Tuesday, August 28, 2012

David Appolonia and crew land 730 pound giant bluefin

This 730 pound giant bluefin tuna was caught by David Appolonia, South Kingstown, RI (right) on his 26’ Regulator center console boat. Seasoned tuna fisherman Bill Catauro (center) of Narragansett, RI harpooned the fish. Mario Fernandes of Exeter, RI (left) was the final crew member that landed this 115 inch long giant that towed the boat six miles.

Alan Gammons, Sr. of East Greenwich, RI caught this monster striped bass while fishing Block Island at sunset last week. He was fishing with eels with his son Alan Gammons, Jr. (also of East Greenwich) on a friend’s boat.
Nathan Bettencourt (10 years old) with his dad Kevin (both of East Providence, RI) with the 34 pound striped bass Nathan caught off Block Island with Capt. Billy Silvia of Can’t Imagine Charters (Bristol, RI).

David Appolonia and crew land 730 pound giant bluefin
David Appolonia of South Kingstown, RI landed a 730 pound giant bluefin tuna last Thursday. He caught an 878 lb. giant bluefin three years ago. Both fish were caught on his 26’ Regulator center console boat. This is remarkable as thousands of fishermen vie for this prized catch but few have ever taken even one home. And, very few giants have been caught in the Northeast this year.
The sport requires extreme dedication… preparing gear in winter months, putting in hours, days and months of time on the water fishing, the heartache of countless break-offs… and a personal focus that few have. Never mind the cost… bait runs $400 to $500 per trip and fuel costs can run into the thousands per season or per trip depending on the type of vessel you have.
Last winter, I had coffee with David at Brewed Awakenings in South County Commons. He said, “This year I am going for it… I have the boat, the vehicle to tow it if I have to (many anglers fish the Cape Cod waters) and I have my health.” Sport fishing for giants takes a lot of physical strength and stamina just to make it through the fishing day, which can be 20 hours or longer. Keep in mind that fighting a fish can take two to six hours to land.
So, hats off to David Appolonia and the team that caught this fish. Once again, David set his mind to it and caught a giant bluefin tuna.
Here are some specifics about the fish and the fight. In addition to David, there were two other crew team members on the boat, seasoned tuna fisherman Bill Catauro of Narragansett, RI and Mario Fernandes of Exeter, RI. Dave said, “The team takes credit for the fish as we switch off several times… at the helm and on the fish… The fish towed us for six miles, coming up and trying to circle the boat several times. We had everything we could do to keep the boat in position. Finally, after three hours, it came up and Bill Catauro was able to harpoon it. It carried the harpoon for another hour”. The fish was caught south of Block Island. It was a long fish measuring 115 inches.
Registration opens for Galilee fishing tournament
The Town of Narragansett, the Department of Environmental Management, and the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) announced that registration is open for anglers who want to participate in the Galilee “Fishing for a Cause” Tournament on September 7, 8, and 9.
The entry fee is $15 for adults and $5 for juniors (14 and under). Proceeds from the tournament will be donated to Hasbro Children’s Hospital, Narragansett Parks and Recreation Financial Aid Program, and the Johnnycake Center of Peacedale.
The tournament will include a boat and shore division. Species for ADULTS include bluefish, fluke and striped bass with prizes such as fishing charters, fishing tackle, Sea Tow memberships, golfing and other certificates donated by local businesses. Fish species for JUNIORS include bluefish, fluke, striped bass, black sea bass, scup and tautog with trophies for prizes.
Registration is available at: Breachway Bait & Tackle, Bucko’s Tackle Service, Cardinal Bait & Tackle, Erickson’s Bait & Tackle, Frances Fleet, Galilee Bait & Tackle, Narragansett Parks & Recreation, Narragansett Town Hall, Pete’s Bait & Tackle, Quaker Lane Bait & Tackle, Quonny Bait & Tackle, RIDEM Coastal Resources Office, Sam’s Bait & Tackle, Snug Harbor Marina, The Tackle Box, Watch Hill Outfitters and Zeek’s Creek Bait Shop.
