront as well as in the Bay. It's a toss-up as to which area is better right now.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Photo of the Day...."After Dark Action Starting!"

This is one of many fish landed tonight after dark. Tonight
is the first night I was able to land good numbers of them at and
after dark. Many of tonight's fish were also decent size.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Daiwa BG......Best Reel for the Price

The Daiwa BG 4000, a great reel at a great price.
I'm convinced.  The Daiwa BG is one heck of a reel for about $100 bucks (depending on the size). After using it for the last month, I am sold on this reel.  It will match up to anything that costs two, three or even four times as much.
 After reading a bunch of reviews that gave this reel a stellar rating, I had to get one.  In addition, I saw them at one of the booths at a winter show.  It was the booth from Red Top Bait and Tackle.  This place does a big business in fishing stuff at the Canal and these guys told me this was, by far, their best selling reel. In addition, I read the great review that Alan Hawk gave this reel.  You can find it here. This guy is well known for his extensive reel reviews, and he rates this reel as one of the best buys on the market. Most fishing online stores rate this a five out of five star rating and I would have to agree.
I have the BG 4000.  This reel is built like a tank, but it is super smooth on the retrieve.  The drag is also smooth as silk.  I love the line lay on the reel.  Because it goes on so evenly, I can report not one wind knot in dozens of times using the reel with 30 lb. test braided line. I'm using this smaller saltwater reel with an 8 ft. Mojo St. Croix rod, a great combination for spring schoolies.
So, if you are  in the market for a new reel, think about this one.  It is by far the best I have bought in a reel that costs around $100.
Highly recommended!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Best Outing of the Year; First 30 inch Fish

We landed tons of fish tonight in
this best outing of the spring thus far.  This
was one of the bigger ones.
The oceanfront was red hot this evening. It had perfect conditions with lots of white water, some roughness, a stiff wind and moving water. Those conditions brought a ton of fish to the beachfront where my son Ben and I were fishing.  Together we had a load of fish, all taken on Cocahoe minnows fished off a 3/4 oz. jighead. At times it was a fish or a hit every single cast. These fish were all sizes tonight as we had some little ones up to one keeper fish that went 30 inches (yes, it was measured). The average schoolie seemed to be about 20 inches.
I fished every evening in the past week in both the Bay and the oceanfront, and I can tell you the oceanfront fishing is far hotter and more consistent than the fishing in the Bay.  That could change in the coming days and weeks, but so long as the water and the weather remain cool, the oceanfront should continue to really produce.
The spring run of stripers is peaking right now with a good mix of schoolies and small keepers around. It's as good as it gets at this time of year.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Rough and Clean Water Deliver

Jon Pickering holds a decent one that was
landed yesterday in some rough water along
the oceanfront.
For the last two days I have been fishing the oceanfront.  One look at the water yesterday told me the fishing would be good.  The water was rough, clean and moving.  These are ideal conditions in which to catch spring stripers. Today I had the same conditions.  Both yesterday and today turned out to be banner days for me.  Both days I landed over 20 stripers with many good size ones. All the action was on a Cocahoe minnow on a 3/4 oz. jighead.
Today's fish were smaller
but feisty in the rough
water. The Cocahoe Minnow
landed all the fish.
Strange thing about the size of the fish.  Yesterday I had a lot of good size ones with most running 20 to 28 inches. My son Jon (who fished with me yesterday) and I had several small keepers in the bunch.  Today it was different fish as the fish were considerably smaller with most running 12 to 20 inches.  Today's highlight was a tagged 20 inch fish from the American Littoral Society.
So, fishing continues to be good along the oceanfront in the rough water. I'm guessing it will remain good as the temperatures stay around normal this week.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Fish Spreading Out in the Bay

The Zoom fluke mounted on a
small jighead and fished off a float was the
hot lure combo today in the Bay.
I usually start fishing the Bay about a week after I start catching stripers along the oceanfront.  It's been about a week since the action lit up along the oceanfront so today I focused my attention on the Bay, hitting a few of my early season spots.  I did manage to catch a couple of schoolies on Zoom flukes fished off the float. So, I can report with certainty that there are some stripers in the Bay. I sense it is just starting as the first ones have begun to filter into the Bay. Expect the action in the coming days and weeks to pick up significantly as the Bay usually offers hot fishing from about this time into early summer.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Sea Lice

Schoolie fishing was hot
and heavy again tonight. All
the fish were loaded with
sea lice.

Many experienced fishermen will tell you that migrating stripers pick up this sea lice from the bottom way out in deep water.  These orange/brown creatures that look a lot like tiny shrimp cling to the stripers' bodies as they migrate toward the shore.  It's a phenomenon we see a lot with migrating stripers along the oceanfront in the springtime.
Sea lice covered all the schoolies that I landed tonight.  It's an
indication that these are all fresh, migrating fish.
Several weeks ago I was catching a lot of holdovers in the backwaters.  Not one of them had sea lice on them, an idication that they were holdovers. Today's fish, all fresh migrating fish, were loaded with the lice.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Photo of the Day- "First Oceanfront Keeper"

A keeper comes ashore in the suds of the RI oceanfront.
This 28 inch fish was one of many in the 20-28 inch range
that I landed today. The Cocahoe was the hot lure.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Off and Running

This is one of 16 schoolies that I landed this evening.
Suddenly, loads of fish have moved along the RI oceanfront.
Things have improved greatly along the oceanfront.  The spring run of stripers is finally in full swing going from a trickle last week to a torrent of fish this week.
I saw loads of them caught today in multiple spots. What impressed me was the size.  I had two fish that were near keepers and loads of others that I would describe as good size schoolies in the 20-24 inch range. I saw about a hundred fish landed today in these size ranges.  One guy told me he saw a 29 inch fish landed yesterday.  And, get this.  There were a couple of guys who had a Cocahoe cut in half tonight. Yes, I suspect there are some early blues in the mix.  With super warm weather on the way, I predict I will see a blue or two taken in the next couple of days.
So, it's finally here and with favorable weather coming, it looks like a big week of fishing is on the way along the RI oceanfront. IT HAS BEGUN!