Thursday, May 21, 2020

$1.1-million awarded for wind farm studies, COVID-19 fishing

 Fishing precautions:  You can fish and charter fish in Rhode Island and Massachusetts (May 25) but COVID-19 orders should be followed… six foot separation, mask, gloves when possible, etc.  Photo by Capt. Brian Coombs.

Off the beach:  Ed Manning caught this 20” tautog off Little Compton Beach.  Catching tautog from the beach is often not an easy task. Ed used a tautog rig with green crab.

$1.1-million awarded for wind farm studies, and COVID-19 fishing

Rhode Island, Massachusetts and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced grants worth $1.1 million for four regional studies (verses site specific studies) that will collect data vital to the development of offshore wind and fishing.

INSPIRE Environmental, Newport, in conjunction with the New England Aquarium and Standard Approaches for Acoustic and Imagery Data, will use acoustic telemetry to study highly migratory species.  The initiative will include the acoustic tagging and tracking of species such as tuna and sharks at popular recreational fishing spots in wind farm areas.  The study aims to provide new bassline data on highly migratory species enabling ongoing assessment of any impacts (negative or positive) of offshore wind on highly migratory species and associated recreational fishing.

“Rhode Island is a proud partner in this landmark effort to conduct regional scientific studies on fisheries resources prior to the start of any offshore construction activities,” said Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management Director Janet Coit.  “The selected studies will help to fill data gaps and allow for informed decision-making while paving the way for meeting Rhode Island’s renewable energy goals and advancing climate mitigation efforts.”

Atlantic bluefin tuna closure

The Angling category in the northern area (north of 39°18’ N. lat.) for trophy bluefin tuna closed May 21, 2020 and will remain closed through December 31, 2020. Trophy bluefin tuna are those that measure 73 inches or greater. Note that the Angling category fishery for school, large school, or small medium bluefin tuna 27 to less than 73 inches remains open.  Visit .

COVID-19 Fishing

As a charter captain I plan on implementing a series of guidelines, as part my COVID-19 Plan to get back to fishing with customers.

Earlier this week I fished with a colleague practicing many of these precautions to test them out and added a few based on the experience.

Masks were worm on the vessel and six foot separation was practiced, tackle box remained off limits except for the captain, bait was cut wearing gloves, ideally it should have been put in separate containers for each angler, each of us used our own gear.  Hands were washed or sanitized frequently.

After the fishing trip all gear, tackle and tools touched by anglers were put aside.  The vessel was washed with soap and rinsed thoroughly.  All fishing rods, tackle and tools i.e. plyers, cutting board, knives, filet gloves, tackle were washed in soapy water and rinsed thoroughly.  High touch areas were then disinfected with cleaner.

Fishing is a sport/activity that can be safely implemented in a pandemic bringing solace to individuals and joy to families and friends.  Make sure you take a number of passengers that safely allows six foot separate.  At press time the State is developing such a formula for charter boats based on the length and beam of your vessel.  Visit for details as they are released.

Family/household units are treated differently in that masks and social distancing are not necessary.

The below list of guidelines was developed from proposals made to Governor Gina Raimondo from the American Saltwater Guides Association, the RI Party & Charter Boat Association and standing RI Health Department and executive orders from the Governor.  It is an integral part by my charter fishing business COVID-19 plan and my personal plan for fishing with others recreationally.