The Galilee “Fishing for a Cause” Tournament and Seafood Festival aims to celebrate and promote Rhode Island’s recreational and commercial fishing industries. For more information about the tournament and festival, visit www.galileetourney.com or call RISAA at 401-826-2121.
Fishing regulations for 2013
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (Commission) and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) announced in a media statement the commercial quotas and recreational harvest limit recommendations for summer flounder, scup, black sea bass, and bluefish for the 2013 fishing season. The Commission’s actions are final and apply to state waters (0-3 miles from shore). The Council will forward its recommendations to NOAA's Northeast Regional Administrator for final approval.
Summer flounder: the Commission approved and Council recommended a commercial quota of 11.44 million pounds and the recreational harvest limit of 7.63 million pounds for the 2013 fishing year, a decrease from 2012 levels due to the drop in the spawning stock biomass estimate.
Scup: The Commission approved and Council recommended a 2013 commercial quota of 23.53 million pounds and a recreational harvest limit of 7.55 million pounds, a decrease of 3.97 and 0.76 million pounds respectively.
Black sea bass: The Commission approved and Council recommended a commercial quota of 1.78 million pounds and 1.85 million pounds for the recreational fishery, slightly higher than the 2012 quota.
Bluefish: The Commission approved and the Council recommended a commercial quota of 9.08 million pounds and 8.67 million pounds, respectively for 2013 and 2014.
For all four species, the approved and recommended actions are consistent with the recommendations of the Scientific and Statistical Committee regarding acceptable biological catch, which is the level of total removals that cannot be exceeded based on the best available scientific information.
For information about summer flounder, scup, or black sea bass, contact Toni Kerns, Acting ISFMP Director, at tkerns@asmfc.org for bluefish information contact Mike Waine, FMP Coordinator, at mwaine@asmfc.org.
Where’s the bite
Striped bass fishing in Narragansett Bay and off southern coastal shores is very slow, with some fish being caught at night, at sunset or at sunrise. Fishing at Block Island was good last week for Kevin Bettencourt, his father Albert and sons Shane and Nathan. Kevin said, “Shortly after arriving on the fishing grounds Nathan (10 yrs. old) hooked into the largest bass of his life..... A beautiful 34 pounder which beat his previous record by 3 pounds!!! ... His older brother Shane managed to land a 32 pounder before the day ended… We had a great time with a great Captain (Billy Silvia of Can’t Imagine Charters) who knows how load the boat!!!”
Tautog fishing is slow as not many anglers are targeting this species yet.
Scup fishing remains very good with large fish being taken in Narragansett Bay and off coaster shores. RISAA angler Ron Nalbandian said, “Trekked up to Neb Shoal and spent a couple of hours catching what had to be the largest scup I’ve ever seen. I swear, if I live-lined one of them, it would have kicked any striper’s butt that tried to nail it!”
Fluke (summer flounder) fishing continues to be hit or miss. Fishing the Newport area was mixed this week with some fish being caught under the Newport Bridge when wind and tide were in line. Angler Rick Sustello said,”… I decided to check out the East Grounds for BSB... It was dead calm with next to no drift. I started checking out the edges in 50 to 60 feet by throwing some jigs tipped with squid around. Not much happening, so I decided to power drift around to try to find where the fish were. Started picking up a few small BSB on the edges then went over the top with nothing then down the East side then BAM, four straight fluke from 20 to 24" in 55 to 60'.”
Cod fishing is good. Snug Harbor Marina reports, “SE Corner of Cox's good cod fishing. Snug Harbor Express had over 20 fish (last week with) clams and jigs…”

