Fishing Forecast May Full Moon Period 2022
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.
(Open all year, 1 fish between 28 and 35 inches per angler, per day)
I don’t know how we could have seen this coming, but the striper fishing has been
absolutely off the charts for the last two weeks. In spite of a frigid April and first third of May, in spite one of the windiest springs in recent memory, even in spite of water temps that only recently inched over 50 degrees—the bass have shown in numbers and they have come in hungry. Narragansett Bay has been the place to be, specifically the area from Colt State Park across to Rocky Point and then almost all the way up to Providence. This area has seen good concentrations of fish in the 24- to 38-inch range, and I’m certain there are a few bigger ones mixing in. But fish in this size range are being reported all over Rhode Island now and all the way up into the approaches to the Canal. All of the breachways and south shore estuaries are holding these fish and there were reports of some worm hatches last week as well.
In the days leading up to the coming full moon we will see the first influx of larger fish. There have been 20-pounders reported from some places in Rhody and
Massachusetts, and even a rumored 30-pounder from the Narragansett rocks last week, but the first movement of larger fish should come in with this moon. We fully expect to see 30-plus pound stripers heading into the Bay and making their way up toward the Canal within the next 5 to 10 days.
As previously mentioned, there are big schools of stripers in the Bay and they are
displaying fall-like behavior, blitzing on bait under diving birds and feeding throughout the day and night. Anglers seem to be doing a lot of damage on small topwaters like the Jumpin’ Minnow, Top Knock Pencil, 1-ounce Super Strike Popper and the Hydro Pencil. But subsurface offerings are working as well, SP Minnows for example are catching lots of fish in these blitzes, so are soft plastics like the paddletails from No Live Bait Needed and Keitech. Fly guys have also been catching a ton on surface and sub surface flies such as the Ray's Fly, Flatwings, and Mikkelson's Epoxy Baitfish. For some spring fly pattern ideas check out our video here.This has been mostly a boaters game, but surfcasters plying the same waters after dark are hooking some fish on swimmers like SP Minnows, Red Fins and Hydro Minnows.
But the need to transition is now, don’t wait to find out that the big ones showed three days ago and you’re still slinging short stuff on your light rod. The bunker schools are already in place and that means stocking up now on the Big Doc, Splash Walk and Magic Swimmer along with the beefier hooks and split rings you may need when the really big ones show. For hooks try the 7/0 and 9/0inlines from BKK and Owner. Also look at the trebles from the same manufacturers. For split rings go with Spro, Owner or BKK. And remember if you plan to snag bunker, they will have to be reeled in and re-hooked on a circle hook.
Predictions: The already awesome fishing will improve vastly as fish reaching into the 40-pound class should be fully entrenched by the time we ink our next report. We should also see a major improvement in nighttime surf catches over the next two weeks and the first big ones should be entering the Canal by that time as well. This is the big transition we’ve all been waiting for since the bass exited the bay last June.
(Current season 4/1 to 5/31 3 fish per angler per day, minimum size is 16
inches and only one may exceed 21 inches.)
We are, once again, dealing with a crab shortage but we certainly aren’t dealing with a tog shortage. The fishing came on strong in the second half of April and has been holding strong since. Keepers have been pretty easy to come by for most anglers fishing from boats and the fish have been relatively shallow, mostly sticking in 5 to 25 feet of water. We have seen some big ones too, up to 13 pounds, but don’t forget that only one fish in your limit can exceed 21 inches. The fact that a lot of the fish are up in the shallows makes them a perfect target for a blackfish jig. We’ve heard about great catches from inside the Bay, all around Newport, across at Beavertail and all along the Narragansett shoreline. We have all the hooks and leaderyou’ll need. Or, if you’d rather stick with the jigs, check out our Blackfish Jig Page. 20% off Stevenson's Tog Jigs this week!
(If you've received a well packed box from us it's thanks to this guy right above. Shout out Jose for crushing some tog last week!)
Predictions: It should only get better for the next couple weeks, the best advice is to be mobile and don’t keep hammering the same wrecks and ledges that everyone is hammering. The fish should stay relatively shallow too.
(Open all year, 3 fish per angler, per day, no minimum size)
Think back to last season, do you remember that crazy bluefish bite that lit up along the beaches and breachways of South County? That bite lasted for weeks and was giving up dino-sized bluefish, some in excess of 20 pounds! Around this time last year it was starting up and it was fueled by a big push of squid moving inshore. Well the squid are back, they’ve been reported at Nebraska Shoal and inside all of the breachways as well as sporadic showings along the beaches. Will the bluefish come back too? It’s nearly impossible to say, but we do know that some big blues were caught way up in Buzzards Bay last week so, there are at least a few around. The calling card of the bluefish is hitting almost anything that moves so we recommend keeping things on the inexpensive side with baits like Cotton Cordell Pencil Poppers, Hopkins Lures, Point Jude Sea Scallops 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 Duffy Tournament models from Danco or you can splurge and get yourself set up with Danco Premios or Van Staal Pliers. There’s no telling how long this will last, so if blues are your thing, your time is now.
Predicitons: Do I think the blues will show? Yes I do. Do I think we’ll see a repeat of last year? My gut says no but my heart says yes. It’s a very difficult call to make. What I am comfortable saying is that there will be numbers of bluefish around by the time we post our next report. But we’ll have to wait and see if it’s another epic spring for choppers.
(Open May 3 to December 31, 4 fish per angler, per day at a minimum size of 18
The state has dropped one fish from the bag limit and one inch from the minimum size, so filling a limit should be a little easier this year. But what we’ve seen over the past several years doesn’t bode well for a robust fluke fishery in 2022. Early season catches seem to be slower than ever, but the fact that we have big numbers of squid already in place should give some hope to those of you that love to fish for fluke. The Spro Prime Bucktail is the local favorite for fluke, but the Berkley Fusion Bucktails are also gaining popularity. When they’re in stock, the Tsunami Glass Minnow Rigs make a great teaser and are also great for fishing from shore.
Predictions: Some fluke have already been reported from the South County beaches, but it’s been a slow start. I expect that, while the fluking will improve, it will probably continue to improve slowly over the next couple weeks and won’t really hit a decent stride until early June.