Saturday, April 22, 2017

Tautog fishing tips from the experts

 John Migliori caught his first trout of the season Monday at Melville Pond, Portsmouth on his first cast and then went on to limit out using a spinner bait. Trout fishing is still very good and less crowded.
 Slow retrieve worked: At 2:00 p.m. on opening day Tim Jacobs of Richmond had little trouble reeling in rainbow trout using a trout spinner bait with a slow retrieve.
 Jason Howell of Narragansett hooked up with school striped bass at Narrow River.
Steve Brustein of Portland, Maine with a spring tautog he caught last year in Narragansett Bay.
Tautog fishing tips from the experts

The spring tautog season opened April 15 and runs through May 31 with a three fish/person/day limit and a ten fish per boat limit (does not apply to charter boats). Tautog fishing is fun and there’s a certain knack to it as it takes a lot of concentration and a quick hook set. 

Here are some of my favorite tautog fishing tips I’ve learned from the experts. 

·       Keep rig simple to reduce tie ups, I prefer an egg sinker rig with one hook extended below the sinker on a swivel, or a one hook conventional rig with a dropper loop and sinker
·       Anchor over or near structure, and fish the entire boat or area, even casting a bit as tautog are territorial, a few feet make a difference, also let anchor line in and out to change position
·       Be prepared to chum as needed, I use a mixture of cut-up sea clams and crushed crabs
·       I use 40 to 50 pound braid line to enhance a direct connection to the fish and the line does not stretch when the fish tries to run back into structure, my fishing rod is a medium action rod
·       Your rig should be on the bottom, be patient, pay attention and be prepared to set hook quickly
·       Be prepared to fish different types of rigs and bait presentations depending on conditions and what fish want i.e. jigs with bait, green crabs as bait, Asian crabs, conventional rigs, etc.

Fishermen sought to serve as independent representatives

Deepwater Wind, developer of the Block Island Wind Farm, is looking for at least two Rhode Island fishermen to serve as independent representatives of the local fishing fleet in connection with the development of the South Fork Wind Farm at Cox’s Ledge. 

The independent fishing representatives from both the commercial and recreational sectors will help disseminate information to the fishing community and help facilitate communication between fishermen and Deepwater Wind. They will also serve as the primary point of contact for any area fishermen with questions or concerns about the offshore wind farm or transmission cable. This is a great opportunity for those active in commercial or recreational fishing as these representatives will serve as an important link between Deepwater Wind and the fishing community.

Interested fishermen with home ports at Point Judith or elsewhere in Rhode Island should visit www.dwwind.com/fishing-reps  for more information.

With this late notice in the Providence Journal I called Aileen Kenney, vice president of permitting & environmental for Deep Water Wind.  Ms. Kenney said, “We ask that applicants forward cover letters and resumes as close to the April 21 deadline as possible via mail or email.”   

Fishing for a Cause Tournament

The 7th annual Schwartz Center/Meeting Street Fishing for a Cause Tournament to raise money for students with special needs is now registering fishing participants and dinner guests for their June 23rd and 24th fundraiser. 
Charter captains are offering their vessels and personal skills as fishing guides to take participants fishing in the recreational tournament
Fishing for a Cause has raised more than $800,000 in its history. “The incredible success of this tournament is due to the increase of corporate groups over the past seven years,” said John M. Kelly, President of Meeting Street.
More than 100 fishermen and women are expected to participate in the two-day catch and release tournament. Upon the culmination of the tournament participants and guests will gather for a catered seaside dinner in New Bedford emceed by comedian Lenny Clarke
For more information about this year’s event or to donate your vessel and services visit http://www.meetingstreet.org/FFAC or contact Beatriz Oliveira at The Schwartz Center 508-742-6425.

Squid fishing and tube & worm seminar

Learn the basics of squid fishing on a party boat from expert angler Tom Wood and then learn the technique of fishing with tube and worm from fishing author and guide Charley Soares on April 24, 7:00 p.m. at the West Warwick Elks Lodge, 60 Clyde Street, West Warwick.  “The Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association meeting will focus on when to fish deep vs near the top for squid as well as the best squid lures and gear to use.” said Tom Wood. Charles Soares said, “The uniqueness of the tube and worm is that it catches numerous species along with stripers from five to fifty ponds.”  Non-members welcome with a $10 donation to the RISAA Scholarship Fund, members attend free.  Visit www.risaa.org for details.

Where’s the bite

Freshwater fishing continues to be very strong.  “A customer caught a 3.5 pound largemouth bass at Brickyard Pond in Barrington this week.” said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside.  “Anglers are doing very well with largemouth bass, we sold a lot of shiners this weekend.” said Craig Mancini of Continental Bait & Tackle, Cranston.  Mancini said, “Trout fishing has been better than it has been in a long time.  Mike Cardinal of Cardinal Bait & Tackle, Westerly said, “Trout fishing at Carolina Trout Pond and Meadowbrook Pond (both in Richmond) has been great but the rivers have been a bit too high for anglers.”  John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle said, “Opening Day’s weather discouraged some anglers from fishing so Willet Avenue Pond, Riverside is still holding a lot of fish with anglers limiting out there."  “Trout fishing is very good at Melville in Portsmouth.  PowerBait is the bait of choice with spoons working good at Lincoln Woods for one customer.” said Manny Macedo of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren.  Gil Bell of Charlestown caught a four pound, 25” chain pickerel at Watchaug Pond, Charlestown last week using a Sutton Frisby Spoon.

Tautog fishing season opened up Saturday, April 15.  Some anglers target them this weekend with poor results as it was quite windy this weekend.  Mike Cardinal of Cardinal Bait & Tackle said, “We did not have many customers target tautog, things should get going later this week.”  Many Macedo of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren said, “Customers targeted tautog at Stone Bridge, Wharf Tavern and other places but did not get a bite.”  Fishing further up the Bay was not good either, John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle said, “A customer fished the Nayatt Point area for tautog but the wind picked up and he came back, he had a cold of good bites but no fish.  Others targeted Wharf Tavern, Jamestown and Newport but we haven’t back from them yet."

