Saturday, September 22, 2012

Galilee Fishing for a Cause Tournament and Festival big success

 Most trophies:  Joey Scrofani of Wakefield, RI with two nice fish… a black sea bass (left, 3.60 lbs.) that took 1st place in the Junior Division and scup (right).  Joey also took home the 1st place trophy for the largest Junior Division bluefish at 6.40 lbs.
 Top fish: Ray Jobin of Charlestown, RI took first place in the Tournament Boat Division with this striped bass that weighed a healthy 37.10 lbs. 
 All smiles: Fishing for a Cause Tournament participants Joel Cooper (left) of Smithfield, RI, Dave McCormick of North Kingstown, RI (center), and Jeff Eastman of North Attleboro, MA (right) .

Measuring up:  This 28 lbs. striped bass caught by Andrew Raucci (left) of Wakefield, RI  gets weighed in and measured by Ed Carney, RISAA board member (right), at the Galilee Fishing for a Cause Tournament and Food Festival.

Galilee Fishing for a Cause Tournament and Festival big success

The First Annual Galilee Fishing for a Cause Tournament and Seafood Food Festival was “very successful” said Steve Medeiros, president of the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA). “Even with the weatherman forecasting bad conditions, we still had 148 registered anglers… this is not bad at all… and yes, there will be a Second Annual Galilee Tournament and Food Festival.”, said Medeiros.  The three day Tournament and Food Festival was organized by the Town of Narragansett, the Department of Environmental Management (DEM), and the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association.  Funds raised from the tournament and food festival will be donated to Hasbro Children’s Hospital, Narragansett Parks and Recreation Financial Aid Program, and the Johnnycake Center of Peacedale, RI.
The Galilee Fishing for a Cause Tournament and Seafood Festival aims to celebrate and promote Rhode Island’s recreational and commercial fishing industries.  Organizers wanted to create an event reminiscent of the past tuna tournaments held in Galilee, Rhode Island to help create awareness and interest in fishing and seafood in Rhode Island. 
Recreation and commercial fishing displays and demonstrations were held throughout the festival with participation from a variety of commercial fishing interests such as Superior Trawling and the Rhode Island Party and Charter Boat Association. The Festival featured local seafood, artisans, music, and educational exhibits.
Fishing tournament winners
Black sea bass Junior Boat Division winners were 1st place Joey Scrofani (3.60 lbs.), 2nd Zoey Realeau and 3rd Shawn Rogers.
Bluefish Junior Boat Division winners were 1st Joey Scrofani (6.40 lbs.), 2nd Michael Morrison and 3rd Jack Spych. Bluefish Adult Boat Division winners were 1st place Dave Kops (13.15 lbs.), 2nd John Eldridge and 3rd Stephen Daignault. Bluefish Adult Shore Division 1st place winner was Joshua Richardson (11.75 lbs).
Fluke Adult Boat Division winners were 1st place Ed Sylvia (3.10 lbs.), 2nd Jared Henry and 3rd David Fewster.
Scup Junior Boat Division winners were 1st Nate Ambrad (2.25 lbs.), 2nd Zoey Realeau and 3rd Joey Scrofani. 
Striped bass Adult Boat Division winners were 1st Raymond Jobin (37.10 lbs), 2nd Peter Vican and 3rd Jonathan Lewie.  Striped bass Adult Shore Division 1st place winner was Richard Reich (8.5 lbs.).

