MBean5

No Birds, Topwater Action on NS?

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Hey guys, I fish out of southeastern CT. Mostly between Fishers Island, Watch Hill, and Block Island. 95% of the time I'm fishing for bass, I look for birds diving and topwater action. I have fished there probably a dozen mornings this July and have found hot action every morning.

My question is, I have never seen that sort of action on the North Shore. I fish out of Manchester, MA, and have caught a handful of 28" or so stripers  blindly casting around rocks/islands, but never seen birds diving or bass/blues jumping out of the water. Even two weeks ago I was out early and was casting soft plastics towards a rocky island, but not even a nibble. Guys next to me were fishing with mackerel and were hooking up every cast. So are there birds and topwater action around or do I need to change my fishing style when I'm fishing in Manchester?

Thanks

Edited by MBean5

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Looking forward to seeing the responses of others but I've been fishing the NS regularly since I moved up here in 2013. I've seen one blitz in that time. I don't know why this is. 

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Wow, that's interesting. Very curious.

It's basically how I fish, by far the most exciting way in my opinion. Just about anyone can buy a some dead pogies, anchor somewhere, and drop a line in the water until you feel a hit. Not knocking that style, but that's just not fun to me. I like the chase, seeing the fish actively feed and trying to fool them into taking the lure (topwater popper the most fun). Wish I could do that type of fishing on NS as well.

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It is all about what bait is in the water and what they are feeding on. Peanut bunker, rainfish, other small fish, you will get top water splashes and birds.

Things like sand eels, squid, small lobsters and crabs, or other deep swimming baitfish, not so much.

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I fish the North Shore regularly and have for years.  It really depends on the year itself in terms of blitzes.  I think this year has been slow  because the water was so cold (55-57 degrees) up until a couple of weeks ago and the fish/bait weren't as active.  The blitzes will come, they always do, it just depends if you are in the right spot at the right time.  2 years ago there was one of the most epic bluefish blitzes just outside Marblehead Harbor that went on for almost 2 hours, it was a blast!  Last year I came across the biggest bass blitz I have ever seen between Beverly and Manchester, you could have put your net in the water and picked up a dozen bass!!

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Got it, thanks for the info. So sounds like there are some blitzes but they're just more difficult to come by.

You wouldn't believe the amount of birds and blitzing around my usual fishing grounds. Night and day difference from NS.

Just need to learn these fishing grounds better I guess.

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Not sure what causes more or less surface feeds and bird activity, but in the area I generally fish (a bay in southeastern MA) I have seen this type of action twice this year, as compared to previous years in which I'd see surface action every single morning. Don't get me wrong, there is still plenty of fish, but they're more hanging around structure and in the rips. It's an absolute mystery to me and I've spoken to people who've fished the area for a lot longer than I have, and they're baffled too. Maybe it's a new more prevalent bait? Water temps? New class of fish is lazy? Regardless, it's very strange. Any insight would be appreciated. 

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"blitzing" and bird action are dependent on the bait.  fish chasing smaller baitfish to the surface will attract birds.

bass fish feeding deeper on something else or somethng larger, not so much.

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Sometimes all it takes is one bird dipping or circling an area to indicate fish. Most blitzing up here happens in the fall with small bait/peanuts. With all these pods of pogies around, blitzes are not as common as the gulls cannot eat the big pogies and the bass tend to selectively crash through them. Great to see when that happens. Now if the bluefish appear it will be fun watching them tear apart the pods of pogies. Good luck out there!

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I've seen several in the last 4 years, both from boat and shore.

One particular area that I fished this year had almost a topwater blitz the first 6 or 7 trips I went there.  I'd mention the area but I'd get crucified by the spot burn Gods. 

From my POV, you just have to be in the right place at the right time.  Most of the fish tended to be on the smaller side.

 

A guy by the name of Billy the Greek once said that 99% of the time, the biggest fish you'll catch is when there's no signs of life.

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8 hours ago, MBean5 said:

Wow, that's interesting. Very curious.

It's basically how I fish, by far the most exciting way in my opinion. Just about anyone can buy a some dead pogies, anchor somewhere, and drop a line in the water until you feel a hit. Not knocking that style, but that's just not fun to me. I like the chase, seeing the fish actively feed and trying to fool them into taking the lure (topwater popper the most fun). Wish I could do that type of fishing on NS as well.

Just because you can't see the fish does NOT mean you can only soak bait and wait. I fish only lures and flies and I do okay. It's a lot more about understanding spots and rips and where to be at what time (not that I've figured any of that out). 

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6 hours ago, spinncognito said:

Sometimes all it takes is one bird dipping or circling an area to indicate fish. Most blitzing up here happens in the fall with small bait/peanuts. With all these pods of pogies around, blitzes are not as common as the gulls cannot eat the big pogies and the bass tend to selectively crash through them. Great to see when that happens. Now if the bluefish appear it will be fun watching them tear apart the pods of pogies. Good luck out there!

if the blue show in good numbers its going to be awesome to see them on all those pods of pogies....I think its going to happen just a matter of time my prediction is mid to late August if the pogies hang around. 

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