Friday, April 29, 2011

Fresh water fishing heating up, tautog and striped bass bite still cold

Dayton Martin with one of twelve largemouth bass that he and his fishing partner Kim Bissonnette caught in South County last week. The freshwater bass and trout bite is good in Rhode Island ponds, lakes and rivers as the water warms up and fish start to move around.

Chris Catucci, the Junior Bass Fishing World Champion, with a bass he caught in a private pond in Warwick, RI using crank bait. Chris has also had good luck this spring catching bass on jigs.

Fresh water fishing heating up, tautog and striped bass bite still cold

Fresh water fishing is improving for largemouth bass as the shallow water heats up. Kim Bissonnette of South County said he and his fishing partner Dayton Martin landed twelve largemouth bass last week in a South County pond. Kim said they used downsized plastics (4"-5") on slightly smaller hooks (2/0 & 3/0). They mixed up natural colors using pumpkin and watermelon with pepper and red flake in clear water during sunny parts of the day and brighter colors like pearl, baby bass and chartreuse in stained and low light conditions. Scents and attractants built into baits also seemed to work well.

Kim said, “The recent warm weather is causing the fish to move into predicable spawning areas and the pre-spawn bite is really beginning to pick up as fish are becoming more aggressive. Target back ends of coves and flats along weed edges and grass lines, as well as, rocks and stumps and pockets of emerging lily pads… fish are relating tight to cover.”

At press time, anglers fishing for striped bass are finding action very slow, even at the West Wall of the Harbor of Refuge where the striped bass bite usually first appears. Anglers reported a few fish have been caught, but the large influx of fish has not arrived yet.

We need a couple of warm days to warm the water to the mid fifties range to break things open and the forecasted temperatures for this week may do the trick. Warmer water brings more bait, followed by striped bass.

This week, poor weather kept anglers from trying their luck at tautog fishing. No reports of a major tautog bite yet. However, angler Rick Sustello reports catching his first tautog this past Sunday at the Jamestown Bridge. Rick said, “Water temps were 47 to 50 degrees with an outgoing tide. Within 20 minutes I had the first and only tog of the day, an 18.5" male on a half green crab on a bottom rig.” Tautog experts say the fish will soon be spawning in the rivers and coves. During spring spawn they may be caught along sandy/gravel beach areas in the Bay and prefer soft baits (clam worms and clams vs. green crabs).

Point Judith Pond and the Harbor of Refuge closed for winter flounder fishing
In addition to Narragansett Bay, Point Judith Pond, including the Harbor of Refuge, are closed to winter flounder fishing at all times. 12” minimum size, 2 fish/person daily limit, and two split seasons: April 24 to May 23, and September 25 to October 24.

Fluke University at Wood Boat and Motor this Sunday
Fluke University is being held this Sunday, May 1, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Wood Boat and Motor, 3630 West Shore Road, Warwick, RI. Learn where, when and how to catch more fluke. Fluke experts include noted author Captain Jim White of White Ghost Charters, Captain Joe Pagano of Stuff It Charters, Bart Wagner of Little Rhody Tackle (makes custom fluke rigs and jigs) and Captain Dave Monti of No Fluke Charters and local fishing columnist. Cost for the entire day with lunch and snacks is $50. Call 401.730.4040 to reserve a spot.

Fishing can be dangerous for commercial and recreational anglers
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, during 1992-2008, the average annual fatality rate for commercial fishermen was 128 deaths per 100,000 workers, compared to the average of four deaths per 100,000 workers for all U.S. occupations. NOAA is asking for public input on national guidelines that promote the safety of commercial and recreational fishermen in federal waters. You can view proposed rules and submit comments by July 20, 2011 via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at using the identifier “0648-BA74”, comments can also be faxed to 301-713-1193 or mailed to Debra Lambert at NOAA’s Fisheries Service, 1315 East-West Highway, Room 13403, Silver Spring, MD 20910.

