Friday, July 20, 2012

Proposed panel format designed to enhance fishermen input

Captain John Sheriff with the 43 pound bass he caught on the Southwest Ledge of Block Island fishing at night with eels.
Suzanne Sustello with a nice black sea bass she caught off the center wall at the Harbor of Refuge when fishing with her husband Rick last week.
Bob Brodeur with the 24” fluke that Larry Ruddy caught on his boat Popcorn2 when fishing under the Newport Bridge last Thursday.
Angler Ed Mardo with two of the doormat fluke he caught this weekend when fishing the south side of Block Island.

Proposed panel format designed to enhance input
In a move to enhance fishermen participation the Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council (RIMFC) is exploring full-day meetings to consider annual amendments to species-specific management plans. These annual amendments traditionally address such things as catch limits, season length, size limits, etc. for both commercial and recreational fishing. Historically, Advisory Panel meetings have been held on separate nights i.e. striped bass, fluke (summer flounder), tautog.  With the single night approach fishermen have to attend several evening or afternoon meetings to provide regulation input on the variety of species they fish.
Robert Ballou, acting chief of the Division of Fish & Wildlife of the Department of Environment Management (DEM) and chairman of the RIMFC, introduced the proposal at July’s RIMFC meeting. “Now I would like to continue the discussion regarding streamlining the Advisory Panel process.”  Consolidating the meetings was recommended by Councilman Rick Bellavance of North Kingstown (a charter boat operator and captain).  Captain Bellavance said, “Holding meetings together on one or two days or evenings will enhance participation from fishermen who cannot make multiple meetings and allow greater council participant at a variety of species meetings.” Bellavance continued to say that fishermen have too many meetings to go to.  Consequently they often have to miss meetings to fish or prepare their vessels for fishing
The draft proposal calls for a full-day (and/or night) meeting in September and a meeting in February that will likely be one and a half or two days.  The fall meeting would address commercial summer flounder, scup, black sea bass as well as herring.  The winter meeting could address commercial tautog, striped bass, menhaden, bluefish and weakfish; federally managed species such as monkfish, dogfish, skates, cod, winter flounder; lobster;  and recreational summer flounder, scup, black sea bass, tautog, striped bass and winter flounder.
Advisory panels and committees that would remain in effect, meeting throughout the year as needed, would include the Industry Advisory Committee (IAC), enforcement, floating fish trap and shellfish possibly both wild harvest regulations as well as aquaculture lease proposals.
The proposal received wide support at the meeting.  DEM and the RIMFC hope to enact the new meeting structure this year keeping advisory panel and committee membership as it presently exists.
Fluke exemption certificate
The summer flounder (fluke) exemption certificate program was also discussed at the RIMFC meetng.  The Council voted to not eliminate the certificate and then asked DEM to develop an alternative proposal that addressed key fishermen concerns if the certificate was eliminated  i.e. too much pressure on inshore fish in the summer, possible early season closures due to overfishing but yet address the inequality of the present certificate program.
 The fluke advisory panel had voted unanimously (8 to 0) to “recommend not eliminating or modifying the summer flounder exemption certificate program.”  The program allowed vessels to apply for a “RI Summer Flounder Exemption Certificate” prior to 1/1/97.  173 permits were issued with approximately 148 (56 are non-resident permits) active today.  The permits allow fishermen “to possess, land, sell” more than two hundred (200) pounds of summer flounder in any calendar day in Rhode Island as catch limits permit. 
The Rhode Island Fishermen’s Alliance sponsored a proposal to eliminate the permit relating that the proposal was about creating equity amongst Rhode Island fishermen. However, some at the summer flounder advisory panel meeting and the following RIMFC meeting voiced opposition to eliminating the certificate program relating the “too much inshore pressure” and “overfishing” arguments.  Those voicing opposition to eliminating the certificate included the Rhode Island Commercial Rod and Reel Association as well and the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA).

