Capt. BJ Silvia with an 11.5 pound tautog caught Sunday.
New regulations for striped bass and black sea bass
On Tuesday the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) enacted a new regulation to help prevent the illegal harvest and sale of Atlantic striped bass. The new rule requires recreational anglers to clip the right pectoral fin of striped bass 34 inches or larger at the time of harvest.
The new regulation was adopted with considerable public input to help prevent “stockpiling” – which occurs when fish are harvested on a day closed to commercial fishing and then offered for sale on an open day; they also address fish being illegally transported and sold in neighboring states.
“Our local harvest supports the health of our families, economy and way of life. And protecting the viability of our stock and ensuring fish are legally harvested and sold are responsibilities we take very seriously. These new regulations are critical to supporting the continued vibrancy of the striped bass fishery, and I thank the Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council for its leadership in engaging the public around this important topic and working to protect our state’s marine resources.” said DEM Director Janet Coit.
Black sea bass
Many recreational anglers are not happy with black sea bass total allowable catch limits, however, many are praising what will likely be the new recreational regulation here in RI this year. The minimum size will now be 15” with a three fish/person/day limit between June 15 and August 31, and a seven fish/person/day catch limit between September 1 and December 31.
Both the Rhode Island Party & Charter Boat Association and the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association agreed on this option at the last public hearing and it was recommended by the RI Marine Fisheries Council at their last meeting.
“I knew if I let up the fish would be gone”
“This bass hit when I had about 75% of my cast retrieved. I waited a bit before setting the hook as I have been setting it too early. I waited until I felt the weight, the rod bend and then set the hook. I just kept the pressure on the fish because I knew that if I let up the fish would be gone. It took about two minutes to land.” said Brandon Migliore of Sterling, CT (formerly of Coventry) about the record 11.2 pound largemouth bass he caught this weekend at Johnson’s Pond, Rhode Island.
Migliore said, “My fishing partner and friend Mathew Sheldon and I have been fishing this area for over fifteen years in hunt for a record breaking largemouth… week after week, month after month, year after year. It’s hard to believe we did it. I give a lot of credit to Mathew; he is a great fisherman and has taught me a lot. Just minutes before I landed this fish, Mathew caught an eight pound largemouth. And, when my fish came close to shore the rod was bend in half, Mathew was on his toes and rushed to lip the fish.”
Brandon was using 30 pound braid line and a St. Croix fishing rod. Dave Mooney of Sandy Bottom Bait & Tackle, Coventry where Migliore weighed in his fish said Sunday, “The fish just left here. We had kept it alive for a while in our tank and then it just rolled on its side and gave up. Brandon was using a Magnum Jitterbug top water lure he bought here.”
The 11.2 pound largemouth bass will be a new state record if the catch is certified and approved by the Department of Environmental Management (DEM). The 10.6 pound largemouth bass holding the record was caught in 1991 at Carbuncle Pond.
NOAA releases recreational fishing plans
On a national level, NOAA’s Fisheries has been increasing efforts to better support saltwater recreational fishing and recreational fisheries issues. In 2015, NOAA Fisheries published a National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Policy and a National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Implementation Plan. The policy highlighted six key principles intended to guide NOAA in considering the development and promotion of sustainable high quality saltwater recreational fisheries. Each region now has an implementation plan (visit www.fisheries.noaa.gov for a link to the Greater Atlantic Regional Implementation Plan as well as national and other regional plans).
The recreational fisheries that NOAA manages include cod, haddock, many flounders, Atlantic bluefish, black sea bass, scup, striped bass, tautog, and weakfish. They also are responsible for the management of other recreationally caught and/or forage species such as Atlantic herring, Atlantic mackerel, squid, and butterfish. These species provide an important food source for recreationally sought-after fishes such as striped bass, tuna, and sharks.
For more information, contact Moira Kelly, Greater Atlantic Regional Coordinator for recreational fisheries, at 978-281-9218 or email her at email@example.com.
Where’s the bite
“Striped bass are everywhere. Customers are catching school size bass in Warren, Providence, Barrington and Jamestown, all over the Bay. The largest fish so far has been 32.” said Manny Macedo of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren. Maridee Bait & Canvas of Narragansett reports that all the action this week has been at the West Wall (South Kingstown) for school striped bass and they have started to catch a few keepers. Noted local shore angler Steve McKenna said, “The striped bass bite is very, very good. I have been fishing in Narragansett and there are a lot of school bass around. This is encouraging.” John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside, said, “We weighed in a 32”, 34” and a 37” striped bass this weekend. All were caught at Sabin Point, East Providence with anglers using menhaden chunks or clam worms. Customer Albert Bettencourt said he has been catching 20 to 27 inch fish at the Squantum Club, East Providence and all around the upper portion of the Bay.” Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown said, “The school bass are getting larger, almost keeper size (28”), and they are everywhere Matunuck, the Charlestown Breachway, the West Wall… everywhere.”
Freshwater fishing this week was topped-off with Brandon Migliore’s record 11.2 pound largemouth bass caught at Johnson’s Pond. Manny Macedo of Lucky Bait said, “The trout bite has been very, very good with night crawlers now the bait of choice. Anglers are catching fish at Melville Pond and Olney Pond, Lincoln Woods.” “Freshwater anglers are targeting bass and trout. I have sold about 20 dozen shiners toady and it’s only 10:30 a.m.” said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle.
Tautog fishing is just starting to heat up with anglers catching shorts with some keepers mixed in. No major reports of people limiting out with their three fish, however, keeper fish are being caught. Many Macedo of Lucky Bait said, “It’s rocks and docks for tautog and customers are catching them at the Stone Bridge, Tiverton and Ohio Ledge in the East Passage of the Bay. Anglers are using worms, Asian and green crabs with some old timers using quahogs with success.” Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina said, “The commercial rod and reel fishermen are limiting out on tautog (ten fish) fishing in shallow water along the southern coastal shore using green crabs.” Capt. BJ Silvia of Flippin’ Out Charters landed an 11.5 pound tautog Sunday and said, “I let her go so you can catch her when she is 15 pounds.” “It’s hit or miss with tautog. One day the bite was good at Conimicut Light and the next the bite was off. They were catching a lot of small fish at the Wharf Tavern, Warren but they were at 6 to 8 inches.” said Littlefield of Archie’s Bait.
Cod fishing was off this week compared to others. Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet, Narragansett said, “Cod fish were moving around an awful lot and they are scattered into smaller groups now that spawning is over. Each trip this week produced some fish but there was no sustained bite. Still it has been several years since we consistently caught cod fish all through the month of April. There were a handful of the cod that came over the rails that tipped the scales in the mid to upper teens this week.”