Striped bass fishing has not been very active.   “Things have not started to percolate yet in the salt ponds.  Once the worm hatches start the striped bass will start to come around in mass.  We have had a few reports of schoolies being caught but I am not sure they are new bass or just hold-overs from last year.” said Mike Cardinal of Cardinal Bait & tackle.  Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown said, “Angers are catching fish at the West Wall but it is still spotty.  Fish are still being taken in the Narrow River, Narragansett but these fish are likely striped bass hold-overs from last year.”  Dave Henault said, “Capt. Billy Silvia (while quahogging) saw about 20 striped bass move though Ohio Ledge on Tuesday. So the bass are in the Bay.  Striped bass fishing at the West Wall of the Harbor of Refuge in South Kingstown has been spotty.  Tuesday was a good day there by Wednesday morning with a change of wind was not good. Angler Jay Uhlman caught a nice size school bass at the Goat Island Causeway in Newport Tuesday night when squid fishing.  He caught seven squid that night.”


Cod fishing is still slow but picking up.  The hope is that the volume of bait seen on the fishing grounds will continue to attract fish.   Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina said, “Cod fishing is hit or miss.  One customer fished the south side of Cox’s Ledge with two friends and came back with 30 nice fish, yet other have come back with one or two fish.  You just have to be in the right place at the right time.” 

Spring fishing is hot… time to cast a line

 Michael Laboissioniere of North Providence with a 2 pound trout he caught at Olney Pond, Lincoln.
Alicia DeAngelis caught her limit of trout (five fish) in just a couple of hours at Silver Spring Lake, North Kingstown.  “She used PowerBait fished on size 14 snelled treble hooks eighteen inches above a bass sinker.” said Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle. 

 Rich Andrews with a 27”, three pound trout he caught opening day.  Trout seemed larger this year.
The RI Party & Charter Boat Association donated cash and canned goods to the Johnnycake Center food bank as part of their annual meeting Sunday at Spain’s Restaurant, Narragansett.  In photo:  Captains John Rainone, past board president; Steve Anderson, vice president; Andy Dangelo, treasure; Paul Johnson, secretary and Rick Bellavance, president.  
Late start OK: John Soloyna of Warwick caught this rainbow and brown trout within an hour after he started to fish around noon Saturday.

Spring fishing is hot… time to cast a line

It’s spring and the fishing is great. Opening day of the freshwater fishing season was a big hit, tautog season opens Saturday, April 15 and anglers are catching school striped bass in southern Rhode Island saltwater ponds, coves and rivers.

Tautog season opens

Tautog fishing is fun.  I like to relax with friends and family, shoot the breeze and enjoy a great Rhode Island fishery all at the same time.  Tautog (or Blackfish) is a great eating fish too with a dense whitish meat.  The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) regulates tautog fishing with three seasons. 

The spring tautog season opens Saturday, April 15 and ends May 31 with a three fish/person/day limit; fishing reopens August 1 to October 14 with a three fish/person/day limit; and then the late fall/winter season runs from October 15 to December 15 with a six fish/person/day limit. 

A fishery-wide closure, to protect tautog during their spawning period, is in effect from June 1 to July 31.  At all times when the fishery is open, there is a limit of 10 fish/vessel daily limit. Party and charter boats are not subject to the 10 fish/vessel limit. 

You have to be over or near structure (rocks, piers, wrecks, ledge, humps or holes, etc.) to catch tautog so anglers use a number of strategies to ensure their vessel stays in position.  The trick is positioning the vessel without getting your anchor stuck in rock.  I’ve lost three anchors over the years which can cost as much as $300 to $500 depending on the type of anchor and chain.

Anglers often use a grappling hook anchor make of rebar to tautog fish. The soft rods allow the anchor to bend if it should get caught in structure.  Capt. Sherriff said, “Another method used by anglers is to tie a line to the end of their Danforth or grappling hook anchor (opposite the chain end) and attach a float to the other end of the line”.  When ready to leave they pick up the float and line which pulls the anchor out of the structure the same way it went in.

I use an anchor retrieval system (www.westmarine.com ) which cost about $100.  A float on a six foot line is attached to your anchor line with a sliding metal ring.  When the vessel is pulled forward toward and beyond the anchor the ring eventually works its way down to the anchor and the float brings the anchor to the surface where you can retrieve it off the stern.  The trick is not getting the anchor line caught in your prop as you move forward toward and beyond the anchor.

Another method that worked well for me when I had a smaller center console was the use of a cinder block as an anchor. The cinder block costs about $1.50.  However, it often does not hold in strong current or seas and does not work well with large or heavy vessels.

Anchoring over structure takes some practice too. Locate a rock pile with electronics, 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.  Once in position, fish all sides of the boat casting a bit to cover as much area as you can.  If still no bites, let some anchor line out a couple of times to change your position, if still no bites it is time to move the vessel. 

Watch for more tautog fishing tips next week.

Freshwater season Opening Day big hit

If you missed Opening Day Saturday it is OK as there are plenty of fish left to catch.  Jeremy Barton of Narragansett said, “There weren’t nearly as many anglers fishing Saturday morning at Silver Spring Lake in North Kingstown but the fishing was very good. And as you can see you have a lot more elbow room fishing from shore.”

Not only was the fishing good but the size of the stocked trout were larger than usual. Manny Macedo of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren said stocking efforts were successful, “We had a father/son and an uncle/ nephew team come in for photographs for our Facebook page.  All four of them limited out on trout (five fish/person).  Trout fishing was good at Melville Pond, Portsmouth and Willet Avenue Pond, Riverside.”
Fishing after the start of opening day did not deter John Soloyna of Warwick who caught a nice rainbow trout and a brown trout in about 60 minutes when he started fishing a 1:00 p.m.  And, Tim Jacobs of Richmond who caught two nice rainbow trout at 2:00 p.m. said, “I’m using a trout spinner bait with a very slow retrieve rate.” Soloyna landed two fish in five minutes as I watched him from shore,

Visit www.dem.ri.gov for licensing information and locations, a list of waterways that have been stocked with trout and details on regulations.