Don’t forget to get your 2011 State of RI Saltwater Fishing License
The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) reminds anglers and spearfishers that a 2011 saltwater fishing license is needed to fish recreationally in saltwater. Just go to and have a driver’s license or state identification card handy, as well as your date of birth, address and phone number. Fishing licenses are required, but free, for Rhode Island residents over 65 and for active military personnel stationed in the state. For all others, the $7 fee ($10 for non-residents) is payable using a VISA, MasterCard or Discover card. You can immediately print your license. Licenses are also available a participating bait and tackle shops and sporting good stores. The federal registration is honored in Rhode Island water, but it now costs $15, and it is not honored by neighboring states. The license program provides a list of anglers that can be accurately surveyed to improve state-based assessments that will lead to fair and more effective management programs.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Tautog season opens with a slow start… Director Coit issues “Final Decision Memo”

Members of the Rhode Island Party & Charter Boat Association recently donated 283.5 pounds of food and $100 to the Johnny Cake Food Pantry in South County. The funds and food were raised by guests and Captains of the association at their annual banquet which was held at Spain Restaurant in Narragansett.

Tautog season opens with a slow start… Director Coit issues “Final Decision Memo”

Tautog season opened this past weekend with windy and stormy weather which deterred anglers from fishing. Craig Castro, Erickson’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick, RI said, “Conditions were horrible Saturday. Thet wind was blowing hard. One of my employees works for Sea Tow and saw boats on the water that shouldn’t be there.” John Littlefield at Archie’s Bait & Tackle, East Providence, RI said, ”I had a couple of customers that fished the wharves with worms and caught a couple of shorts but that’s it.” John Wunner of John’s Bait & Tackle, North Kingstown, RI, said, “I had no customers that went tautog fishing this weekend, the weather was terrible. But the fresh water business has been good. We sold a lot of minnows. Customers are doing well with bass in local ponds.”

The weather caused a slow start to the tautog season this past week. Bad weather on Saturday and Sunday prevented most from fishing. Tautog has been identified as an overfished species. Tougher regulations (see below) were put into effect last year and this year to help rebuild the fishery.

Fishing community wants stiffer penalties for striped bass poachers

Commercial and recreational striped bass organizations expressed their point of view on stiffer penalties for striped bass poachers. Testimony was heard last week by the Senate Marine Fisheries Committee, chaired by Senator Susan Sosnowski (D-North Kingstown and New Shoreham).

Steve Medeiros, president of the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) and RI Marine Fisheries Council member, said, “Striped bass belong to all of the people in the state of Rhode Island… so poaching hurts us all… it is an outrage.” Medeiros continued, “Striped bass are worth about $100 each, yet fines for catching them illegally are only $25 per fish. We need tougher laws to deter poaching.”

Rick Bellavance, president of the Rhode Island Party and Charter Boat Association (RIPCBA) said, “The Rhode Island Party and Charter Boat Association supports tougher penalties for those taking striped bass illegally”. Chief Steven Hall of the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) Division of Law Enforcement said, “Some people are earning as much as $3,000 per weekend poaching striped bass from fishing grounds such as Block Island. We are advocating for enhanced penalties in part to deter poaching due to the lack of manpower. If poachers find their behavior profitable and know we might have difficulty enforcing the law due to manpower they are encouraged. Stiffer penalties will serve as a deterrent.” Chief Hall cited a Rhode Island poaching case last year where DEM law enforcement officers found eleven illegal striped bass in a secret compartment on an angler’s boat.

Others testifying included Mark Gibson, from DEM and Ken Booth from the RI Commercial Rod & Reel Association. Senator Sosnowski’s task force will consider the fishing community’s sentiment for tougher laws and draft appropriate legislative recommendations for this season.

DEM to hold hearing on proposed increases to State beach fees

The DEM will hold a public hearing on proposed increases to fees for daily parking and season passes at state beaches on Friday, May 13. The 10 a.m. hearing will take place in Room 300 at DEM Headquarters, 235 Promenade Street in Providence. Rhode Island state beach fees were last raised in 2002.

The proposed increases will enable DEM to maintain current services at the state’s seven saltwater beaches in South County at a time when the state is facing severe budget constraints. The increased fees will generate $1.8 million for the state General Fund. The proposed rates are comparable to fees charged by similar private and municipal facilities and Connecticut state beaches.