Block Island wind Farm informational meeting
Deepwater Wind (developer of the pilot wind farm project off Block Island) will hold a Block Island Wind Farm and Transmission System informational meeting and open discussion with the Rhode Island fishing community on Tuesday, October 9, 2012 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at The Village Inn, 1 Beach Street, Narragansett, RI.  If you are a recreational or commercial fisherman (or anyone else for that matter) and want to learn about the project or have a concern about the proposed wind farm you should attend.  Learn about the fisheries data that has been collected and what research is proposed as the project moves forward.  For further information contact independent fisheries consultant Rick Bellavance at 401.741.5648 or .
Where’s the bite
Tautog fishing is heating up as anglers start to target this species.  Legal size is 16” minimum with a limit (until October 19) of three fish/day/angler with a maximum of ten fish per boat.  JR Carlow reports on the RISAA blog, “I got out with my dad on Friday for some tog. We hit the ledge at the corner of Castle Hill, right where the Coast Guard cutter comes out, if you follow the shoreline out to the front of the Inn at Castle Hill. Got nine keepers and a total of 17 fish in about 2 1/2 hrs. All on Asian crabs. Slack tide too. Took the best five home.”  I fished in the mid/lower Bay Sunday and caught many shorts and two nice keepers in the 20” range in the General Rock, North Kingstown area in a matter of 1 ½ hours,  2.5 hours before low tide.  Once the current slowed, the fish shut off. I was using green crabs, chumming with a mixture of clam bellies and green crabs.
Striped bass fishing remains strong at night and early morning at Block Island.  Fish not as plentiful as they were, but still worth the trip. Tommy Pelto reports a good striped bass and blue fish bite along southern coastal shores, “I had a great night along South County. Even with a stiff wind fishing was great and consistent. Bass and blues were all mixed in together. A black and purple bottle plug did the job. Definitely an encouraging sign… (for) the next couple months.”
False albacore, albies or little tunny as they are called are appearing in good numbers along Rhode Island southern coastal shores.  Stephen Katkowski reports, “Fished the south shore for albies on Monday in my 14' skiff.  Landed 13 out of 17 for the day fishing all afternoon.  Kastmaster XL's were the ticket for me.  Fish were in tight just outside the surfers between Deep Hole and the Ocean Mist
Offshore. The bluefin tuna bite is still on at the Mudhole.  Joey Manansala said, “We fished the Mudhole this weekend. There are still small BFT and plenty of false albacore to keep you busy.”  Roger Lema said, “We were able to catch green bonito this Saturday along with Capt. Tom Toyota and the Mark V.  Fourteen fish total… with almost uncountable albies.”

Second giant in 10 days for Rhode Island angler

 Giant bluefin caught after five hour fight: This 763 pound tuna was caught by David Appolonia, South Kingstown, RI (bottom right), his second giant bluefin in ten days.  Lenny Upham (bottom left) of Cranston and Appolonia’s brothers Felix (top left) of West Warwick and Eric of North Kingstown (top right) were part of the team that caught this giant. Photo by Capt. Louis DeFusco.

State champs: Pat Crabtree and Chris Catucci of Bishop Hendricken High School, Warwick are getting ready for the freshwater 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 with a largemouth bass five fish limit weight of 14.5 pounds.