Striped bass coming on strong

On-the-Water magazine’s striped bass migration tracker (www.onthewater.com/striper-migration-map) shows school striped bass are working their way north up the Connecticut coastline with keeper fish being caught off New York. Jason Howell of Narragansett fished the Narrow River in Narragansett this weekend and landed school striped bass. 

Rhody Fly Rodders meeting

The Rhody Fly Rodders will hold their Annual Cookout Get-Together Tuesday, April 18th, 6;00 p.m. at the Riverside Sportsmen’s Association, 19 Mohawk Drive, East Providence.  Meeting will include fly casting as well as the continuation of the striped bass movie ‘Running the Coast’ that was first shown last month. Flies will be on sale with money donated to 'Project Healing Waters’.  Contact Peter Nilsen, president, with questions at pdfish@fullchannel.net .

Where’s the bite

Striped bass. School striped bass ae being caught in southern coastal ponds and rivers like Narrow River, Narragansett.  However, it is early and hard to tell if these are migrating fish or hold-over fish from the winter. 

Tautog season opens April 15 (see above article).

“Cod fishing has been spotty and the water was cloudy from storms earlier in the week.” said Dianne Valerien of the Seven B’s Party Boat.  Capt. Matt Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “We fished last week but the water was still churned up from last weekend's big storm. Fishing was quite slow with a few handfuls of market cod fish up to 8 lbs. However, tons of bait were noted on the local grounds which is always a good sign.”

Freshwater fishing has been focused on trout and opening day (see above story). However, early signs are that the largemouth bite is good and picking up too.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Get ready… Opening Day is Saturday, April 8th


 Jacob Ayotte landed this 26 pound carp and then a 23.9 pound carp last Sunday night using a pineapple soluble bait.
 Silver Spring Lake in South County is a favorite spot for families fishing on Opening Day.


This 16 pound striped bass was caught by Capt. Rob Taylor's friend Matt (show in picture) just south for the Hurricane Barrier in the Providence River Basin.  "The herring were on the surface and the hold-over bass were feeding on them.", said Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle.


Get ready… Opening Day is Saturday, April 8th

Opening day of the freshwater fishing and trout season is Saturday, April 8th.  The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) plans to stock 80,000 trout into 100 Rhode Island waterways.  New this year, Carbuncle Pond in Coventry will be stocked with brown and rainbow trout. 

Lake Tiogue in Coventry will not be stocked this year due to low water issues, and St. Mary’s Pond in Portsmouth will not be stocked. Beginning next fall and into the future, large brown trout will be stocked at Carbuncle Pond in Coventry with the goal of developing this location into a brown trout angling destination.

On Saturday, April 8, a children’s fishing derby will be held at Pondarosa Park Pond in Little Compton.  And on Saturday and Sunday, April 8 and April 9, fishing in Cass Pond in Woonsocket, Slater Park Pond in Pawtucket, and Ponderosa Park Pond in Little Compton will be reserved for children 14 years and under. 

A current fishing license and a Trout Conservation Stamp are required to keep or possess a trout or to fish in a catch-and-release or 'fly-fishing only' area.  The daily creel and possession limit for trout is five from April 8, 2017 through November 30, 2017, and two from December 1, 2017 through February 28, 2018. 

Visit www.dem.ri.gov for licensing information, a list of waterways that will be stocked and regulations.

Saltwater fishing from shore

The more I learn about fishing, the more I realize that to be successful at it, you need to do your homework.  Monday night I was taught how to do my homework to be a successful shore fisherman by two local experts…Peter Jenkins, owner of the Saltwater Edge, Middletown and Capt. Chris Aubut of Aubut Rod Company. Peter is also the Lead Instructor at the Orvis Saltwater Fly Fishing School and an avid surfcaster and fly rod fisherman as the situation dictates
“What we look for from shore are edges.  What I mean by edges is the change between hi and low water, shadow lines of docks (and bridges) at night, edges of sand bars and banks, and edges of moving and standing water” said Peter Jenkins at the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association meeting to a group of about 180 anglers at the West Warwick Elks Lodge.
Most gamefish, like striped bass for example, set themselves up on edges or near edges to ambush and take advantage of prey (bait) that may be feeding or may be getting tossed or pushed along by moving water, currant and tide.

“You can learn a lot from the birds… like what type of bait might be in the water that the fish are feeding on.  If they are seagulls they can eat large baits, like herring and Atlantic menhaden, if small birds are on bait, such as terns you know they are after smaller bait possibly Bay anchovies as they could not lift large baits.  Knowing what bait is in the water helps you target fish with the correct lure." said Jenkins.

Another key tip is to remember that hard structure such as cliffs, rock formations and boulder fields hold bait such as cunner (choggies), black fish (tautog) and scup in the structure at both high and low tides.  So these areas can be fished anytime.

One last tip suggested by Jenkins and Aubut is check out the location you plan to fish during a moon low tide so you can see the contour, where the edges,  pools and sand bars are located.  “I surf and fish from shore but I got a whole different perspective of what was really under the water where I fish by putting a mask, snorkel and fins on and taking a dip to see what the bottom was like where I fish.  I quickly learned why this particular stop usually held fish.  The bottom was loaded with an active mussel bed that smaller fish and striped bass would feed on.” said Capt. Aubut.

Visit www.saltwateredge.com and www.aubutrods.com for additional information and fishing tips.

Pre-owned Hinckley Yachts can now be guaranteed

Hinckley Yachts of Portsmouth, RI introduced there first Certified Pre-Owned Program last week at an owners rendezvous in Key Largo, Florida.   I always stop by the Hinckleys at boat shows as they are the gold standard of luxury yachts.

The new program offers buyers of previously owned Hinckley Yachts a Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program that includes extended warranties and the assurance that their purchase bas been factory maintained.