On The Water Striper Cup fishing tournament

On The Water magazine’s annual five month tournament, the “Striper Cup”, starts May 2, 2011. To sign up and get your free t-shirt, lure and commemorative pin, visit David Westfall, the RISAA “Striper Cup” team committee chairman said, “Last year, Team RISAA took second place in this tournament. This could be the year RISAA could win it!” Westfall continued to say to enter as a RISAA team member all an angler has to do is be a RISAA member in good standing. “Make sure you put RISAA on the team line.” said Westfall.

DEM Director Coit issues 2011 saltwater regulations

Janet Coit, DEM director, issued a “Final Decision Memo” on many 2011 saltwater regulations Friday afternoon. The memo issued to Robert Ballou, acting chief of the Division of Fish and Wildlife, outlines her final decision pertaining to regulations reviewed at the RI Marine Fisheries Council public hearing held February 22, 2011. Highlights of Director Coit’s decisions that appeared in her memo are noted below. Visit DEM’s website for a new 2011 Recreational Marine Fisheries minimum size and possession limit chart.

Menhaden: regulations prohibit commercial boats from fishing in the Providence River north of a line from Rocky Point, to Conimicut Light to Nayatt Point. East Greenwich Bay is also off limits to commercial menhaden boats.

Fluke (or summer flounder): recreational minimum size is 18 ½ “, 7 fish/angler/day, a May 1 to December 31 season.

Tautog: regulations include a shortened season (no fishing in June and July), a three fish limit for all fishing April 15 to May 31 and August 1 to October 15; a six fish limit from October 16 to December, 15; with a ten fish per boat limit for all season periods (does not apply to charter or party boats).

Striped bass: no change from last year… two fish at a minimum of 28”.

Winter flounder: 12” minimum size, 2 fish/person/day; split season April 24 to May 22 then September 24 to October 23. See DEM web site for complete list of closed areas. New this year a prohibition of possession of winter flounder in Point Judith Pond including the Harbor of Refuge.

Scup: no change from last year, recreational minimum size is 10.5”, May 24 to September 26, 10 fish/person/day. Party and charter boat minimum size is 11” with a split season, June 8 to September 6, a 10 fish/person/day limit and from September 7 to October 11 a 40 fish/person/day limit.

Doormat fluke and tautog fishing seminar

This Monday, April 25 RISAA seminar will feature two great topics and speakers… refining the hunt for doormat fluke by Charley Soares and tautog fishing by captain John Sheriff. The meeting starts a 7:00 p.m. at the West Valley Inn, West Warwick, with an optional dinner served by the West Valley Inn staff from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. RISAA members are admitted free (and this month, one of their guests can be admitted free too). Donation for non-members is $10.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Opening day big success… new tautog and fluke regulations

John Littlefield (left) of Archie’s Bait & Tackle assists customer Wayne Eccleston of Riverside with his opening day order. Wayne’s baits of choice were meal worms and Berkeley Power Baits. He planned to fish Willet Avenue Pond.
James Rothermel (right) of Warwick, RI with the 20”, four plus pound, rainbow trout he caught at 6:10 a.m. this past Saturday in South County on opening Day. Aaron Casey (left) had just landed his rainbow trout when this photo was taken.

Opening day big success… new tautog and fluke regulations

Opening day of the trout season this past Saturday was great. The Department of Environmental Management’s (DEM) Division of Fish & Wildlife did an outstanding job stocking trout in lakes and ponds. Although DEM said fish averaged 1.5 pounds, several anglers commented on how large the fish were. James Rothermel of Warwick, RI landed a 20”, four plus pound, rainbow trout at Silver Spring Lake in South County. Rothermel said, “It’s one of the largest trout I’ve caught. It took a while to bring in and once I saw it, I couldn’t believe my eyes. It started to flop around on shore and headed back to the water. I got wet as I stepped into the lake to save it, but it was worth it.”

