Friday, July 31, 2020

Warm Water, Small Bait and Fussy Stripers

The egg float with a deceiver fly was the only
thing that would catch the fussy schoolies
in the last two days.
I've found lots of stripers in the last two days. Problem is that I caught very few. The fish I found were all good size schoolies, and they were on very tiny bait and lots of it.  The bait looked like mini peanut bunker about half an inch long. Schoolies were breaking all over the place for this bait. There were times when individual fish were busting here and there.  There were also times when schools of 50 to 100 fish were breaking after bigger pods of bait. While I found big numbers of fish, the common theme today was that these fish were super fussy.
The first day I fished I caught nothing.  I tried everything in my bag. The usual bucktail jigs, Cochahoes, small swimmers and Jumpin Minnows. Nothing worked. I wished I has some small metal, but that was all at home in my "albie bag".
This is one of several hefty schoolies
landed on the float and fly today.
The second day I fished I went back to the same location with the bag of metal. Loaded again with breaking fish.  This time I went through all the usual stuff and even the metal. No takers. Then I remembered I had a few float and fly rigs in my bag.  That is a killer for fussy albies so why not stripers. After a few casts, I threw the rig into a mass of breaking fish and got one to take. It was a decent schoolie of about 24 inches.  I made a lot more casts into pods of breaking fish and came away with two more schoolies.  Yup, not exactly killing it, but it did work with limited success, more than I can say for the day before.
When I got home, I found my Fisherman magazine in the mail.  In it I had a story called "Peanut Bunker Explosion." It talks about fishing for stripers and blues in the early going when the first masses of peanut bunker arrive in early August and how the fish can be very fussy due to warm water and small bait. Well, I was living that story the last two days. 
Nothing in fishing is a sure bet. I would like to think I "cracked the code" on catching these fussy fish, but I also know that if I hit this spot tomorrow it could all be a totally different ballgame.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Photo of the Day.....On the Left Hook

A keeper bass comes ashore with my Left Hook Pencil Popper in its jaw.
This pencil is quickly becoming my favorite popper for good reason!
The fish was unhooked and released in good shape.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

A Preview of What's to Come?

The last three weeks have been horrible fishing-wise for me. I've been getting very few fish along the RI shoreline and that unmentionable spot north of here has been a bust so far for just about everyone. In addition, I have seen very little bait near shore.  I know the boat guys who fish Block Island are doing well, but that's a mighty long cast from shore.
This striper was feeding close to shore on small peanut bunker.
The peanuts will light up the fishing from shore in the coming
Last night I ran into a bit of an uptick in activity for the first time in a long time.  In a RI spot I fished, I was greeted by schools of small peanut bunker for the first time this year.  That bait will eventually light up our inshore fishing regardless of the water temperatures. For the first time in a long time, I saw individual fish as well as small groups of bluefish breaking.  Though they were mostly way out and very fussy, I did manage to get one small one. Near dark some stripers started breaking also.  These were fussy schoolies, but I did get a couple of them to hit a small jig. It was activity that I have not seen in weeks and a preview of what to expect in the coming weeks.
In the last two years, the surf fishing for stripers and blues has exploded in August due to the arrival of vast schools of peanut bunker. We are heading in that direction again this year based on what I saw last night. It's a matter of time.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Curse of the Weed

I fished the RI oceanfront last evening.  It was my first time back there in weeks since I have been fishing both the Bay and the unmentionable spot north of here. I knew I had the right conditions....a kicked up surf, wind and white water. In addition, I knew storms at this time of year seem to light up the fishing.
Upon arriving at my spot, I looked out to see a sea of white turbulent, moving water. It was all set up by a big surf and an onshore wind. Perfect conditions in the surf! I figured I could not miss.  But, after my first cast, my optimism changed to doubt.  As I started to reel in my egg and jig, I knew I had weed  clinging to the jig.  It was that clinging red weed that easily fouls an artificial and it was everywhere. After every cast I was picking off weed.  I change plugs to a surface lure but that wasn't much better.
Finally,  after casting and picking off weed for an hour, I nailed a schoolie on the float and jig.  I got the fish immediately after my lure hit the water.  The lure just didn't have time to pick up any weed and the fish hit it. Unfortunately, it would be the only fish of the evening.
It was great water and should have been great fishing, but the curse of the weed struck again.

Friday, July 3, 2020

Holiday Outlook: Slow Striper Fishing from Shore

Here's a 35 inch striper I landed in the last week.
There are fish around, but you'll have to work
for them especially if you are fishing from shore.
I'm in the slowest period of striper fishing this year. In the last week I spent a lot of time in that unmentionable spot to the north of us.  In four days of fishing, I had one decent day where I had a couple of keepers and some hefty schoolies.  But, that was it. My son Jon had one good daybreak morning in which he landed two fish over 40 inches and several more smaller ones. When Red Top Bait and Tackle is reporting slow fishing, you just know things are really slow and way off compared to recent years.  But, I know things can change in the blink of an eye in this location.
I've also been hitting the Bay on and off.  I'm still catching a few small schoolies here and there, and others are reporting bluefish, but the quality stripers are now scarce from shore due to warming waters and lack of bait.
Along the oceanfront, it's become a late night game for a striper here and there from shore.  Those who have boats have an easier time of it.  It's that time of year in which boaters fare far better than shore fishermen because they can fish deeper and cooler water as well as Block Island.
I know other fishermen who are targeting bottom fish.  Fish like scup, black sea bass and fluke are yet another good option at this time of year. Once again, boaters are at a big advantage.
While the striper fishing has been slow for me, I am on a roll in freshwater.  Many of you know I fish a lot for carp and I am in a period of the best fishing of the year for them. This morning I was out and landed 12 of them.  In the last two week's I've landed big numbers of fish from 8 to 25 lbs.
So, there are fish out there for holiday weekend fishermen. Good luck if you get out fishing.