No oxygen, no fish

Buoys like this one in front of the Mt. View section of North Kingstown, RI measure temperature, oxygen and salinity in Narragansett Bay.
Pat Crabtree and Chris Catucci of Bishop Hendricken High School, Warwick are getting ready for the fresh water fishing High School Eastern Conference Championship in Virginia on September 15.  Pat and Chris shown here as they finished first in the State of Rhode Island representing Bishop Hendricken with a largemouth bass five fish limit weight of 14.5 pounds.

Brett Santo caught a 14 lb. 10 oz. fluke (summer flounder) off Block Island last week while fishing aboard the charter boat Maridee II captained by Andy Dangelo.  The fluke was caught on a rig made by Mary Dangelo of Maridee Bait, Tackle and Canvass shop in Narragansett, RI.

No oxygen, no fish

Narragansett Bay anglers say there are no fish in the Bay.  Many believe it is warm water.  They say “We don’t like the heat so why would the fish.” The water has been warm, in the mid-seventy degree range off ocean coastal shores and as high as the mid-eighties in Bay coves and harbors.
So this week I thought it appropriate to check in with Chris Deacutis, PhD and chief scientist for the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program (NBEP) at the URI Bay Campus.  Dr. Deacutis has been working on the issue of excess nutrients (nitrogen) and the low oxygen issue in the upper half of Narragansett Bay for over ten years.  Chris said, “It’s no wonder fishermen are complaining about no fish in the upper
Bay.  The upper Bay in the Bullocks Reach/Gaspee Point area, Greenwich Bay and surrounding coves are experiencing low oxygen levels in the water.”
High water temperatures are a contributing factor to low oxygen in the water (and few fish). The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) Bay Assessment and Response Team’s (BART) website says, “Warmer waters are more vulnerable to water quality problems because they hold less dissolved oxygen, stratify more readily, and encourage phytoplankton (microscopic algae) growth. Hence, as the summer progresses and the Bay becomes warmer, it is more vulnerable to water quality problems.” 
Anglers are correct, warm water contributes to algae blooms, low water oxygen and fewer fish
The NBEP blog states “Marine animals breathe oxygen too and when oxygen levels drop below 3 mg/L there is not enough oxygen to go around. Creatures that live on the bottom of the bay such as oysters, littlenecks, and marine worms are at a greater risk during hypoxic events because they cannot move to a different area. Schooling fish such as menhaden are also affected by hypoxia because they are often chased into coves by predators such as striped bass and the school will use up the oxygen faster than it can be produced by photosynthesis…”
If fish need 3 mg/L of oxygen, what levels are we experiencing ?
The Bullock Point Reach/Gaspee Point area last week had an oxygen level of 2 mg/L.  So when anglers fishing in this area say there are few fish, it is because there is little oxygen in the water to support them.  In the upper reaches of Warwick Cove the oxygen was a low .5 mg/L.  (Incidentally, Dr. Deacutis said the red algae bloom in Warwick Cove this summer was tested and it was determined to be non-toxic.)
The oxygen level in Western Greenwich Bay (Chepiwanoxet Point) was 1.6 mg/L and Greenwich Cove was at 1.3 mg/L.  With a prevailing southwest summer wind in Narragansett Bay, Greenwich Bay (particularly Greenwich Cove), does not get flushed and low oxygen levels are more prominent there.
We often see bait fish in these areas on the surface where oxygen levels are higher as oxygen in the air mixes with the water, and often predators such as blue fish ae chasing them, however, fish (particularly bottom fish) cannot live where oxygen levels are this low.
Where are the fish in the upper Bay when oxygen levels are low
As long as I can remember, fishing in the upper Bay has been good around Warwick Light and in areas around the East Passage.  There is good reason.  Water at Warwick Neck moves fast, tossing around bait and mixes oxygen well throughout the water column.  The oxygen level in front of Warwick Light last week was close to 5 mg/l.
Fishing in the East passage is often good too … at Ohio Ledge, Providence Point, Prudence Island and areas around Conimicut Point… bait fish and menhaden running up the East Passage shipping channel helps, but one has to wonder if the shipping channel that provides a path for bait also provides flushing, mixing and a better oxygen supply contributing to better fishing in these areas.
For more information visit the NBEP website at www.nbep.org  and an associated blog at http://nbep.wordpress.com/  or http://www.geo.brown.edu/georesearch/insomniacs/index.html  for  the dissolved oxygen (DO) website (called Insomniacs) which has oxygen level maps of various Bay areas.  For weekly assessments and reports on water temperature and conditions visit www.dem.ri.gov/bart
Thank you and congratulations to DEM, URI, Brown University and the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program for doing such a good job monitoring water quality in Rhode Island.
Learn how to fish NY salmon and striped bass at night in the Bay Monday, August 27
The Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) will hold a seminar Monday, August 27, 7:00 p.m. at the West Valley Inn, 4 Blossom Street, West Warwick, RI. Learn about salmon fishing in upstate New York with Don Smith.  Don is a famous local striper angler who also has been fishing the Salmon River for 25 years.  Another topic will be fishing for striped bass in Narragansett Bay with Greg Vespe.  Greg has logged 350 night trips on Narragansett Bay.  He finished 16th out of 1,500 anglers in the 2009 Striper Cup Angler of Year. $10 donation for non-members, RISAA members free.
Where’s the bite
Fluke (summer flounder).  The fluke fishing has been fair offshore.  Some days are good, other days are not good depending on alignment of tide and wind and the appetite of the fish. Angler Mike Swain of North Kingstown said, “We fished under the Newport Bridge Monday and caught three nice keepers to seven pounds and one nice black sea bass.”  Kevin Brothers said he fished, “Friday from Elbow Reef, mouth of Sakonnet, to various spots outside Brenton reef at 60-70 foot depths with a slow bite of mostly short sea bass & fluke (only a couple keepers of each).”  I fished the same area Monday and had a similar experience.
Striped bass fishing at Block Island has been mixed.  I fished Tuesday with Eric Appolonia and his son Alex of North Kingstown on the southwest side and had mixed results.  The bluefish were thick, catching them every time we put out a tube and worm in the water.  We caught a nice black sea bass working an eel off the bottom and one nice striped bass on amber colored tube and worm (300 feet of wire line out in 35 to 45 feet of water).  Eels still seem to be the bait of choice at night or early morning with tube and worm working in the day.
Scup fishing is still good too. With large and small fish being caught throughout the Bay.
Black sea bass bite is very good off Block Island on and around the southwest ledge.  Ken Robinson fished with two friends on the southwest side of BI last week and reports “… we stopped keeping them (black sea bass) when we hit about 30 fish.  As expected the black sea bass were near the top of rock piles in 32 to 45 feet of water and they liked fluke rigs with some green in them tipped with squid.”