Peter O’Connell, Hinckley CEO said, "Many Hinckleys that reach the used boat market have not only been built by Hinckley, but they have been maintained throughout their life by our own staff. We know these boats, we know that they've been properly serviced, we represent them in the marketplace, so our confidence in them is very high."

To qualify for CPO status a Hinckley must have been serviced in the company’s seven service operations, or in a yard authorized to service Hinckley products.  Boats then undergo inspection and must be listed for sale with a Hinckley-owned sales office.  There is no program cost to the sellers or buyers.

The first pre-owned Hinckleys are expected to be available this month.  For information visit www.hinckleyyachts.com.

Where’s the bite
Striped bass.  “Fishing was off a couple of weeks ago when the water cooled but in February and January we had some good striped bass hold over fishing in the Providence River.  One of my customers fishes the Providence River and has caught 40 to 50 school striped bass this winter.” said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside.  Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence said, “Capt. Rob Taylor and his friend Matt targeted striped bass one warm night earlier this week in the Providence River Basin.  The herring were active and so were the striped bass.  They landed a 34”, 16 pound striped bass along with a number of fish in the 26” to 31” range.”
Freshwater fishing.  Carp fishing continues to remain strong and with the start of spring carp fishing is getting better.  Jacob Ayotte landed a 26 pound carp in a Rhode Island pond using pop-up baits and then he landed a second 23.9 pound fish. He is a carp expert who caught three 30 pound fish last year and is scheduled to start working at Ocean State Tackle next week as our in-house carp expert.” said Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle.  Ayotte said, “Very special fish for me last evening (Sunday) maybe my most significant of the season. I have been home rolling boilies (boiled paste fishing balls) all winter and started baiting them a week and a half ago but the weather has not been cooperating. I had been sticking with a pop-up over the bed (of leaves) as I felt it was my best bet for a bite, however, this weekend showed some more mild weather with light rain. I decided now was a good time to give them a go.  Just under two hours in on my second short session using a pineapple soluble my right rod was off and I landed a beautiful 23 pound, 9 once fish.  Very, very happy with this one!” 
“With no ice to speak of in January and February we have had very little ice fishing.” said Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick. John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait said, “We had some customers ice fish in Rhode Island early in March as the water was colder then than in winter, but it is all over now. We did have a couple of anglers see DEM stocking area ponds with trout for Opening Day, April 8th, but nothing at Willett Avenue Pond in Riverside yet.”

Cod fishing. Make sure vessels are fishing the day you want to go.  Dianne Valerien of the Seven B’s party boat said, “Cod fishing this week as been spotty.”  Party boats sailing for cod fish at this time include the Frances Fleet at www.francesfleet.com , the Seven B’s (with Capt. Andy Dangelo at the helm) at www.sevenbs.com, and the Island Current at www.islandcurrent.com .

Budget cuts would harm fishing and fishing communities

Budget cuts would harm fishing and fishing communities

President Trump’s 2018 proposed budget cuts for climate change initiatives has the scientific community alarmed and will harm the fish and the fishing community here in Rhode Island.

Brad Plumer on Vox.com said: “What’s clear is that Trump wants the US government to pull back sharply from any effort to stop global warming, adapt to its impacts — or even study it further. That includes eliminating much of the work the Environmental Protection Agency is doing to research climate impacts and limit emissions.”

“It includes scaling back the Department of Energy’s efforts to accelerate low-carbon energy. It also includes cuts to NASA’s Earth-monitoring programs. The proposal would also eliminate the Sea Grant program at NOAA, which helps coastal communities adapt to a warmer world.” said Plumer.
The President’s budget outline mainly offers top-line budget parameters for agencies with little detail. A detailed budget will be offered by the White House in May on how it would like to fund and/or cut programs.  The Congress then votes on proposals approving or rejecting them.

All of this is very concerning as fisheries management relies heavily on science and research for data collection, understanding the impact of climate change on fish and ecosystems and much more.
In recent years we have had warm water fish such as black sea bass and summer flounder move up the east coast, and we have seen cold water fish such as cod and haddock leave the area. This type of fish movement is important to study and it directly related to climate change, changing ecosystems and warming water.

Here are some budget cut highlights that impact the fish, fishing communities, ecosystem-based management and climate change work.

First NOAA’s Sea Grant program, used by 33 states to provide grants to help coastal communities deal with the challenges of climate change, would be eliminated. This is not a budget reduction but a federal budget elimination.

“Including Sea Grant, Trump’s budget would eliminate $250 million in NOAA programs for coastal management,” said Plumer.

In Rhode Island, like many other states, the Sea Grant Program is a federal-state-university partnership.  The program, which is based at the University of Rhode Island was one of the first Sea Grant Programs in the country formed by legislation sponsored by Senator Claiborne Pell.  Rhode Island Sea Grant designs and supports research, outreach and education programs that foster coastal and marine stewardship.

For example, Rhode Island Sea Grant programs have helped to expand aquaculture in the state, mitigate beach erosion through use of offshore deposits, and address Rhode Island Marine Trades industry workforce skill gaps. Sea Grant studies have also explored the social impacts of ocean wind farms with the aim of encouraging ocean wind farm development on the east coast.

For the next two years, Rhode Island Sea Grant planned to improve understanding of shellfish (bivalve and gastropod) stock assessments and population dynamics with a focus on resource management implications.  Additional plans called for studying the impacts of climate change on finfish and shellfish population dynamics in Rhode Island waters, with emphasis on Narragansett Bay species and fisheries. 

Last week Alex Kuffner of the Providence Journal reported that in addition to Sea Grant, the Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) in Rhode Island would get a 60% budget cut from Trump.   Kuffner said, “(CRMC) regulates all coastal development in the state, including homes, marinas and seawalls, and also collaborates on projects to restore habitats, such as the recent raising of a salt marsh along Ninigret Pond threatened by rising.” 

In addition to eliminating the Sea Grant program and much of the funds going to CRMC, Trump’s budget includes a 31 percent cut to the EPA’s budget, from $8.2 billion to $5.7 billion.  This includes zeroing out funds for many climate programs, including the agency’s work to monitor and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as its Energy Star program, the voluntary program that helps companies produce energy efficient products. 

