June 2009 Fishing Forecast – Steve McKenna
June 2009 Fishing Forecast – Steve McKenna
Ah, June is finally here!!! What May means to numbers of striped bass, June equates to SIZE! The sixth month will see the largest of the species migrating through our local waters and now is your time to get out there in your boat or walk the shoreline in quest of a fish or fishes (hopefully) of your season. There is no better time to catch a big, big striped bass, so make the most out of your fishing time this month. Go as much as you can. Heck, I use to schedule my vacation every year around the new moon in June. Stripers are not the only saltwater fish available in June as most every species is in plentiful supply this month. Let’s look at our opportunities.
Oh boy, here we go! If you have to fish only one month of the striper season, fish June! I cannot express enough how good fishing can be in June for stripers. In RI as well as all other areas along the striper coastline, bass will be finishing their northward migration this month and begin to settle in as the month comes to an end. Remember, the largest of the species will be available in good supply this month. So now is your chance to land or boat that “30” or “40” that has eluded you all these years. Also, I think that based on the size of some of the fish being caught over the last 3 or 4 seasons, there will be some very large bass cruising around Block Island and Rhode Island sounds. Last month saw some very good bass fishing starting around mid May or so. Hopefully this fishing will continue and ”bust wide open” as they say in June. If I had to give June advice to the shore bound angler it would be to 1.) get out as much as possible, 2.) fish after dark and 3.) concentrate your efforts around spots or locations that have been known to be big fish producers in past Junes. For example, the surf fisherman should look around inlets like the mouth of the Narrow River in Narragansett, the Charlestown breachway, the Quonny breachway in Charlestown, the mouth of the Westport River in Westport, Massachusetts, as well the Cape Cod Canal (which already gave up a “50” to striper sharpie Robbie Taylor last week). And some of the smaller inlet mouths in Narragansett Bay like Bissel cove and Mill cove. There are many others in the Bay. All of these spots are herring runs which will see the post spawn herring dropping out into the ocean/bay earlier in the month. Fishing at the inlet themselves and even adjacent to them, can offer some fine bassing. I like big swimming plugs when fishing at these locales. Just last week I had some nice fish on atom jr. type plugs and darters as well as deep swimming metal lips like the slope head. These plugs will continue to produce in June. After the herring run fades out in early June, large adult menhaden will take over as the bait of preference for big, hungry stripers. Continue using the large plugs , after dark, and using live or rigged eels is also a very, very productive June method. They can be deadly this month and will no doubt be responsible for taking some giants by month’s end. Also surf guys should look around the mouth of Narragansett Bay on either the east or west sides. Remember, both gaps are technically” inlets” and produce some nice fish in June. I routinely fish the eastern shoreline of Narragansett this month and do well. Likewise, on the eastern side of the bay, Newport offers some fine June bass fishing. Its rocky coastline provides excellent cover for stripers waiting for a meal or your plug or eel to pass by. Be sure to give these areas a try.
Boat bass fisherman also welcome the sixth month. June offers some great fishing and weather which allows them to get out a lot more than in more unsettled months. Boat guys should concentrate on fishing with live or fresh dead menhaden this month. There should be a lot of around this month, mostly in the coves upper Narragansett Bay. Most boat anglers snag this bait with weighted trebles while others use a cast net. The latter is more productive and easier on the bait if the schools are dense enough and the net thrower capable of wielding a big net. A trick on getting this bait with either method is to be on the water, in an area with bunker, at the crack of dawn. It is usually calm at that time and the pogies can be easily seen “flipping”. After the sun gets high, boat traffic puts the bunker down and scatters the schools, making them harder to procure. Another tip is when enough bunker are snagged or netted, transport them to areas known to hold stripers, usually along shallower, rocky coastlines. Don’t stay with the school of menhaden and fish around them unless you see predators molesting them. When you find a fishing looking spot, slow troll the live bait until something happens. If there is a fish in the area, you will know about it, believe me!!! Tackle needed to fish the live bunker should be on the heavy side. A 6 to 7 foot medium action boat rod with a good reel with a smooth drag like the Ambassador 7000 is a good set up. I like to use a 3/0 or 4/0 VMC four extra strong treble with one hook through the snout or nose area of the pogie. 40 pound test running line is a good choice and please use a 50 or 60 pound shocker leader too. If live bait fishing is not your thing, try chunking. But you must use fresh, dead bait. Snagging or netting it then putting it on ice immediately is the way to go. Do not use frozen. It just will not produce the same. Chunking is easier than live lining and is usually done in deeper water. Just set up on a striper hole, anchor up, and drop a nice fresh chunk over the side and hold on.