No Fluke Fishing LLC, COVID-19 Guidelines

  • Completion of a COVID-19 health screening the day before the trip which would include contact information on all trip participants (name, email address, phone number and city/state of residence) e-mailed to .
  • Passengers also asked to respond to the following question the day before the trip. “Are you or anyone else in your party experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms including fever, cough, difficulty breathing, loss of taste or smell, etc.” 
  • Request that all passengers who are feeling ill or showing any signs of being infected cancel the trip prior to arrival with no penalty for cancellation. 
  • Before boarding the vessel the temperature of passengers, crew and captain will be taken using an infrared thermometer. Any sign of fever, the trip will be postponed or cancelled with no penalty for cancelation. 
  • Limiting the number of clients on board: No Fluke Fishing limits vessel trips to three to four passengers depending on the type of trip.  Phase I State of RI fishing regulations will change as conditions improve; presently they set the boats limit to six passengers plus captain based on the length and beam of the vessel. 
  • Passengers provide their food and drink in small personal container, no communal cooler. 
  • Vessel will practice social distancing (six feet) as required when fishing and when vessel is underway if at all possible.  Passengers must practice social distancing. 
  • Passengers are asked to rinse, wash and sanitize hands regularly.
  • All cabins, commonly touched surfaces, and equipment on the vessel will be sanitized between trips. The entire vessel is thoroughly cleaned at the end of each fishing day. 
  • Charter fees will be collected online whenever possible to encourage paperless transactions. 
  • All persons (captain and passengers) are required to wear face coverings during charter boat operations in accordance with RIDOH regulations.  Gloves are encouraged when possible. 
  • No sharing of gear and tackle, ask captain to get supplies out of cabin and tackle boxes for you.
 Where’s the bite?
 Tautog. Kiana Macedo of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren said, “We weighed in a 25” male tautog last week.”  Ed Manning of Little Compton caught a 20” tautog off Little Compton Beach.  Catching tautog from the beach is often not an easy task. “Customers caught keeper tautog this weekend at the Day Marker and Conimicut Light.  At times there were so many boats fishing these spots it looked like a wagon train.  One customer caught two keepers at the Day Marker but they were in the 16” to 17” range.  Primarily small fish.” said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside.  “The tautog fishing picked up this week with a good bite at General Rock, Plum Light and off Hope Island.” said Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick.  Jeff Ingber of Ocean State Tackle, Providence said, “Last weekend the tautog fishing was off.  Once the front arrived things shut down.”  Dereck Kolodziejczak reports on the RI Saltwater Angler Blog, “We fish all over  Narragansett bay , Newport, Providence for tog Friday, Saturday and Sunday both sides of the tide 10-40’ of water. STRUGGLE CITY!” 

Striped bass.  “Apponaug and East Greenwich Coves, Warwick Light and Bear Point, Prudence Island have all been good for school striped bass fishing.” said Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle. Nathan Heywood of Red Top Sporting Goods, Buzzards Bay, said, “There are a lot of school striped bass in the Cape Cod Canal now with an occasional keeper being caught.  Soft plastics, bait and all types of lures seem to be working.” Jeff Ingber of Ocean State said, “Striped bass in the 22” to 26” range are all over the East Passage and in the West Passage they seem stretched out from Warwick Light to Quonset Point.”  Kiana Macedo of Lucky Bait & Tackle said, “Customers are catching fish all the way up the River to Pawtucket.”  “We have bass in the upper reaches of the Bay.  The bite has been good off Veterans Parkway in front of the orthopedic medical office building, at Bull Point and India Point, Providence.” said Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle.

Freshwater. “Customers are experiencing a good pickerel and largemouth bite at Stump Pond.” said Jeff Ingber of Ocean State.  John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle said, “The largemouth bite is good in area ponds.  Shiners are the bait of choice.”  John Lavallee of Continental Bait & Tackle, Cranston said, “With the cold April we have an extended trout season.  Carbuncle Pond (Coventry) has been very good. But Meadow Brook Pond (Bradford) and Carolina Pond (Richmond) have been great too.”

Fishing is good, so it’s your choice

 Michael Mercer of Riverside with tautog he caught along the Providence River.  Mike said, “The jigs are out producing the hook and sinker rig ten to one.”

 Tautog bite strong:  The tautog bite remains strong in the Bay and along the coastal shore. Derek Kolodziejczak with a tautog caught this week near the Jamestown Bridge.

Fishing is good, so it’s your choice

By week’s end things warmed up and brought on the fish.  The tautog bite was great and we saw an uptick in the school striped bass bite with more keeper size fish in the slot limit of 28” to <35 being="" caught.="" p="">
And, for the very first time we heard reports of summer flounder (fluke) in the area. Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina said, “Commercial boats have started to catch some nice summer flounder (fluke) southwest of Block Island.” Thursday, Capt. Rick Bellavance of the RI Party & Charter Boat Association said, “As of this morning charter boats have found it hard to hook up with fluke south of Block Island.” The hope is that the warm weather will bring in the fluke this week and next.