According to DEM, approximately 80,000 hatchery raised brook, brown, and rainbow trout were being stocked in more than 100 ponds and streams. Many anglers will continue to fish these ponds and lakes. Visit for a complete listing. Bait shops throughout the state reported a brisk business the day before and opening day itself. John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, East Providence (now at a new location at 292 Bullocks Point Avenue), said, “Business has been very good today. We sold a ton of shiners… other popular baits were meal worms and Power Baits.” I caught up with Wayne Eccleston of East Providence at 2 p.m. at Archie’s, “I thought I would avoid the madness and fish later in the day. I am very anxious to try these new Berkeley Power Baits. They were recommended by my friend who is a pro bass fisherman.”

Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick, said, “Popular baits this year are night crawlers, trout worms and giant meal worms. We sold a lot of special trout rigs with Gulp Powerbaits selling well too.”

John’s Bait & Tackle in North Kingstown was open all night. Owner John Wunner said, “Sales were good last night”. Steve Proctor an associate said, “Many local anglers were fishing Frenchtown Park Pound in East Greenwich. It was skipped last year but stocked this year.” Popular angler bait included Gulp Power Baits and John’s Special Trout rig.

The freshwater fishing season is just starting. If you are interested in fishing licenses and trout conservation stamps (you need both to fish for trout) they can be obtained at any city or town clerk's office, authorized agents such as bait and tackle shops, at Benny’s, DEM’s office or online at

New saltwater fishing regulations for 2011 DEM announced new 2011 fishing regulations for select saltwater species late last week. Steve Medeiros, president of the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) and a member of the Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council, said DEM announced a closure of the black sea bass fishery until new regulations can be established. A public hearing on black sea bass will be held on April 18 said Medeiros. Regulations announced for fluke, winter flounder and tautog were as follows. Fluke (or summer flounder) Minimum size 18.5 inches, 7 fish daily bag limit, May 1 to December 31 is the season. Winter flounder** Minimum size 12 inches, 2 fish daily bag limit, split season…spring season April 24 to May 24, fall season Sept 24 to Oct 24. **NOTE-CLOSED: All of Narragansett Bay AND (new) all of Point Judith Pond and the Harbor of Refuge. Tautog (blackfish)* Minimum size 16 inches: seasons and bag limits… April 15 to May 31 - 3 fish per day, June 1 to July 31 – closed, August 1 to October 14 - 3 fish per day, October 15 to December 15 - 6 fish. *At all times while the fishery is open, a maximum of ten (10) fish per vessel per day. Party/charter boats this year have the same minimum sizes, daily bags and seasons as other recreational anglers, except that the 10 fish per boat limit does not apply. Bluefin tuna (BFT) public hearings Now is the time to express your thoughts on the bluefin fishery via public hearings being held on April 25, 2011, 6 to 9 p.m., Holiday Inn by the Bay, 88 Spring Street, Portland ,ME; and April 26, 2011, 6 to 9 p.m., Seaport Inn and Marina, 110 Middle Street, Fairhaven, MA. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is taking two actions regarding the recreational Atlantic BFT fishery: (1) adjustment of the daily retention limit for the remainder of 2011, and (2) closure of the southern area trophy BFT fishery. Visit news.htm to view the proposed rule and supporting documents. You may submit comments (identified by "0648-BA65") through April 28, 2011, by using anyone of the following methods: electronic comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal; fax to 978-281-9340, Attn: Sarah McLaughlin; or mail Sarah McLaughlin, Highly Migratory Species Management Division, NMFS, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930.

Bluefin Tuna “Weak” hooks in the Gulf of Mexico spawning grounds What a great idea, use “weak” hooks on long lines in The Gulf of Mexico spawning grounds so giant bluefin tuna can free themselves. NOAA’s Fisheries Service will require commercial fishermen who fish for yellowfin tuna, swordfish and other species with longlines in the Gulf of Mexico to use a new type of hook, called a weak hook, designed to reduce the incidental catch of Atlantic bluefin tuna. The weak hook is a circular hook constructed of thin gauge wire, and is designed to straighten when a large fish, such as bluefin tuna, is hooked, releasing it but holding on to smaller fish. The average size of bluefin tuna landed in the Gulf of Mexico longline fishery is 485 pounds, while the average for yellowfin tuna is about 86 pounds.

