Friday, May 24, 2019

Holiday Weekend Outlook: Schoolies and Bluefish Abundant

Bluefish have been around in good numbers
in the Bay this week.
It's been a long time since I have said this, but BOTH bluefish and schoolies are around in good numbers. The surprise of the spring for me so far has been the abundance of bluefish in the Bay.  It's now May 24, and already I have landed more bluefish this year than all of last year. It could be the places I am fishing, and it could also be that there are many more of them than expected.  The blues are running 3 to 6 lbs. for the most part, but I had a bigger one tonight that was pushing 8 to 9 lbs. The hot lure for the blues has been a Rebel Jumpin' Minnow which seems to be outfishing everything. I was using a blue back model tonight, a lure that has been hot in the Bay for stripers and bluefish in recent years.
There are still good numbers of schoolies around in the Bay and along the oceanfront.  I'm guessing this cool weather and cool water is keeping the fishing going at a good clip.  I landed good numbers of schoolies this week while fishing the Bay. Most of these fish went 20 to 24 inches, but I had one fish that was a near keeper.  I ran into a number of other fishermen in the evening and at night all week, and I did not see a keeper caught from shore. The hot striper lure for me has been a 6 1/2 inch sinking Sebile Magic Swimmer (165 SSK) in a ghostescent color.  My son Jon also landed a number of stripers on a 3 1/2 inch sinking Sebile Stick Shad, one of his favorite lures.
In addition to the schoolies in the Bay,  I hear that stripers are on worm hatches along the south shore ponds. And, I guessing that everyone has heard about the 52 lb. striper that was landed on a pogy this week from the Bay. So, lots of options this weekend if you are looking to get out and fish for  stripers.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Sickening Abuse

At least a dozen dead filleted schoolies lie
on the shore of the Charlestown Breachway
boat ramp.  Abuses are on the increase.
Fish abuses are in the increase here in RI.  I saw one of the most disgusting abuses a couple of days ago. A friend of mine sent me a photo of at least a dozen schoolies that were filleted at the boat ramp at the Charlestown Breachway.  These were all small fish in the 15 to 20 inch range. He called DEM enforcement and they said they were aware of the situation since others had called or e-mailed. Many of us try to be conservation minded, but it takes one jerk (or maybe more than one) to stick the middle finger right in the face of most conservation minded anglers by doing such an unthinkable act. I hope they catch the SOB.
Make no mistake, abuses are on the increase here in RI and elsewhere in southern New England.  I also found a filleted schoolie this week on shore in the upper Bay, an area where lots of abuses occur.  Last year I saw anglers taking buckets of small, snapper blues along the East Providence Bike Path. I also saw fishermen at Hazard and Newton Ave. in Narragansett taking undersized tautog.  In both cases I contacted DEM. I could write an entire page of abuses I saw last year at the Cape Cod Canal.
My suggestion is to not confront these abusers.  A few years back I was fishing the Hurricane Barrier in Providence.  A fisherman there caught a small bass and kept it. Another fisherman confronted the law breaker about this, and the discussion quickly deteriorated into a fist fight.  It ended when the abuser grabbed a knife and went after the good Samaritan. Yes, people are nuts these days, many have little respect for the law and many are violent.  It's a reflection of the society we live in.
The DEM Enforcement here in RI makes every effort to investigate any abuse reported. Every time I  have called they have taken down the info about what's going on and tried to get someone there as soon as possible.  Unfortunately, they are understaffed and often arrive late when these things happen. If you see any abuse, I suggest you call the DEM at 401-222-3070.
I think it is about time we toughen up the fishing laws.  If you keep undersized fish, the penalty should be at least $1000. a fish along with confiscation of your equipment. If you can't pay the fine. it's a trip to the ACI.  In addition, the state needs to hire more game wardens. And, we as law abiding fishermen need to be more vigilant and report any abuses.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Bluefish Arrive