Anlger Mike Mercer of Riverside said, “The tautog fishing has been tremendous for the past couple of weeks, and gets better every day. The Tog are moving up the bay to spawn, and as they do, I have been following them. Togging up in the Providence River has been red hot. Small crabs on the lightest jig seem to be the ticket. The jigs are out producing the hook and sinker rig ten to one.”

Snug Harbor Marina used tackle sale

Visit for Saturday’s video from Elisa Cahill.  The Snug Harbor Marina annual used tackle sale will take place on June 6 and 7.  They are now taking tackle for the sale.  Anglers can either get a 100 percent credit toward store purchases from the tackle they sell at the sale, or they can take the cash with Snub Harbor receiving a 20 percent commission. Keep checking the Snug Harbor website or Facebook page for sale details. Some of the items available at the sale are often listed.

Keep the haddock and leave overfished cod

In Massachusetts there is a record high haddock population and a record low population of Atlantic cod.  In fact recreational cod fishing north of Cape Cod is not allowed in MA except for one week in September.  However, south of the Cape including RI, there is a 10 fish/person/day limit in place, 21” minimum size.

So no problem when fishing North Cape Cod, just fish for haddock and back off the cod.  But it’s not that easy as both haddock and cod prefer similar habitat and are commonly caught together. The discarded cod that is caught (or bycatch) from haddock anglers is a leading source of mortality for the cod stock.  So the challenge is how do you fish haddock while leaving the cod alone.

State’s solution to haddock fishing

In response to the challenge the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) developed a bycatch avoidance tool and using cod and haddock density data from trawl surveys. You can view the guide with fishing maps and a downloadable fishing app at

Where’s the bite?

Freshwater. “Heavy –medium sized shiners are the bait of choice for anglers targeting bass.  However, not many anglers are targeting trout.  Most are focusing on largemouth bass as well as saltwater fishing.” said Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence.  John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle Riverside, said, “The wind this weekend was creating whitecaps even on ponds and lakes.  Some anglers have been targeting small ponds where they can get out of the wind.  Anglers are catching carp in the four to five pound ranger at Slater Park Pond in Pawtucket.”

Striped bass.  Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina said, “At one point surfcasters fishing the beach near the Ocean Mist Restaurant, South Kingstown said the water was bubbling with school striped bass.  More bass than they ever have seen in one place before.”  Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle said, “Striped bass are spotty but all over the Bay with the bite in the East Passage being best.  Keeper fish have been caught all the way up to Providence and East Providence in the Rivers.” Jeff Miller of Canal Bait & Tackle, Sagamore said, “The school bass bite with 29” and 30” keepers mixed in is pretty strong in the Cape Cod Canal now.  Soft plastics are working well.” East End Eddie Doherty of Mattapoisett said this week, “I’ve only been out to the Ditch (Cape Cod Canal) a few times, but caught a 24 inch striper on a white Hurley Canal Killer at first light. I put him back after telling him that I was looking for his grandfather!”

Tautog. Keeper fish (16” or larger) are being caught all over the Bay and along the coast in the 18” and 19” range.  At press time, not many large fish have been taken.  Anlger Derek Kolodziejczak of Johnston said, “Fished some rock piles Friday north and south of Jamestown Bridge from 12 to 20 feet with green crabs and did well.  Fished later in the weekend from shore in Providence and did well too. The spring season has not a disappointment.”  Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor said “The bite is on all along the coast, customers are doing well with tautog.”  Henault from Ocean State said, “Tautog fishing is very, very good. Green crabs and jigs are working well.”  “Bold Point and the dock at the new orthopedic building off the Veterans Memorial Parkway, East Providence is producing.”

Charter fishing with in-state residents allowed

 Good tautog bite:  Capt. Monti with a tautog caught at Plum Island Light, North Kingstown this week.  The bite has been good there and all over the Narragansett and Buzzards Bay.

Salmon and trout bite hot:  Tom Mihalko (right) of Warwick and fishing friend Harry Culler of Coventry with some of the trout and salmon (to 25”) they caught on the Wood River last week.

Charter fishing with in-state residents allowed

In Rhode Island charter boats can fish with in-state resident passengers as long as social distancing and all other orders are followed. However, out of state anglers are not allowed to fish here unless quarantined for 14 days.

In a joint letter to Governor Gina Raimondo, the American Saltwater Guides Association and the RI Party & Charter Boat Association asked the Governor to consider allowing out of state anglers to fish on charter boats as soon as it is safe.