Where’s the bite Freshwater fishing bite has been good. Reports of bass moving into warmer water areas and anglers are reporting a strong trout bite on the over 100 Rhode Island ponds and lakes stocked by DEM.

Tautog season opens this Friday, April 15. See rules above.

Striped bass will soon arrive as the water warms. Good reports of herring. Craig Castro of Erickson’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick, said, “ For three weeks now, we have had thousands of herring in Little Gorton Pond which is behind our shop.” Bass cannot be far behind. Cod fishing bite still good reports Francis Fleet (Galilee, RI) party boat captains.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Where to fish opening day

Kim Bissonnette of South Kingstown fished for bass in a small pond in Wakefield this past Sunday. Kim said, “We landed six bass in 6 to 10 feet of water using 5” stick baits and Carolina rings with 3x type floating lizards (June bugs).” Opening day for trout season in RI is this Saturday.

Where to fish opening day Opening day for the trout and general freshwater season is this Saturday. The official opening time is 6:00 a.m., but the ritual will start well before this time. Often it starts with fresh coffee on the banks of a Rhode Island pond well before sunrise, a camping trip the night before, or an early morning breakfast at home. Rhode Island ponds such as Silver Spring Lake in North Kingstown will take on a festival atmosphere with tents, campers, outdoor eating and lots of anglers of all ages. If you should have the desire to participate in the ritual it does not take a lot of effort and it will create some nice memories. Ponds being stocked The Department of Environmental Management’s (DEM) Division of Fish & Wildlife announced that more than 20,000 anglers are expected to turn out at dawn on opening day. Approximately 80,000 hatchery raised brook, brown, and rainbow trout with an average individual weight of one and a half pounds are being stocked by Division staff in more than 100 ponds and streams for opening day (visit for a complete listing). Popular ponds that have been stocked by DEM prior to opening day include: Barber Pond, South Kingstown; Carbuncle Pond, Coventry; Chickasheen Brook, South Kingstown; Frenchtown Park Pond, East Greenwich; Hunt River, East Greenwich and No. Kingstown; J.L. Curran Reservoir, Cranston; Meshanticut Brook, Cranston; Moosup River, Coventry; Pawcatuck River in several towns; Seidel’s Pond, Cranston; Silver Spring Lake, North Kingstown; Tiogue Lake, Coventry; Tiverton Trout Pond, Tiverton; Tucker Pond South Kingstown. Several ponds on opening day are restricted to children 14 years of age and younger. Visit DEM’s web site ( for a listing Where to get a fresh water license and trout stamp A 2011 fishing license is required for anglers 15 years of age and older wishing to catch fish. A Trout Conservation Stamp is also required of anyone wishing to keep or possess a trout or to fish in a catch-and-release or 'fly-fishing only' area. Fishing licenses and the Trout Conservation Stamp ($5.50) can be obtained at any city or town clerk's office or authorized agent such as bait and tackle shops and Benny’s. A current list of license vendors is available on the DEM website, Licenses may also be purchase on line or obtained at DEM’s Boat Registration and Licensing Office located at 235 Promenade Street in Providence. License fees remain at $18 for Rhode Island residents and current members of the Armed Forces, $33 for a combination hunting and fishing license, $35 for non-residents, and $16 for a tourist three-consecutive-day license. Anglers over 65 must have a license, which for them is free, but do not need a trout stamp.