In the Department of Energy, Trump plans to impose a 17.9 percent cut, about $2 billion, from core energy and science programs intended to accelerate the transition to new (and cleaner) energy technologies. The Paris Agreement on climate change sets aside funding to help poor countries adapt to climate change and supports a host of other clean energy/climate change initiatives.

As members of the fishing community, we need to help communicate these proposed cuts to others and share how they will impact the fish and fishing.  We need research-based fisheries management programs that consider climate change and its impact on the fish and fish movement so we can grow fish populations to abundance.

The Trump-proposed cuts to NOAA and climate change programs will greatly harm the long-term health of fisheries and fishing communities.
Fly fishing the cinder worm hatch
The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in partnership with RI Department of Environmental Management (DEM), announced its annual Cinder Worm Workshop.  This is the program’s eighth year and it will include two weekday evening classes in fly tying instruction and one weekend evening of fly fishing. The program is free to registrants.

The course syllabus includes practical rigging and fly casting instruction for the novice on the day of fishing. .  “We would like to have everyone attend both workshops,” said David Pollack, one of the organizers of the program, “but you also have the option to pick just one.”  Introduction to practical rigging and casting instruction will be covered for those that need additional assistance.  Fly fishers will then fish the coves of Grassy Point area of Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge. 

The program is open to any adult or accompanied child over the age of 10, regardless of skill level--40 person maximum so register early.  Instruction and guidance will be provided by some of the area’s most proficient and knowledgeable worm fishermen.   Also this year is the opportunity for kayak fishing - limited to experienced kayakers who have their own vessel. Proper safety equipment is required plus lights for navigation. 
 
All fly tying materials will be provided.  Participants are encouraged to bring their own tools and equipment, but all necessary fly tying tools and equipment will be loaned to registrants upon request. Saltwater fly fishing equipment will be loaned to registrants.

The Fly Tying classes will be held Tuesday, May 2rd and May 9th. 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the
Kettle Pond Visitor Center, Charlestown, RI.  The Fly Fishing portion of the program will take place Saturday, May 13th, 4:00 p.m. until dark at Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge, Charlestown, RI.

Capt. Ray Stachelek and Dave Pollack, fly fishing experts and USFWS volunteers will facilitate the program. For information or to register contact Scott Travers at sott.travers@dem.ri.gov .

Narragansett Trout Unlimited to meet March 29th

The Narragansett Chapter of Trout Unlimited (TU225) will host its monthly membership meeting on Wednesday, March 29th, 6:30 PM at the Coventry / West Greenwich Elks Lodge, 42 Nooseneck Hill Road (Rte. 3, Exit 6 off of Rte. 95), West Greenwich, R.I.

The brief membership meeting will discuss the Chapter’s annual banquet and upcoming educational events, projects, and activities that the chapter will be involved in during the year. After the short meeting, the chapter will welcome Seth Boynick.  Seth is the proprietor of The Farmington River Trading Company at www.farmingtonrivertradingcompany.com .  The topic of his presentation will be “Drift Boat Fly Fishing on the Farmington and More!!” 
For additional information contact chapter president Glenn Place at 1-401 225-7712 or  TU225President@gmail.com

DEM holds free fly-tying workshops

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) will hold a series of free fly-tying workshops that began this week at public libraries in Middletown, Little Compton and Portsmouth.

The classes, designed for beginning and intermediate fly-tiers ages 10 and older, will cover techniques for both freshwater and saltwater fishing and will culminate in fishing events to be scheduled this spring.

Scheduled events include: Freshwater Fly-tying at the Middletown Public Library, 700 West Main Road, Middletown on March 20, 27 & April 3, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. and at the Portsmouth Free Public Library, 2658 East Main Road, Portsmouth, March 23, 30 & April 6, 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.  Saltwater Fly-tying will be held at the Brownell Library, 44 Commons, Little Compton, March 22, 29 & April 5 , 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.


Classes are taught by experienced anglers from DEM’s Aquatic Resource Education program. All equipment and materials will be provided; however, participants are welcome to bring their own materials if desired. Space is limited and registration is required. To register, contact Scott Travers via email at Scott.travers@dem.ri.gov.

Fishing show bit success


Grainger Pottery makes realistic ceramic fish:  Caroline and Lauren Grainger of Grainger Pottery, East Sandwich, MA delighted attendees at the New England Saltwater Fishing Show.  Their ceramic fish are made to size, molded from real fish from our area.


Fishing show bit success

The New England Saltwater Fishing Show was a big success this weekend. Steve Medeiros, president of the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (www.risaa.org) said, “We had a line of 600 people waiting to get in Friday that stretched from the ticket office at the Convention Center all the way to the hotel.”  And, on Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m. (an hour after the show started) the line I saw had about 400 people in it.

Medeiros said, “We sold out booth space (over 300 exhibitors) a month before the show and we won’t know formal attendance numbers until we get a report from the Convention Center but it is sure to be record breaking.”  More than 15,000 people have attended the show in the past.
Here are a few exhibits that caught my attention at the show.

Matt Bosgraaf, manager of The Kayak Centre of Rhode Island, Wickford, RI said, “After taking a few years off we returned to the show and are glad we did.” Half way through the show on Saturday the Kayak Centre had already sold four boats. “And, you never know who is going to walk through the door in the next month or two and say ‘Hey we saw you at the Fishing Show and want to buy a Kayak’. That’s the way it works.” said Bosgraaf. 

Kayaks and paddle boards are one the fastest growing segments of boating with peddle kayaks being the craze and boats being tripped-out with fish finders, electric motors and much more. 

