Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Photo of the Day....Keeper on a Jumpin Minnow

Mike Pickering hoists a keeper that hit a Rebel Jumpin
Minnow that was fished in shallow water.  This is one of
30 stripers we landed today on surface plugs. The fish went
20 to 30 inches.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

They Still Hit Bucktail Jigs

Here's a Boston Harbor schoolie that fell for
a homemade flathead bucktail jig, a hot
number all week in this area.
I found a lot of fish, mostly schoolies,  this week in Boston Harbor.   I was getting them from both shore and boat. The interesting thing about these fish was that they were really keying on bucktail jigs spiced with a curly tail.  Yes, bucktail jigs still work, though few are using them these days.
In recent years, plastics on jigheads have put bucktail jigs on the back burner. The convenience of plastics have a lot of fishermen sold on them.  But when the bait is small and you are looking for a durable offering with action plus, nothing can beat that bucktail jig. Over the years I have caught black sea bass, albies bluefish, stripers of all sizes, fluke, scup, pollack and sea robins on bucktail jigs.  Just about any fish in the ocean that hits an artificial will hit buckail jigs. That's why it has been dubbed "the most versatile lure in saltwater" in countless publications.
I cast and tie all my own bucktail jigs.  I especially like the "lima bean" or flathead shape.  I only use white heads on my jigs and I generally tie on sparse amounts of white bucktail with red thread. I also like to add a Bass Pro, 3-inch triple ripple plastic tail to my jig to give it added action. That combo has been the winner for me in recent years. In Boston Harbor this week, the half ounce flathead fished on light tackle was taking the fish.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Small Stripers All Over; Big Ones Scarce

Ben Pickering holds a Boston Harbor schoolie.
There are loads of schoolies around but few
large fish, especially for shore fishermen.
I've been all over the place in the last three weeks.  I've fished the RI South Shore, Narragansett Bay, Buzzards Bay, the Cape Cod Canal and Boston Harbor.  I've fished from the boat and shore. I can tell you that there are small stripers all over the place.  These are schoolies that range from 12 to 24 inches for the most part. And, there are lots of them.
Keepers are different story.  There are some smaller keepers around in the 28 to 32 inch range, but there are no big numbers of those. The larger stripers, say over 36 inches, are scarce with very few around, especially from shore.
I got down to the Canal last week. It was loaded with fishermen the day I went. Many are hoping for a repeat performance of last year's epic fishing. I pedaled my bike up and down the canal and fished in multiple spots.  Of the hundreds of guys I saw fishing, I saw exactly five fish caught and these were smaller keepers in the 28 to 32 inch range. Many fishermen are saying everything is two weeks behind due to the cold spring weather. These same guys say the bigger fish are coming. I hope they are right.
Last night I joined two of my sons in Boston Harbor for an evening of fishing from shore.  In past years this was a hotspot for larger fish at this time. It was rare for us to fish there and not catch a keeper or two. But, same deal as everywhere else.....lots of schoolies, no keepers. My son Matt has also been fishing a lot from his boat. He's getting loads of schoolies with an occasional small keeper, but no large fish.
So, we are in this schoolie pattern right now with few large stripers around. It seems to be the same all over southern New England. With the weather taking a turn to warmer, maybe that will deliver some larger fish. We'll see.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Always a Good Day in Buzzards Bay

We fished from the boat yesterday in Buzzards Bay.  As we were catching fish after fish, my brother Steve remarked, "You know we have NEVER had a bad day in Buzzards Bay."  Sure enough, this is the closest thing to a sure bet in fishing, especially in late spring and early summer. Yesterday we landed huge numbers of keeper black sea bass and loads of stripers along with some scup and a bluefish.  Yes, this place is also known for variety.
How's this for a couple of biggies. Most of the
black sea bass here are keepers with some
huge ones in the mix.
Buzzards Bay offers about the best springtime black sea bass fishing that I have ever seen.  The fish are numerous and they are very large. We jigged both bucktail jigs (spiced with curly tails) and Kastmaster XL's in 25 to 40 feet of water to land close to a hundred fish, most of which were keepers.  We let everything go except for two huge ones. Note that the sea bass in this place have some of the most vibrant colors on them I have ever seen.
Buzzards Bay is also
loaded with schoolies.  This
one hit a Jumpin Minnow.
When we got sick of catching the sea bass, we set our sights on stripers. This place is also loaded with stripers.  We used our shallow water techniques from 'Gansett Bay to catch loads of schoolies. Buzzards Bay is covered with "fishy" shore spots.  I'm talking rocky points, flats with moving water, outflows and little estuaries. While we found no fish breaking, we found loads of stripers in many of these spots in shallow water that was generally 4 to 8 feet deep. We landed over 100 schoolies on lures such as Zoom flukes on jigheads, weightless Finesse Fish and Rebel Jumpin' Minnows.
It was yet another memorable day in this place.  We've had a lot of these types of days through the years.

The colors on black sea bass in this place are the most vibrant I have ever seen.
This huge one was simply GORGEOUS!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Photo of the Day.....Keeper from the Bay

Jon Pickering hoists a keeper that was landed in the Bay.  They are around but
you will have to look to find them.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Schoolies Abundant; Keepers Few and Far Between; Change in Scenery on the Way

Schoolies have been abundant in the Bay.
This was one of 18 fish landed tonight on
Zoom flukes.
This year's fishing scene in RI is unfolding very similar to last year.  We have an abundance of schoolies around. The Bay, where I have been fishing in the last few weeks, is loaded.  I've fished mid Bay and upper Bay and it doesn't seem to matter.  The schoolies are just about everywhere.  In the last five evenings I have fished from shore in different places and have landed from 3 to 18 fish a night. Keepers, however, are a different story.  I haven't landed one in two weeks now. I've seen a few landed from shore. The keepers tend to be small in the 28 to 32 inch range.
My plans for the upcoming week involve a change in scenery.  With the new moon tides on the way I think there are some opportunities for bigger fish.  Let's just say the bike is ready, the plug bag with bigger plugs is ready, the heavy gear is ready, and for the first time this year, I will be driving north rather than south. Let's hope things play out like last year!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Top Plastics for the Bay

Here are your top plastics for fishing the Bay
in shallow water for stripers of all sizes.
I continue to catch good numbers of stripers from shore and boat in the Bay. All my fish in the last couple of weeks have fallen for plastics.  I believe these are your top artificials if you are fishing shallow water for stripers in Narragansett Bay.
Here are the top bets:
1. Zoom fluke on a jighead- Use a light colored fluke body and the smallest jighead that you can cast.  I will use head sizes that vary from 1/4 to 1/2 ounce.  My favorite colored fluke body is an albino color.
2. 7 1/2 inch Slug-Go- I like this in a white color whether I am fishing at night or in the daytime. Cast out and twitch the rod tip with a slow retrieve to make the lure dance back and forth on top of the water or just below the surface.  Stop reeling every once in a while. I have a lot of hits on the stop.
Sometimes that Finesse Fish
will outperform all other
lures. Here is a keeper that
fell for it.
3. 5 inch Finesse Fish on a worm hook- I also like this in white.  Work it similar to the Slug-Go. Sometimes this will outperform the other two lures.

Note that all of the above lures work great on stripers. The problem comes in where blues are around as they were last night for me. I started with a Slug-Go and that got cut off after about 15 minutes. When that happens, ditch the plastic and go with a hard lure. I went with a bone colored Jumpin' Minnow and had my first blue of the year onto the shore in a short amount of time.