Monday, February 4, 2013
Cinder Worm Hatches & Striped Bass in Rhode Island
Aside of opening day the next big fishing event for fly anglers in Rhode Island is the Cinder Worm Hatch. Many anglers have been fishing for striped bass during this event. What triggers these worms to emerge? What drives striped bass into the salt ponds to feed on these small creatures which range in size from 1" up to 3"? Taking my own historical data into consideration here are what I believe are some of the factors and conditions to look for.
· Spring moons (New & Full ~ April & May) with the most dramatic high & lows.
· Water temperature
I have found that spring moons dictate to these little creatures when it is time for them to perform their mating swarm. When water temps reach the mid 50's around these moon tides it triggers the mating swarm. In many instances it seems the first batch of Cinder Worms Hatch in the further most reaches of the salt ponds where the water flow & temperature remains a constant. Once the emergence occurs in these areas, after a few evenings the hatch seems to emerge itself out and we find no more hatches occur in these areas. As water temps begin to rise throughout the pond hatches will occur in various areas. Thus explaining why worm hatches may appear in areas which may only be 100 yards apart. After a mild winter in 2011 we found hatch as early as mid-April. Mild winter water temps lead me to believe that this has a factor in the emergence; this also seems to be the case when we experience a cold front with big incoming tides which drop the water temps in the midst of good hatch nights. On those cold front nights worm hatches are null and void. Example: In May of 2010 we had some consistent nights with prolific hatches. Water temps approached 60 degrees. On one evening we had a cold front come in and the water dropped to the low 50's. Was this a shock to the worms or are water temps a dictating factor. I have also found that as May progresses and we find consistent rise in water temps throughout the salt pond, I have found myself in the presence of worms close to the outflows where water temps remain in the mid 50's to 60 degrees. Once the water temps hold in the mid 60's and we are working hatches closer to the outflow it seems the hatch is winding down.
What effect do tides have: Once we have consistent hatches and worms are secreting eggs & sperm phermonal activity drive striped bass into the salt ponds. Moderate tides seem to be the best as strong moon tide may on occasion bring cooler water sometimes slowing hatches.
Indicators of Hatching Areas: Seagulls & Swans both of which feed on worms, as a boat and wade angler as I seek out likely spots for worm emergence I look both feathered creatures. They feed on worms. On almost every occasion when I find a flock of either gulls or swans in a particular cove it is almost certain they will be worms emerging that evening. Nature has a way of letting us know what is about to happen.
Lets face it, Rhode Island anglers are positioned perfectly to intercept striped bass as they make the run from wintering areas. Striped bass in route to spring and summer feeding grounds such as Narragansett Bay are intercepted by swarms of mating worms. It reminds me of when I am looking for a nice place to eat and I am driving Atwells Avenue on Federal. The restaurant with the strongest smell of garlic is my place.
As for myself, I put 20 to 30 days on the water with and without clients during the cinder worm swarms. My post is not is purely observation, historical data and time on the water. The combination of the three factors above are what I have experience to be the combination of important elements which could make or break a night of successful angling during the last weeks of April through the first two weeks of June.
Captain David S.Porreca