Sunday Kayak Centre owner Jeff Shapiro said, “To gain more awareness and walk in traffic the Kayak center plans to open at a new location this summer in the old Ryan’s Market on Brown Street in Wickford.”  The Centre still plans to launch boats on Wickford Cove but the new location should generate additional exposure (they also have a summer location in Charlestown, RI).  The Centre offers kayak lessons, paddle board and kayak boat rentals and sales with such brands as Feel Free, Old Town, Wilderness and Native Watercraft.  They also sell gear and wear for kayakers including lines such as Patagonia and offer fishing seminars and events through their partner Ocean State Kayak Fishing.  Visit the Kayak Center at www.kayakcentre.com

Grainer Pottery of East Sandwich, MA creates hand-made ceramic fish.  “We make over 100 different species of realistic ceramic fish, made to hang on the inside of a home as wall d├ęcor.  Owners Caroline and Lauren Grainger said, “Our products have a lifelike feel because we make plaster molds from real fish and hand-press clay into the molds.  We make realistic ceramic fish of all major New England species plus a variety of southern, tropical and freshwater fish.  Visit www.graingerpotterysandwich.com

Bill Hurley Lures are custom made with lots of sand eel oil. “Traffic at the show has been great.  I almost wish we sold the lures at the booth but we distribute them through bait & tackle shops such as Goose Hummock Shop, Fisherman’s Line and Falmouth Bait & Tackle who are at the show. The soft plastic lures are designed to mimic sand eels and are made with pure sand eel oil that is injected into the plastic and then the inside of the bag and lure are coated with sand eel oil when packaged.” Adults and children attending the show were mesmerized by Bill’s fish tank display of the lures working in the tank under simulated current conditions.  The lures danced in the tank as water and pushed past them.  The lure features Mustad jig hooks that are guaranteed not to fail when fishing for striped bass.  Hurley Lures’ new lure called a Canal Deep Water swim bait is designed to mimic a herring, Atlantic menhaden and/or a sand eel.  It will soon be available in 6, 5 or 3.6 once sizes.  Visit www.codandstriperlures.com .

Cheeky makes both fly fishing and spinning reels in bright green and blue colors.  This Arlington, MA Company has been designing and building reels for six years and were one of the first manufactures to use bright colors to construct reels.  Ted Upton, CEO of Cheeky said, “Our multi-disc drag system is one of the most distinguishing features of our spinning reels. Our SaltForce aluminum frame and body and machined carbon spin spool keeps the reels strong and light weight.”  The CYDRO line was on sale at the show for $100 (normally $129).  It is available in 3500, 4500 and 5500 model sizes all at the same price.  Upton said, “We are happy at how the reels did at the show and what was surprising was that we had just as much interest in our fly fishing reels as we had with our spinning reels.”  Visit www.cheekyfishing.com .

Harbor Light Software cofounder Fran Karp said, “Knowledge is power and having good, accurate, real-time data collecting of fishing data for fisheries management is what Harbor Light Software delivers to fishermen and fish mangers.  This show allows us to share with recreational anglers the software we have developed and are implementing on the east coast for the commercial and for-hire charter boat industry.  Many of these same initiatives could be adopted to work for recreational fishing.” 

The advantage of collecting accurate data is that fishery biomass, catch and effort are more accurately estimated.  If we have better data fisheries are managed more effectively so we can grow them to abundance so there are more fish for all to catch.

The company’s FishNET software is its first application to collect real time catch, effort and biological data electronically.  Today the software is accepted by NOAA in select areas as the software of choice to speak directly to the ACCSP data warehouse offering commercial fisherman and charter boats the opportunity to file their Vessel Trip Reports (VTRs) electronically saving hours of paperwork and providing fish mangers with more accurate data.  Visit www.harborlightsoftware.com .


Dave Morton of Beavertail Rod & Reel said, “We are now getting into repairing kayak peddle systems too.”  The North Kingstown company does reel cleaning as well as rod and reel repair.  They take apart reels, clean all pierces and then reassemble the reels.  Morton said, “We can modify and customize reels for anglers of all types including people with disabilities enabling them to fish or fish more effectively.”  The company replaces guides and tips on reels too and can be found at www.beavertailrodandreel.com .

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Lots new at the Newport Boat Show


Steve Brustein of Portland, ME with a 30 pound Block Island striped bass he caught Saturday on No Fluke Charters.

Fluke still holding inshore: Angler Jack Leyden of North Kingstown with two fluke to 22” he managed to catch while fishing in the Newport Bridge area after storms last week.

 Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle and Capt. Jack Sprengle of East Coast Charters with the 120 pound bluefin tuna they caught Friday in Cape Cod Bay.

Lots new at the Newport Boat Show

The Newport International Boat Show held this weekend was a great success.  I attended Sunday under threatening skies and the in-the-water show docks were crowded with attendees. Over 600 exhibitors were at the show with an assortment of boats and a wide variety of accessories, equipment, electronics, gear and services for boaters. I visited the People’s Choice Award Winning manufacturer and checked out a few other exhibits that impressed me. 

The Nordic Tug 40 foot Flybridge won the People’s Choice award at the show.  Its big sister the Nordic 44 Tug took second place in the People’s Choice.  The Nordic Tugs on display at the show were getting a lot of attention when I toured them. I ran into three different Nordic Tug owners who were just stopping by to say hello to the Nordic team.  One owner said, “You know what makes the Nordic a desirable boat… it’s the fit and finish, just look at this woodwork.”  Paul Tortora, sales representative for Wilde Yacht Sales that represents Nordic, said, “Nordic gives you the economy of a displacement hull (2.5 gallons/hour), yet it can comfortably cruise into the mid to upper teens.”  The Nordic 40 features a new wider swim platform with a large stern entry door and new this year a second side door at the stern. The Nordic Tug 40 brochure price was $729,950. Visit www.wildeyachts.com   for details.

The Parker 2510 walk around with a cuddy cabin is a fishing machine.  This stable fishing platform has been upgraded with some finer touches such as colored hulls and fabrics.  Over the past couple of years they added a stern cockpit door and live well.  Tom Grimes, sales associate for Don’s Marine in Tiverton that represents Parker in this market said, “Parker was always a great fishing boat appealing to fishermen.  They now have added some touches like hull colors and fabric colors that appeal to women and families.”  The 25 foot Parker on display a the show featured a Windlass Package, a  West Coast Bow Rail Package, a Sandy Tan Hull and two 200 horsepower engines.  The show special price on this 2016 2510 W/A was $132,366.  Visit www.donsmarineri.com  for details on this Parker and others.

