Sunday, April 12, 2015

What's in the April Surfbag?

I know we are getting close to the start of a new striper season when I start packing my surfbag.  Some time within the next two weeks you will hear about migrating stripers being caught along the south shore or even in Narragansett Bay. While everything is late this year due to the brutal winter we had, I am guessing stripers will be arriving between April 20-25, maybe even a bit later if the weather is cool and earlier if we get a big warm-up.
So, what's in the surfbag for April fishing.  My bag reflects a heavy emphasis on jigs.  Early fish are all schoolies and they tend to grub along the bottom.  Jigs are the hottest lures in April, though I do carry a few plugs with me.  I might get a schoolie to come up and hit a popper in the early going in a warm water spot in the Bay. When I say jigs I mean bucktail jigs or plastic bodies (Cocahoes and Zoom flukes threaded onto jigheads.
Here's what's in my bag for April fishing:
1. Small plugs- a few poppers  in the 3-4 inch range and some small swimmers.
2. Plastic box loaded with jigheads (1/4-1 oz.) and an assortment of  bucktail jigs in the same sizes.
3. Bags of plastic- 3 and 4 inch white grub tails, bags of Zoom flukes in light color for Gansett Bay, bags of 3 and 4 inch Cochahoe minnows for oceanfront.
4. Leader wallet to hold leaders and teaser rigs (shrimp flies used as teasers)
5. Wooden egg floats to use with jig and float rigs.
6. Tools- Scissors to cut braid, pliers.
7. Extra swivels and snaps in a small container.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Newsflash....RI DEM Rules "One 28 inch striper a day for 2015 for recreational fishermen"

The roller coaster regarding striper regulations for 2015 has just taken another turn.  The RI Marine Fisheries Council, an advisory board to the DEM, submitted a reduction plan last month that called for one fish a day (28 in.) for recreational fishermen and 2 fish (32 in.) a day for "for hire" charter boats. Today, the DEM director, who had the final say, ruled one 28 fish a day for all recreational fishermen for 2015. From what I am hearing, two things swayed the final verdict.  The recreational fishing community, which wanted a fish a day, 28 inch limit, mounted a huge letter writing campaign and e-mail writing campaign directed toward Janet Coit, DEM Director, and newly elected Gov. Raimondo.  Secondly, all the states around us already opted for the one fish a day at 28 inches. So, starting this spring it will be one striper a day (28 in. ) for everyone (except commercial fishermen whose catches will be reduced by 25 %).
Here is a further link from the Providence Journal.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Will it Ever Get Started?

A lot of saltwater fishermen are itching to get out fishing after this brutal winter. While migrating fish have hit the oceanfront in late March in past warm years, don't expect that to happen this year.  There is still ice and ice flows along much of the coastal ponds and rivers from Narragansett Bay to the oceanfront. And, we can measure the snow in many feet that still has to melt inland which will send cold water gushing into the rivers and bays. Right now, NOAA is reporting a uniform water temperature of 35 degrees and that goes from Providence to Newport.
It will be a late start. If you took the average start along the oceanfront from the last 25 or 30 years, you would find that fishing usually begins about the second or third week in April.  But, everything is behind this year and the cold is not retreating. So, I'm guessing we won't see those first ones until the third or even fourth weeks of April.  Yes, it will get started eventually, but you'll just have to wait a while.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Mike's Custom Plugs

You want to see some saltwater plugs that will leave you staring in awe.  Take a look at this website: Mike's Custom Plugs.

There is an interesting story here behind the scenes.  Mike, who makes these jewels, is an avid follower of mine.  In fact, Mike tells me that years ago he read some of the stories I wrote for the magazines about plug making, and that led him to begin making plugs. I got a chance to see many of his creations recently at the Springfield Sportsmen's Show.  He makes dozens of different models of plugs with loads of custom coloring.  The finish on his plugs is the very best I have ever seen and the detail that includes glass eyes and scale patterns is stunning.  I asked if he sells his plugs and indeed he does (from the website above).
So, do these plugs work?  If you look at the photo gallery on Mike's website, you will be amazed at all the big stripers and bluefish that were taken on these plugs.  This is a real testament to the effectiveness of these beautiful handcrafted lures.