Block Island bass still very large

Ed Nobolowski of Great Barrington, Massachusetts caught this 58 pound striped bass on the southwest side of Block Island last week as his family looked on aboard Maridee II Charters out of Point Judith, RI.
Jen, Dave and Riley Eike from Rochester, NY enjoyed a day of charter fishing Sunday under the Newport Bridge landing fluke (summer flounder), scup and black sea bass.

Block Island striped bass still very large

Captain Andy Dangelo of Maridee Charters, Pont Judith, RI said, “We landed a 58 pound striped bass on the southwest side of Block Island Sunday using a buck tail jig, actually a Poly Jig.  Angler Ed Nobolowfki of Great Barrington, Massachusetts caught the fish during the day.  It was a great fish and wonderful for Ed to land the bass as his family looked on.”
Vendor space available at the Galilee Fishing Tournament and Food Festival
“Although the September 7th to 9th event will feature the best of seafood and other treats, there will be 40 booths available for other types of vendors.”, said Steve Medeiros, president of the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) and one of the event organizers.  Mr. Medeiros said the event is expected to draw families to the food and entertainment, recreational anglers as well as tourists visiting Galilee. The theme of the Festival is “Fishing for a cause” and will be held at the Port of Galilee in Narragansett, RI.  Striped bass, summer flounder (fluke) and blue fish are part of the Tournament which is sponsored by the RI Department of Environmental Management, Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association and the Narragansett Parks & Recreation Department.   All proceeds from the Tournament and Festival will be donated to Hasbro Children’s Hospital, the Johnnycake Center Food Bank and the Narragansett Parks & Recreation financial aid program.  For more information about the fishing tournament, festival and vendor information visit www.galileetourney.com .
Tautog season opened
If you are a tautog fisherman you likely know that the second season started August 1 and will run until October 19 with a three fish/per person/per day limit.  The third phase of the season will run from October 20 to December 15 with a six fish/ per person/day limit.  A maximum of ten fish per vessel is in effect for all periods (does not apply to charter and party boats).
BOEM makes Block Island wind farm announcement
Last week the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) announced the determination of no competitive interest for the construction of a transmission system between the Rhode Island coastline and Block Island.  The determination of no competitive interest is another important step in evaluating the transmission project proposed by Deepwater Wind that would deliver electrical power from its proposed 30 megawatt Block Island Wind Farm in state waters.
 BOEM received an application from Deepwater Wind requesting a right-of-way grant for an eight nautical mile-long, 200-foot wide corridor in federal waters on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) to connect their proposed offshore wind farm, located in Rhode Island state waters approximately 2.5 nautical miles southeast of Block Island, to the Rhode Island mainland. The proposed offshore transmission connection would also transmit power from the existing onshore transmission grid to Block Island. Deepwater Wind estimates the proposed wind farm will generate over 100,000 megawatt hours annually, supplying the majority of Block Island’s electricity needs.  Visit BOEM’s web site at www.boem.gov for more information.
Brown University scup survey
Tim Rovinelli, a Brown University student, is conducting a study on the characteristics of the Rhode recreational scup fishery. If you are interested in taking the survey is in three parts as noted below and takes about ten minutes to complete.  Tim relates, “The scup fishery makes up an important part of Rhode Island’s saltwater fishing opportunities.  Yet there is little work that has been done to understand what fishermen value about the fishery and what the resource offers to the public.  I am interviewing fishermen at three sites around the bay but would also like to increase the project’s reach by offering online surveys as well.  If you are scup fisherman or woman, I would love to hear from you.  There is an electronic survey linked below, a creel survey to estimate catch and a supplement of attitudinal questions, which is split into two portions.  It is completely anonymous, and you can free to skip any questions.  All responses are highly appreciated.  Please let me know if you have any feedback, questions, or comments at timothy_rovinelli@brown.edu (put scup in the subject line).  Thanks for your time.”
Each part of the survey must be completed separately.  Here are the links:
Where’s the bite
Fishing in Narragansett Bay is slow with many anglers claiming that warm water is the cause of the slow bite.  Hope to explore this with a few scientists as the possible cause of a slow bite in the next couple of weeks.
Striped bass fishing on Block Island is still very good most days. “Some days the blue fish are pretty thick.” said Captain Andy Dangelo of Maridee Charters, Point Judith, RI.  Ken Landry of Erickson’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick said he fished Block Island this week with eels and did very well at the southwest ledge.  Al Conti of Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown, RI said, “The larger fish have thinned out on the Southwest Ledge, however, the fishing is still good there with plenty of fish being taken at the North Rip on tube and worm.”  John Wunner of John’s Bait & Tackle, North Kingstown said, “A customer fishing for fluke off Narragansett hooked and landed a 38 pound striped bass last week.  It took a couple of trips to the boat on light tackle before the fish tired enough to land.”
 Eel shortage.  Make sure you reserve your eels at your local bait shop as there is a supply shortage as reported by several bait and tackle shorts.  Gary Leatherberry of Erickson’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick said “The shortage is in part caused by the Japanese market buying juvenile eels and shipping them to Japan where they grow them and then sell them in fish markets for human consumption.”  Al Conti of Snug Harbor Marina said, “The warm weather is not good for eels.  Even Canadian suppliers are having trouble.  When the water is this warm eels tend to stay in the mud and not move around much, if they are not moving around you can’t catch them.”
Fluke (summer flounder) fishing has slowed with wind and tide in line being a must to catch fish.  “The fluke fishing has been finicky… they may turn on for a while and then shut right down. Maybe it is the warm water, fluke are just not behaving as they usually do.”, said Al Conti of Snug Harbor Marina.  I fished for fluke under the Newport Bridge Sunday.  The fish turned on for a few minutes, we landed three fish and then it was slim pickings for the rest of the day.
Sea bass/Scup.  Sea bass fishing is good with nice sized fish being taken off Newport and Pt. Judith and other rocky bottom areas. Scup fishing is still good all around the Bay.  Riley Eike of Rochester, New York landed a 14 inch scup Sunday under the Newport Bridge.  Reports of scup in the 18” range have been common this summer.
Offshore.  The vessel Nighthawk run by Mike Harrington caught 29 yellow fin tuna in the 50 to 80 pound range at the Oceanographer Canyon (located on the southern flank of George’s Bank) last week, said Al Conti of Snug Harbor Marina.  There are plenty off mahi-mahi at the Mud hole as well as cod fish at Cox’s Ledge with dog fish mixed in.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Humps and bumps off Newport yield big bass