Dockwa software application that can find you dockage or a mooring in Newport, Boston, the Cape and Islands, New York and a host of other destinations. Discover and stay in new harbors… just tap, book a slip or mooring. The app works from your telephone or the web.  The application can be downloaded from the Apple Store or Google and it is totally free. So book in advance or make a last-minute reservation with Dockwa.  Visit www.dockwa.com  for details.

Zipwake dynamic trim control tabs.  These are not your conventional aluminum trim tabs but a system that incorporates a state of the art series of durable, fast-acting interceptors that eliminate the trim problems of planning and semi planning boats between 20 and 60 feet.  Zipwake sales associate Dan Schermerhorn of Pro Marine Distributing said, “The system eliminates boat pitch when passengers walk around the vessel automatically and the system automatically eliminates wave resistance which saves fuel and money.”  Prices for the system which includes a control panel, distribution unit and their state of the art interceptors that extend and retract as needed start at about $1,800 for vessels 18 to 20 feet.  To get a feel for how this system works, visit www.zipwake.com.

Fisheries Council reviews policy document

The Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council (RIMFC), which makes commercial and recreational fishing regulation recommendations, met last week largely to review and approve a new policy and procedures document for the Council.  The document formalized new Department of Environmental Management (DEM) policy pertaining to how it solicits public input on fisheries regulations at newly formed public workshops.

The workshops take the place of specie advisory panels that use to meet multiple nights rather than at one workshop meeting.  The workshops are part of the Department’s “lean initiative” that identified ways to save time and money while enhancing public participation at input meetings.

Although most specie advisory panels were eliminated, two remain intact; the Industry Advisory Committee (IAC) that coordinates recommendations from commercial fisheries sectors and the Shellfish Advisory Panel (SAP) which provides recommendations to the Council on all shellfish-related matters.

The RIMFC also welcomed two new councilpersons to their first meeting;  Michael Roderick, an executive at Town Dock, Narragansett and Travis Barao of East Providence, a recreational fisherman and a member of the RI Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) board of directors.

For information on RIMFC meeting material and minutes from past meetings, visit www.dem.ri.gov .


Where’s the bite

Striped bass fishing improved greatly this week as the water cleared from the storm.  Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence, said, “Anglers are catching striped bass from shore in the lower Providence River from Pawtuxet to Conimicut Point using eels and lures. Fishing is also good on the Cape. Customer Elijah Depaolo (13 years old) caught a 32 pound bass using live eels on the Cape Cod Cannel.” Jason Macedo of Lucky Bait, Warren caught a 47 pound striped bass last Friday at Block Island using eels at night.  Angler Eric Appolonia said, “My son Alex and his friends fished the Southwest Ledge of Block Island this past week and caught nine striped bass on one drift using eels.” I fished with Steve Brustein of Portland, ME Saturday at the Southwest Ledge where he managed to hook up with bass to 30 pounds trolling tube & worm.  Bill Sokolowski reports on the RISAA blog that, “We fished the Southwest Ledge Saturday night and once the sun set bass started to hit on each drift. Three of us caught a total of ten striped bass. The largest was 35 pounds. We each kept a small fish and released the balance. So much for no fish on a full moon. It couldn't have been a more beautiful night!”  John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside said, “School size bass are being caught in the East Passage with a few keepers mixed in.”

Black sea bass and fluke.  The fluke bite has softened a great deal, however the black sea bass bite is still good.  Angler Mike Swain of Coventry fished off Narrgansett Saturday and boated six nice black sea bass and one summer found.  I fished south of the windmill area at Block Island Saturday as well as the Hooter buoy area off Pt. Judith and did not catch as may black sea bass as we have in the bass with only short fluke caught at this time.  Manny Macedo of Lucky Bait said, “Sea bass fishing for some customers is OK with fluke still being gh off Newport and at the mouth of the Sakonnet River.”

False Albacore. “ The albie bite from shore at Pier Five, actually anywhere from Narrow River to the West Wall has been outstanding from shore.  One customer caught 50 false albacore from Pier Five. Most people do not eat them but I have some customers that like eating them.  They prepare them using coconut milk.” said Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle.

Cod fishing has been good.  Angler Lary Norin reports catchingt cod to 30 pounds on Cox’s Ledge.  Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “Our largest fish this week was in the 20’s with fish taken on both bait and jigs.  Hi hook this week went to an angler that boated seven nice cod fish.”

Bluefish large and small are being caught in the Bay with skipjacks growing in size.  John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait said, “Some skipjacks are 6 to 10 inches long, and they are still very plentiful.”  Manny Macedo of Lucky Bait said, “Bluefish are all over the Bay, more plentiful than they have been most of the season.”


Tuna fishing for school bluefin is hot at the Cape.  Angler Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle said, “I fished with Capt. Jack Sprengel of East Coast Charters, Warwick Friday on the Cape and landed a 120 pound bluefin using light tackle with a spinning reel and jig in 173 feet of water.”

Friday, September 9, 2016

Fishing after storms




Newport Blues:  Angler Steve Brustein of West Warwick with one of four bluefish caught when a school surfaced in front of 1st Beach, Newport. The fish were bled and iced in minutes ready for the smoker.

 Fishing after storms

The storm is over.  The seas are settling down.  Ever wonder what impact storms have on fishing?  
A storm like the one we had this past week can change fishing a lot.  Some species may leave the area totally.  Yet others species just won’t bite.  They may not bite because the water is dirty with sand and mud that either irritates the gills of fish so they stop moving around and feeding or they simply cannot see your bait in murky, cloudy water. 

But there is hope. Storms also create opportunities with reefs, clam and mussel beds that get torn up with broken shells providing a feeding ground for many of the fish we target.  Additionally, a good storm this time of year often provides a cleansing and a wakeup call to anglers suggesting that it is time to target fall species like tautog, migrating striped bass, surface feeding bluefish and false albacore.

