Monday, September 15, 2014

Albie Madness

The Kastmaster XL landed
a few fish but the float and fly
far outfished metal.
The wooden egg float/fly rig was the
hot ticket for albies and accounted
for over 50 fish in one day.  The fly
is a homemade blue Deceiver.
We had the best day of albie fishing we have ever experienced this weekend in the boat. My brother and I fished a number of places along the RI oceanfront in at least a ten mile stretch and found albies all over the place going nuts on bay anchovies.  They just seemed to be everywhere and in astounding numbers. I don't think I have ever seen this many fish in such a wide area.  Yes, record numbers! The score for our best day ended up with us landing between 50 and 60 fish, phenomenal numbers for false albacore fishing.
Without question the best producer was a wooden float with a Deceiver fly. The fly was a homemade chartreuse bodied Deceiver that had blue hackles for a tail.  Our float/fly rig was outfishing most of the other boaters around us who were mostly using metal.  We did also land a few fish on Kastmaster XL's reeled quickly along the surface. The float/fly combo was also fished with a very fast retrieve.  If we threw it into breaking fish, a hit was almost a guarantee.
The albie fishing has attracted a ton of boaters to the oceanfront as the word is out and albie madness has set in.  There are also lots of fishermen along the shoreline looking as well as catching in certain spots.  Boaters, though, have a big advantage when it comes to finding these fish and staying with the breaking schools.
Some of the best albie fishing ever is going on right now along the RI oceanfront.

Friday, September 12, 2014

NEWSFLASH.....ALBIES Hit the RI Oceanfront BIG TIME!

They are here, big time. False albacore, known as albies, hit the RI oceanfront in masses in the last two days.  They are in a wide stretch of the oceanfront from Narragansett all the way to the far south shore beaches.  For all I know they could even be off Jamestown and Newport.
I got down to the oceanfront today from shore and saw albies breaking all over the place in all the places I fished. In one spot, I must have seen about 60 fish caught by an army of fly casters and spin fishermen casting almost shoulder to shoulder that resembled a picket fence.  In addition, I also saw an armada of boats slamming them right in front of me just out of casting range. In all of this there were constant pods of albies tearing through small schools of bay anchovies in a surface display that was simply awesone.  
So, it's happening and that is great news for RI fishermen.  In the absence of any stormy weather the hot action should continue right through September and into early October.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Needlefish a Hot plug Right Now

My hottest plug of the last two weeks has been a homemade needlefish plug.  I've gotten out about 7 or 8 times in the last couple of weeks and have gotten fish every time out.  I'm not catching a ton of fish but I have gotten one to five stripers on every outing.  My best plug in this period of time has been a white, homemade needlefish plug that measures 5 inches long.
This plug has been a hot
producer in the last two weeks.
It is a homemade needlefish
plug that measure 5 in. long.
The needlefish plug is one that is not used by many fishermen.  I don't know why.  I favor this topwater plug over a popper because it has more enticing moves that cause the stripers to hit it.  Here's how I work this plug.  I tend to keep it on or near the surface with a fast retrieve.  While retrieving, I am pumping the rod tip with short pulls much like you would work a pencil popper.  This causes the needlefish to dip up and down as well as wiggle back and forth.  This movement is especially effective when fished in white, rough water.
Most tackle shops tend to stock needlefish plugs in large sizes.  You'll have to look around to find the smaller versions that I think are more effective when small bait is around.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Albies Around, but No Numbers

I can tell you with certainty that some albies, false albacore,  have been caught by shore fishermen.  Last weekend there was a short spurt of activity and some were taken by shore fishermen I know.  Since then there has been little around although I am almost sure I saw several break way out in front of me on Thursday. I could not reach them from shore.
While there are some of these sought after fish, the numbers are not there, and your chances of catching one in RI waters are quite slim right now.  In order to get a lot of them to stay in our waters, we would need a lot of bait and the bait is lacking right now.  The bait has come and gone in the last month and right now it is gone.  I fished the oceanfront and really scouted around on Thursday and Friday and could not find a stitch of bait anywhere within a five to seven mile stretch of the oceanfront.  I was looking for albies by day and found nothing.  In the evening and night my attention turned to finding stripers.  I did find a few but they were all schoolies.  Don't expect to get many stripers either if you don't have a lot of bait.
It's still early in September for big numbers of albies. Mid to late September has been the peak period in other years.  Hopefully, more fish are on the way.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Less People, More Fish