George Allen with a striped bass he caught when trolling over the humps and bumps off Newport, RI. George caught the bass with Monel wire line with tube and worm in about 35 feet of water.

Captain Dave Monti celebrated his 60th Birthday with a party Saturday at Easton’s Beach Rotunda. This striped bass cake (complete with hook in mouth) baked by Wrights Dairy Farm, North Smithfield was enjoyed by a hundred friends and family members.

Humps and bumps off Newport yield big bass

Angler George Allen of Portsmouth, RI gave a presentation last week on trolling with wire for striped bass off Newport at the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) monthly seminar. About 200 people attended the event that was held at the West Valley Inn, West Warwick, RI. Paul Perra the Northeast Recreational Fisheries Coordinator for the National Marine Fisheries Service in Gloucester MA was also a speaker.
George Allen is a vice president and member of the RISAA board of directors. He is a retired Commander of the Unites States Navy and keeps his boat at the Newport Navel Base Marina. George has in-depth knowledge of the waters around Newport where he fishes regularly for striped bass. The method he uses most often is trolling with wire using rubber tubes tipped with clam worms as his bait of choice.
“I make my own tubes and dye them red and orange. The idea is to get your bait low just off the bottom when trolling over structure.” said Allen. He fishes the humps and bumps off Newport that are in 35 to 45 feet of water from Brenton Point to Sachuest Point.
George pays particular attention to the tide. Normally, he likes to fish when the water is moving at its fastest rate which is generally 1 to 1 ½ hours before low or high tide. “One would think the tide moves fastest between high and low. That is not the case. So I consult the Tide Log for the tide sequence… and fish at maximum ebb and maximum flood currents.” Bait in the water moves at its fastest rate when the water is moving at its fastest rate, so more bait is presented to bass on the bottom. The fish sense this and feed as it is the easiest time for them to catch food (bait).
Here are some tips for fishing for bass off Newport from George Allen. These methods have yielded bass to 42 pounds from mid June to the mid August.
  • Troll no faster than three knots
  • Get your bait low, just off the bottom if possible, if trolling in 35 feet of water on a ledge I generally have about 250 feet of wire out.
  • Always troll with the current or on an angle to the current as the bass stage on or near structure facing the current so you want to drag your bait over the front of them first so they see it
  • If you spot fish on your fish finder keep a steady course so you drag your bait over them. Turning to port or starboard could make you miss the fish
  • George uses 40 lb. Monel trolling wire. Monel Trolling Wire is more expensive but it is exceptionally kink resistant and has excellent ductility and high strength. This nickel-copper alloy provides maximum corrosion resistance in saltwater and due to its greater density, sinks more rapidly and stays deeper than stainless steel trolling lines. A fifteen foot, 50 lb. fluorocarbon leader is used with a two once egg sinker
  • When you get a hit, raise your rod and always keep pressure on the fish, point toward the fish to save wear and tear on your tip guide
  • When big bass first hit they nudge of slap their tail at the bait. When this happens don’t slow down, in fact, if you move a bit faster it may trigger the bass into a strike

