Friday, July 20, 2012
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Peter Vican of East Greenwich with his Rhode Island State record 77.4 pound striped bass. Peter caught the bass using eels as bait while fishing with Don Smith off Block Island.
Block Island striped bass experts who recently spoke at a RI Saltwater Anglers seminar are from left to right Donald Smith, Michael Lanni and Peter Vican.
Block Island striped bass experts
Last week, I had the opportunity to meet, listen to and ask questions to, arguably, three of the best Block Island striped bass anglers in Rhode Island. I attended the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association monthly seminar held at the West Valley Inn, West Warwick, RI.
Block Island striped bass fishermen Michael Lanni, Donald Smith and Peter Vican (RI striped bass record holder at 77.4 pounds) presented their thoughts and experiences about fishing for striped bass around Block Island. One of Michael’s largest bass was 64 pounds and Don Smith caught a 52.40 pound bass just a couple of weeks ago. So all fishermen are quite accomplished and target fish in the fifty pound range when fishing. Here is what they had to say about fishing for striped bass around Block Island.
· All three anglers now fish exclusively at night at their favorite Block Island spots… all drift eels in relatively deep water, 55’ compared to much lower Narragansett Bay waters and coastal shore fishing. Peter said, “We target fat lazy bottom feeders, around structure... ledge, contours, humps, etc... big bass feed at night around structure.” Mike said, “Big fish hug the bottom in fast current… so you have to get your bait in the bottom 5% of the water column.”
· Where specifically do they fish? Structure on the Southwest Ledge, southeast side, close to shore, the fishbowl on the south side, and one of Peter’s record fish was caught on the west side of the Island, south of New Harbor close to shore.
· Baits. They almost exclusively use eels; however, they use hickory shad when available and sometimes Atlantic Menhaden. Mike sometimes would troll off Newport, Jamestown and Narragansett with a menhaden hooked thought the lips in a figure eight pattern over favorite structure.
· Setting the hook. Mike likes to free spool and to take the pressure off the fish he drops the line when he gets a bite and counts 1,000, 2,000 and then engages the spool and sets the hook. Peter and Don usually do not have to set the hook as they generally use circle hooks.
· Line/leader. Mike likes to use 30 lb monofilament line while Don and Peter use braid line and fluorocarbon leaders or wire leaders (at night) as the fish cannot see a black wire leader at night.
· Closing advice from all three anglers was “Do not be intimidated by night fishing”, go with someone, plan your trip and fish on a moon lit evening and ask help from other anglers if needed. Don Smith continued, “Pete and I are out there a lot. Look for the boat that is brightly lit, that will be us… do not hesitate to stop if we can help.”
Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council meeting
The Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council will meet at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 9. Agenda items will include advisory panel reports from the IAC, summer flounder and herring ad hoc committees as well as a brief overview of the Oyster Substrate Enhancement project in Ninigret Pond, a continued discussion on Atlantic Herring as well as pm the fluke exemption certificate program. The meeting will take place at the URI Narragansett Bay Campus, Coreless Auditorium, South Ferry Road, and Narragansett. Anglers and interested parties are urged to attend and voice their opinions on the issues.
31st Annual Snug Harbor Marina Shark Tournament this Saturday and Sunday
Snug Harbor Marina will hold its 31st Annual Shark Tournament this Saturday, July 7 and Sunday, July 8. At press time over half of the allowed 75 boats had registered. A Captain’s meeting is scheduled for Friday, July 6, 6:00 p.m. at Snug Harbor Marina. Visit their website at www.snugharbormarina.com for a tournament application. Tournament funds will be donated to the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association and the Recreational Fishing Alliance.
Where’s the bite
At press time fishing was very good in the Bay and ocean.
Striped bass being caught on chunks and live menhaden north of Conimicut light. Last week, Merrill True reported on the RISAA blog, “Left Bold Point at eight am. We had Menhaden on the surface near the hurricane barrier in the hundreds. Snagged some for bait and started chunking. The Stripers and Blues had them bunched up in a tight ball. There weren’t many stripers or blues after them but I got lucky and had a 32 inch bass take my chunk bait.” Angler Mike Swain of Coventry said, “We continue to catch bass in the Bay using menhaden chunks fishing outgoing tides at night in and around Prudence and Patience Islands.” Fishing on Block Island for bass is good day and night with fewer bluefish mixed in. Matt Conti of Snug Harbor Marina in South Kingstown said, “Anglers are taking nice striped bass at the North Rip with diamond jigs with eels being the dominate bait on the Southwest Ledge.” John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle said anglers Kevin and Albert Bettencourt landed six nice keeper bass to 23 pounds this past Sunday off Providence Point and Bear Point, Prudence Island using menhaden chunks.