Capt. Rick Bellavance, president of the RIPCBA said, “About 80 percent of our customers are out of state residents so allowing them to fish here is vitally important to our industry.”  In the same letter Peter Jenkins, owner of the Saltwater Edge, Middletown and chairman of the board of the American Saltwater Guides Association said, “We propose a number of preventative actions that our industry members are prepared to take.”  Actions included assessing the health of passages, wearing approved face covering and gloves and a cleaning protocol.

Time for tautog fishing

The spring tautog bite is on in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.  Minimum size is 16” with a three fish/person/day limit (and a ten fish boat limit).  The limit in Massachusetts drops to one fish on June 1, however, in Rhode Island it closes two months in June and July during the spawning season.

Here are five tips on how to catch them.

Find structure to find tautog.  Tautog can be fished from shore or boat and in both cases they like structure (rocks, wrecks, bridge piers, dock pilings, mussel beds, ledges holes and humps along the coast).  So, no structure, no tautog.

Fish where the fish are.  This is particularly true with tautog because they are a territorial species, you have to find the tautog.  They are not going to find you.  So if you get no bites move to another spot.  When you find them, you find them and the bite is on. 

Boat placement is important.  Find structure, estimate wind/drift direction and anchor up current from where you want to fish and drift back to the spot as the anchor is setting.  Cover as much area as you can fishing all around the boat.  If still no bites let some anchor line out to change your position, if still no bites it is time to move the vessel.

Tautog baits. Green crabs or Asian crabs are the baits of choice in the fall.  However soft baits like calm worm and clams are often used in spring as some angler believe the tautog like soft baits this time of year. When using green crabs make it easy for the tautog to bite and take the bait.  I like to break off most of the legs and claws leaving one per side on the end, cut the crab in half and hook it through one leg socket and out another. 

Tautog rigs should have as little hardware as possible to avoid bottom tie-ups. I make single hook rigs with about seven or eight feet of monofilament line and attach it to the main braid line directly with a dropper for a pre-snelled ‘Lazar Sharp’ brand hook (you need sharp hooks to get through tough tautog lips).  I also use a special egg singer rig to avoid tie-ups, jigs and snafu rigs depending on conditions and bottom type. 

Where’s the bite?

Tautog.  Angler Jeff Sullivan of Bristol County spoke with me at Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren.  Sullivan said, “The tautog bite is real strong everywhere.  Anglers are catching them out in front and in the Bay, off jetties from shore and over rock piles on a boat.”  Tom Coots of Red Top Sporting Goods, Buzzards Bay said, “The west end of the Canal is yielding tautog, but the bite really turned on in Buzzards Bay this week with anglers catching keepers on the east side at the old entrance to the Canal, Cleveland Ledge and on rock piles in throughout the Bay

Striped bass fishing is outstanding.  Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle said, “Soft plastics like Al Gag’s Whip-It-Eel are doing well in white, pink and confetti. Other fish are being taken in the Seekonk River with clam sea worms.  We also have a good squid bite going on.”  Hayes of Quaker Lane said, “Striped bass fishing continues to improve with some larger keeper fish in the 29” to 30” range being caught too.”  Tom Coots of Red Top Sporting Goods said, “We now have school bass in the Cape Cod Canal and some keepers be caught in Buttermilk Bay and in the rivers.”

Freshwater fishing remains hot with a great trout and largemouth bass bite.  Anglers Tom Mihalko of Warwick and Harry Culler, Coventry caught twenty fish last week, both Salmon and trout on the Wood River with one salmon weighing 4 pounds and measuring 25”.  Tom said, “A really amazing, unforgettable time. When we launched at 6:00 a.m. there was ice on the ramp and the grass, fog on the water…, after the fog lifted and sun hit the water the fish bite exploded.”  Jeff Sullivan said, “Bass are prespawn so they are in low water at the banks as the water starts to warm.  The males appear first followed shortly after by the females.  Swim baits, spinning bait and jigs are working well. The Brickyard Pond locally yielding some nice bass too.” 

Fresh and salt bite hot, so it’s your choice

 Double Gold:  Ted Zack, Aquidneck Island Rod Builders, with two golden trout caught one after another this week. Visit for trout stocked waterways and golden trout program details.