Our fish resources are for everyone to share
Recreational anglers have been commenting on fishing blogs about the high number of commercial vessels fishing close to costal shores and in Narragansett Bay compared to past years. Temperature changes (abnormally warm water this year) have fish behaving differently. Warm water brings warm water fish closer to shore and drives away cold water fish. So if you see an abnormally greater number of commercial fishing vessels closer to shore than usual, it is likely that this is where the fish are. Our fish resources are for everyone. So both commercial fishermen and recreational anglers need to be respectful of each other and recognize that the resource is for all of us.

Where’s the bite
Fresh water fishing has been good. Mike Gill of Quaker Lane Outfitters, North Kingstown, RI said fishing for largemouth bass at Indian Lake and Worden Pond with top water frogs and sink worms is very good. The water level on the Wood River is low, however, trout fishing is still pretty good as they are holding in deeper holes.

Fluke fishing continues to be OK when tide and wind are going in the same direction off the southern coastal shores (which has not been too often for the past couple of weeks). However, most anglers are finding it difficult to take home keeper fluke when fishing in the Bay. Angler Robert Swain said, “I caught four keeper fluke in the 19 to 20” range off Quonset Pont last week fishing the channel break.” Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick said his son Kenny did well fishing for fluke under the bridges last week. Captain George Cioe said doormat size fluke have been hitting on the south side of Block Island. John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, East Providence said, “Customers are finding it hard to hook keeper fluke in the upper Bay, when fish are caught they tend to be undersized. Some keepers are being caught in the Jamestown and Newport Bridge area.”

Striped bass fishing in the upper Bay is not good. The water is very warm and not holding striped bass as they have gone to cooler waters. Some small fish being caught on the Barrington and Warren River bridges using clam tongues said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle. Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence said fishing off Block Island is still hot with bass being caught off Newport in the Brenton Reef area using eels. Henault said, “Captain Billy Silvia of Can’t Imagine Sport Fishing Charters, Bristol, RI continues to land striped bass with eels off Brenton Reef and Blane Toebt, of South Kingstown, has been catching keeper sized bass fishing the shore in Narragansett and off other southern coastal beaches.”

Scup fishing continues to be good for anglers in a number of places… Mt. Hope Bridge, Warren River, Colt State Park, Ohio Ledge and many other places.

Offshore. Dick Pastore said his son Matt fished south of the shipping lanes Saturday in 73 degree water and scored two mahi-mahi in the 20 lb range on bonito busters trolling past hi flyers south of the horns. Henry Fisette of Coventry, RI said, “We fished Atlantis Canyon Sunday and landed five yellowfin tuna in the 80 pound range and 20 mahi-mahi.”

Passion for fishing keeps him going

Caption Chuck Daignault, with a striped bass he caught early this year, enjoys fin fishing and shell fishing even though his legs give him trouble.  He plans his trips carefully and takes it slow as he follows his passion for fishing.