Striped bass regulations may change for 2012 The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (ASMFC) Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board has initiated development of Draft Addendum III with the goals of reducing striped bass fishing mortality up to 40% and further protecting spawning stock when it is concentrated and vulnerable. The addendum was initiated in order to allow managers to promptly respond to the results of the stock assessment update in the fall if necessary. Provisions of the addendum, if passed, could be implemented prior to the start of the 2012 fishing year. ASMFC cited a 66% decline in estimated recreational catch from 2006 to 2009, a 25% decline in striped bass abundance from 2004 to 2008, and lowered recruitment (fewer young fish) in recent years. Diminished water quality in the Chesapeake Bay during summer months that can contribute to increase mycobacteriosis in striped bass was also cited. A variety of fishing management measures including a change in bag limits and minimum size will be considered if stock assessment data in the fall indicates adjustments should be made to enhance the fishery. Tautog fishery down, more conservative regulations warranted At an ASMFC Tautog Board meeting on March 25, the committee determined that tautog overfishing has occurred since 2005. These findings and the remaining information contained in the 2011 assessment update were approved by the Board for management use. In order to end overfishing and initiate stock rebuilding, the committee approved Addendum VI which requires states to implement measures to achieve a 56% reduction in exploitation by January 1, 2012. The Technical Committee recommended implementing the target at 0.15 or lower to stop overfishing and improve chances of rebuilding. Tautog’s slow growth rate, late maturity, and spawning behavior makes it particularly susceptible to overfishing and limits stock rebuilding. Rick Bellavance, president of the Rhode Island Party and Charter Boat Association and a member of the Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council, represented Rhode Island at the ASMFC meeting. Captain Bellavance said, “We are likely to see stiffening of tautog regulations in Rhode Island due to the Tautog committee’s decision.” A two month hiatus in the summer (rather than one month) is likely this season. Additionally, a reduced fall bag limit to six fish/angler/day (rather than eight) is likely. A ten fish per boat maximum catch (like last year) is likely to occur as well. Rhode Island DEM director is expected to announced tautog and other saltwater species fishing regulations in the next week or two. Rhody Fly Rodders presentation on South County worm hatch Capt. Bob Hines will speak about the worm hatch in South County estuaries at the Tuesday, April 19 Rhody Fly Rodders meeting. Meetings start with “Tying Time” at 6:30 p.m. and a 7:30 p.m. meeting. Meetings are held at the Riverside Sportsman’s Club, East Providence, RI. Visit for details.

Where’s the bite Freshwater season officially starts this Saturday on opening day. Kim Bissonnette and his friend Dayton Martin (both from South County) fished a small local pond in Wakefield Sunday. Kim said, “The fish have not moved into the shallows yet, but we did find some active fish in deeper water adjacent to flats. We landed six bass… This early, and the conditions as they were (cold and windy), the best way to find some fish is low and slow.” Cod fishing is still good and crowds are small, so now is the time to give it try. Weather prohibited boats from fishing part of last week. Best bets for fishing include the Seven B’s at and the Francis Fleet at both out of Galilee Rhode Island. Bait Fish. Angler Peter Nilsen reports his friend Alan Libby, a fish biologist with RI Fish & Wildlife, reports that the herring (or Alewives) are in along South County streams. This is very good news as the spring run of striped bass cannot be far behind.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Great to learn more about striped bass

Ralph Craft, owner of Crafty One Customs, with one of his custom rods “Striper Sniper” that he built for an Iraq veteran. Mr. Craft said, “Crafty One Customs is the ‘Orange County Choppers’ of custom rod building.” Visit them at

Charley Soares with a large bass he caught using live bait. His presentation, “Live baits for trophy bass”, was a big hit last week at the West Bay Anglers seminar.

Great to learn more about striped bass

This was a great week to learn about striped bass fishing in Rhode Island. Two striped bass seminars were held this week. Captain Jim White’s three day Striper University at the Sheraton Airport Motor Inn Warwick, RI and the West Bay Anglers’ seminar “Live baits for trophy bass” presented by Charley Soares, noted striped bass fishing guide and author, which took place at Sherman Elementary School, Warwick.

Charley Soares’ presentation was a big success and had nearly eighty people in attendance. The workshop focused on using live bait such as eels and menhaden but also addressed the use of some artificial bait when live bait is not available or inappropriate. Charlie related fishing tips on rigs, baits and tactics to catch trophy sized bass. A few tips from Charley on eels,”Buy large eels, 24” if you can get them, paying a premium is worth it. Large eels will go to the bottom faster and be less likely to tangle themselves in a knot”. Charley’s favorite way to store eels is in seaweed in a five gallon pale with a false bottom (board with holes drilled in to it with three inch legs). Charley said, “The seaweed keeps the eels from touching each other which means less slime and they live longer. The slime drops to the bottom of the pail through the perforated false bottom.” Another live bait tip is to allow snagged menhaden to bleed out a bit in a separate pail before putting them in your bait well as the blood will clog the well. Also do not use large hooks with live bait, particularly eels because the large hook may make you miss the hook set. A strong steel hook is essential, but keep it fairly small. Charley passed out samples of TruTurn CAM action hooks 2/0 size. On their website TurTurn says, “The slight offset forces the point to turn toward pressure…like stepping on a rake, it acts as a cam forcing the handle to rise.” and hook the fish. The hooks come in blood red which TurTurn and other manufactures say have been proven to out fish any other hook color.

