Thursday, January 12, 2012

Local captains share stage at Saltwater Sportsman Seminar

Greg Myerson of Westport, CT with the world record 81.8 pound striped bass he caught this summer. Greg was a speaker at the Saltwater Sportsman National Seminar Series held this past Saturday at Mohegan Sun.

(Left to right) Rhode Island Captains Louis DeFusco and John Rainone shared the stage with Saltwater Sportsman National Seminar Series co-host Tom Richardson and host George Poveromo. George is host of the George Poveromo’s World of Saltwater Fishing television program.

Local captains share stage at 25th Anniversary Saltwater Sportsman Seminar

The 25th Anniversary Tour of Saltwater Sportsman magazine’s national seminar series got off to a great start Saturday at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, CT with approximately 900 anglers in attendance.
This was the first seminar in a series of eight that will travel the east coast. The series is hosted by George Poveromo of George Poveromo’s World of Saltwater Fishing television program and editor-at-large for Salt Water Sportsman magazine, and Tom Richardson, noted authority on fishing the coastal waters of New England and a prominent fishing writer and editor.
George and Tom shared the stage with eight local captains, two of them from Rhode Island. Captain John Rainone, past president of the Rhode Island Party & Charter Boat Association and a distinguished Point Judith, Rhode Island based charter captain from the vessel “L’il Toot”. The second Rhode Islander sharing the docket was Captain Louis DeFusco of West Warwick, RI who runs the charter vessel Hot Reels out of Point Judith (Captain DeFusco captured the Rhode Island swordfish record this summer with a 434 pound fish).
One of the highlights of the seminar was meeting and listening to Greg Myerson of Westport, Connecticut. Greg caught the 81.8 world record striped bass this summer using a three-way swivel with a large eel around a twelve foot boulder, one of his favorite big bass fishing spots. In an interview (visit for the video), Greg said, “I use the largest eels I can get because the big fish are going to eat the big eels… and you have to be stealth. No noise on the boat.” Greg said, “The best time to fish for trophy bass is at slack tide. The big fish are lazy. They are not interested in chasing bait in a lot of current, but rather wait until the water is still and they can hear and feel the vibrations of lobsters. Bass are near-sighted so it’s all about listing and feeling vibration to find their prey.”
Greg continued to say, “When I was younger fishing with friends we would have bass catching contests and if there were four guys on the boat, all presenting eels to the bass in the same spot what is going to get them to take my eel versus the others. I found that trying to mimic the sound of a lobster worked well. Once attracted to the area my bait they would see the eel and take it.”
Greg said that he has invented a new fishing tackle device that attaches to your rig that is designed to mimic the sound of a lobster. He will show the device at the Springfield Sportsmen’s Show in February this year (visit Greg’s website at
Each captain and fishing expert shared their favorite way to catch a variety of species. When asked about his favorite way to catch striped bass seminar host George Poveromo said, “I like top water lures. There is nothing like when a bass hits the plug.” (visit for a video interview).
Here are some highlights of what other fishing experts had to say about tuna and striped bass fishing (fluke and tautog tips to follow in future columns).
When fishing for tuna, watch the water for birds feeding, oil slicks from past blitzes on bait in the area, whales feeding, etc. The answer to the question “where are the fish” is usually right in front of you. You have to learn how to read the water to find them.
When on the troll floral carbon leaders “give you strength plus a thinner, less visible presentation.” said seminar host George Poveromo.
Striped bass
The very first bass usually appear in April when the water hits 50 degrees off coastal shores, Narragansett Bay experts say they find the water a bit warmer (to 54 degrees) before they see the first spring bass
Most early spring bass are caught in shallow water, three to twelve feet
Favorite ways to catch bass as related by experts included fishing with a three way swivel with eels (this method is world record holder Greg Myerson’s favorite method); top water plugs and swimming lures; a variety of soft plastic baits; and fishing with menhaden chucks or whole live fish.
A slow retrieve works best in the spring, faster retrieves when the water is warmer
Diamond jigs are often used in the spring too, three to four once jigs
Summer fishing for big bass is usually done at night, water typically 70 degrees, fish structure (reefs) in 28 to 44 feet of water starting at the high point of the reef; Captain Rick Mola of Norwalk, CT said, “One of the tactics we use in the summer is fishing with parachute jigs. I troll at 2.5 to 3 knots and tell customers to envision they are sweeping the floor.” rather than using hard jerking motions.
Captain Mola also said, “We use menhaden often in the spring, either live or in chuck form, generally in low water.” (visit for a video interview with Captain Mola on fishing with menhaden).

Now is the time for your input on regulations at Fisheries Council meetings
The Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council, their advisory panels and a major public hearing will be convening this month and next to determine what fishing regulations will be recommended for 2012. Anglers are urged to attend these meetings as this is the opportunity we have to impact fishing policy and regulation here in Rhode Island. The meeting schedule form the Department of Environmental Management Marine Fisheries website is as follows: for details, meeting times and locations.
January 11, Shellfish Advisory Panel
January 17, Winter Flounder Advisor Panel
January 17, Striped Bass Advisory Panel
February 22, Public Hearing for input on policy/regulations for many species. Agenda items to include proposed changes to the Management Plans of the following:
Recreational Summer Flounder
Commercial Winter Flounder
Recreational and Commercial Tautog
Recreational Scup
Recreational Black Sea Bass
Commercial Monkfish
Commercial Cod
Commercial General Category Striped Bass
Recreational Striped Bass
Commercial Floating Fish Trap Striped Bass
Narragansett Bay Menhaden
Other agenda items include:
Proposal to amend the soft-shell clam regulations to increase the minimum legal size statewide;
Proposal to establish Conimicut Point Shellfish Management Area;
Proposal to establish a daily soft-shell clam possession limit for Conimicut Point Shellfish Management Area; and
Proposal to amend the soft-shell clam regulations for non-shellfish management areas by reducing the daily possession limit statewide

