How To:

Striped Bass Fishing In Rhode Island Using Live Bunker

Author: Captain Mike Littlefield

The  Striped Bass fishing has been heating up with the water temperatures hovering around a cool 62 degrees. Every year around May the schools of bunker show up in Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island and the Bass are right on their tails. We start out every morning finding schools of bunker to cast net since this is the preferred meal of the bass this time of year in the bay. 

I like to use my Humminbird Helix Gen 2 MEGA side imaging to locate the bunker. As you can see in the side scan, this is the way to go !

The bunker school together so close , its an easy catch with the right cast net. After we have the live well full, we are underway to locate the Striped Bass. Typically in the flats in Narragansett bay they are waiting to ambush the morning meal. After we locate the schools of bass, we hook an 4/0 Black VMC treble hook through the nose of the live bunker. 

We prefer to use the 40lb Bullbuster Fluorocarbon with 50 lb Bullbuster braid. I connect the two lines using an FG knot on the Finnor Bait Teaser and a Craft One custom jigging rod.  There are two ways to present the bait to the bass in the most natural way. I prefer to drift over the bass and let the Bunker swim freely, and others prefer to slow troll the bunker ( under 1.8kts) over them. Both ways are a proven tactic that works. The next screen shot is a wolf pack of bass on the prowl. Depending on the water clarity, we sometimes need to go down to a 5 ft , 25lb fluorocarbon leader

After we locate the bass, we determine the drift. This is one of the most important things you can do it to understand the effects of wind and current on your vessel. You want the live bait to look as natural as it can be to fool the feeding bass. When the bass takes the live bait, I like to let the fish run for a five second count then set the hook. After we land the fish we typically practice catch and release to help sustain the stocks of breeding fish. 

The year is off to a great start, we will be shifting our focus next to live eels at Block Island for the Bass over 40 lbs ! The next screen shot you can actually see a pair of huge bass sitting in 18 ft of water, waiting for their next meal to swim by.

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