The Striper University presentations were spirited and very informative this weekend. One of my favorite products was Crafty One Customs, a custom fishing rod company owned and operated by Ralph Craft. Ralph is also the president of the Aquidneck Island Striper Team. Crafty One custom rods are top performing designer rods with an edge to them. Ralph Craft said, “We are the Orange County Choppers of fishing rods.” The company aims to turn customer dreams and performance expectations into a functional, professional quality piece of angler art. All components are carefully reviewed with the customer. Each rod is crafted to the specifications of the customer and handcrafted to ensure a quality and unique finish that will be sure to perform. Ralph said, “We have made custom rods for fishing guides to help brand their business, as well as one-of-a-kind rods for customers like the “Striper Sniper” camouflage design we made for an Iraq veteran”. The rods are very reasonable for custom rods, $150 to $200 is not uncommon. Visit them at .

Another great hit at Striper University was Captain Pat Rena who spoke about his “T-Man” tube and worm fishing system ( ). Pat has been a popular speaker at striped bass seminars for a few years. His deep water keel system allows you to use lighter gear to catch big striped bass. Pat’s keel system added to the front of the tube or between the main line and leader allows him to use small tubes and medium light rods with 50 lb braid. This eliminates the need for wire or lead core line to get deep. And, the greatest advantage is that you get to catch a big fish with light tackle for a great fight.

DEM advises angler’s ways to minimize the spread of largemouth bass virus

The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is advising anglers of steps they can take to minimize the spread of Largemouth Bass Virus (LMBV). The advisory comes in the wake of confirmation that largemouth bass sampled last fall from Olney Pond in Lincoln Woods State Park have tested positive for LMBV. According to Trish Barbash, fish health biologist for the Lamar Fish Health Center, LMBV is a naturally-occurring fish virus that does not pose a human health risk for people who eat or handle infected fish. However, all freshwater fish should be thoroughly cooked before being consumed. DEM’s Division of Fish and Wildlife advises anglers to minimize the spread of LMBV by not transplanting bass from one water body to another; draining, cleaning and drying boats, motors and fishing gear between each use; not releasing bait fish into any water body; minimizing the stress to bass caught and released as much as possible during periods of high water temperatures; and reporting all fish kills to the Department at 222-3070.

Tuna University

Enroll in the first annual “Tuna University” this Sunday, April 3, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Wood Boat and Motor, 3630 West Shore Road, Warwick, RI. The seminar is co-sponsored by the Saltwater Fishing University. Learn how to properly rig your boat when targeting tuna, meet and learn from representatives of top gear manufacturers and the some of the best tuna Captains in New England. Cost is $99, space is limited, register in advance at http://www.woodboatand/ .

Where’s the bite

Upper Bay action. Avid fresh and saltwater angler Harold Hemberger said, “… I went down to the hurricane barrier with a light rig and some small jigs. I worked a school of white perch for about 30 minutes. I caught 7 including a few nice fat ones. They circled around and would be back in front of me about every 7 to 10 minutes.”

Cod Fishing. Seven B’s V is making cod trips regularly with good success. Visit them at . Francis Fleet started sailing at 6 a.m. this Wednesday as the sunrise bite for the past two weeks has been very strong. This weekend Captain Mike O’Grady of the Francis Fleet said, “From sunrise the action was nonstop … there were plenty of keepers to go around … with a half dozen apiece to take home and as stated before just never ending action with short cod keeping anglers very busy at the rails.” Call or visit the Francis Fleet web site at