Yes, those yellow eyed piranhas of the sea are here. Whether
you like them or not, you can't deny they have spunk!
It took just one eighty degree day and the bluefish are here. I got my first ones of the season last evening.  Like everything else, they are late this year.  In most years, I get my first one in the first or second week of May.  This year it was May 20th.
My son Jon and I were out in the Bay last night and we found a mix of active stripers and blues.  Together we landed 11 stripers and 7 bluefish.  The big surprise of the night was when I hooked what I thought was a decent striper.  Once near the shore I saw I had TWO bluefish hooked on the same plug! One blue had the rear hook of my Sebille Magic Swimmer and the other blue had the front hook. I wish I had a picture of this, but the weather was so bad I left the camera gear in the car.
In all, I saw about 20 blues landed by a half dozen fishermen.  These blues were on the small side running 3 to 5 lbs., but they were very aggressive and spunky.
If you like catching blues, they are here.  Just in time for Memorial Day weekend!

Saturday, May 18, 2019


Here's a  hefty schoolie I got a few nights ago. Fishing this spring
has been mediocre at best and way off compared to recent years.
It's not bad, but it's not great either.  Mediocre is the best way I could describe the striper fishing thus far this spring. The problem here is that we have been used to GREAT fishing in recent years, and this year lags way, way behind recent springs.
I was out the last two evenings in a very good spot in the Bay.  I had the right wind, the right tide and the right surf conditions. I worked a lot of shore and came away with exactly 6 schoolies.  In past years I would have landed 20 to 25 fish an outing in this spot in these conditions.  It has been like this in other places that I am fishing too. Just mediocre.
My numbers at this point are about half of what I have landed in the last few years at this point. The few fish I have been catching in the Bay have been decent schoolies in the 20-25 inch range, bigger than the micros that seem to be in numbers along the oceanfront.  Keepers remain rare.  The last one I saw was the one I caught about a week  and a half ago.
So, what's the problem?  Some say the cold and rainy weather is the culprit. Others blame a lack of bait. Still others point out what the fisheries managers have been saying recently.  They say numbers of stripers, especially larger ones are in a major downward cycle.They claim the whole fishery is in trouble.
For now, the fishing is simply mediocre.  Still worthwhile in my book, but not what nowhere near what we have been used to in the spring.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Photo of the Week- "A Perfect Micro"

Micros, those small schoolies, have dominated the oceanfront  fishing for the last week.
This perfect 12 inch specimen was released in good shape after the pose.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

First Keeper of the Year

First keeper of the year falls
for a Sebille Magic swimmer.
Overall, this has been a disappointing spring. There have been good numbers of micro bass (10-14 inches) around, but larger fish have been scarce. I have been out a lot and I have seen thousands of fish landed, but up until tonight I had seen exactly ONE "sure" keeper landed.  Well, tonight I saw my second one, and I got it.
In the last couple of days, I had decided to move from the oceanfront, which has had mostly small fish, to the Bay. I was rewarded for the move.  Tonight I was having a good night fishing the Bay with good numbers of 20 to 25 inch fish.  Suddenly, I had an explosion on my Sebille Magic Swimmer, and I knew what I had.  This fish thrashed around and peeled some serious line. I knew it was my first keeper of the year if I could land it. I estimate this fish went 15 to 20 lbs., a real good fish for this time of year from shore.
It's not surprising that this fish was landed in the Bay.  Most years I get my first keeper in the Bay. I guessing the many herring runs and early schools of pogies attract good numbers of early season keepers to the bay waters.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

On Top

The Jumpin Minnow has been my most effective
plug this week in the Bay.
You just know the fish are getting more active when they will come up and hit a surface offering.  With the oceanfront fishing cooling off this week, I spent several evenings fishing from shore in the Bay.  I landed a number of fish, and all were taken on the surface with a Rebel Jumpin Minnow.  I've mentioned many times about the effectiveness of this lure.....far more effective than the traditional popper because of its erratic action. Pump that rod with a lots of short pulls to dance this lure on the surface, and expect some memorable hits if there are any stripers around. There is nothing more exciting in striper fishing than seeing a bass come up and smash a surface offering.
If you do decide to use this plug or any other plug with multiple trebles, consider crushing the barbs on the hooks for an easier catch and release.