Fluke (summer flounder) fishing is good when wind and tide are in line for anglers to establish a good drift. Angler Ron Nalbandian said, “Three of us started around 9:30 a.m. off the pink house in 73 feet of water. Squid with mummy chums on rubber glow squids, power drifting with 4-5 oz. of weight. 6 keepers up to 22”. The 22” coughed up a whole squid half its size when brought on board.” Anglers Rick Sustello and Lary Norin had a great fluke trip Saturday in front of the Sakonnet River that yielded them sixteen nice keepers and black sea bass to 20”. Their largest fluke was 25 inches. Rick said, “Lary Norin and I left our Point Judith marina at about 7:30 a.m. … Within 15 minutes we started to hit some fish… We then went through an hour of continuous action taking many fluke and BSB until the drift slowed…We were fishing in 60 to 75' most all of the day. Deeper water yielded the bigger fish.” John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle said customers are catching fluke under the Newport Bridge in water about 100 feet deep.
Scup fishing is good in mid and lower Bay with fish as large as 20 inches. John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, East Providence, said fish to 18” are being taken a Colt State Park with so many anglers fishing it is hard to get a fishing spot to fish on the dock.
Offshore fishing for sharks continues to be good with bluefin tuna fishing not as good as it was last week, said Matt Conti of Snug Harbor Marina.
Sunday, July 1, 2012
Carlin O’Hara with the 23” fluke (summer flounder) he caught off Beavertail, Jamestown at Austin’s Hollow this Sunday.
31” striped bass caught by Carlin O’Hara at Bonnet Shores Beach using a sea clam that he dug up and cracked open for bait.
Chef Barry Corriea (left) and Wayne Billman both from Westerly with the fluke they caught off RI coastal shores last week.
A love for fishing that is contagious
Some people like to fish and some people love to fish. Twelve year old Carlin O’Hara of Cranston loves to fish. And, last week the fishing was great for him.
Carlin went to Bonnet Shores Beach with a friend and took his father Dan’s surfcasting rod. He dug up a sea clam, broke it open and baited his hook. Carlin said, “You have to bait a sea clam just right. You can’t leave too much dangling because the fish will pull it off, and you have to hook it through its toughest part because it will just fall off if you don’t.” I asked if he weighted the hook. “I weighted it with four ounces of lead.” he said.
Carlin made his final cast just as it started to get dark and then bang… he hooked and landed a 31” striped bass as he stood in the surf … I am sure to the surprise of those nearby.
I was fortunate enough to see Carlin’s spirit for fishing this Sunday when I took him and his dad fishing. Carlin was all about the fish. He would set the hook like it was his job. And, his efforts paid off in a big way landing a 23” fluke.
Carlin you did have a big week… a nice striped bass and a great fluke. Your passion for fishing is contagious.
Where’s the bite
Striped bass. Angler Mike Swain of Coventry said, “We fished the outgoing tide at Conimicut Light Wednesday night from 10:00 p.m. until 3:00 a.m. and landed twelve keeper bass to 25 pounds. We used eels, live menhaden, but what really worked were menhaden chunks. We set the lines and every ten minutes or so we would get a hit.” Matt Conti of Snug Harbor Marina said, “Block Island fishing is hot with many fish in the 40’s being taken. We weighed in a 55.1 pound bass Sunday morning caught by Roger Kroha of South Kingstown using eels at night on the Southwest side.” Conti said, “I was out there last night too and the boat traffic was incredible. There had to be 50 boats. Everyone is fishing at night to stay away from the bluefish.” Thad Grenier on the RISAA fishing blog said, “They (the striped bass) are up the (Providence) river between the concrete bridge and the red bridge. Caught three large keepers. The biggest 28 pounds.” David, another RISAA member who fished in the Providence River Saturday, said, “There were pogies all over the place… (with) plenty of bass under them. Sometimes you couldn't even get the pogie to the boat before a bass would hit it. There were only about eight boats up there all morning. Bass ranged from 29" to 36”. All were caught live lining between the hurricane barrier and Bold Pt. except for one… caught on the corner where the cable crossing is on the west side.” Mike Gill of Quaker Lane Outfitters, North Kingstown said, “The bass bite has been good this week. We weighed 40 pound fish from both Block Island and Brenton Reef this week.” John Littlefield from Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside said, “Bass fishing from shore in the Providence River is spotty by some customers are caching bass in the 12 to 15 pound range.”
