Sunday, May 24, 2015

Similarities to Last Year Developing

It's been a better spring than last year for
schoolies.  
Well, it's a different year, but already we are starting to see some similarities to last year developing. I've had two lousy outings my last two times out from shore with only one bluefish to show for my efforts.  Already there are rumblings among many fishermen complaining that the abundant schoolies of early May seem to have moved on. This same type of thing happened last year and the year before and the year before, etc. So, here's a quick summary of what I have seen thus far and how it compares to last year (only a fair to poor year according to most):
* There were real good numbers of schoolies around in late April until recently.  I like the fact that there were all sizes from small ones to near keepers.  That bodes well for the future. This spring was BETTER than last year.
*Already fishermen are complaining about the lack of keepers. Some of the boaters fishing menhaden seem to be scoring, but I have to agree there should be more of them from the shore. Of course, this is why we've dropped down to one fish a day.  This was a problem last year and this year so far it is about the SAME.
*There is little or no small bait to hold the schoolies along our shores. That is why they migrate and then just keep moving to other places where there is food.  I've seen a good amount of adult menhaden but very little small bait.  In other years we have not seen the abundant small bait until fall when the schoolies seem to reappear. About the SAME as last year.
*Bluefish numbers are abysmal.  There are a few here and there, but no numbers close to shore.. Maybe it's too cold; maybe they are in more trouble than the stripers. No one seems to care about the blues. This is about the SAME as last year.
* The number of fishermen from shore is down, way down.  All this negative press about the decline of the stripers have caused a lot of fishermen to give it up or cut back.  But, this same thing happened last year also.  About the SAME.
So, you can draw your own conclusions about where we are headed this year. Meanwhile, I plan to just keep on fishing and hope for the best.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Loads of Small Ones and a BIG Surprise

First blue of the year, a fish of about
3 lbs.
There was a glut of small schoolies
around today. Most went 8-14 inches.
I had to go down to the oceanfront today to move my son Jon back home from his apartment in 'Gansett.  So, I decided to kill two birds with one stone by fishing as well as doing the move.  We fished in the middle of the day along the oceanfront and found big numbers of schoolies.  These were real small fish as they ran 8-14 inches on average.  This was the first time I have seen fish this small, but it is a good sign for the future of the fishery.  Jon reports that there have been big numbers of small ones in the last few days along various spots along the south shore oceanfront.
I, did, however get two unexpected surprises.  The first was my first bluefish of the year that I landed on a bucktail jig.  The second, and this is hard to believe, was that I landed an Atlantic salmon on a shrimp fly teaser. At first I thought it could be a squeteague but it didn't have the right fins or mouth to be a weakfish.  The salmon was about 14 inches, the size of many of the stripers it was hanging with. Check out the photo below.


Here is the surprise of the spring, an Atlantic salmon that was caught
on a shrimp fly teaser!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Stripers, Hickory Shad and Now, BLUEFISH!

Our terrific spring fishing of 2015 has suddenly gotten ever better.  My son, Jon, has been fishing big time along the oceanfront in the past week.  He has landed big numbers of stripers up to near keeper size, lots of hickory shad and even landed the first bluefish of the year (that I have heard about) today. He is fishing multiple locations.  He is having all this success while using small swimmers (4-inch Rapala X-Rap) along with shrimp fly teasers. The small swimmers have far outfished jigs and plastics in the last week along the oceanfront.
I have focused my attention on the Bay in the last two weeks.  I am still getting good numbers of stripers up to keeper size. The fish are hitting in the daytime as well as after dark. Most of my fish are falling for small skinny plastic fished off a float.  I would predict that by the weekend we will see some bluefish in the Bay.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Exceptionally Good

There are lots of them and they are hitting a
variety of lures.  They are spread out all over
the state along the oceanfront and the Bay.
Man, the fishing is good.  I'd say it is about the best spring fishing for stripers that I have seen in years. And, the fish seem to be all over the place.  In the last two days, I have landed 33 stripers that ranged from 14 inches to 30 inches.  There were several keepers or near keepers in the mix.  While I was having success in the upper Bay, my son, Jon, was slamming the fish at the oceanfront.  He had over 30 stripers along with 8 hickory shad his last two outings.  While we were both catching fish from shore, my brother Steve was killing them from the boat in the Bay, grabbing over 30 fish yesterday up to keeper size.
And, the fish are active.  Lots of different lures seem to be working. Yesterday, I was standing in a spot just watching fish break here and there all around me.  I don't know what they were feeding on, but they were hitting my small Slug-Gos fished off a float.  I was also getting some on a Zoom fluke threaded onto a half ounce jighead.  My son Jon was catching most of his fish at the oceanfront on small swimmers and shrimp fly teasers.  My brother Steve was scoring on small poppers. So, a lot of variety seems to be working.  That's what happens when the fish are plentiful and active.
As long as this weather remains cool and water temperatures remain cool (below 70 degrees), the fishing should continue to be exceptionally good.  It's been a great first month so far.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Very Effective Trick

The float and 6 inch Slug-Go is
very effective on fussy fish.
This lure combo led to big numbers
of stripers tonight up to keeper size.
Here's a neat lure trick I used tonight to catch big numbers of stripers up to keeper size in the Bay. I was fishing a spot from shore in which the fish were there as some were breaking and others occasionally hitting the jig I started off with.  But, my offerings were just not real effective on these fussy fish.
So, I snapped on a killer artificial I use when the fish get this way.  I was using a homemade wooden egg float with a small, 6 inch Slug-Go.  The skinny plastic was tied to about 2 1/2 feet of 30 lb. test mono which was tied to the float. To fish this artificial combo, reel in slowly while twitching the rod tip.  Occasionally, stop the retrieve for a few seconds.  This lure combo is deadly when fishing rough water and a wind in your face. The float allows a long cast while fishing a small and lightweight artificial (the Slug-Go) which can't be cast on its own. That 6 inch Slug-Go is a good size to use for fussy fish which I had in front of me tonight.


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Pic of the Day......."Getting Bigger"

Steve Pickering holds a real good size fish that was taken from the  boat in the Bay.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Biggest Night of the Year; First KEEPER

First keeper of the year hit a white Slug-Go.
I landed several fish on
a Red Gill teaser that was
fished ahead of the Slug-Go.
Wow, the fishing is hot, about as good as it gets at this time of year.  Tonight I had my best outing of 2015 from shore as I landed over 30 fish in a short amount of time while fishing the Bay.  Most of the fish were hefty schoolies in the 20-26 inch range.  I even landed my first keeper of the new year, a fish of about 30 inches.  The white Slug-Go that I talked about in my last post was the killer tonight.  I also got a number of fish on a white Red Gill teaser fished ahead of the Slug-Go.
The fish are all over the state right now.  While I was fishing the Bay from shore tonight, my son Jon texted me that he was getting good numbers of fish along the oceanfront.  My brother Steve went out in the boat this morning and he caught good numbers of fish. All three of us were fishing completely different locations.
So far I have to say that while we had a late start to the fishing, it has become about as good as it gets in the springtime here in RI. No question, banner fishing right now!