Matching Bait and Tactics

Matching Bait and Tactics

The common bait and productive tactics of spring must be rethought as it is now summer. The fishing this spring was notable for its’ late start and significantly colder water temps. Some theorize that the abundant bunker/herring populations resulting from more limited access by the “bunker boats” combined with the colder water temps allowed the Upper Narragansett Bay fishing to stay consistent a good deal longer than in years past. The combination of decimated bunker schools and warmer water temps turned on Newport fishing in late May in years past rather than ealy/mid June as was the case this year.

Likewise, the big bass that Block Island is known for were hard to come by at various tournements in early June; but now there have been some catches in excess of 50lbs on eels at night.

Earl Evans 58 lbs

Earl Evans 58 lbs

The menu of baits has expanded and the decision of what to tie on each outing has gotten more complex. Up until recently big bunker and herring as well as squid and mantis shrimp were the most abundant baits in the Upper Bay. Now sand eels, silversides, 2-3 inch butterfish, round herring and eels make up the menu on Ocean Drive. This menu expands the variety of “shapes” of bait and can lead to some selective feeding. The current “shapes” go from the thin sand eels to the medium bodied silverside, to the deep bodied butterfish. When you approach a school of surface feeding stripers or find the fish with your electronics it may take a few lure/ fly changes to solve the riddle of the day.

The need to “mix it up” was apparent one morning this week when we pulled up on stripers feeding on top on what we assumed from previous outings were sand eels. Repeated drifts drew only occasional hook ups for our Jumping Minnows and small Clousers . When we switched to  RonZ’s the bite improved.

Del tight

Del tight

Upon further review the bait was butterfish.

Baby Butterfish

Baby Butterfish

Ultimately, it was the Blue Frog Fixed Hook bucktail with both profile and depth in it’s favor that created steady action. The fly guy switched to a Depth Finder sink tip and counted to 10 before starting the retrieve of an over dressed Deciever and was tight nearly as often.

Baits and Lure/ Fly Selection Suggestions

Sand Eels – thin profile

Sand Eel

Sand Eel

Diawa Salt Pro Minnow Bullet Great profile. Available in fast or slow sink. Casts a mile. Point Jude Po Jee is a long casting tin that can be fished at various depths. Another option is a Red Gill Rascal Teaser

Ray’s Fly or a small Clouser Minnow Let the size of the bait dictate fly selection. The fly fisherman has an advantage when the bait is this small. An incredibly sparse Ray’s Fly has saved the day more times than I can count. Matching size; but using a bright color like the Tutti Fruiti can be the ticket when the bait is super abundant.

Silversides – rounder, medium profile. Predominant silver stripe

Atlantic Sivlerside

Atlantic Sivlerside

Bomber Long Shots 5″ or Savage Gear Manic Prey Minnow – Both are small good casting lures. That swim a few feet below the surface.

Ray’s Fly is the classic Rhody silverside pattern when tied a bit thicker. Epoxy Shiners are super durable if bluefish are mixed in.

Butterfish – deep bodied

Butterfish

Butterfish

Point Jude Butterfish Tin A butterfish tin provides profile, depth and castability. Point Jude Joe makes the best with VMC hooks.

Lefty’s Deciever Presents a broad profile. More realistic epoxy versions cast like a quarter. No fun.

Terminal Tackle

Ande Leader Spools

Tackle Anglers Clips

Orvis Abrasion Resistant Leaders

Be ready to mix it up and don’t be wed to the places that produced just a few weeks ago.

 

 

 

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