Scup fishing is exploding with anglers catching them from shore and boats. “Some customers are catching them as large as 21 inches.” said Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence. “Customers are using squid, clam works, blood works and clam tongues with success.” said Henault. John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle said customers are catching large scup from shore at Colt State Park and Conimicut Point. Mike Gill from Quaker Lane Outfitters said, “The scup bite off Beavertail has been very good for customers with cut up squid being the bait of choice.”
Fluke (or summer flounder). Many anglers were frustrated this past weekend as the tide and wind were not in line for fluke fishing. John Littlefield from Archie’s Bait & Tackle said Albert and Kevin Bettencourt and Kevin’s children (all from East Providence) fished out in front of Newport for fluke Sunday and had difficulty drifting with the current and wind not in line. “The fish were there but they just could not hook them with a proper drift.” said Littlefield. I fished this weekend with Carlin and Dan O’Hara power drifting for fluke at Austin’s Hollow. Carlin, boated a nice 23” fluke. Fishing off the Center Wall of the Harbor of Refuge and the Green Hill area has been pretty good too said Matt Conti of Snug Harbor.
Black sea bass. Angler Rick Sustello said, “(Friday) We went straight out the East Gap (Harbor of Refuge) and out to about 60 ft into some rocky areas for some BSB. Stiff SW wind had drift over 2.2 mph so out came the drift sock which dropped it down to about 1.2 to 1.4 which was just right. .. We used a big pink bucktail spinner and my green flash bucktail spinner tipped with squid and sometimes a mummy. Just did two drifts and had 4 nice sized keeper BSB and a 20" fluke with a bunch of shorts of both species.“
Offshore. “The bluefin tuna bite was OK last week with fish to be taken at the Acid Barge and toward Cox’s Ledge.” said Matt Conti of Snug Harbor Marina. There were also plenty of blue sharks with some mako and thresher sharks too at the Gully and Fingers said Conti. John Stavrakas of South Kingstown said, “Cleared the east gap around 5:00 a.m. (Sunday). We hooked up with a nice 40” (fork length) bluefin at the gully around 6:45 a.m. Trolled around the gully for another hour or so then trolled south as far as Tuna Ridge for nothing. We drifted through one bucket of chum at the Suffolk and caught one big blue shark to wrap up the day. Water temps around 68 deg F. Bluefin hit a green machine behind a booney bird.” Philip Kirsopp reports on a trip to the South Side of the Gully he took Sunday, “Water temp 69.3. No sign of BFT. Set up sharking and got four big blue dogs.”
Don Smith landed this 52.40 pound striped bass off Block Island this Sunday at 10:00 p.m. fishing with light tackle drifting a live eel.
Peter Sousa of Warwick, RI on the vessel Angel Light with two Girl Scouts on board. He and over 200 other volunteers took 200 children fishing last weekend at the 15th annual Rhode Island Saltwater Angler Association’s Take-a-Kid fishing day.
Chris Catucci of Warwick, RI at a recent Junior Bass Fishing Tournament held on the Salyersville Reservoir.
A five foot blue shark hung around Bob Chew’s boat early this Monday as he cleaned scup just south of the Newport Bridge.
Take-a-Kid Fishing event big success
The Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association’s (RISAA) 15th Annual “Take-A-Kid Fishing Day” held Saturday, June 16 from 9 to 11:30 a.m., was a huge success. “We had about 200 children and 69 boats.” said Steve Medeiros, RISAA president. Medeiros thanked Brewers Greenwich Bay Marina in Warwick for providing the location for the event and sponsor Tarbox Motors for providing toy gifts for the children as well as the 250 volunteers that made the event possible. The purpose of the event is to give seven to thirteen year old children a chance to learn about Narragansett Bay, experience the thrill of catching a fish, and ride on a boat to start building a lifetime of fishing memories. The two East Providence Girl Scouts (Bella and Daniele) who fished on my boat had never been fishing on a boat before. The children were appreciative of the opportunity. And, their response made it all worthwhile for the volunteers. As we pulled back into the dock, Daniele yelled to her mother “We caught four fish, it was great.”
