Success at the Shore, Disappointment on the Bay

My son, Chris, needed help moving back home from Narragansett on Monday. So, I figured I would get down to the oceanfront early and fish a bit in the daytime and move his stuff later. It was a good move.

I found decent numbers of keeper bass and landed three good fish from 30-37 inches thanks to my nine-inch, skinny pink Hogy. At first I was using a white Slug Go. I had a couple of whirls but no takers. When I put the pink Hogy on, BANG!, instant success with a thirty-inch fish. I got two more bigger fish to take it and had several more whirls and hits. In the past that pink Hogy has been a good producer in the daytime at this time of year, and it worked like a charm on Monday.

I believe the fishing was good because it was a lousy day weather-wise, with northeast winds, a constant drizzle and fog. The water was also rough. These were all decent conditions to score in the daytime. I’m almost certain that a sunny day would have produced nothing.

My success at the shore was especially noteworthy after a lackluster outing the previous day in the upper bay with my brother. I have NEVER seen so many menhaden (pogies). They were everywhere. In some many locations, there were individual fish flipping on the surface; in other spots they were bunched up in schools. This went on for miles. Yet, no big fish were after them. We snagged a number of them and livelined them in some high percentage spots (past years), and the only thing we came away with was two chopped pogies from bluefish bites.

So, where are the big fish? (I’m talking big stripers over 36 inches and large bluefish over ten pounds.) They are nowhere to be found. As far as big fish, the bay has been a big disappointment thus far with very few big ones around. With the loads of big bait around and the warming waters, we should have an abundance of large fish, but we don’t. Heck, there are not even many boat fishermen around, as the word has gotten out that the fishing for large fish is poor.

On the other hand, we do have good numbers of small keeper bass around. Most of these fish, 28-32 inches, are way in the backwaters of the bay in places like rivers and estuaries. In those places, they are feeding on small bait such as shrimp and small baitfish. These smaller keepers are not capable of taking large menhaden, and that’s why we are not seeing them under the schools of big bait.

So, unless things perk up very quickly — and I don’t think that will happen — it’s looking like a poor spring in the bay for big stripers and large bluefish.