Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Coming Attractions


Bucktail jigs can be hot producers
in the early going. Expect the action
to begin in about a month from now.

I'll be knee deep in snow tomorrow at the ski slopes so it's hard to get my mind on fishing.  But, I also know that things change fast around here at this time of year, and I am guessing that I will be catching migrating stripers a month from now.

Overall, this has been a warm winter, but I think it will have little effect on when the fish arrive. I have been keeping logs over the last 40 years, and it has taught me that regardless of how cold or warm the winters are or how cold or warm the water is, the fish arrive at just about the same time year after year regardless of the weather.

Start time: If I were to guess at a date in which the first good numbers of fish arrive along the RI south shore beachfront, I would guess APRIL 15 give or take a few days. Last year I landed my first migrating "bright" striper right on my target date of April 15. That evening I landed 3 schoolies on Cocahoe Minnows. In 2021, my first fish came on April 19.  In 2020, my first ones came on April 14. All of the early season stripers will likely be schoolies in the 12 to 20 inch range. Most of them will be caught on some type of jig with paddle tails and bucktail jigs being the top producers.

First Keepers (Slot fish)- Just about every year my logs reveal that I will get the first migrating keepers (slot fish0 before the close of April, roughly two weeks after I land those first ones.  Last year I landed my first 28 inch fish of the year on April 28 on a large bucktail jig. In recent years, my best early season big fish lures have been big bucks spiced with curly tails.

Onto the Bay in the kayak- the first week of May will bring good numbers of schoolies along with some slots into the Bay.  Last year my first outing in the kayak was on May 3, and I landed several fish in the Bay on weighted and unweighted flukes.  One of those fish was a 32 inch beauty.

Don't be fooled by holdover fish: Expect to read numerous reports of stripers being taken in the next few weeks "along the oceanfront".  These will most likely be holdover fish that exist in multiple locations in the backwaters along the oceanfront. Note that this has been a fair to poor year of holdover fishing.  I've landed some fish in December, January and February, but their numbers have been down compared to last winter.