Let’s face it, guys and gals, Game On! products are freakin’ awesome. One website can get you everything you need for the "main fishing season" in the Northeast/New England. Most of us in the region are targeting Striped Bass, Bluefish, Albies, Bonito, Tautog, Black Sea Bass, Fluke, Weakfish, and so many more. Popular presentations for a lot of those fish are soft plastics with jigheads (or weightless), jerk baits, EXO jigs, topwater plugs, Tog jigs, and hard plastic minnows. There are many other presentations that work in our fishery; however, for the experienced fisherman or even the total beginner that needs a tackle box ready to go for everything, you’ll have all your bases covered.
As a guide, it’s important to not only have what you need but also have what you think you might need. On a lot of trips, we’ll go through a variety of presentations until we find what the fish are looking for that day. Based on the time of year and which species we are targeting (in addition to a client's skill level), I will always start off with what I think the winning presentation will be for that day and move on from there. For example, most of our trips start really early in the morning, so a client that knows how to work a topwater lure will more than likely be given an X-WALK. The client that may not be as experienced in throwing a walk-the-dog style plug will probably fare a lot better with a MagCast, which is more of a simple cast and retrieve style of lure. Below, I’ll go through my favorite Game On! lure that I’m starting each trip with from May to October.
May is a really fun month to fish in Rhode Island as the Bay really starts to come alive. Most of our inshore species are available from Tog to Weakfish. With so many options on the table, if I’m only going to choose one, I’ll usually start my morning with a 5-inch DuraTech paddle tail. During May, I’m usually targeting Striped Bass, Bluefish, or Weakfish, so having a small paddle tail in a few different colors that will catch the three species mentioned above is best.
June places heavy emphasis on Striped Bass and Bluefish. For most people, this is the time to catch your personal best of both species as most of the migratory fish have pushed in. With a lot of forage out there and fish blowing up on the surface, I will always have the X-WALK tied on and ready to fire at any surface activity that I see.
July/August is just an awesome time to be in New England, and the fishing reflects that. In the summer, I launch with an open mind on what the day will be like. Most of the time, I’ll start the morning targeting Stripers and Blues before switching over to bottom fishing. So in July/August, I’ll "cheat" a little bit and have at least two Game On! presentations rigged. The X-WALK will still be tied on, in addition to the 6-inch DuraTech paddle tail. I opt for the larger paddle tail because of its larger profile that I attach a heavier jig head to, so that I can fish a little bit deeper in the water column. The water temps are hot, and fish tend to hang a little deeper.
Late August/September is really the "magic hour" in Rhode Island. It’s the beginning of the epic Fall run. We’ve hammered Bass, Blues, Fluke, Seabass, and everything else, and now it’s Albie and Bonito time. I will still have everything rigged that I mentioned for the previous months (as all of those species are around), but now I’m going to add one of (if not the) most versatile lures ever: the EXO Jig. When the pelagics are around, you can’t beat having a small baitfish imitation in a variety of colors and sizes that they absolutely go crazy for!
For most kayak fishermen, this is the end of the road as water temps start to cool, hunting season is in full bloom, and holidays are right around the corner. If indeed October is the last month for a fisherman, it’s the ultimate way to go out with a bang. As a reflection of September, all species are still on the table, and you should be rigged and ready. But for me personally, it’s Tog time! Of all the months we are covering in this article, October is peak time for Tautog. Not only because they’re very active, but it’s also the last "comfortable" weather month to target them before the season ends. So it goes without saying that the Game On! lure that I look forward to the most during TogTober is the one and only Rock Bottom Jig.
Our New England fishing season is fast and furious. It starts, and the next thing you know, it’s over. You can simplify your shopping list and get pretty much everything you need from Game On! to get you through the core months of the fishing season. Good luck and tight lines.
Rhode Island Kayak Fishing Adventures LLC