 First freshwater license: Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown, shares her success at freshwater fishing with four trout caught in South County. 

First keeper:  One of the 23” to 28” school bass Jon Pickering caught from his kayak earlier this week.  Photo from .

Fresh and salt bite hot, so it’s your choice

This week anglers have been fishing both fresh and saltwater with success. Ponds stocked with trout in Rhode Island and Massachusetts (see links below) have been exploding with good size trout and spring striped bass have invaded our southern coast shore, ponds, bays and inlets.

Neil Hayes of Quaker Lane Bait & Tackle, North Kingstown said, “In addition to PowerBait and worms, customers are now using spinners and silver spoons for trout.  One of our customers caught a 3.85 pound rainbow trout.  Barber Pond and Silver Spring Lake have been yielding great trout.”

On the saltwater side anglers are getting keeper tautog but fishing has been sluggish.  Mike Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters, Westerly said, “School striper fishing has exploded along coastal beaches, up the Pawcatuck River and in coves, bays and estuaries. We have an abundance of jumbo silversides in the water with shad (herring) all the way up the Pawtucket River that is attaching stripers.” Dave Pickering, expert striper fisherman and author said, “My son, Jon, got the first keeper in the family in this new year early in the week from his kayak… he landed quite a few decent fish from 23 to 28 inches.”

Enhance you catch & release skills

The 2020 fishing regulation for striped bass is one fish/person/day in the slot limit of 28” to < 35”.  National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data shows that 90 percent of the striped bass caught by anglers are released back into the water.  This is good for conservation, however, NOAA urges anglers enhance their catch & release skills to decrease the mortality rate of released fish. 

Use the right gear and tackle

A single inline hook on lures is recommended.  If your lure has treble hooks consider change them or snapping down the barbs on each of the hooks with a needle nose plyer.  You’ll minimize the damage to a feisty fish with fewer hooks.  I also try not to muscle in these fish as their lips and mouths are small and weak.  Take it easy on them but bring them to the boat as quickly as possible to minimize fish exhaustion.

This year in Massachusetts circle hooks are required when targeting striped bass with bait and next year Rhode Island will likely have the same regulation.  Circle hooks tend to hook fish on the corner of the mouth rather than hooking them in the gut or throat like ‘J’ hooks.

Other catch & release tactics include keeping fish in the water as much as possible when removing hook; use gloves and/or wet your hand before handling the fish as dry hands remove the fish’s protective slime layer and leave it open to infection; gently remove the hook to minimize damage; return fish to water quickly and place them gently in the water in upright horizontal position.  Move it back and forth in the water holding its tail to force water across its gills.  Once fish revives, allow it to swim away.


My personal favorite in the early spring is to use lightweight rods and reels as they provide anglers with the most challenging fight. I have a couple of light Penn rods and reels ready to go along with a couple of  St. Croix Mojo light and medium inshore spinning rods  paired with Shimano Stella 4000 reels.  The Shimano Stella reels are spooled with 20 pound braid and 20 pound fluorocarbon leaders just like the Penn rigs (use these for bonito and false albacore too).

When a bass smacks your lure and runs with it there’s nothing more exciting.  With an abundance of small fish around the past couple of years most experts expect that fishing for school bass will be hot once again this year.

Where to find the fish

Like most fish, finding spring striped bass is all about the bait.  Much of the bait in the spring is herring, or Atlantic menhaden.  So if you find the bait, the odds of finding the fish are dramatically improved.

An incoming tide is my preference.  Casting around jetties, sandbars, holes, ledges or small pieces of structure has been successful.  The idea is to cast into eddies, and just beyond them, that have been created by the incoming tide whirling around the structure.  Often times we cast in front of the structure, or if a sandbar in the low water on top of it, and then pull the lure away from the structure.  In this way your lure is acting much the same way a bait fish acts when it gets pushed up on the structure.   

Where’s the bite?

If fishing this week stay COVID-19 safe.  Keep six foot social distancing, no groups of more than five, and wear a mask or scarf when near others. State parks in Rhode Island are closed, so there is no parking. Call ahead to find out how your bait shop is servicing customers.

