Black Seabass

How To: Fishing Rhode Island Throughout the Season with Hogy Lure Products

How To: Fishing Rhode Island Throughout the Season with Hogy Lure Products
We spent 15 minutes on the phone with Chris Connelly to discuss casting to top water fish from striped bass to bonito with the Hogy Heavy Minnow Jig from Block Island to Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island. Here's what we found out.. 
 Chris Connelly
Instagram: Hooked Fishing RI

Location: Point Judith, Narragansett, Rhode Island

Early Spring: Point Judith Pond, where Chris Connelly most often launched hi center console fro, is an excellent spot to start the season. Upon leaving Point Judith Pond, Connelly heads up the coast to the Narrow River which ends/starts at Narragansett beach. Because of the depth and tides of the Narrow River, it can only hold small boats and kayaks. Narragansett beach runs all the way to North Kingston, where you can find excellent holdover striped bass fishing at the end of April into the beginning of May, extending into the entire “South County” area which includes Charlestown, South Kingstown and Narragansett.

“Out front” – a common phrase used to refer to all of the south country beaches (Roger Wheeler Beach, East Matunuck Beach, continuing west along the shore to Westerly, RI) – starts to do well around the same time as the holdover striper fishing. With the smallest of the Hogy Pro Tail Paddle series, the 3-inch lure is perfect in silver to imitate small baitfish schooled up along the beaches. Into May, the stripers are still “out front” in the beach areas, but can be effectively caught either trolling or casting the bigger Pro Tail Paddles and even Hogy Epoxy Jig lures in silver.

Throughout the entire month of May, anglers can and should start to make their way out to Block Island for bottom fishing including, but not limited to, fluke, sea bass and striped bass. At this point in the season the sea bass are still a catch and release species, despite their frequency and size.

June around Block Island provides some of the best striper fishing when they’re keyed in on sand eels. To imitate the sand eel, the Hogy Sand Eel Jigs work extremely well for both striped bass and sea bass. Out near the wind farm is where anglers have been starting to have the most luck, with the windmills acting as a structure for both jigging and trolling. Connelly says it’s the perfect area to take kids and family and the fishing is easy. Live bait isn’t necessary on the Hogy Sand Eel Jigs and they nearly fish themselves with the slow rocking of the boat during those early, flat calm summer days.

The North point of Block island runs under water, with the reef going from 8-feet to 140-feet, making it the perfect structure and drop off point for stripers, bluefish, bonito and false albacore throughout the duration of the summer.

Throughout August until the end of October is when you will start to get the windier days, which makes the Hogy Heavy Minnow jig the perfect lure to cast out along Point Judith. This lure works well with just about any and every species you can find in the Rhode Island area!

Note: Connelly also fishes in the Bahamas throughout the year and both the Epoxy Jigs and the Heavy Minnow Jigs make great baits for small grouper and snapper.

Tides: Most often, the two hours before the high slack tide on the incoming tide is when you’re going to see the most action with the false albacores. Connelly often switches over to bottom fishing at slack tide and if there’s enough time between tides, he’ll run the route to Newport and Jamestown into Narragansett Bay.

bonito epoxy jig chris connelly

Approach: Start by looking for birds working the surface and keep an eye on the fish finder. Most often, you won’t need the fish finder as the birds to a pretty good job remaining consistent and finding the fish for you. Once you find the fish, cut the engines, remain as quiet as possible, get up on the front of the boat and start casting to schools if you can see them.

Rigging/Lure Selection: Hogy Heavy Minnow Jigs in 1 1/4oz and 3/4oz

hogy heavy minnow jig pink

 

Why This Bait? Connelly used to use the Hogy Epoxy Jig four years ago, which he said was a great lure, but for the conditions of Rhode Island, the Hogy Heavy Minnow Jig works the best for their style of fishing.

“It ended up being a weight thing,” said Connelly. “At the end of the year with the wind, we get more range with the Heavy Minnow.”

The whole area extending from Point Judith Light House towards their launch spot is littered with rock piles and beaches, making it extremely difficult to get close enough to the school of fish with other lures. With the Heavy Minnow Jigs, they’re able to stay off the beach and the rocks but still hit the beach with the lures ability to cast up to 10-feet, and sometimes more if casting with the direction of the wind. By leaving the boat in deeper water, you can cast to shore and work the deep water around the boat with various jigging techniques.

“The regular Epoxy’s are awesome,” said Connelly. “But the heavy ones cast further distance and get down in the water quicker, too.”

Colors: Pink and Silverside

Retrieve: If you can’t see the schools of fish top water, start working the beaches from the Point Judith lighthouse. There’s a lot of rocks there which serve as structure and they hook up a lot on the blind cast, letting it drop 3 – 5 seconds before reeling it fast and skipping it on the top of the surface. Known as the skippy retrieve (Example A in diagram below), it produces a lot of hits. Bluefish most often take the lure top water where as albies and stripers most often take it subsurface. Reel and burn, as they say.

casting retrieves skippy retrieve

OUTFIT

Rod: 7-foot St. Croix Tidemaster Spinning Rod

Reel: Penn Spinfisher V SSV6500 Spinning Reel. Preferred reel because it is sealed and no water can get in.

Line: 30lb PowerPro Super Slick V2 Braided Line

Leader: It’s situational. 15lb Seaguar Fluorocarbon for bluefish and false albacore. 30lb Seaguar Fluorocarbon if they are losing fish or consistently breaking off.

Reading next

How To: Sight Casting to Cruising Tarpon with the 7-inch Hogy Original
How To: Casting to Striped Bass with the Hogy Pro Tail Paddle

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