Tying braid to braid
Tying braid to braid line usually does not work, if the knot does not slip, it will break at the knot with a lot less stress than normal. I never tie braid line to braid for fear it may break, I do not like to use mono as backing either because it has interfered with retrieving and casting. Larry O’Neil of East Providence Bait Company said, “OK I did a little destructive testing using a hanging scale, a five gallon pail and the hose. I slowly filled the pail to learn how the line knots act. All testing was done with 50 lb Power Pro line. I tied a swivel at both ends filled bucket slow…and the line broke at 38 lbs same test with a Double Uni knot and to my surprise the knot did not slip…but the knot broke at 19 lbs. An Albright knot broke at 21 lbs this is all I had time to test… the line with two swivels broke at the knot as well.
Block Island striped bass seminar Monday, June 25
RISAA will hold a special seminar Monday, June 25, 7:00 p.m. titled “Block Island Striper Fishing”. The seminar will feature three outstanding striped bass Block Island anglers including Peter Vican who holds the Rhode Island striped bass record at 77.4 pounds which he caught in 2011. Peter actually broke his own RI record; in 2008 he caught a 76.14 pound striped bass. The seminar will also feature Peter’s fishing partner Don Smith, Don has fished Block Island waters for years releasing 99% of his catch. The third speaker will be Michael Lanni who has been striped bass fishing for 30 years and has caught a 64 pound stipend bass that he landed on Block Island, July 8, 2010. The meeting is open to the public with a $10 donation by non-members to the Marine Fisheries College Scholarship Fund (RISAA members attend free). The meeting will take place at the West Valley Inn, 4 Blossom Street, West Warwick, RI at 7:00 p.m. Dinner, offered by the West Valley Inn is available from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Where’s the bite
Freshwater. Craig Castro (owner of Erickson’s Bait and Tackle) and his fishing partner Richard Verry took the Coventry Bass anglers. Large Mouth Bass Tournament this week end catching 18.99 pounds of bass. Twenty-five boats entered the competition. Chris Catucci of Warwick, RI participated in a recent Junior Bass Fishing Tournament held on the Salyersville Reservoir. Chris said, “The jig bite was on, fish were positioned on wood in the shade from overhanging trees.”
Striped bass. Mike Swain of Coventry reports a good striped bass bite at night on Narragansett Bay in the Providence Point, Prudence Island area. “We caught six keepers Friday night from when the sun went down until about 10:30 p.m. using live menhaden. But during the day (even early morning) it was a different story... the bite has slowed and almost stopped during the day.” Craig Castro of Erickson’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick, said, “Our customers are catching bass. One landed a 36 pound fish off Narragansett and a second caught a fish in the mid-30 pound right off Warwick Neck light drifting eels around midnight.” Bob Chew found bass feeding on the surface at Sandy Point, Prudence Island Monday morning. Bob said, “… there was a lot of surface action with stripers on the surface. Got a 30” SB on an Atom popper.” Block Island fishing continues to improve with Mike Lanni catching a 35 pound bass near the southwest ledge trolling umbrella rigs. Umbrella rigs and parachute jibs seem to be working best a Block Island during the day. Captain John Sheriff reports a strong blue fish bite a Block Island. Sunday night Don Smith landed a 52.40 pound striped bass at 10:00 p.m. off Block Island. Don was with fishing partner Peter Vican, RI State striped bass record holder. Don said, “The bass was taken with a live eel on light tackle while we were drifting around 3 knots. It was a tough fish to land in that current.”
Fluke (summer flounder). Fluke fishing continues to improve in the lower Bay and around Block Island. Phil Lizotte reports, “We caught 22 Fluke at a spot just east of old reef and another in front of Pink House. Started in close and drifted out and west from 25 to 35 foot depths. Used White and Green Spin & Glo with Squid. Only had 2 keepers.” Ken Robins said, “Fished under the Newport Bridge from about 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. (Thursday). It was pretty rough with a NE wind blowing. Drift speed was about 1.6 mph with a drift sock. Managed to catch four keepers. ; two 20", one 22" and one 23" along with as many shorts. All keepers were caught in 87 to 93 feet of water. Had to use 10 ounce sinkers and it wasn't enough. By about 9:30 a.m. I went to 16 ounce sinker.”
Black sea bass season opened June 15 and will run through December 31. The minimum size is 13” for recreational anglers with a 15 fish/person/day. Fluke anglers have been catching sea bass when fluking. It should be a good year for Black sea bass.