Second giant in 10 days for Rhode Island angler

Fishing for giant bluefin tuna off Rhode Island coastal shores hasn’t exactly been productive for sport fishermen for the past several years.  In fact, many have taken to fishing off Cape Cod as bluefin tuna have been more plentiful and larger in that area. But this season, with very few fish around in waters off Rhode Island, David Appolonia of South Kingstown, RI and his crew managed to boat two giant bluefin fishing the waters south of Block Island.  His second fish, 763 pounds and 108 inches long, arrived at Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown, RI after sunset.  Just ten days earlier, Appolonia brought a 730 pound bluefin to the same dock.
Snug Harbor Marina serves as the weigh-in station for most big game fish landed in RI.  Owner Al Conti said, “It is like getting struck by lightning twice… but David Appolonia managed to catch his second giant bluefin tuna… when there is nothing else around.” 
David Appolonia is no novice. He is a giant hunter, catching an 878 pound giant bluefin tuna three years ago. “Catching giants is truly a team effort.  This time we had Lenny Upham of Cranston, RI on the boat. He is experienced and comes from a long line of tuna fishermen.  And very special for me, my two brothers Felix (Appolonia of West Warwick, RI) and Eric (Appolonia of North Kingstown, RI) were crew members too.  All took turns on the reel as this fish was very strong.”
“We were anchored and chumming when we picked up the fish at 12:10 p.m. We thought we would luck out as it surfaced in 45 minutes but then sounded and it took five hours to land.  Lenny harpooned it and my brother Felix gaffed the fish.  We got the tail tied at about 5:15 p.m.  It took us about two and a half hours to get back to Point Judith.” said Appolonia.  It is important to note that all three of David’s giant bluefin tuna were caught on his 26’ Regulator.
Well done and congratulations David, Lenny, Felix and Eric on a very nice fish!  David Appolonia and his crew members are writing new chapters in the history of Rhode Island giant bluefin tuna fishing.
NOAA here to listen to fishermen
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) was in Rhode Island Monday to hear directly from Rhode Island fishermen about issues facing the industry.  John K. Bullard, who was recently appointed to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Northeast Regional Office of the National Marine Fisheries Service, and Bill Karp, who was recently named Science and Research Director for NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center met with fishermen in Narragansett at what was billed as a “listening session”.  Senators Jack Read and Sheldon Whitehouse along with DEM Director Janet Coit organized the meeting.
Warm water hurting striped bass when brought to surface
For the past three weeks, anglers catching and releasing striped bass off Block Island have noticed that the fish are having much more trouble reviving than ever before.  Many wonder if it is a lack of oxygen.  Last week when fishing on the southwest side of Block Island angler Chris Jalbert said, “… Some of the fish were difficult or impossible to revive even after short fights with circle hooks and being released without even lifting them from the water.  Somewhat exasperating, and (it) is the reason we stopped fishing…”
Chris Deacutis, PhD and chief scientist for the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program (NBEP) at the URI Bay Campus has been working on the issue of low oxygen in saltwater and its impact on fish for over ten years.  Dr. Deacutis does not think it is low oxygen affecting striped bass but rather CO2 and warm water temperatures when the fish are brought to the surface.  Dr. Deacutis said, “Open waters outside the upper half of the Bay have never shown any evidence of low DO (dissolved oxygen).  The most likely culprit (for bass having trouble reviving) is the CO2 - blood pH issue after a fight.  The surface waters are so warm now (75 degrees) the bulls (striped bass) just can't acclimate to these surface temps...that's why they stay on the bottom, and there is significant stress just from the temp jump alone when brought to the surface, never mind the fight.”
Anglers are urged to catch only what they plan to keep, then lay of the striped bass as the mortality rate of released fish under these conditions is likely very high.
Where’s the bite
Striped bass fishing when the weather permitted last week was good at night and slow during the day at the North Rip and the Southwest Ledge area off Block Island.  Captain Robb Roach of Kettlebottom Outfitters, Jamestown, RI said, “I was out fishing Thursday and Friday at Block and yesterday locally. Block Island has been a bust lately unless you seek bluefish and sea bass. Locally we have found a lot of the same. We fished yesterday with eels and managed only bluefish and sea bass. Switched to tube and worm and nailed a nice 47" striper.”  Mary Dangelo of Maridee Canvas-Bait & Tackle of Narragansett said, “Prior to rough conditions, customers were catching school striped bass with some keepers mixed in at dawn until 7 a.m. fishing off the wall at Narragansett Pier.”
Tautog fishing is still slow.  Anglers catching some small tautog off Black Point in Narragansett. “Divers are reporting a good number of tautog but not many anglers are targeting them yet.” said Mary Dangelo of Maridee Bait & Tackle.  John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle said, “Small tautog is being cauth at Conimicut Point, Colt State Park and at Ohio Ledge with few keepers in the mix at this time.” A good tautog bite reported off the Castle Hill area of Newport.
Scup fishing remains strong at Colt State Park, Ohio Ledge and off Conimicut Light said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & tackle.
Offshore.  Eric Weybrant said bluefin fishing was slow last Monday at the Mud hole (14 miles off Point Judith), “We got one small bluefin just under 30" right on top of the deepest part of the Mud hole about 20 minutes after going lines in. This was at 6 am. Should have called it a day right there but we slugged it out for another five hours. One more hookup at 10 a.m. at the southern tip of the Gully but the hook pulled before we could fight the rod out of the holder.”

Why fish at night?

Night fishing pays off.  Greg Vespe, an East Bay area resident, has successfully completed 375 night striped bass fishing trips on Narragansett Bay. “I fish at night to catch quality fish… it’s not as dark as you think out there.” Greg with a striped bass he caught a night on the Bay.
Large black sea bass taking eels off Block Island. Ralph Battista (executive chef at Luigi’s Restaurant & Gourmet Express in Johnston, RI) landed this monster 6 pound black sea bass last week on the Southwest Ledge.