This small, homemade needlefish
plug has been a hot catcher in the
Thank God Labor day has come and gone.  With it the weekday crowds have departed and fishermen have the oceanfront to themselves. You can now scout around, park, and even fish in your favorite spots without worrying about hooking a swimmer.
And, there has been an uptick in activity.  I got out the last two days, and I fished in  the evening into the night.  I landed a total of seven stripers with nothing (birds, fish, or bait) showing.  The needlefish was a hot ticket in the daylight and the Daiwa SP minnow was the hot number after dark. All of the fish I landed were hefty schoolies in the 20-24 inch range.  In addition, I lost a good size fish that was either a big blue (yes, they have been around) or a keeper bass.
There seems to be a lack of bait along the oceanfront in the places I fished.  Unlike my last post from the Bay, I saw no bait or diving birds in  the last two days along the oceanfront.  But, the fish I landed were fat and aggressive, so they must be eating.  I'm guessing if we get a shot of bait, all hell will break loose.  If not, there are enough fish around that you can pick away at them by spot hopping and catching a fish here and there.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Bay Loaded with Bait; No Stripers

There are lots of small blues
in the Bay.  Most are under a foot long.
I went out today in the Bay in my brother's boat.  Everywhere we went there was bait.  I saw thousands of terns diving in a wide swath of the Bay that went on for miles and miles.  In many places the water resembled dark patches that were thick with small bait on the surface. In other places the fish finder lit up the entire water column with bait.  It looked like massive schools of bay anchovies to me.
Scup were also abundant as they were
under the schools of small bait.
Yes, there were some fish around.  We caught many small bluefish under a foot long.  They were chasing and feeding on the bait.  And, in many places under the bait there were good numbers of large scup. We caught several dozen of them while vertical jigging Kastmaster XL's.  However, no stripers.
We've got the bait, but I'm guessing the warm water in the Bay is keeping the stripers away.  In most of the places where we ventured in the mid and upper Bay the surface water temperatures ran from 75 to 77 degrees, way too warm for most fish.  But, things are looking up.  We just might get a run  of stripers in the Bay this fall once the water cools.  I also think we will see fireworks along the oceanfront later in fall when all that bait in the Bay hits the oceanfront as it migrates southward.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

More and More Striper Guys Turning to Freshwater Carp

There is no question that the number of shore fishermen who are targeting stripers is dwindling at a rapid pace.  The last four outings I fished I barely met another fisherman. Shore fishing is poor for stripers right now, particularly keeper bass here in RI.  Many striper guys have adapted by going after the more abundant, but smaller bottom fish like scup and black sea bass.  However, many of the fishermen who looking to catch big fish are turning to freshwater carp fishing.
This large mirror carp, just shy of 30 lbs., was landed
recently.  Many saltwater striper fishermen are turning
to freshwater  carping until the saltwater fishing improves.
Carp are one of the most interesting fish I have ever targeted. They are a great fighting fish, they hit in all types of weather and they are abundant in many places in southern New England.  The gear, rigging and techniques used to catch them are very non-traditional.  Oh, I know you can get occasional fish on a doughball wrapped around a hook, but those sharpies who consistently catch and consistently catch big ones are using Euro techniques, hair rigging and non-traditional baits. There are carp fishermen in NE who consistently catch hundreds of them a year over 20 lbs.  Thirty and even forty pounders are taken every year.
We have some world class carp fishing right here in this area.  Rivers like the CT River in MA and CT, the Merrimack River in MA and even the Blackstone River in RI are nationally known carp locations that give up some monster fish. The area is also loaded with ponds and lakes that support common and mirror carp.
While thinking about this post I got an interesting call today from Pat Abate of Rivers End Tackle in Old Saybrook, CT.  I know Pat from striper fishing, but his call focused on carp gear.  He, like other tackle dealers in NE, is stocking carp gear as the popularity of this fish is greatly increasing and fishermen are looking for tackle, rigs and bait that they can purchase locally.
For more information on carp fishing, visit my blog at You might also want to check out the Forum at The Carp Anglers Group is the largest carp organization in the US and has active chapters in RI, CT and MA.