If you are not a pogie man, why not try casting live eels along suspicious shorelines this month? This can be a very productive method provided it is done at low light or after dark periods. Lastly, and I am obligated to mention it, why not troll a tube and a worm? The boats are killing the fish with this technique as I write this report. It is a pretty easy method and even kayak fisherman use a modified version successfully. All that is needed is a couple of surgical tube lures in either red wine or amber and some nice juicy sand worms. BTW, T-man and Santini make excellent tubes. Just impale the clam worm on the rear hook of the tube and troll slowly, as slow as the craft can go. In 10 feet or less water you can use mono or braid. Any depth over that and lead core or even wire line is needed. The object of the game is to maneuver the tube/worm combo as close to the bottom as possible. If you can accomplish that, you’ll slay’em! That’s it. Get out there this month and have a good time. It is delightful to be on or near the water this month. Striper fisherman in the know live for June and with good cause. You have a very good chance of catching the bass of your dreams this month! Good Luck.
Blues will get stronger as each day passes this month. I have personally caught a few blues thus far in May around the Narragansett area. I have also had confirmed reports of this species in Narragansett Bay as well as along the RI and Massachusetts Southern coastlines. Most fisherman catch them by mistake I think, while fishing for stripers and other species. I don’t think they around in numbers yet that would warrant specifically targeting them. As June progresses though, there will be more blues in our waters. I think next month is a better month for blues. If you have to catch one, just go striper fishing and if they are around you will catch them on anything a bass will hit.
Fluke fishing really turned on in May and should get even better in June. However, our DEM ruled that we cannot fish for them until June 17th. On that date we are allowed to take 6 fish per day provided they are 21 inches long. Now, if you are unfamiliar with fluke, that is a big fish. A 21” fish is between 3 ½ and 4 pounds. That’s a pretty nice fish and to get 6 of them in a day’s fishing is a very, very good day. If you are a shore fluke fisherman it pretty much puts you in the “catch and release” category or in the market for a boat. And, most fluke sharpies tell me that a 6 fish catch of jumbos over 21” is a super day in a boat! Getting back to fluke fishing at present, the commercial guys are hitting them hard as the price per pound has dropped significantly in the last few days. “All big fish” as one rod and reeler told me as he weighed in a nice 12 lb fish at my shop. So things look good for the upcoming recreational season. Try Thom-cat fluke rigs and the like with squid or fluke belly strips. Tip; place a fresh or frozen shiner on top of your fluke or squid strip. It makes a nice fluke sandwich which is very, very effective.
This species comes into its own in June providing bottom bouncers from shore and the boat with a nice daytime fishing alternative. If you haven’t tried scup as an entrée you are missing out. Pan fry it after dredging it in flower, egg, and breadcrumbs. Delicious! To take them one after the other use tandem rig with bits of clams or sand worms on small hooks. The mid Narragansett Bay offers some great fishing. Why not try Scup rock? Easy to find and a good spot for these tasty fish.
Fishing for Blackfish will be closed from June 1 to June 30 to allow them to spawn.
That’s the June lineup. It looks good and all should find some good to excellent fishing for all species.
Catch ‘em up and be safe. See you next month. Steve McKenna