Where’s the bite
Striped bass fishing has been good at Block Island at night.  Captain John Sheriff reports landing bass to 43 pounds on the Southwest Ledge Friday night.  Captain Sheriff said, “We caught a 34, 25 and a few 20 pound class fish as well…Bass caught with live eels with no weight in 45 feet of water.” Steve McKenna, a noted local shore angler and fishing author said the shore bass bite has slowed a great deal off Narragansett and other areas he fishes.  Steve said, “I caught over one hundred fish in April but since May I have caught about seventy fish… I have been shore bass fishing for 39 years and places where I would catch five and seven fish a night are now yielding two to no fish.” Angler Dave Morton reports that Saturday night, “…we decided to hit the car docks at Quonset where we came across schools of stripers chasing squid and small bunker type bait, by the end of the night my friend’s brother landed his first Rhode Island striper at 25 inches! In total the three of us landed 30 stripers from 12 to 28 inches all stuffed with squid.” John Littlefield from Archie’s Bait & Tackle, East Providence said, “The striped bass bite has slowed a great deal in the upper Bay and River.”

Squeteague (weakfish or saltwater trout as they are often referred to) are being caught in Narragansett Bay in larger numbers.  John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, East Providence, said, “Two days in a row customers have reported catching squeteague.  One caught four off Warwick Light when fluke fishing and a second caught two off Barrington Beach.”  Ed Bison caught a 25” weakfish in 60’ of water when fluke fishing Saturday. The legal size for squeteague is 16” with a possession limit of one fish per angler per day with no closed season.

Fluke (or summer flounder) fishing slowed a bit this week with anglers working harder for the keeper fish. Craig Castro of Erickson Brothers Bait & Tackle, Warwick, said, “Customers fishing in the RISAA fluke tournament experienced a very slow bite catching one and two fish this weekend.”  I fished this week off Newport and caught three fluke in the 21” range in a two hour period.  Thursday, Larry Ruddy caught a nice 24” fluke under the Newport Bridge when fishing on Bob Brodeau’s boat Popcorn2.  Angler Dave Sweet fished at Austin Hollow Saturday and caught three keepers in the afternoon with a slow bite most of the day. Anglers fishing the mouth of the Sakonnet River also experience a slower fluke bite this week.  Angler Steve McGonagle said there was a “Slow pick of nice sized fluke along with big BSB and even a couple of fat tautog on the outgoing, at the mouth of the Sakonnet River in 70-75 feet of water. Point Judith head boats were there along with 30 or so other boats. Not nonstop action but you could work for a nice pick of fish.”  Angler Rick Sustello who fished at the three mile limit off Point Judith Saturday said, “We had non-stop action with fluke and BSB for over two hours before it slowed down. We had over a dozen keeper size fluke, but kept only 6 fluke… we also caught about the same number of BSB with the largest at 4...”

Scup fishing remains good all over Narragansett Bay with fish as large 18” being caught.  Hot spots include Colt State Park, Ohio Ledge, the Rocky Point area and wharfs in Warren and Barrington.  

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I have my UPV examination sticker… Yeah!!!

Patrick DeSorbo (left) and his son Kevin of Clifton Park, NY enjoyed a day of charter fishing for fluke(summer flounder) and black sea bass this weekend off Newport, RI.

Grand prize winner of SnugHarbor Marina’s 31st Annual Shark Tournament was this 335 poundThresher shark caught by John Durand and his fishing mates aboard the vessel Bilda.
Doug Henson (left) andDavid Siesel of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary (North Star Flotilla, Warwick)issue an Uninspected Passenger Vessel (UPV) examination sticker to the charterboat Angel Light.

I have my UPVexamination sticker… Yeah!!!

Life can be tough at times. So I make it a habit to claim even small victories. Small victories like Angel Light, my centerconsole charter boat, getting an Uninspected Passenger Vessel (UPV) examinationsticker from the U. S. Coast Guard. David Siesel and Doug Henson from the U.S. Coastguard Auxiliary, NorthStar Flotilla, Warwick, spent almost twohours reviewing my registrations, licenses and required documentation as well asphysically examining the vessel, engine, lights, charts, fire extinguishers,flares and much more (even the expiration date on the life jacket (flashlight) batterieswere examined). The examination was verycomplete.

