Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Jigs Rule, BUT Which are Best?

These are your three best choices in jigs to use this spring.
Just about all the stripers I have caught thus far have been taken on some sort of jig. From my observation, just about everyone catching can say the same thing. But, that word "jig" can take on many meanings and looks. Which are best? For me, it depends where I am fishing and what the conditions are.  Here are the three jigs that I generally use in spring and fall:
1. Cocahoe Minnow mounted on a jighead- This is your best lure to use overall along the oceanfront in the spring. I like an all white or glow "Queen" Cocahoe mounted on a half or 3/4 ounce jighead.  I notice that many fishermen are doing real well this spring using a white/green tail model. This lure works well under calm  to moderate surf conditions.  It doesn't cast well with a stiff wind in your face.
2. Bucktail jig with curly tail- My favorite here is a once ounce, bullet shape, homemade bucktail jig with a 4 inch Tripple Ripple, Bass Pro, white plastic tail added.  I use this jig along the oceanfront in rough water with a stiff wind in my face. In the last week, I have scored real well with this lure in tough conditions. It scores real well in both spring and fall.
3. Zoom Fluke with jighead-  This is the lure to use in Narragansett Bay. For some reason, it is far less effective along the RI oceanfront. I like to use this 3 inch albino (favorite color)  fluke with a half ounce jighead.  This also works well off a wooden egg float when the wind is in my face and the water is rough.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

In the Bay

I know the fish are spreading out when I catch my first ones in the Bay.  I did just that tonight getting a couple of hefty schoolies on a Zoom fluke mounted on a 3/8 oz. jighead. I knew they had been in the Bay for the last few days but with fishing on the upswing along the oceanfront, I chose to stay there. Look for the Bay to really perk up in the coming week.
First one from the Bay this spring fell for an albino Zoom fluke.

Friday, April 26, 2019

First Keepers Landed; Uptick in Activity; Other "Stuff" Working

This schoolie hit a one ounce
bucktail jig spiced with a
4 inch curly tail.
The Yo-Zuri Hydro Minnow
was my best producer today.
It also seemed to lure larger fish.
The fishing really took a turn for the better today in some rough and stormy conditions along the RI oceanfront. I had my best day yet with 22 fish onto the shore. Most were bigger than what I have seen in recent days with the average fish running 20 to 25 inches.
I also saw some keepers landed this week.  A couple of days ago, my friend Dick Geldard, fishing right next to me, landed a beautiful fish that had to go at least 15 lbs. (roughly 32-33 inches). I have seen a few other smaller keepers (28 inch range) taken this week. I had several fish this week that were just shy of keeper size, so the average size fish seems to be getting bigger.
The fish are also getting more active. Today was the first day I have been able to catch stripers on something other than a Cocahoe Minnow on a jighead.  Yes, I got a few on that.  I also got a few on a bucktail jig with a curly tail attached to it. But, I had my best luck today using swimmers.  I landed good numbers of fish on both a Sebile Magic Swimmer and a Yo-Zuri Hydro Minnow.  Both of those lures in a white color were getting it done and seemed to be attracting larger fish. If you want to use a swimmer, consider crushing the barbs of the treble hooks for easier catch and release.  With the fish being so active, I'll bet I could have even gotten one to hit a popper, but I did not have one in my bag.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

So Far, Not So Good

I've been catching spring run stripers for over a week now, and I can sum up the fishing in three words. SHOULD BE BETTER.
In the last few years, that initial push of fish has been phenomenal. Not this year. In the last eight days, either I have been out fishing or my son, Jon, has been out fishing the RI south shore. In total, the both of us combined have landed 55 schoolies. Heck, in the last few years, I could get that alone on a good night. My best outing has been 18 schoolies, but it took me almost all day to get them.
Last night I was fishing in a real good early season spot.  I had beautiful water in front of me....a perfect "10".  The water was rough but clean and the water was moving with a rising tide.  It was ideal for late April.  I plugged that spot for three hours and came away with just three schoolies. Not good.
I've also been disappointed by the size of the fish.  A lot of what I am seeing are small schoolies in the 12 to 16 inch range. Because we had a lot of 20 to 24 inch fish last year, I figured this year's bunch would be real good size schoolies over 24 inches.  Those fish have been scarce.
I realize we are still real early in the season, and for sure, more fish are on the way. The first week of May has always been a real hot time to fish. Realize, too, the ocean has been unusually rough and stormy. Lots of big water, lots of  rain and lots of wind. In short, it's been too much of a good thing. So, maybe when things calm down a bit, the fishing will perk up, especially for the larger fish.
On one bright note, I did hear of several schoolies caught already in the upper and mid Bay.  So, they are spreading out. I'm guessing the Bay should light up with big numbers of fish in about a week.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Cocahoes Rule the Early Action

A Cocahoe Minnow mounted on a 3/4 oz.
jighead has been THE lure to use in the early
going.  In this photo of a fish I landed
tonight, the lure is a larger Queen Cocahoe.
Once again, the Cocahoe Minnow is killing it in the early going. This fan tailed lure is just about all you need to catch stripers in the spring surf along the RI oceanfront.  Pair this with jigheads of assorted sizes and you are good to go. I especially like the "Queen" Cocahoe, a plastic minnow in a glow or white color that measures 4 inches long.  Many fishermen like the regular three inch size.
This week I have been fishing a lot of rough surf, and I that Queen Cocahoe paired with a 3/4 oz. jighead has been my best producer.  I like to use the smaller Cocahoe with smaller jigheads when the water turns calm and the fish tend to be a bit more fussy.
While many fishermen will just cast and retrieve this lure slowly near the bottom, I like to give it a bit more action by pulling the rod tip occasionally on the slow retrieve.  This makes the Cocahoe move up and down rather than tracking straight in. Tonight I was getting a lot of fish and hits when the lure dropped down after a pull of the rod tip.  Sometimes a pause in your retrieve will also get a striper to hit since they are often following this lure and will tend to hit it when the lure does something different like a pause or dropping down.
Regardless of how you fish it, the Cocahoe is BY FAR the best lure to use in the early going for schoolies and small keepers.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019


Here's the first one of the year for me.  I've gotten some in the
last few days, but have not run into big numbers of fish.
I've been out fishing a lot in the last few days, and I can report that there are some stripers around. Some. There has been no big numbers of fish in this initial push of migrating fish, and I am guessing that most of the guys and gals who have been trying along the south shore have not gotten anything yet. The big numbers are just not here yet. But, I have landed some in the last few days, and that is the start of it for me.
As I have preached all along, Cocahoes have caught all the fish for me.  Most of the fish I am catching have been in the 16 to 20 inch range, typical for the first arrivals, but I also had a near keeper yesterday.  All of these are fresh sea run fish because they are bright colors and loaded with sea lice.
It's only a matter of time, maybe a few days, until we really begin to see big numbers of schoolies and maybe even some small keepers.