Where’s the bite
Cod fishing
is improving but with the water so warm the dog fish are plentiful. Dave Garzoli reports on the RISAA blog , “ I managed five keepers and a few toss backs (Sunday on the Francis Fleet) … A guy at the pulpit who was able to toss his jig and work it into the drift did well and managed a limit. Biggest fish that I saw was pushing 15 pounds. The grounds are absolutely loaded with small dogs. Most fished jigs and still had doggie issues. The guys dunking clams caught a few cod but most were busy messing with the dog fish.” Leo Arsenault said, “I went out on Saturday on the Lady Francis and experienced the same as you, for every small cod caught seven dog fish would be caught.”

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Greg Myerson talks about record striped bass

Greg Myerson of North Branford, CT weighed in an 81.8 pound striped bass at a Westbrook, CT tackle shop this summer. The striped bass captured the world record that was previously held by Al McReynolds who caught a 78.8 pound bass in 1982. I spoke with Greg about catching his record fish which will be covered in a post later this week. But, here is a brief video on what he had to say about catching big bass (interview took place Saturday, January 7, 2012).

Striped bass decline still in question

Captain Jim White (left) presented on “Striped bass decline” at last week’s Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association monthly meeting. Steve Medeiros, president of the Association, pictured with Captain White.

Striped bass decline still in question

Last week Captain Jim White, a noted author and charter captain (, said, “Researches have said as much as 75% of the striped bass (in the Chesapeake Bay) are infected by mycobacteriosis and they are dying from the disease. “ Captain White presented this and other information about striper decline at the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association monthly seminar meeting held last week at the West Valley Inn, West Warwick, RI.
Captain White continued to say that the striped bass stock has been on the decline since 2003 and related that scientist believe it will continue to do so for the next four or five years. Mycobacteriosis was cited as one of the causes of decline. He said, “Additional reasons for decline include poaching, a drastic reduction in food supply (fewer Atlantic Menhaden to eat due to overfishing of this species) and possibly over fishing by commercial and recreation anglers.” White said, “Because of these and other reasons the species is on the decline so what I am saying is that fish managers and regulators need to take action to prevent the species from crashing.”
Captain White said that at their December meeting the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), which regulates fishing regionally, decided not to reduce striped bass commercial and recreational quotas. “This was a mistake.”, said Captain White. “They had Addendum III on the table but declined to do anything.” Addendum III suggested a reduction in the commercial and recreational striped bass harvest for 2012.
Positive striped bass news
At their meeting ASMFC members deciding not to change striped bass harvest amounts pointed to results from a 2011 survey conducted by researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) that suggested the production of a strong class of young-of-year striped bass in the Virginia portion of Chesapeake Bay. The 2011 year class represents the group of fish hatched this spring. The news was positive and seemed to have influenced fish managers at the meeting. This class of striped bass is expected to grow to fishable size in three to four years, the bass migrate north in the spring to as far as Maine and then migrate back to the Chesapeake Bay area in the fall. The 2011 study recorded more than 27 fish per seine haul, significantly higher than the historic average of 7.5 fish per seine haul. This is a significant increase from recent years, during which catches of young fish were average. Follow link for study release:
Malnutrition accelerates mycobacteriosis
In a past 2009 No Fluke column on mycobacteriosis (visit, search mycobacteriosis), it was reported that striped bass were starving as they wintered in the Chesapeake Bay because of a reduced supply of Atlantic menhaden (their primary food) due to commercial over fishing. Lack of food has been substantiated by tag-recapture data studies from spring spawning grounds in Maryland and Virginia. Fish captured in autumn are the same size as fish that are starved in a lab for two months. Malnutrition makes the population vulnerable to mycobacteriosis. The disease causes loss of scales, skin ulcers, severe weight loss and lesions in striped bass. Officials estimate that sixty to seventy-five percent of the striped bass in Chesapeake Bay are infected. This study was conducted in 2008; preliminary reports on a new study indicate that the effect of mycobacteriosis on striped bass may not be this bad. Watch for the release of this study in the future
Where’s the bite
Mackerel, squid and porpoise off Newport
. Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence, said, “Customers caught large numbers of both mackerel and squid at the Goat Island causeway bridge in Newport this week. The mackerel were so thick that porpoises were crashing them in and around Newport.”
Cod fishing was slow this week, however anglers going out for cod continue to catch large numbers of black sea bass and large scup. The Seven B’s ( and Francis Fleet boats ( ) are fishing for cod and black sea bass. Larry Norin fished the Francis Fleet Saturday and reports the following on the RISAA blog, “ (Me and) 25 others were out on the Frances Fleet. The weather was awesome, 50+ degrees and calm seas with a light wind out of the SW. Oh and an hour or so of pouring rain from noon to 1:00 p.m. was awesome partially because my rod was constantly bent over. We had a two hour ride out south and mostly east of Block Island. We drifted almost all day except for the last hour. The drift speed was very slow, under .5 knots and we were fishing in about 100 feet of water. Most people used clams all day and a few jigged with not much luck. None stop action all day the only disappointment was that the cod never showed up (two keepers on the whole boat). I caught and released about six cod that were 18-20 inches. I caught my limit of black sea bass (four fish in the 20 inch range) and limited out on porgies some were 17 inches and 2+ lbs. I also caught some ocean perch, red hake, and two huge Christmas eels. I didn't see any pollock or other species except one blue fish and a few dogfish here and there. On the ride home we stopped to watch a whale do its thing and splash a few times right next to the boat.”