Friday, July 31, 2015

September Fishing Arrives Early; Stripers Around in Good Numbers

I landed this 30 inch keeper tonight.
Many keepers along with schoolies
and bluefish have been landed from
shore in the last week along the
oceanfront.
In most years, September marks the start of very good fishing from shore here in RI.  Here it is mid summer and the fishing along the oceanfront has suddenly turned very good, about as good as it gets in September.  In fact, many are saying this is about as good as it gets in the summertime.
All this good fishing is being fueled by massive schools of tiny bay anchovies that are moving northward along our oceanfront shores. Normally that happens in September, but it is going on right now. Stripers, blues and black sea bass are in pursuit and feeding.
I was out this evening and I found the bait.  Problem was that small bait was being attacked by some very fussy, but good sized stripers. Just before dark, I  had a breaking fish to cast to just about every cast.  I finally got one to hit a white Slug-Go but missed it.  A few minutes later, I hooked a good size one that I eventually got to shore.  The fish went 30 inches, a nice summer catch.
I spoke to many other fishermen today.  One guy told of a blitz of fish he was into yesterday.  He reports many stripers up to 35 inches were caught along with some big blues.  Another guy told me he landed 50 stripers in the last three days with many keepers in the mix.  My brother called this morning to report he was catching good numbers of schoolies and black sea bass from his boat.
So, things are looking real good right now for shore fishermen. It's September fishing in mid summer.
 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Find the Bait and You'll Likely Find Fish

It's late July, but we are suddenly in an early September pattern of fishing.  There are big schools of bait, various kinds, moving along the oceanfront.  It is attracting schools of stripers, blues, black sea bass and fluke.  The problem is that the bait is not always around.  In the last two weeks it has come and gone.  But, when you find it, you will likely find fish.
Several evenings ago, I found big numbers of schools of small bay anchovies along a south shore beach.  Schools of small bluefish were on this bait.  The next night my son, Jon, went down to a different spot.  As he got to the water's edge, he was greeted by a massive school of stripers that were feeding on small bait.  According to him, the huge school of fish was feeding on the surface way out but would occasionally come close into casting range.  He landed numerous schoolies that were in the 15-20 inch range on a float and Cocahoe.  I went to the same spot yesterday evening.  There was no bait, no fish. Even though I casted away at a good spot, I was not able to get a hit.  You won't find many loners at this time of year. The fish are on the bait, period.
This thing has been happening for the last two weeks according to many regulars I know who have been fishing the oceanfront surf. Some of these guys have walked into spots to find bait and stripers all over the place.  But, these fish tend to come and go with lots of fish around one minute, gone the next. The best times to fish seem to be early morning and evening. The bait these guys are reporting range from bay anchovies to peanut bunker to silversides to small butterfish.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Tons of Small Bait, Blues Invade South Shore

Tons of small bait has attracted good numbers of small
bluefish to the south shore oceanfront.  The Kastmaster XL
was the hot producer tonight.
Suddenly, things are looking up, especially if you are a fan of bluefish.  Earlier than expected, a ton of small bait, bay anchovies I assume, has invaded the south shore.  I saw it yesterday moving along the shoreline like a continuous black winding road.  It was also way out as terns were in a vast area diving here and there for the bait.  This bait was tiny, probably about a half inch long.
The sudden influx of bait has attracted schools of small bluefish.  I landed several on a Kastmaster XL and lost a bunch more.  The blues went up to about 3 lbs. Yes, small stuff, but, hey, it's action that I have not seen in weeks.  Unfortunately, I saw and caught no schoolies along the beach that I was fishing and that includes working it after dark.
The big amount of bait is welcome news.  If it sticks around, it might just set up an earlier than expected run of albies (late August, maybe).  It might also get an early striper run going once the water cools a bit. Things are looking up!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Lack of Bait + Fewer Fish = Slim Pickings

If you have been reading recent reports about RI fishing, you would think forty and fifty pound stripers would be jumping in your waders.  Realize these are "highlight fish".  Yes, a few of these fish are being taken by boaters fishing at Block Island for the most part. With hundreds of boats a day probing the Block's waters, some fish are bound to be caught. Fishing from shore is a different ballgame.
If shore fishing were a hospital patient, it would be on life support.  Not much is going on.  There is a noticeable lack of bait near shore.  Sure, there are some menhaden in the Bay, and pods of sandeels seem to be showing up way off shore.  But, close shore there is little or nothing. Don't expect the bait situation to change until at least mid August when bay anchovies start to move along the oceanfront.
No question, there are fewer fish around.  Most will agree that numbers are down.  That's why we can only keep one fish a day. From shore the shortage is magnified as shore fishing in the summer has been on a downhill slide here in RI for the last several years.
I was out last evening/night fishing a high percentage spot.  The water was rough, but clean.  Ideal conditions.  I slugged it out in multiple spots along a shoreline.  The results were just one lone schoolie about 20 inches that was caught on a white Slug-go after dark. It was odd that there was just one other person fishing this popular spot, and he got nothing.  It seems to me that shore fishermen are giving up striper fishing in droves in the summertime. I know a lot of shore fishermen and most have either given it up or cut back big time.  Most realize there is little to catch right now.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Going After the Best Bets

