Saturday, August 31, 2019

No Stripers, No Problem

Blues inhabit the Bay in astounding numbers
right now.  It is the best bluefish fishing in
over a decade.
The striper fishing has become a roller coaster lately.  Millions around one day, gone the next. But, we are in a period of time when there are other fish to go after when no stripers are to be had.
Bluefish are the most consistent thing going right now.  They are in the Bay in astounding numbers.  Find any amount of bait and you will most likely find blitzing bluefish.  They inhabit the Bay from the upper reaches of the Bay all the way to the lower parts. Those who prowl the Bay in a boat are at a big advantage since they can move around and find them.  From shore, it might help to spot hop in search of the fish.  In the last three evenings, I've gotten well over 30 bluefish. While most of these fish were on the small size, three to five pounds, there are rumors of schools of bigger fish around. I've also gotten an occasional striper mixed in with the bluefish.
Bonito have hit the oceanfront shores in good numbers this year.  Once again, they move around and can pop up just about anywhere bait exists. These, too, are on the small side, running 3 to 4 lbs. on average.  Boaters, also have the advantage here since they can move around in search of schools of breaking fish.
Looks like a promising Labor Day weekend if you are looking to bend a rod. But, realize you will have to look around to find the bait and the fish.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

August Madness Returns

Massive schools of small peanut bunker, thousands of frenzied seagulls diving from above and countless numbers of stripers under all of it. At one point, yesterday's school of fish stretched for a quarter of a mile. IT'S BACK!

Sunday, August 25, 2019

When Only One Thing Works

The Jumpin Minnow in a blue back was a hot producer in
the last couple of days for stripers and blues.  It was the only
thing wo\rking yesterday.
For me, the oceanfront has gone from red hot to lukewarm.  A week ago, it was daily blitzes.  The last few days I had to work for my fish.  Still, the stripers and blues are around if you look and fish the right places with the right stuff. In the last couple of days, there have been small pods of bait and small groups of fussy fish after it.
Yesterday, my son Jon and I went down to the oceanfront.We couldn't find much in the afternoon and we were staring at a blank in the evening.  Then, about an hour before dark, we found some fish breaking after small bait. I thought this would be easy.  I went to my float 'n' Cocahoe, the best bet earlier in the week Nothing doing....still fish breaking but not hitting.  I then went to my Yo-Zuri Hydro Pencil, my second best producer all week.  It got a lot of whirls, no takers. To my right I saw Jon catching.  He went with a blueback Jumpin' Minnow. I put that on and finally hit my first one, a bass of about 24 inches.  From that point until dark, Jon and I were steadily catching, many times both on at once.
When stripers and blues are on small bait, they can be mighty fussy.  I have many go-to lures when that happens.  These include the Jumpin' Minnow, the Yo-Zuri Hydro Pencil, the float and jig, jigs alone and small swimmers.Usually, one of  those will do the trick as it did last evening.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Going Beserk

What I have seen in the last week is nothing short of astounding. Every day I have been out I have seen a blitz or multiple blitzes of some kind.  Yesterday I ran into acres and acres of striped bass feeding on the surface in a frenzy unheard of in August. These fish were all clones of 24 to 25 inches. At times, they were right at my feet. I swear I could have reached in and just grabbed a fish! They were after massive schools of juvenile peanut bunker with schools of bay anchovies also around.  At one point as I looked out over the ocean, I could count 6 different massive schools of fish in front of me spread out in a quarter mile stretch.  And, not a fisherman in sight. No one expects this on a 90 degree day in mid August, and just about no one is fishing!
The video below is just a sampling of what went on ALL DAY.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Find the Bait and You Find the Fish

Birds are working a school of
 peanut bunker along the
oceanfront.  Stripers are under the
bait in big numbers.
The Bay has the most bluefish
right now.  They, too, are on
schools of peanut bunker.
Both the oceanfront and the Bay are producing right now. If you didn't know it, you would think this is fall migration fishing. That's because big schools of peanut bunker have entered our waters and it is attracting stripers, bluefish and bonito.
The key to success is finding the bait (isn't it always?). In the last four days I fished both the oceanfront and the Bay.  At times, I had to look in different spots to find a place with some bait.  Once I did, it was non-stop action.  Right now, the Bay seems to have the majority of the bluefish. These are fish in the 3 to 6 lb. range.  The oceanfront is loaded with schoolie stripers (20 to 25 inches) and there are good numbers of bonito around, especially along the south shore beachfront.
In those places where there is no bait, there are no fish.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