Freshwater.  Lorraine Danti of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren said “Customer Ted Zack of Aquidneck Island Rod Builders caught two golden trout this week”.  Zack said, “What a way to start the day. First golden ever then another one on the next fish! Going on the smoker now.”  Mike Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters said the trout bite is outstanding at Barber Pond and all stocked waterways.” Visit for a list of stocked ponds and regulations in Massachusetts and if in Rhode Island visit .

Striped bass. Anglers are catching school bass where there is bait (Atlantic menhaden and herring). Neil Hayes of Quaker Lane said “The school bass bite is good at the West Wall, on coastal beaches and in bays and estuaries.”

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Commission approves addendum for public comment… striped bass getting a haircut

 Striped bass bite ‘lights out’ at Block Island:  Striped bass caught early morning on the southwest side while fellow anglers continue to jig for bass on C-Devil Charters with Capt. Kelly Smith. 
Dave Garzoli found bonito Sunday off Charlestown Beach.  He hooked three of the speedster on a small Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow.

Commission approves addendum for public comment… striped bass getting a haircut

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) with a 16 to 0 unanimous vote Thursday, approved Addendum VI to the striped bass management plan for public comment.  The aim of the addendum is to reduce harvest by 18 percent.
A number of reduction options will be put out for public comment so new regulations for striped bass can be enacted for the 2020 fishing season.  The most recent stock assessment shows the stock is overfished and overfishing is occurring.

Both commercial and recreational fisheries will be taking a cut, however, how much of a cut each sector takes is outlined in Addendum VI options.  One option (2) calls for an equal reduction of 18 percent in both sectors, and in option (3) the commercial sector takes a smaller percentage reduction of 1.8 percent and the recreational sector takes a 20 percent reduction.  The rationale for this option is that the commercial fishery is managed via a static quota system which keeps effort and removals relatively constant from year to year, while the recreational management program does not have a harvest limit. This has allowed recreational effort and, therefore, removals to increase with resource availability and other social and economic factors.

Highlights of recreational options going out for public comment between August and October include:

Option 1: status quo… keep things as they are now which will do nothing in achieving the required harvest reductions.
Option 2:   Has multiple components. It calls for the recreational and commercial sectors to both absorb an 18% harvest reduction from 2017 levels. To achieve this in the recreational sector they are offering three sub-options, all options would maintain the existing season for striped bass, which is year round for recreational anglers in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Option 2-A1:  One fish at 35" minimum for ocean states which would result in and 18 percent reduction

Option 2-A2:  One fish between a 28"-34" slot which would result in a 19 percent reduction

Option 2-A3:  One fish between a 32"-40" slot which would result in a 21 percent reduction

An additional sub-option was suggested at the meeting, which is to include a slot size limit with a 30” minimum size and a maximum size limit that meets the required reduction.  Circle hooks for striped bass bait fishing is also offered in Amendment VI with three options for the public to comment on.  The Addendum also has options for the Chesapeake Bay fishery, which historically have been different.

Patrick Paquette, a fish advocate and former president to the Massachusetts Striped Bass Association, commented to commissioners prior to their vote, “We are wasting the public’s time if they are not able to comment on the fact that Addendum VI has only a 50 percent chance of being successful in meeting mandated reductions.  The public should be given the opportunity to comment on this as well.”

Visit for details on what was approved for public comment in both commercial and recreational fishing sectors as the original Draft Addendum VI has changed via striped bass board input and approval.

Where’s the bite?

Striped bass and bluefish. Capt. Rick Bellavance of Priority Too Charters and president of the Rhode Island Party & Charter Boat Association, said, “Striped bass fishing was fantastic his week at the southwest corner of Block Island.  The bite is good in the morning as well as the afternoon.  Polyjig parachutes are working for us.  Others are catching bass on eels.” Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence, said, “It’s been lights out striped bass fishing at Block Island with eels and at the Cape Cod Canal for the past week.  Law enforcement has cracked down on poaching on the Canal and last week issued over $8,000 in fines on the weekend.  The fishing was so good there bass were swimming between anglers legs as the bass had pushed bait up close to shore.”  East End Eddie, noted Canal fisherman and author said, “I caught a 34 inch striped bass this morning (Tuesday) on the Canal on an early west tide and the guy next to me landed a 35 incher. I stopped at Red Top Sporting Goods (Buzzards Bay) and while I was there owner Tom Coots told me that Jacob, an associate there, caught a 50 pound fish last night at 5:00 p.m. in the Canal on a surface plug. He released the fish, but it bottomed out his 50 pound BogaGrip scale so it was probably heavier than 50!” Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick, said, “We had a customer put out an eel while black sea bass fishing at Seal Rock off Newport.  Shortly after a 50 pound bass bit the eel.  It took the angler 20 minutes to land the fish.”  John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle said, “The snapper bluefish bite has improved in our coves and estuaries.” Anglers have also caught blues on the surface in the East Passage as well as in the Sakonnet River.

