Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Winter Holdover Fishing off to a Disappointing Start

This is one of two schoolies landed this evening
in some ideal conditions for winter fishing.
Holdover numbers are disappointing thus far.
It should come as no surprise when I say that the number of holdover stripers seem to be way down in numbers. The numbers of fall fish were down also.  Less fish in the fall, mean less fish around to hold over. This seems to be widespread here in RI.  While I am fishing the far reaches of Gansett Bay for holdover fish, I know of others who are fishing holdover locations along the backwaters of the oceanfront and they, too, are reporting less fish and disappointing results.
In past years, the beginning of winter fishing which occurs from late November until late December has been the best time period of the winter season.  So far this year the fishing has been very inconsistent with less fish.  There has been a good amount of bait around but that has not lured big numbers of stripers to these holdover locations. This is just another example that shows that the numbers of stripers are way down compared to past years.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Inconsistent Winter Fishing

This fish was taken this week on one of the
good days.  Winter holdover striper fishing
is generally inconsistent.
I'm in my winter fishing mode targeting areas far from the oceanfront in search of holdover stripers.  I got out five times in the last week.  One day was terrific, one day was good and the other three days were blanks.  Welcome to winter fishing. Weather makes little difference.  The terrific day happened in the rain; one of the blanks happened in the rain. One cold day was good; another cold day delivered a blank. The fish are either there or not.  Or, they also might be around but have little interest in hitting. This is typical winter fishing where inconsistency rules the game.
From now till March winter holdover fish will exist in numerous rivers and backwaters along Gansett Bay as well as along the oceanfront.  Only a few diehards will take advantage of this fishery.  It is just not a popular thing to do here in RI regardless of how good the fishing is.
I do find winter fishing to be a challenge and an adventure.  There's just something unique and exciting about going out on a sub freezing December or January night in the hopes of catching stripers.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

In a Transition Period

This schoolie was caught today in
one of my winter fishing locations.
There are also still fish around the
 south shore beachfront.
We're in  that funky period of time in the year if you are still looking for stripers.  Some fish are still moving along the oceanfront.  Some fish have settled into those wintering over spots.  Some bait is also moving along the oceanfront.  Some bait has stripers under them; some schools of bait have no stripers around them.  The weather is warm; the weather is cold.
I've heard from some of my friends that there were good numbers of schoolies along the far south beaches this weekend if you were in the right spot at the right time.  My son Ben found big numbers of herring right up against the shore getting attacked by gannets in another location but there were no stripers after them. And, I have settled into my winter striper spots, and I have been getting decent numbers of fish.
Yes, we are in a major transition period that I think will go on for another week or two. Flip a coin, pick a spot and hope you find some fish.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Plummeting Water Temps Spell Trouble

The recent cold spell has dropped the surface water temperatures big time.  Last week temps were running in the low to mid fifties.  Today I checked a NOAA site,
Dropping water temperatures and rough water have made
scenes like this a memory in the past.  It has been a tough
last couple of days with little to report.
and the water temperature along the ocean (Newport) was 48 degrees.  Parts of the Bay were 46 to 48 degrees. Those are big drops, certainly enough to send the fish packing. In addition, the oceanfront has remained rough since Monday's big blow. My source along there reports little fishing activity, no bird activity and no fish that he knows of. 
Is it all done?  I just don't know.  There will be a recovery in temperatures next week.  Will it come too late?  I suspect there will still be a few fish coming through in the next week or so, but you will have to be there when it happens. The consistent fishing could be over.
Unless I hear of something along the oceanfront, my plans are to start searching the winter locations that I fish.  I'm guessing that will start up very soon if  it hasn't already.

Monday, November 17, 2014

As Wild as it Gets

A Cocahoe trailing off a float was the hot producer today
as stripers were on the rampage in some nasty weather.
I love fishing nasty weather and in the past stormy weather has led to some of my biggest days of striper fishing.  Today was another example of how nasty weather just turns on the fishing.
I fished a beach along the south shore that was devoid of fishermen but had loads of fish, bait and birds diving.  My day started off this morning as I walked into this spot in which flocks of gannets were divebombing, seagulls were hitting the water and cormorants were constantly diving. Yes, the bait (peanut bunker) was around big time and stripers were under it, breaking along the beach.  I looked like a nut running up and down the beach casting to fish that were constantly moving.  It was a wild scene.  This went on just about all day.
The fish were active and hitting.  A Cocahoe trailing off a float was the top producer although my friend Gene was getting some fish on poppers. By the end of the day I had my biggest day in over a month with dozens of schoolies landed. I got no keepers.
In late afternoon, there was a sudden wind shift and a surf build up that went from a few feet to six to eight foot waves in a matter of less than an hour.  That dramatic change in conditions ended the fishing as the birds disappeared and the bait and stripers departed.