Passion for fishing keeps him going

I have a new friend and his name is Captain Chuck Daignault who lives in Rhode Island.  He was a charter captain in upstate New York where he took people salmon fishing.  He had some trouble with his legs and had to give up chartering… but not fishing. So last year, he asked if I would take him fishing, and boy, am glad I did.
We have fished together three times and each time, I learn a great deal about fishing and about how to run a charter business.  Captain Chuck entertains with stories of fishing trips, past customers and how he feels about taking people fishing.  With Captain Chuck, it was all about the people: taking care of his customers, sending them photos of their fishing trips and even checking in with them from time to time.
I like Captain Chuck’s style.  Even though his legs no longer hold him up the way they used to, he continues to pursue his passion for fishing.  He has found a way to get it done… to fish with a rod and reel, and to shellfish on Narragansett Bay.  To me, it says a lot about a man’s character, a stick-to-itiveness not often found.   He lives a full life, still focusing on the important things like good friends old and new and a passion for fishing.  Good luck Captain Chuck, may you fish forever.
Westport/Dartmouth art show to feature yellow fin tuna
On August 11 and 12 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., the ART drive returns for its 5th annual exhibit with 28 Dartmouth and Westport artists hosting an open studio weekend.  Here is a unique twist; this year participating artists are applying their own unique styles to create large, colorful depictions of Yellow Fin Tuna. Last year’s exhibit featured Striped Bass.  Also, in public spaces, in store fronts, shops, businesses and other sites in Dartmouth and Westport--will be 42, four-foot-long Yellow Fin Tuna. While the “Fins” will be on display Saturday, July 30 through Friday, August, August 12, 2011 they will be viewed at the artists’ studios over the Art drive weekend.  Information on the artists, locations and a map are listed at www.the-art-drive.com .
DEM accepting proposals for Federal boating infrastructure grants
The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announced this week that proposals are being accepted until Friday, August 31 for boating infrastructure grants for facilities and associated infrastructure that provide stop-over/tie-up opportunities for transient recreational boats.  The federal grants, which provide a 75 percent reimbursable match up to $1.5 million, are for the development or renovation of such facilities as mooring buoys, day docks, navigational aids, transient slips, safe harbors, floating docks and fixed piers, floating and fixed breakwaters, dinghy docks, restrooms and showers, retaining walls, and bulkheads. They can also be used for dockside utilities, pump-out stations, recycling and trash receptacles, electric service, dockside water supplies, dockside pay telephones, debris deflection booms, marine fueling stations, and one-time dredging not to exceed 10 percent of the total project costs, including the match.
 Any municipality or marina interested in submitting an application should contact Veronica Masson, federal aid coordinator, Division of Fish & Wildlife, at 401-789-0281. Proposals must be submitted to Veronica.Masson@dem.ri.gov by August 31.

Where’s the bite
Fluke and black sea bass. When weather permits with wind and tide in line, anglers are catching fluke and black sea bass at the mouth of the Sakonnet River, off Newport and off the center wall at the Harbor of Refuge as well as along coastal southern shores from Westerly to Narragansett. Fluke and black sea bass fishing in the upper Bay off Jamestown and Newport and under and around the bridges has been slow.  Angler Ken Robinson said, “…went to Elbow Ledge and Seal Rock off Newport and picked up a couple nice fluke. Decided to continue on to Sakonnet to see if we could get some black sea bass.  Ended up with 14 keeper fluke and four BSB for the day.”   John Duponte, Jr. said, “(Saturday) we got four keeper fluke by Elbow Ledge. We then moved to the mouth of the river (Sakonnet) and picked up some sea bass. Great day on the water.”   Angler Gary Zera said, “Fished off second beach in Middletown ... we fished for three hours and landed 10 keeper Fluke and at least 20 more undersized. Largest fish was 24.5 inches but most were at least 20 inches.”
Striped bass fishing remains good at night in the upper Bay and good at Block Island.  Both the North Rip and Southwest Ledge continue to yield bass.  Angler John Duponte said, “Took a few friends out Saturday around Elbow Ledge. Tube and wormed for awhile got two keepers.”  Angler Tom Fetherston fished the Southwest Ledge at Block Island Sunday.  Tom said, “(we) were marking fish just off the bottom but still no stripers hooked, then suddenly the bite turned on around 11:00 a.m. Landed a 16 then a 31 (pound) fish; saw other boats taking fish all around us. Most bass appeared to be on eels, trolleys seemed to be catching blues although the charter boats were landing bass too.”
Scup fishing continues to be strong all over the Bay with large fish being taken in the Jamestown area, Colt State Park, off Rocky Point and at Ohio Ledge.

Use caution when handling striped bass

Angler Joe Fournier with a large black seabass he caught under the Newport Bridge.

William and Dylan Press of Boston, MA caught 33 and 30pound bass using eels on the Southwest Ledge early Saturday morning whenfishing with Captain Sheriff’s Fishing Charters.

Use caution when handling striped bass

The Division of Marine Fisheries of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently announced it has received reports of skin lesions on striped bass. The general condition reported has been red spotting visible along the sides of the fish. Lesions such as these can be indicative of the presence of the disease Mycobacteriosis, which is common in southern waters, especially Chesapeake Bay. The information available at this time indicates a slightly elevated occurrence of skin lesions on striped bass in Massachusetts, likely of viral or bacterial origin, but not clearly associated with the disease organism Mycobacterium, said the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries in a statement last week.

The Massachusetts Marine Fisheries staff has been collecting information from anglers on the prevalence and geographic distribution of the skin lesions. At present the prevalence appears to be low (<5%) coast wide but higher in fish from southern Massachusetts, primarily Buzzards Bay and the Cape Cod Canal. Internal and external examination of afflicted fish has not indicated that these lesions are associated with Mycobacteriosis. The examination of several dozen randomly collected striped bass showed no signs of abnormalities in their spleens, the hallmark indicator of the disease.