Summer flounder, scup and black sea bass.  Balck sea bass fishing continues to be good at Block Island.  Anglers are drifting on the southwest side of Block Island and are doing well with black sea bass.  John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle said, “Shore anglers at Colt State Park, Sabin’s Point and other mid and upper Bay areas continue to do well catching scup.  Customers have not had a good week for summer flounder as the bite seems to be off in the Bay.” Capt. Rick Bellavance said, “Black sea bass fishing could not be better with easy limits of 18” to 20” blue male fish common.  A simple one hook rig with squid is all you need.  Monster scup ae mixed in too.  The summer flounder bite has been difficult with some dog fish, however some sharpies have been able to catch fluke.”  Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle said, “The Bay is warm so angler are doing much better south of the Newport and Jamestown Bridges and out in front.  Scup, black sea bass are being caught at Seal Ledge and Brenton Reef.”

Bonito have been off the southern coastal shore.  Dave Garzoli said, “Two for three with bonito Sunday in the Charlestown beach area. Small Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow worked well.  First found a few birds moving fast over them. Figured it was bonito. Stayed in the area and made a ton of blind casts to eventually hook up.”

Freshwater.  Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait said, “A 6.5 pound, 25” largemouth bass was caught at Gorton Pond in Warwick.  The customer was fishing from the town deck, he saw the largemouth circle his bait but did not take the minnow.  Shortly after a small turtle made a move for the shiner and before he got there the largemouth came up and took the minnow.  That largemouth wasn’t going let that turtle take ‘his’ minnow.” John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle said, “Fishing for largemouth bass has been good.  Last week we weighed in a seven pound bass a customer caught at Only Pond, Lincoln Woods.  He was fishing for sun fish with his kids using worms and the largemouth took the worm.”  Dave Henault of Ocean State said, “The largemouth bite continues to be good a Twin Rivers, Stump Pond and Only Pond in Lincoln.”

How to catch larger fluke

 Winning bass: Jude Monti of Warwick with the 14.5 pound striped bass that took first place in the Youth Division of the ‘Fishing for Fibromyalgia Striped Bass Tournament'.
No Fluke:  Steve Brustein of West Warwick with a 26” fluke he caught Sunday coming out of the deep water trench at Austin Hollow, Jamestown.

How to catch larger fluke

Anglers are catching a lot of summer flounder (fluke) but the fish are undersized. In Rhode Island the minimum size is 19”, six fish/person/day, and in Massachusetts the minimum size is 17”, five fish/person/day.

Mike Cardinal of Misquamicut Bait & Tackle said, “Fluke fishing along the southern coastal shore is tough, anglers are catching plenty of small fish but not a lot of keepers.  It’s about 30 shorts to one keeper.”  Michael Callahan of Red Top Sporting Goods, Buzzards Bay said, “Fluke fishing has been difficult in Buzzards Bay but things are improving a bit for anglers with larger fish.”

Most all of the large fluke we have caught on my charter boat have been on edges or in deeper water this time of year.  Summer flounder look into the current to ambush bait fish, and the larger ones like to use edges for cover.  What I mean by edges is bottom structure such as reefs, channel edges, flat areas at the foot of jetties, open sandy spaces between bottom structure, the edges of underwater valleys, etc. 

Another important factor is water movement.  When water is warm in August fish often can be found in deeper water and/or water that is moving and tossing around bait such as bridge abutments, jetty and channel edges, etc.

I also like to use a large bait to catch larger fluke and often tip my squid rig with squid, silversides or spearing and often add a piece of fluke belly.  I do not catch as many fish with this rig but the fish we do catch are larger.

