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First big blue of the year for us comes from the Bay.
We had several keeper bass today plugging plastics on top in shallow water.
It was a day of firsts for us today. We took the boat out for the first time this year in the Bay where we found lots of fish. We found many, many schoolies, some keeper stripers and a lone big blue. There seemed to be loads of fish around today just sitting in shallow water in various locations. I'm talking water less than 8 feet deep. There were areas where we found keeper bass in the shallows and other areas where loads of schoolies were hanging out. And, that big blue....we caught him in about 4 feet of water. The fish in those shallow areas of the Bay were mighty fussy as they sometimes are at this time of year. We had loads of whirls and probably landed one fish for every ten hits. The only thing working was twitching a large Finesse Fish on the surface (rigged with just a hook). Even then, we would have many hits, whirls and follows without actual takes. The fish were numerous but just not aggressive. We also saw no bait. So, the Bay is heating up, and we are in a period of spring fishing here in RI in which the fishing is productive along the oceanfront as well as in the Bay. It's a toss-up as to which area is better right now.
I'm convinced. The Daiwa BG is one heck of a reel for about $100 bucks (depending on the size). After using it for the last month, I am sold on this reel. It will match up to anything that costs two, three or even four times as much. After reading a bunch of reviews that gave this reel a stellar rating, I had to get one. In addition, I saw them at one of the booths at a winter show. It was the booth from Red Top Bait and Tackle. This place does a big business in fishing stuff at the Canal and these guys told me this was, by far, their best selling reel. In addition, I read the great review that Alan Hawk gave this reel. You can find it here. This guy is well known for his extensive reel reviews, and he rates this reel as one of the best buys on the market. Most fishing online stores rate this a five out of five star rating and I would have to agree. I have the BG 4000. This reel is built like a tank, but it is super smooth on the retrieve. The drag is also smooth as silk. I love the line lay on the reel. Because it goes on so evenly, I can report not one wind knot in dozens of times using the reel with 30 lb. test braided line. I'm using this smaller saltwater reel with an 8 ft. Mojo St. Croix rod, a great combination for spring schoolies. So, if you are in the market for a new reel, think about this one. It is by far the best I have bought in a reel that costs around $100. Highly recommended!
We landed tons of fish tonight in this best outing of the spring thus far. This was one of the bigger ones.
The oceanfront was red hot this evening. It had perfect conditions with lots of white water, some roughness, a stiff wind and moving water. Those conditions brought a ton of fish to the beachfront where my son Ben and I were fishing. Together we had a load of fish, all taken on Cocahoe minnows fished off a 3/4 oz. jighead. At times it was a fish or a hit every single cast. These fish were all sizes tonight as we had some little ones up to one keeper fish that went 30 inches (yes, it was measured). The average schoolie seemed to be about 20 inches. I fished every evening in the past week in both the Bay and the oceanfront, and I can tell you the oceanfront fishing is far hotter and more consistent than the fishing in the Bay. That could change in the coming days and weeks, but so long as the water and the weather remain cool, the oceanfront should continue to really produce. The spring run of stripers is peaking right now with a good mix of schoolies and small keepers around. It's as good as it gets at this time of year.
Jon Pickering holds a decent one that was landed yesterday in some rough water along the oceanfront.
For the last two days I have been fishing the oceanfront. One look at the water yesterday told me the fishing would be good. The water was rough, clean and moving. These are ideal conditions in which to catch spring stripers. Today I had the same conditions. Both yesterday and today turned out to be banner days for me. Both days I landed over 20 stripers with many good size ones. All the action was on a Cocahoe minnow on a 3/4 oz. jighead.
Today's fish were smaller but feisty in the rough water. The Cocahoe Minnow landed all the fish.
Strange thing about the size of the fish. Yesterday I had a lot of good size ones with most running 20 to 28 inches. My son Jon (who fished with me yesterday) and I had several small keepers in the bunch. Today it was different fish as the fish were considerably smaller with most running 12 to 20 inches. Today's highlight was a tagged 20 inch fish from the American Littoral Society. So, fishing continues to be good along the oceanfront in the rough water. I'm guessing it will remain good as the temperatures stay around normal this week.
The Zoom fluke mounted on a small jighead and fished off a float was the hot lure combo today in the Bay.
I usually start fishing the Bay about a week after I start catching stripers along the oceanfront. It's been about a week since the action lit up along the oceanfront so today I focused my attention on the Bay, hitting a few of my early season spots. I did manage to catch a couple of schoolies on Zoom flukes fished off the float. So, I can report with certainty that there are some stripers in the Bay. I sense it is just starting as the first ones have begun to filter into the Bay. Expect the action in the coming days and weeks to pick up significantly as the Bay usually offers hot fishing from about this time into early summer.
Schoolie fishing was hot and heavy again tonight. All the fish were loaded with sea lice.
Many experienced fishermen will tell you that migrating stripers pick up this sea lice from the bottom way out in deep water. These orange/brown creatures that look a lot like tiny shrimp cling to the stripers' bodies as they migrate toward the shore. It's a phenomenon we see a lot with migrating stripers along the oceanfront in the springtime.
Sea lice covered all the schoolies that I landed tonight. It's an indication that these are all fresh, migrating fish.
Several weeks ago I was catching a lot of holdovers in the backwaters. Not one of them had sea lice on them, an idication that they were holdovers. Today's fish, all fresh migrating fish, were loaded with the lice.
This is one of 16 schoolies that I landed this evening. Suddenly, loads of fish have moved along the RI oceanfront.
Things have improved greatly along the oceanfront. The spring run of stripers is finally in full swing going from a trickle last week to a torrent of fish this week. I saw loads of them caught today in multiple spots. What impressed me was the size. I had two fish that were near keepers and loads of others that I would describe as good size schoolies in the 20-24 inch range. I saw about a hundred fish landed today in these size ranges. One guy told me he saw a 29 inch fish landed yesterday. And, get this. There were a couple of guys who had a Cocahoe cut in half tonight. Yes, I suspect there are some early blues in the mix. With super warm weather on the way, I predict I will see a blue or two taken in the next couple of days. So, it's finally here and with favorable weather coming, it looks like a big week of fishing is on the way along the RI oceanfront. IT HAS BEGUN!
Here is my first striper of the year from the RI oceanfront. There is a trickle of fish moving along the shore right now. If you are lucky, you might get a fish or two. Hopefully, the action will explode with the warm weather that is on the way.
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