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!