Search ‘larger fluke’ when you visit my blog at for tips from the experts on how to catch larger fluke.

Favorite Places to catch fluke
Channel breaks in and around Warwick Neck light
Channel breaks and edges around the Jamestown and Newport bridges
Drop off areas on the North West corner of Dutch Island
Underwater valley off the southeast side of Dutch Island
Areas off URI’s Bay Campus
Austin’s Hollow (an underwater valley) off the west side of Jamestown
Beavertail in deep water off the west side
Southern Rhode Island coastal beaches… Watch Hill, Charlestown, in front of the five cottages, etc.
The center wall of the Harbor of Refuge
Newport at any number of deep water brakes off Seal Ledge and Brenton Reef, often 80’ of water
At the mouth of Hull and Mackerel Coves off Jamestown at the drop-offs
Off Block Island… the North Rip, Cow Cove on the north end, along the State beach on the east side, the south side of the Island in and around the wind farm area, the East Grounds, three miles off Block Island

Jude Monti takes Tournament youth division

Jude Monti, age 12 of Warwick, took the Youth Division of the first annual ‘Fishing for Fibromyalgia Striped Bass Tournament’ with a 14.5 pound striped bass.  Mike Mcgee took first place in the kayak division.
Organizer Richard Geldard said, “The Tournament (which was held July 20) was sponsored by Snug Harbor Marina, On The Water Magazine and Massachusetts General Hospital. “

Jenn Monti, Jude Monti’s mother said, “My husband (Jimmy) signed Jude up at the last minute when they were buying bait that Friday.  He was so excited to win. There is nothing he would rather win a trophy for!”  Richard Geldard said, “We had 24 entries, a good start for a tournament we plan to hold annually.”

Where’s the bite?

Summer flounder (fluke) fishing remained mixed this week with some large fish being taken but anglers had to work for them.  Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “The fluke fishing has really been a toss of the coin, good fishing one drift and then nothing on the next. The beginning of the week saw the best action with fluke to 10 pounds.”  On Sunday Steve Brustein of West Warwick caught a 26” fluke on the north end of Austin Hollow, Jamestown coming out of the 70 foot trench in 38 feet of water. Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box, Warwick said, “We had a 25” fish caught off Prudence Island last weekend.”  Mike Cardinal of Misquamicut Bait & Tackle said, “Fluke fishing along the southern coastal shores is tough, anglers are catching plenty of small fish but not a lot of keepers.  It’s about 30 shorts to one keeper.”

Striped bass fishing has been mixed.  Many reports of school bass in lower Narragansett Bay area with keepers mixed in.  “We weighed in a 25 and a 28 pound striped bass this weekend caught in the Gould Island to Prudence Island area.” said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside.  Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box, Warwick, said, “This weekend we had customers travel to Block Island and caught no bass, yet when they returned to Narragansett Bay they hooked up with school bass (some keepers mixed in) at the Jamestown Bridge.  Fishing at Block Island has been good.  Mike Cardinal of Misquamicut Bait & Tackle said, “They are hooking up with many large fish, almost too many in my book. Fishing from shore, particularly at the breachways has been good.  A lot of school bass with keepers mixed in.”  Neil Hayes of Quaker Lane Bait & Tackle said, “Striped bass fishing at Block Island is very good.  Anglers continue to catch fish at night and during the day with eels and on the troll as well.  Shore anglers are catching keeper striped bass too with Brenton Reef yielding fish but nothing like Block Island.”

Black sea bass and scup.  Scup fishing is good.  Customers are catching 15” fish in the Bay and the black sea bass bite has been good.  Very large sea bass off Pt. Judith Light.” said Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box.  John Littlefield said, “We have had a lot of scup caught at Sabin Point and Colt State Park with balck sea bass being caught at Colt State Park.  For some reason the black sea bass do not travel to the upper Providence River areas.”

“Freshwater fishing customers are crushing it.” said Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box.  “The largemouth bass bite has been very good.  Anglers are finding success with top water lures early morning and at dusk, and are fishing a bit deeper during the day when water is warm.” said Giddings.  Neil Hayes of Quaker Lane said, “The small and largemouth bass bite has been very good.  Indian Lake (South Kingstown) is yielding fish for customers.” John Littlefield said, “We weighted in a 5.5 pound largemouth last week.”