All Hell Breaks Loose

The Cocahoe off a float was the hot ticket
yesterday. Plus, the single jig hook made for
easier catch and release.
Have you ever gotten in that zone where everything goes right in fishing? You pick the right spots, you have loads of fish in front of you, they are hitting, and you are alone and have it all to yourself. And, you are doing this day after day. Well, I've been in that zone for the last week.
Yesterday, I decided to hit the RI oceanfront even though I had been doing very well in the Bay. I had a hunch, a sixth sense you might say. Conditions and tides were right, the time of year was right and even though I had marginal reports about what was going on, I decided to give it a try.
As soon as I arrived in my spot, I saw the signs.  Birds were flying around all over, occasionally picking up bait. I saw occasional fish breaking way out. Then, out of nowhere it happened. The surface erupted in front of me. Multiple schools of fish busting all over the place.  Peanut bunker flying out of the water.  And, suddenly I was onto a rare striper blitz in mid August, a time when this is not supposed to happen.
Blitz like conditions continued for three hours.  It was a hit or a fish on just about every cast.  My float and Cocahoe jig were nailing hefty schoolie after schoolie. The fish were running 20 to 25 inches. I landed no keepers, but that's the new norm here in RI. You want to fish for stripers, it's all schoolies here in RI.
So, fishing has definitely taken on a fall feel even though we are still in the middle of August. That's what peanut bunker will do. Looks like we are heading into a real good fall season.
Birds are diving and fish are breaking for big schools of peanut bunker.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Bluefish Around in BIG Numbers

The blues are after big schools of
peanut bunker.
The Yo-Zuri hydro Minnow has been my best
lure for bluefish in the last few days.
Suddenly, the bluefish are around in big numbers, the likes of which we have not seen in years, maybe a decade.  In the last three evenings I have landed more bluefish than I have caught in the last three years! I've found schools of them busting for big schools of peanut bunker that are streaming into our RI waters right now.  While I am getting my blues from shore in the Bay, I have reports of them all over the place.  My son Jon has been fishing the mid Bay from a kayak, and he is killing them every evening.  I have another friend who fished the oceanfront recently and he, too, saw big numbers.  There are stripers mixed in with the bluefish as I am getting a few bass every outing. Most of the blues are on the small side, running 3 to 6 lbs. on average.
Topwater lures are getting the blues for me, though they are not fussy.  I have been using a Yo-Zuri Hydro Pencil.  This plug looks like a Jumpin' Minnow on steroids.  It is just about the same length as a Jumpin' Minnow, yet weighs almost twice as much, making it a great caster.  It's also heavy duty with sturdy anchors and heavy duty hooks (no need to change out anything). It twitches on the surface with quick pulls of the rod tip and the blues have found this irresistible.  My son Jon has been getting his fish on a Rebel Jumpin' Minnow.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Slow Down those Top Water Plugs

Slow down those topwater plugs for increased
success.  The slow retrieve works with pencils,
standard poppers, spooks and Jumpin' Minnows.
It's been a real good week for me, sort of a fall preview, with lots of stripers of all sizes and good numbers of bluefish.  The bite has been a topwater one.  Most of my fish have been taken on either pencil poppers or Rebel Jumpin' Minnows.
Whatever you choose as a topwater plug, try to work the offering at a slow pace.  Last week I watched a guy put on a clinic in using a pencil popper.  This guy was catching one fish after another while most of us just watched. The key to his success was two fold.  He was cranking the reel oh so slowly, just enough to keep the plug on the surface.  He was also twitching the tip of the rod with short, fast rhythmic pulls. The rod was working his plug and not the reel.  His right hand was high up on the rod above the reel to achieve this.  The nose of the plug was simply bouncing up and down (not going crazy) while slowly coming ashore. It got me thinking that I, like everyone else, was moving the pencil too fast.  I was getting hits, but not hooking up.  When I slowed things down, it made a big difference.
I used this slow approach all week in various spots, and it has really made a difference with my catch success on my topwater offerings.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

On the Guppy

Earlier in the week I did a post on pencil poppers.  We'll, I've been fishing them lately with good success.  My best producer this week has been a Guppy Jobo Jr. XH in a ghost mackerel.  That is an all white plug with streaks of chartreuse in the body. This plug weighs about 3 1/2 oz. and is a great caster.  It also tracks well on top. It got me this hefty keeper along with several other big fish. By the way, this fish was realeased immediately after this photo, and with one mighty swish of its tail, it was gone.