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Fishing Forecast - May New Moon

Fishing Forecast – May New Moon

May is officially here, and it’s a great time to be a fisherman in Rhode Island. Although the afternoons have been bright and sunny, we ran into a long stretch with nights dipping into the thirties. That doesn’t exactly bode well for warm ocean temperatures. That said, it looks like the cold nights are behind us with the lows in the forties and fifties for the foreseeable future. We also seem to have moved on from the constant rain, so things are looking up as far as weather goes. The fishing is beginning to really fire up here locally. Large schools of striped bass have piled into the bay, the tog bite is getting hot, and water temps are quickly on the rise. 

Striped Bass – Fresh Arrivals Flood the Bay

Since the last fishing forecast, we’ve had our first big push of bass across the state. The oceanfront has been hot and the bay has been full of life. From full-sized bunker and herring to tiny snot bait the size of your fingernail, the bass are putting on the feed. Aim for nighttime and low light hours, such as dawn and dusk. The topwater fishing has been excellent. Small spooks such as the Rebel Jumpin Minnow, Heddon Saltwater Spook, Game On! X-Walk,  and MirrOlure Top Dog are go to baits right now. I tend to throw spooks when it’s relatively flat and calm, and then switch it up to a pencil popper when there is some wind and chop. Some ideal pencil popper options include the Tsunami XD Talkin’ Popper, Cotton Cordell Pencil Poppers,  and Yo-Zuri 3D Inshore Pencil Popper.  We also have the new Yo-Zuri Mag Dive,  which is an interesting sort of blend between a spook and popper. It walks like a spook, but dips and dives more like a pencil to simulate an injured or dying baitfish. Give them a shot!

With good numbers of mature bunker and herring around, it’s not too soon to break out the big guns. There have already been reports of big bass being taken on large spooks and spoons up in the bay. Of course, it’s impossible to beat the drawing power of the Musky Mania 9” Doc when the bass are looking up at big baits. The Doc can be a great fish finder this time of year. Even if the bass are too small or wary to commit to it, they will often swirl or tail slap it to show you they are around. When this is the case, I’ll usually throw back in with a big soft plastic, like a 10” Hogy, Gravity Tackle GT Eel,  or NLBN 8” Straight Tail.  Sometimes a slightly more subtle presentation is all it takes to get that commitment. As far as spoons, try the Tsunami Flutter Spoon or Ben Parker Magnum Flutter Spoon.  Save these for deeper water, say 25ft or more, as it’s difficult to get the right sweep and “flutter” action in shallow water. You can catch with these big spoons in shallower water, but you also run a high risk of snagging bass in the belly, so they’re much more ideal for deeper areas such as channels and drop-offs. Also, keep an eye out for big bluefish storming the flats and harassing pogy schools in the next couple weeks. They will go nuts for big spooks and poppers in most cases. Up on the flats under a high sun, they can be a bit pickier, so try throwing some of those big soft plastics on weightless hooks if you don’t mind making the sacrifice.


Schoolie pulled from a feeding frenzy in the upper bay this week.

Tautog – Prime Time

If you’re fishing in Narragansett Bay, it’s tough to beat the first couple weeks of May tog fishing for both quality and quantity. I’d lump the last week of April in there, too. The tog just seem to be everywhere, on almost every piece of structure from 60ft in the channels to as little as 2ft in the backs of bays, harbors, salt ponds, etc. As the water temps in the back waters spike with the warm afternoons, tog will move up shallow to feed on crabs, mussels, and other small crustaceans. It’s the best opportunity to sight fish tautog in shallow water, which can be highly addictive. They get finicky and picky in the skinny water and can be a great challenge on fly or artificial. Check out the Savage Gear crabs  and our Crab Fly selection. If you want to go with the classic tog jig, go as light and finesse as possible, using only as much weight as you need to keep contact with bottom. The weight of the jig will be determined by the depth you’re fishing and how much current is running through. In skinny water less than 10ft, this is often 1/2oz or less. Check out our selection of tog jigs here.


Solid tog taken on a 1oz Tsunami Tog Treat jig last week.

The Best of the Rest

Immediately following the migration of our striped friends comes several of our common bottom-dwelling species. Weakfish, fluke, porgies, and sea robins are all making their way toward or into the bay right now. Weakfish tend to appear around the first week of May, inhabiting shallow bays and coves. Generally, bays with an outflow from a river or salt pond are good places to check. They tend to feed on crabs, shrimps, and small minnows. They can be a bit tricky to locate since they generally don’t blitz, and in the springtime aren’t necessarily hanging out on any particular structure. Try to find schoolies or bluefish on small bait to fish underneath. Often, when bass or blues are blitzing, the weakfish will be hanging out underneath to pick off the scraps. Small soft plastics – both paddle tails and straight tails – on a light jighead will usually get the job done. The NLBN 3” minnow,  Zoom Fluke,  and RonZ Straight Tail are great options. We also have plenty of Grub Tails which seem to work great. I do like a bit of scent when I’m hunting unicorns, so make sure to try some Pro-Cure Bait Scents on your soft plastics or check out our Berkley Gulp selection.

A fun multi species outing from last year (May 14, 2023).

By the second week of May, it’s not uncommon to run into fluke, porgies, and sea robins up in the bay during weakfish missions. In the early spring, these fish are looking for dark bottoms with warm water and lots of forage. Think similar to weakfish – shallow bays, coves, and outflows where warm water dumps out small bait like crabs, shrimps, and minnows. These species will willingly take the soft plastics discussed previously, as well as small metal or epoxy jigs. We have a wide variety of metal and epoxy jigs, so check them all out here. Lastly, the squid bite seems to be somewhat lackluster for now, but they are certainly around and hopefully the bucket-filling brigade finds more consistent success soon. We have a great selection of squid jigs here at the shop, so make sure to check them out here.

1 Respuesta



mayo 09, 2024

In your opinion, what is the best net for stripers? Tired on spending 70 bucks only to buy another one midway through the year.

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