November 2009 Fishing Report – Steve McKenna


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Oh no!  I think I see that rotund women walking up the stairs to the stage with the microphone on it.  As the chorus clears their collective throats the announcer approaches the mic and readies to introduce the star of the show.  Yes, the saltwater fishing season is coming to a close.  However, now is NOT the time to clean the gear, rack the rods and put the boat into winter storage.  November is the “unofficial” last month of the season and it does offer some excellent fishing at times for several species.  If you can fight the weather, which has always been my biggest nemesis, fishing for stripers, blues and tautog (blackfish) can offer some fast, late season action for both surf and boatman alike.  Boat fisherman really have to keep an eye on the weather because New England line storms blow thru our area frequently during the 11th month and pretty much shut down fishing for days.  That’s why all of you that fish out of a boat must be spontaneous this month and be at the ready to get out when the weather turns balmy, or just before that nor’easter is knocking at our door.  Fishing can be fantastic before a storm, so be prepared.  By the way, fishing right after a good blow can also be productive.  Surf fishermen have it a little easier in November.  Unlike the boater, they can get out in almost any weather, and for stripers and blues that can signal some great end of the season, blitz type action just before, during, and immediately following north east storms.  Surf casters can also do well on calm nights too.  There is nothing like being on the surf line at midnight on a calm, comfy, star filled November night.  Some of the biggest fish I’ve taken have come in the week following Halloween. So, don’t give up just yet.  I would make at least several more trips to the ocean before December rears its ugly head.  This is what I think you can expect:


I believe that the first ten days of November can be the best time of the entire month to fish for striped bass in the Ocean State.  As previously mentioned, I have caught many 30 and 40 pound R.I .stripers during that period of time.  My best advice to any wishing to surf fish this month is to concentrate their efforts around the west bay and south county areas of little Rhody.  These two sections seem to hold fish late and some mighty large specimens can be taken if you put that all important “time”.  I cannot stress enough how spending time on the shore or boat is probably the most important ingredient for fishing success!  Don’t get discouraged either.  Fishing for bass this month, particularly from the surf, can be sporadic.  The reason being is that schools of bass are migrating by our area and there may be breaks in that migration. As a result, you may go two or three times and come up empty but that fourth time may yield a “30” or a blitz of schoolies.  I have personally taken stripers up until December 5th in Narragansett.  I should caution you that in most years it has been my experience that the larger bass migrate thru first and the smaller fish stick around later.  An old timer told me once that this is because the little fish can tolerate colder water.  Sounds good and this is the way it plays out every fall.  Look for a few monsters to be caught in the West Bay and South County areas until about the 10th of the month.  After that the size and numbers dwindle by the day.  I would hang things up around Thanksgiving.

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Getting back to big bass, shore and boat guys will do better this month using live or fresh cut bait.  Live eels and bunker (menhaden) are tops as is fresh dead pogie chunked on the bottom.  A tube with a nice fresh clam worm trolled behind your craft will also catch.  Surf guys can use artificial, but using these will draw smaller fish for the most part.  I would go with live eels and rigged eels for the best shot at a trophy in November.  In addition, don’t think that because it is the “fall” that you can catch better during the day.  Yes, fishing days can produce this month but night time forays to the surf will yield more and bigger fish.  If you have to fish days, look for those stormy, overcast ones.  The white lead headed buck tail jig in ¾ or 1 oz. is king and will be responsible for many daytime fish this time of year.  Use it in conjunction with the wooden egg float to gain casting distance and to keep the jig from fouling rocky bottom. This combo is a real killer on autumn schoolies.  Back to the night shift.  Fall bassing after dark is the same as it is the rest of the season.  Pick out a few likely spots and hit them hard.  Every fall I select five or six places where I have caught in the past.  If you are a novice fisherman who doesn’t have any knowledge of the area, I would concentrate your fishing around R.I. inlets. The mouth of the Narrow River in Narragansett, the Charlestown Breachway and the Quonny Breachway in Charlestown,the Weekapaug Breach way in Westerly and  Napatree point are great places to start looking for bass. Some will be crowded while others , well, it will just be you and the bass. Boat fisherman should also think about Block Island which always lights up in November.  Block Island can also be a surf man’s dream this month. I fish my spots regularly and only move to others if I am not catching. This usually works out. I try to go as much as I can too. Late October and early November is a time when I really lose sleep. For example, I will get up at 2:30 in the morning to hit a 3:15a.m. because I know there might be a forty pounder waiting for me. I won’t do this in July or August. Since I am talking spots and times, etcetera, now would be a good time to name my spot of the month for November:

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LOCATION– Green hill beach, South Kingstown, Rhode Island
DIRECTIONS– Find the Green hill beach road exit off of R.I. Route 1 in South Kingstown. Follow Green Hill beach road south until it ends at the actual beach. Parking is available after Labor day at the dirt soft shoulder area on the right just before the beach parking lot.  Please don’t park in the lot. Also, parking in this area is “relaxed” during the fall. Please don’t make noise and don’t litter.  This spot is fragile and I have had no problems parking here in the fall even after dark. Just be respectful.  Suit up and head towards the beach entrance.  Take a left and head towards the first point you see. There will be some large rocks in front of it and extending into the water. It is always a good practice to check out an area during daylight and at lower water before actually fishing it.
TIDE– I have done well on the dropping tide around higher water but I think this place will produce no matter the tide stage. Remember, it is the fall. Go!
MOON– new moon period or cloudy conditions around the full moon.
METHOD(S)– I have done well with artificials at this location. Needle fish plugs, metal lip swimmers, and Redfins have produced fall bass to the mid twenties at this spot. Live eels and rigged eels have also done their share of damage over the years.
GEAR– I would use at least a 9 foot rod with medium action with a reel that has a good drag and capable of holding a couple of hundreds yards of 20 pound mono or 50 pound braid. There are a lot of rocks so use a leader of at least 50 pound test
COMMENTS– I have always done well at this location. Nothing really big but always a fish or three to be had. I think my biggest was in the mid twenties. Needlefish seem to be the “lure of choice” at Green hill rocks. By the way, fish around the first point of rocks and work your way down to the right, or east, to the next point. Cast over all of the rocks leading down to the second point. Then work your back as you are leaving. That usually results in a few stripers. I would expect to catch bass here until Thanksgiving.  Good luck!

This looks like a good spot for TIP OF THE MONTH:

The tip this month is kind of an easy one. Go fishing! The end is near and we can use all the appropriate clichés about the fat lady singing, it’s all over and the like. But it will be over soon and, as we all know, it is a very long winter, particularly if you like striper fishing. The winter over bass fishing in Providence just doesn’t do it for me. Gone soon will be those beautiful warm nights filled with stripers. Gone are the opportunities to grab your rod and stuff and head out to the beach and boat whenever you feel like it. Winter is prison as far as I’m concerned. I hate it and that is why I go as much as I can during the next 30 days.  You should too!!!!

That’s about it on the striper scene for this season. Like the tip of the month advocates, go fishing and  you will have a good shot at the remaining schools of stripers that are migrating past us.

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BLUEFISH: Early November offers a real good shot at a trophy blue. For some reason, November blues are loners and they are huge, some approaching 20 pounds. Many are caught by unsuspecting bass fisherman looking for that late season cow or schoolie blitz. The two biggest blues I have caught, both 18 pounds, were caught this month. However, in light of the overall poor year for blues, particularly in the surf (I only have 6 as of this writing), I wouldn’t expect great action for the rest of this year. The best way to catch a blue is to fish for stripers. Either by boat or shore, fish in area where you have caught stripers.  If there are any blues around, you will know about it. That is unless you see them busting bait on the surface.  Then, by all means, throw a pencil popper at them. Ideal scenario would be to a late season pod of adult menhaden. A school of blues and bass won’t be far behind. Great stuff like this happens in the fall. You just have to be on the water and lucky enough to run into it. That’s why you should go fishing this month as much as possible.  Anything can happen.

TAUTOG(BLACKFISH): As of this writing tautog fishing from both shore and boat is superlative! I have been weighing in some monsters at the shop. One day last week,fisherman put blackfish of 8,9, 10 and 11 pounds on the scale.  The next day, my fellow worker weighed in six white chinners from 8 to 12 pounds. Wow! We have been selling an awful lot of green crabs for bait which signals great fishing.  “Tog” fisherman are as tight lipped as striper anglers so I can’t tell you exactly where they are catching. However, a friend of mine said that the blackfish are everywhere and most of the rock piles have a lot and very big tautog on them. Green crabs are great bait for these fish but if you can get fiddler or Asian crabs you will out fish the others.

TUNA: Bluefin tuna are presently in the area, specifically up around the Cape (Cape Cod, MA.) and Stellwagon Bank.  Some of the fish are being caught within sight of land in those areas as well.  Tuna as large as 300 pounds have been caught on spinning gear with topwaters and butterfly jigs  within the last 10 days.  Those trolling with bars and various plastics are having great success as well. They are still there as of this writing and will probably hang in for at least a few more weeks.  If you can stand the cold they are out there waiting for you.


There you have it for November. We still have an opportunity to catch a few nice fish before calling it quits. It is all up to you . Get out there and FISH!!!

Good luck, happy holidays and I hope you enjoyed my fishing reports each month.  This will be my last one for the year. I truly enjoyed writing them and maybe The Edge will ask me back in 2010. I hope so.

Steve McKenna

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