This is one example of Mike's Custom Plugs.  It is called the "Baby Beast".
It is a two ounce darter.  The detail and finish are beautiful.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Enjoying This!

My son Matt and I are at the top
of Wachusett Mountain after a
major snowstorm.  Even with
temps in the teens, it was a great
day of skiing.
It's been a striper-less winter so far for me. There seems to be few or no fish in the upper Bay spots where I have caught tons of stripers in previous years.  In addition, the snow and ice have made it near impossible to park, walk around or even fish.
So, I've been living on the ski slopes. I've been skiing since I was a kid, and I feel as comfortable zipping down a steep ski slope as I feel walking around a park.  I spend my weekends teaching skiing at Yawgoo Valley, RI, and ski during the week at Wachusett Mountain, MA.  With over nine feet of snow in the last month and the totals piling up by the week at Wachusett, the skiing has been great.  I've been hitting the slopes 4 or 5 times a week and enjoying it immensely.  There's something about a ski area that makes people happy. You meet a lot of pleasant people on the chair and on the slopes.  The air is crisp, the scenery is breathtaking and the runs down the expert slopes are exhilarating . Who wouldn't enjoy those things?  It's similar to fishing a scenic surf spot on a beautiful day with the place all to yourself  and loaded with fish.
So, I'm looking forward to doing this for at least another month or two.  After that I'll retire the skis and break out the fishing gear. The beauty of living in New England is that it never gets dull if you are an outdoors man.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Next Seminar....Springfield Sportsmens Show

My final seminar at the big winter shows will be next Saturday, Feb. 21, at the Big E in Springfield, MA. My latest seminar is called "Shore Tactics for Stripers".  The Springfield Sportsmen's Show is a massive outdoor show dedicated to fishing, hunting and outdoor activities.  You would be amazed at how many saltwater fishermen are in this area. As of right now, the seminar schedule is not set so check the website this week at Springfield Sportsmen's Show for updates.
I have been getting many e-mails and questions about whether I will be doing seminars at the NE Saltwater Fishing Show in Providence at the end of the month. The answer is no. I was not contacted to do seminars there.  Their seminar schedule is packed with boating/fishing seminars presented by charter boat captains with a few shore fishing seminars presented by well known out -of -staters. I know many RI saltwater fishermen love this show and look forward to it. I wish RISAA good luck and good weather with this venture.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Making Plugs, Jigs, Teasers, Flies

I never seem to have enough bucktail
jigs.  They are my best fall lure for
I've been busy as a beaver in my basement making plugs and other artificials for the upcoming season.  In the winter I generally make what I think is going to hot in the next year based on my success in the previous season.  So, here is a list of what I  have been working on:
1. Plugs- My hottest wooden plug last year was a white needlefish.  That homemade 5 inch plug was very good in late summer and fall for stripers.  I've made a bunch of them in the last week and hopefully they will prove to be hot again this year.
2. Bucktail Jigs- They are always good along the oceanfront.  I've made a number of different models for the upcoming season with the flathead, spearhead and minnow head being my top producers.  Most of them I make are between a half and 1 ounce.  I make them in an all white color and use red thread for the most part.
These homemade white needlefish
plugs have just been painted.
They were my hottest wooden plugs
last fall.
3. Teasers- Shrimp fly teasers have been hot in the spring and fall and I have replenished my supply.
4. Blue Deceiver Flies for Albies-  These were also hot last fall.  I've made a couple of dozen of these as I anticipate albies will be the highlight of the upcoming season.
If you are looking for more detailed info on making any of the above artificials, do a search of the site. Past posts were devoted to all these topics.