|Larger stripers have moved into the bay along with adult bunker. Most of the bunker is concentrated in specific areas due to the high winds of last week. Easy to snag, bunker is the top choice of striper fishermen in the spring. Stripers have seasonal taste and nothing beats the oily taste of a menhaden right now to beef up their winter bodies.
Striper fishing has been up and downs lately with the colder weather in the upper bay. Finding the location is key. Most of the bass are in specific and limited areas. Thereís a slug of fish north of Fieldís Point and much slower activity around Popasquash Point. Smaller pods of stripers in the teens are starting to find structure and keying in on tidal changes. Thereís smaller bluefish in the bay around three pounds. Look for them to be on silversides and smaller offerings. Their numbers are on the increase. As of now, bluefish havenít been big problem for fishermen searching for stripers.
Wednesday morning we had Steve Balme and John OíMeara on board. The advanced weather report looked animus but bay conditions were fine. We had calm seas and overcast skies, as we rounded Warwick Light. We headed on a north bearing toward Conimicut Light. We fished around structure with the rising tide. No activity in sight whatsoever. The sonar machine looked like a blank sheet of white paper all morning. Heading south we finally located a slug of surface stripers that made the day. We didnít catch a lot of fish, but those we caught were quality. That saved the day. Steve and John have a wonderful friendship that has developed thru the years. The first attractant (I believe) was initially fly tying/fly fishing. Both have a terrific passion for tying flies. I really enjoy their enthusiasm. Steve was so excited this winter tying. He would e-mail his patterns and tying styles over the Internet. We would discuss his techniques and progress each week. Glad both of you enjoy the day.
Here is a visual memory of their trip.
John OíMeara admiring his bounty
The last two days of fishing bests illustrated how the 2008 striper season has played out in upper Narragansett Bay this season. The fishery has lacked consistency under the same weather/tidal conditions. Itís like a light switch, ďeither on or off position, with no continuity in between.Ē Thatís how defined it has been.
Wetting their fly lines today were Dave Pollack and Mike Testa two dedicated fly fishers, fresh from a South American trout vacation. After checking their passports and adding additional fees for luggage (attempt of humor) we debarked from Greenwich Cove.
This was not your typical fly fishing trip. It was a scientific expedition minus the Federal Sea Grant of ocean research. Today we were going to test theories on fly designs. Our hopes were to gather some factual evidence as scientific proof. This study in aquatic fly designs would therefore benefit all of mankind in some useful way.
But who better than I to tell the story without my slanted, unbiased way, than to have Dave tell it in his own words.
Hereís Daveís report:
Mike takes a coffee break from work catching stripers
Dave with a sample striper which have invaded the bay
Today I had one of my best days ever of fly rodding for stripers. A friend of mine, Mike Testa, and I went out with Captain Ray Stachelek (you may remember him from the presentation he made at CT/RI last year). Ray launched his Boston Whaler in East Greenwich, RI, and we fished off Patience and Prudence Islands, Colt State Park, and thereabouts.
I can't tell you how many stripers we landed - we didn't keep count - but there were a bunch. I've had days when I landed more fish, but what was outstanding today was the quality of the fish we brought in. Very few were shorter than 20" and most were much larger. Attached are pics of the largest we landed; mine weighed 22 to 23 pounds. All were on flies; I used my Clemson Streamer and Mike had most of his on one of Ray's Clousers. We used sink tip or full sink lines; mine was a 7 ips 30' integral shooting head with floating running line.
Captain Ray knows the area well and had us catching fish in tight spots that were in sight of folks who were live lining, chunking, and throwing tin, plastic and wood , and not landing fish. It's quite an experience to be out there catching fish, and good fish, when everyone else in sight seems to be having a slow day.
I also landed a small bluefish, about two or three pounds, off Colt State park - the first of the season.