It's summertime here in RI, a poor time of the year to fish for striped bass from shore along the mainland oceanfront  I was looking for the best bet in daytime fishing, so my brother and I decided to head out to the south shore and fish the bottom from his boat. We were after the Big 3 of summer....fluke, black sea bass and scup.  We found a lot of black sea bass and fluke.
We landed about a dozen black sea bass with several keepers in the mix.  My brother was using a jig spiced with a squid strip while I was vertically jigging a Kastmaster XL. Both were working.
Fluke were tough to come by at first, and then we hit a real hotspot where we landed at least 50 of them in an hour.  Of those fifty we had several keepers in the 20+ inch range.  He got his fish on bucktail jigs spiced with squid strips, and I got my fish on bucktail jigs spiced with a plastic curly tail.
So, if you have a boat, the bottom fishing is very good right now along the oceanfront.  As for stripers and bluefish, we found none today.  We also saw no bait and no birds working.


The bottom fishing was good today for fluke and black sea bass.



Friday, July 3, 2015

RI Black Sea Bass Regs Beyond Ridiculous

The black sea bass are all over the place and really
abundant, Yet, RI regulations only allow recreational fishermen
 to keep one a day.  It makes no sense.
I suppose we can all now cheer since you can keep a black sea bass in RI waters.  But, hold on.  The regulations now state that you can keep a grand total of 1 fish a day.  Yup, ONE fish.  And, it has to be 14 inches.  I can tell you that black sea bass are the most plentiful gamefish we have in our RI waters right now. For several years now their numbers have swelled to really big levels to the point in which they have become pests in places.  Yet, you are allowed to keep ONE a day.  It does not make any sense to most fishermen.
Regulations are set by the DEM and our Marine Fisheries Council.  The way I understand it, they are given an allotment in weight by a higher goverment agency.  The RI DEM then sets the rules such as size and bag limits.  It was described to me that the science is way behind what is actually taking place in the ocean.  For instance, scientific studies that were done years ago and still used today might show a model of decline in the black sea bass population.  Yet, we all know that is not happening.  It often takes years and years before the science catches up with what is really going on. So, we get hit with strict regulations when there is really an abundance of fish.
So, I have a suggestion....ask the fishermen what is going on! Seems simple enough to me. If they did, you would find huge agreement that the black sea bass fishery is healthy, robust and overabundant.
In this case, allowing RI recreational fishermen to keep just ONE fish a day to eat is simply ridiculous.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

More Than One Way to Fish Skinny Plastic

Yesterday I went out in my brother's boat to fish Boston Harbor for stripers.  This is a place that has fascinated me for a long time, and a place I have been exploring this year.  The structure, currents and nooks and crannies here are phenomenal, and there always seems to be some moving water. We found a good number of schoolies in several locations. We also had a number of big fish follows. All of our fish were taken today casting skinny plastic, and fishing them in a variety of ways. Here are a few ways that are working:
1.  We landed several fish in the traditional way.  Rig either a curvy worm hook or swimbait hook (screw type device up front) to the head of the skinny plastic.  Cast and reel in slowly while twitching the rod tip.  Lately, the white or rainbow trout, 7 1/2 inch Slug-Gos have been hot (see photo at right).
2. Use a small skinny plastic body like a 6 inch Hogy.  Thread it onto a small jighead (1/2 oz. or less).  Cast and work it in like a jig with pumps of the rod tip.  We found a worm hatch going on yesterday and the white Hogy on a jighead worked well (see photo at left).
3.  Use a small skinny plastic body on a swimbait hook and attach this to a float that has about 3 feet or trailing mono.  This is a hot producer in rough water and wind in your face. Work it by reeling slowly and twitching the rod tip as you come in. It was a great producer in the spring for me.
Here are two effective ways to rig skinny plastic.  The top bait is hooked
with a curvy wide gap worm hook.  The bottom bait is rigged with a
swimbait hook.  Both ways produce well.