Lesions on the skin of striped bass are a relatively common occurrence and have many causative agents. The elevated prevalence seen in some areas this year may be the result of anomalously high spring and summer water temperatures seen in Massachusetts and more southerly waters. Fish with mild skin lesions are safe to handle and consume.

Last week Rhode Island DEM's Marine Fisheries Division requested that Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) members who may see striped bass with skin lesions to report it to them.

"We have seen a few," said Mark Gibson, Deputy Chief, Division of Fish and Wildlife. "We encourage RISAA members to report observations to us so we can cooperate with Massachusetts on the investigation."

"We have a member who is going though painful treatment now," said RISAA president Steve Medeiros. "It’s believed he obtained the infection though a cut on his hand and then absorbed the bacteria from either a striped bass or the salt water."

Malnutrition accelerates mycobacteriosis

In past No Fluke columns on mycobacteriosis (visit www.noflukefishing.blogspot.com, 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. The study found malnutrition makes the population vulnerable to mycobacteriosis. The disease causes loss of scales, skin ulcers, severe weight loss and lesions in striped bass.

Fish handling guidelines

· Wear heavy gloves to avoid puncture wounds from fish spines

  • If cuts, scrapes or other open or inflamed areas of your skin are present, cover hands and wrists with an impermeable barrier like a rubber or vinyl glove
  • Wash hands thoroughly with an antibacterial soap after handling fish
  • Wash off all cutting boards, surfaces, knives and other utensils used to process raw fish with warm soapy water
  • Discard fish with large open lesions or darkened patches in the fillets
  • Persons who exhibit signs of infection on their hands after handling fish should contact their physician immediately

Galilee Fishing Tournament & Seafood Festival

The Galilee Fishing Tournament & Seafood Festival with the theme of “Fishing for a cause” will be held September 7 – 9, 2012 at the Port of Galilee in Narragansett, RI. The tournament is planned as a family friendly event with a low entry fee and lots of prices in 35 different categories. A variety of species are included in the tournament… striped bass, summer flounder (fluke) and blue fish for the adult division with these species plus scup, black sea bass and tautog for the junior division. Fishing can take place anywhere but all weigh-ins must be done in Galilee. Prizes for both adult and junior divisions will be high value fishing prizes such as charters, show tickets, quality fishing tackle and much more. The Tournament is sponsored by the RI Department of Environmental Management, Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association and the Narragansett Parks & Recreation Department. All proceeds from the Tournament and Festival will be donated to Hasbro Children’s Hospital, the Johnnycake Center Food Bank and the Narragansett Parks & Recreation financial aid program. For more information about the fishing tournament and festival visit www.galileetourney.com .

Where’s the bite

Striped bass fishing on Block Island is still hot. William and Dylan Press of Boston, MA caught 33 and 30 pound bass using eels on the Southwest Ledge early Saturday morning when fishing with Captain Sheriff’s Fishing Charters. Elisa Martin of Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown said, “The Southwest Ledge has a good bass bite with eels at night. Tube and worm is working during the day. And, the North Rip is consistently producing fish, but they are smaller.” John Wunner of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, East Providence said, “The bass bight has slowed in the Providence River, however, anglers are catching school bass in the 20 to 22” inch range.” Captain Billy Silvia of Can’t Imagine Charters, Bristol, RI caught bass this week at Brenton Reef (can #2) and Sandy Point, Prudence Island said Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence.

Fluke fishing was mixed this week as anglers had a difficult time with wind and tide being in line. When drifts were good anglers caught fish. John Wunner of John’s Bait & Tackle, North Kingstown said, “You could almost draw a line as to where customers are catching fluke… from out if front of southern coastal beaches, to Beavertail, Brenton Reef, to in front of the Sakonnet River. But, activity in the upper and lower Bay is slow.” Reports of a good number of fluke, but mostly shorts, being caught off Warwick Neck light.

Squeteague are still being caught in the Bay. John Wunner of Archie’s Bait said one of his customers caught a squeteague when fishing off Hanes Park, East Providence. John Littlefield said one of his customers’ caught a 4 pound squeteague in the upper Bay near Ohio Ledge.

Bluefish continue to be thick around Block Island with small blue fish in the 1.5 pound range being caught in the Providence River said John Wunner. Skipjacks are starting to appear in coves and harbors said Wunner.

Scup fishing remains strong with fish in the 16” to 18” being caught all over the Bay… Colt State Park, Ohio Ledge even up the Barrington Rive said John Littlefield.

Black sea bass fishing if good with fish in the 6 and 7 pound range as anglers catch them when they are fluke fishing.

Offshore. The charter boat Lady K had three school blue fin school tuna to 30 pounds this weekend when fishing the Mud Hole said Elisa Martin of Snug Harbor Marina.