“The water is like dirt.” said Matt Conti of Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown.  “A stormy week like we just had can convince a species that it is time to move.  Like summer flounder.  Last week, right up until Sunday, we had a commercial rod & reel fisherman bring in 20 pounds of fluke.  So they were still here.  But very possibly with a storm like this, with water this dirty we won’t find them again.  We might get a few stragglers as the fluke move out to deeper water.  At the lower part of the Bay for example or it may come back for a while off shore.  We will have to wait and see.” 

There have been an abundance of school size striped bass in covers and ponds.  Wickford Cove and other ponds and coves around the state are holding Atlantic menhaden and a lot of smaller bait that the school bass are feeding on.  Matt Conti said, “Salt Pond is loaded with school bass.  This is a place and species you can target when the weather is bad out in front or offshore.”

At press time the water has started to clear so hopefully by the weekend anglers will be able to fish for species such as black sea bass, striped bass, tautog and cod fishing which has been experiencing a fairly  good bite close to shore. 

Neil Hayes of Quaker Lane Bait & Tackle, North Kingstown, said, “Customers have been catching cod fish just south of the windmill area.”  So the hope is that fall cod fishing will develop like last year… a good bite at the East Fishing Grounds and around Block Island and waters close to shore, like the waters off Newport that produced good cod fishing last year.

Another good thing about storms is that they create new fish habitats with a new food supply of insects, shrimp, shell fish and small fish that arrive with the water. These flooded areas and water adjacent to them can become good fishing areas as the water starts to recede.   Fishing is good at inlets and outflow too because water levels are high due to rain, abnormally high tides and heavy surf. Once water rushes out of rivers, bays, and inlets, bait that may have sought refuge up inlets gets tossed around as they leave for open water where larger fish are waiting.
Good fishing as the weather clears.

Pabst Blue Ribbon Catch & Release Tournament selects final winners

The Pabst Blue Ribbon catch and release striped bass, bluefish and summer flounder (fluke) tournament ended August 20th.  To be eligible for the season ending cash prizes, a minimum of three fish had to be caught and released.  The length of the longest three fish in each specie category makes up an angler’s total entry.

Last week after all winning candidates passed a polygraph test the results of the competition became final. 

Tournament winners: Striped bass category winners were Russell Zivkovich, 150”, $5,000 cash prize; John Hanecak, 149.5”, $1,500; and Keith Darrow, 147.5”, $500.  Summer flounder (fluke) winners were Gary Stephens, 87”, $5,000 cash prize; John Davis, 83”, $1,500; and Howard Ward, 74”, $500.  The bluefish winners were Russell Zivkovich, 110.25”, $5,000 cash prize; Al Tremblay, 108.50, $1,500; and Gary Stephens, 108.25”, $500.

Visit www.pbrfishing.com for details on the September 25 celebration event and for a listing of Junior Division winners.

Where’s the bite

Summer flounder and black sea bass.  Last week we bottom fished a portion of four separate trips.  The areas we covered included the West and East side of Jamestown and all along the Aquidneck Island’s southern coast from Elbow Ledge at the Sakonnet River to the Brenton Reef Area. We also fished the areas around the Newport Bridge.  The result yielded a number of nice sized black sea bass to 21” but only seven keeper summer flounder. So I am convinced that this storm is very likely to chase any remaining summer flounder up and out of the area and away from our coastal shores to deeper water for the rest of the season. Angler Mike Swain of Coventry said, “I checked my logs from last year and this time last year the fluke were gone.  So I think they are gone for good this year.”  Neil Hayes of Quaker Lane Bait & Tackle, North Kingstown said, “Fluke fishing had been great before the storm at Block Island in the wind farm area with tons of nice black sea bass being caught too.”  Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “Fluke fishing was picky most of the week with big fish to 10 pounds being caught but the overall numbers were not good.” 

Bonito and false albacore.  The bonito bite is expected to be soft as they seem to be moving out of the area.  Neil Hayes of Quaker Lane said, “Earlier last week the bonito bite was good along the coastal shore.  They were mixed in with schools of bluefish so anglers were getting cut-off quite a bit.”  However, the false albacore are in.  Matt Conti of Snug Harbor said, “Toward the end of the week the false albacore were here pretty strong.  Generally when they arrive, the Bonito leave the area.  But they were blitzing pretty good last week before the storm along the southern coast shore.”

Bluefish were on the surface from Elbow Ledge all along the Aquidneck Island southern coast to Brenton Reef.  They were rather spotty, you had to look for them but they surfaced from time to time.  Angler Kevin Fetzer of East Greenwich said, “We spotted schools of bluefish Sunday off of first beach and we casted into the fray when they surface. We landed four for a friend who likes to smoke them.  No false albacore on bonito were mixed in with them.”

Striped bass fishing remained very strong last week.  Angler Eric Appolonia said, “We fished with eels on the Southwest Ledge at Block Island just before and after high tide and did very well last week.”  Matt Conti of Sung Harbor said, “The commercial season opens again this week so I am sure we will have a lot of fishermen targeting striped bass as soon as the weather clears.”  Fishing for striped bass can be hit or miss as the fall migration starts.  Schools of fish move in and out so someday the fishing can be good and other days it is not good. 

“Yellow fin tuna fishing on our first trip of the season was successful last week as anglers caught fish in the 50 to 70 pound range drifting chuck bait during the day. The trips will be run into October.” said Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet.

Freshwater fishing for trout has not been good.  Anglers are waiting or the restocking of ponds and waterways with trout for the fall and winter season.  However, largemouth bass fishing has been consistently good.  Neil Hayes of Quaker Lane said, “The largemouth bass bite has been good with anglers using shiners and worms as well as spinner baits with success.  Worden Pond and Indian Lake have been yielding fish consistently for customers.”  Kim Petti of Fin & Feather Outfitters, North Kingstown said, “Fishing in our spring fed ponds had been good all season.  With no rain the ponds did not heat up.  The Wood River water level remains high but everyone is waiting for DEM to restock with trout.”