RE:First report of keeper bass received!
If the schoolies settle in they will hit all day this time of year, but for big fish I'd target off hours as you already know. This is not to say they won't be around, if you work th herring runs specifically you might tease a spring runner mid-day. BTW - they run into the inshore shoals on the incoming as well, and one never knows if you'll find the fish hanging outside of the river mouths at the bottom of the tide at daybreak if you find a stake-out channel where they can ambush the herring on their way in.
Sounds wishy-washy but all I can say is the more options you try, the more successes you encounter. There are spots on the bayside flats that are best at low, and spots all over that are best at high - as well as everything in between tides. I'd put my money on time of day fishing over tide phase as the summer arrives, but this time of year the fish are pretty anxious. "Fish are where ever you find them" as they say.
Good luck, I am unable to attend the RI clave this weekend due to appointments up north. I have a feeling they will be in THICK! Can't wait to read the report!