Now that I have this optional UPV examination sticker, oddsare I am not going to be boarded by the US Coast Guard, the RI Department ofEnvironmental Management Law Enforcement Division, harbor masters, etc. for routine checks unlessI am obviously breaking the law in some way. This is a great relief for me (and other captains) as it makes for a fewanxiety provoking moments being boarded by authorities, particularly if youhave charter customers on board. Presently,I am about one of nineteen boats that have passed this examination in Rhode Islandand have the sticker (many of them belong to the Rhode Island Party &Charter Boat Association). There areover 200 vessels in RI with charter fishing licenses that could beexamined. It is a good program, one thatpromotes safety, the charter fishing industry as a whole and it is a greatconsumer benefit.
So as I say… yeah!!! I am claiming my UPV sticker as avictory.

335 pound thresher caught takesSnug Harbor Marina Shark Tournament
Talk about drama, big game excitement and the threat of a bigshark. It is the stuff the movie “Jaws”was made of. All of it came to a head this weekend at Snug Harbor Marina’s 31stAnnual Shark Tournament. At 4:55 p.m. this Sunday (five minutes before theweigh in closed) there were still anglers fighting fish said Elisa Martin ofSung Harbor Marina. The grand prize winner, a 335 pound thresher, was caught onthe vessel Bilda by John Durand, a272 pound thresher caught by Shawn DeCastro on Hot Reels was the second place thresher. A 219 pound Mako caught by Derek Ritch wasthe first place Mako. The Saturday, July7 and Sunday, July 8 tournament had about 70 boats participants. Visit Snug Harbor’s website at for photos and details. Tournament fundswill be donated to the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association and theRecreational Fishing Alliance.

DEM closes Bristol Harbor toshell fishing
The Department ofEnvironmental Management (DEM) announced that in addition to the currently prohibitedand seasonal closures in waters within Bristol Harbor and surrounding HogIsland, the remaining waters of BristolHarbor and in the vicinity of Hog Island will be closed to shellfish harvestingbeginning at noon Friday, July 6th until further notice. The closure is being enacted because ofinformation provided to the DEM by the Town of Bristol that an electricalsystem failure caused a loss of disinfectant of the effluent from the BristolWastewater Treatment Facility during the night and morning hours of July 5 and6. DEM is collecting water samples ofthe Harbor to test for fecal coliform bacteria levels. DEM will then make a determination on theduration of the closure upon review of those sample results.

Where’sthe bite

Stripedbassfishing remains good in the mid and lower Bay as well as at Block. Angler Eric Appolonia of North Kingstown saidhe and three passengers caught eight keeper bass in about two hours on theSouthwest Ledge using eels Friday morning at 8:30 a.m. Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait and Tackle, Warwicksaid, “Bass fishing in the East Passage at Sandy Point, Prudence Island, GouldIsland, around Newport and off Jamestown has been outstanding.” Captain Kevin Bettencourt of East Providencesaid, “We are still doing outstanding- catching bass off Jamestown early in themorning using chunks of menhaden.” Captain Drew Dangelo reports catching bassin the 30 pound range fairly regularly at Block Island with an occasional fishin the 40 pound range. “Narrow River is holding bass with anglers catching themon the outgoing tide.” said Mary Dangelo of Maridee Bait & Canvas,Narragansett.

Fluke(summer flounder) fishing has been good some days and off otherdays. Spots have been hot and othershave not. Angler Mike Swain of Coventrysaid, “We struggled at Austin’s Hollow off Jamestown last week catching onekeeper and three shorts”. Anglersfishing the mouth of the Sakonnet River continue do well there. I fished off Newport in the Seal Ledge areathis weekend with Patrick and Kevin DeSorbo of Clifton Park, NY and had good results, five keeper fluke and two black sea bassin about 90 minutes. Ken Ferrara ofRay’s Bait & Tackle said, “Customers are catching fluke around the bridges,at Austin’s Hollow, overall fluke fishing is good.”

Scupfishing remains strong. “Customers are catching scup on Pier 5 in Galilee and on the East Wall.”said Mary Dangelo of Maridee Bait & Canvas. Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait said, “The scup have been thick at Rocky Pointwith 16” scup being taken there and at other places in the Bay.”

Block Island striped bass experts

Angler Rick Sustello with two of the sixteen fluke he and fishing partner Lary Norin took in front of the Sakonnet River this past Saturday. The duo also caught black sea bass to 20”.
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 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

A love for fishing that is contagious

John Stavrakas of South Kingstown with the a nice 40” (fork length) bluefin tuna he caught at the Gully last week.

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.”

Take-a-Kid Fishing event big success... Don Smith with big BI bass

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.