Fishing Forecast June New Moon Period 2023
By Dave Anderson
Before we begin I want to offer some insights regarding how and why I break the season down into these moon periods. I look at each period as 15 days which is, roughly, half of a month—it’s the seven days before, the day of the new or full moon and the seven days following. The moons have great influence on the ocean and the fish. The moons drive the tide timings and the strength of the current, they also drive the measurable height of the tide. For nighttime fishing the moon phases dictate how dark the night will be if there is no cloud cover. My own observations over 20-plus years fishing for striped bass from the surf, tell me that there is no denying the fact that these periods of stronger currents are usually the times when bodies of fish make a move, into or out of a bay, from one region to another or even just a few miles down the beach. These 15-day cycles are a manageable chunk of time that I feel we can offer enough insights to help you find the fish you’re looking for.
Striped Bass (Open all year, 1 fish between 28 and less than 31 inches per angler, per day)
Striper fishing is pretty much wide open right now, water temps have pretty much held steady for the past couple of weeks, even way up the bay we’re seeing water temps around 65 degrees, still well within the comfort zone of large stripers. With that said, most striper guys have at least moved down the bay toward one of the openings to the ocean and many have begun fishing ‘out front’ full time. There have been lots of big stripers from the Navy Base down to Brenton Reef, these fish are ranging from 40 inches to 58 pounds and have been holding in water between 25 and 50 feet deep. A wide variety of methods is taking these fish but live or chunked bunker along with the tube and worm have been the two most productive so far. There have been some good fish taken drifting with live eels as well, especially after dark. If you plan to go the boat route, make sure to have a selection of circle hooks on hand, ranging from 5/0 to 9/0. There’s still some topwater action to be had as well, and the Shimano Splash Walk is a great option. These topwater hits have been compressed into the low-light hours at the beginning and end of each day for the most part, unless it’s snotty out, then you never know.
Local waters are teeming with sand eels in the 2- to 5-inch size and this is fueling some wild blitz action that seems to pop up at random. The downside has been that the fish have been finicky when they’re on these baits. It pays to be prepared so make sure to have a few 4- and 5-inch Ron-Z’s, Albie Snax in Sand Eel and a few Epoxy Jigs on you whenever you go out. The fish gorging on these sand eels can range from 20 inches to 30 pounds or even more. Fly guys may have the upper hand here because they have some many options to match the size and buoyancy of the real thing, the Nauset Sand Eel and Nauset Cone Head Sand Eel work great.
Aquidneck Island has been a hot zone for surfcasters this year but it’s far from a guarantee and things have definitely gotten tougher over the last couple weeks. This could be a result of the recent influx of sand eels making those stripers in the surf zone focus in on smaller baits or it could just be that the body of fish that was here has moved. Bucktails have been a good weapon from the rocks in Newport and Narragansett—mostly in the ½ to 1-1/2 ounce size. The smaller SP Minnow is also a good thing to have in your bag when the fish are focused on smaller bait. One duo of plugs that is an absolute must have when small sand eels are around is the 1-1/2 and 1 ounce Super Strike Needlefish. These plugs have a long track record of success, they look just like sand eels, they cast well (even in the wind) and they can handle nearly any surf condition. With all that said we’re still hearing about nice fish being caught on more ‘conventional’ baits like Super Strike Darters, Red Fins, NLBN Paddletails and Gibbs Metal Lips.
Predictions: Steady as she goes. There are lots of stripers around and more on the way, word from Long Island Sound tells of insane bass fishing all the way to NYC, so there’s no reason to think that big bass supply will dry up soon. Also, there have been reports of 30 to nearly 50-pound bass on Southwest Ledge this week, so look for that fishery to catch fire soon as well.
Bluefish (Open all year, 3 fish per angler, per day, no minimum size)
Blues seem to come and go like the wind these days, but there have been some big ones around over the past week. Fish up to 15 pounds were reported around the same areas as the big stripers. There were also some smaller ‘smoker sized’ blues popping up in the bay. The big body of teen-sized blues at Block Island though, has moved on. There does seem to be more blues around this year than last year and that’s a good thing if you like fast action and thrilling topwater strikes. We recommend keeping things one the inexpensive side for blues with things like Cotton Cordell Pencil Poppers, Hopkins Lures, and the 5.5-inch Charter Grade Popper from Hogy. And if you’re really smart, you’ll swap out any treble hooks for single Siwash or Zo-Wire Inlines. The shop is also well stocked with Steel Leaders and affordable pliers like the Admiral and Lunar-1 models from Danco or you can splurge and get yourself set up with Danco Premios. There’s no telling how long this will last, so if blues are your thing, your time is now.
Predicitons: As long as there’s bait around, the blues should stick around too. With billions of sand eels out front and no shortage of bunker in the bay, I would say we’re in a good position to see some great bluefish action during the coming two weeks.
Fluke (Open May 3 to December 31, 4 fish per angler, per day at a minimum size of 18 inches)
For the umpteenth year in a row, fluking has been way behind what we’ve seen historically, but the results around Aquidneck Island have been maybe a touch better than what we saw the last couple years at this time. There have been some good ones taken in the approaches to the bay, the areas around the Jamestown and Newport Bridges have been giving up some decent action along with some lager fish. Out along the South County beaches, the bite remains slow with pockets of better action. Bucktails tipped with Gulp or natural baits are always going to be the number one lure for fluke. Don't forget your Poison Tail Jigs to use as a teaser.
Predictions: I think fluking will continue to be a grind, I hate to say that, but it’s just true. Some of the hardcores make the most of it by targeting really big fish, finding shorter drifts over bottom that doesn’t get hammered and they find some serious doormats. If I had to try and get big one though, I’d put my bets on the East Grounds at Block.
Black Sea Bass (Current season: May 22 to August 31, 2 fish at 16.5 inches or greater)
Sea bass seem to be lagging behind a bit this year, but, if what we’re seeing in Buzzards Bay is an indicator of what’s to come, it’s not because of a lack of fish. Buzzards Bay has been the place to be so far with some really big fish caught and good action. Locally it’s been slow, but improving. The waters off of Point Judith are historically very good, but they’ve been holding mostly smaller fish so far. The same could be said for the rocky waters off of Aquidneck Island, there are keepers around, but just not big numbers yet. With the abundance of sand eels in the area, it might be wise to fish slender jigs like Hogy's Epoxy Jigs, Daiwa Zakana Jigs, the Hogy Squinnow Jig and the Hogy Sand Eel Jig. But don’t sleep on larger offerings like the Johnny Jigs or a bucktail tipped with Gulp.
Predicitons: I think the sea bass fishing will turn on in a big way by the end of the month and probably much sooner. This fishery has offered the most consistent summer fishing we’ve had over the past few years and there’s no reason to think or believe it won’t get there again.