Why fish at night?
Greg Vespe has successfully completed 375 night fishing trips for striped bass on Narragansett Bay.  He fishes for three types of striped bass. The first group he targets are spring fish, the second are transit bass and the third he refers to as “resident grubbers”.  He spoke last week at the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) monthly seminar and shared tactics he uses to target these fish from early May to October.
One may ask why fish at night?  Vespe said, “Fishing at night allows me to be competitive, I can catch quality fish, it is peaceful and not crowed like in the day and the seas are usually a lot calmer at night.  And, it is not as dark as you think out there.”
Greg, who generally fishes from his 14’ aluminum boat (and occasionally from shore) finished 16th out of 1,500 anglers in the Striper Cup Angler of the Year competition in 2009.  So he is an accomplished fisherman.
He suggests anglers should have confidence in their boat and ability to navigate at night.  “Go out during the day to the exact spots you plan to fish.  It is not like day time fishing where you go from spot to sport and are consistently moving.  I pick three spots, going to the furthest one first set up and fish and then progressively move to locations closer to the boat ramp.”  Once you select a location you settle in and fish that spot.
If the squid are running in the spring, he prefers to fish the lower Bay with squid rather than chasing menhaden and bass up the East Passage and Rivers.  The transit fish come into the Bay in July and August at night to feed in the lower Bay, they are aggressive fish but do not tend to hold long.  The “resident grubbers” are the fish that target lobsters and crabs, they tend to be loners and are often beat up from feeding off the bottom.
Here are some night time fishing tips from Greg.
Anchor so your bait is on top of the structure, not necessarily the boat.  He usually fishing in 6 to 20 feet of water, but if the bottom looks broken (with a lot of structure) in 40 feet of water he will fish there too.  Often times he uses two anchors so he can position the boat and be able to move it to take advantage of the structure as the tide and current change.
One of his favorite spots to fish in the eastern third of the Newport Bridge
Be quite and stealth when fishing for bass.
His favorite bait is squid in the spring and early summer May, June and July and uses a whole squid, fished two feet off the bottom, changing weight as the current changes.
As the water heats up he usually switched to eels, however, once the rods (he fishes three) are set he often throws plugs with his spinning rod and reel.
Fisheries council meeting, Monday, September 10
Now is the time to express your thoughts about the Rhode Island fishery.  Attend the Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council meeting Monday, September 10, 6:00 p.m. at the Corless Auditorium, URI Bay Campus, and South Ferry Road Narragansett, RI.  Agenda items will include a review of 2012-2013 recommendations for winter shellfish management area schedules, and 2013 commercial fishing licensing.  Also agendas for the new day long advisory panel meetings DEM and the council are experimenting with will be reviewed including summer flounder, scup/black sea bass and the Atlantic herring ad hoc committee panel.
Where’s the bite
Striped bass are still plentiful at Block Island with the southwest ledge area still hot. Anglers fishing the lower Bay and off southern coastal shores are not experiencing a good bite.  George Allen of Portsmouth said, “Fishing off Newport trolling wire with tube and worm was not productive last week.  The bluefish are prominent, they kept biting off the tips of the worms.”
Fluke and black sea bass fishing in the Bay was challenging this week with few fish now being caught under and around the Newport and Jamestown Bridges. Bite for fluke and black sea bass still good off the center wall at the Harbor of Refuge up to the 3 mile limit. Snug Harbor Marina reports a good fluke bite off Scarborough Beach in 70 to 80 feet of water and on the south and east sides of Block Island.  Black sea bass are still thick at the south west ledge. Ralph Battista (executive chef at Luigi’s Restaurant & Gourmet Express in Johnston, RI) landed a monster 6 pound black sea bass last week on the Southwest Ledge.  Ralph said, “This monster took an eel (when striped bass fishing)… We also took a 4.5 lb on an eel as well.”
 Offshore. Snug Harbor Marina reports yellowfin tuna at the SE corner of the Dump on the troll.  David Appolonia catches his second giant bluefin tuna in three weeks.  This one was 764 pounds.  Details next week on the fight.  Ken Landry of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick, RI has been tearing it up offshore.  He had three successful trips last week fishing between the Mud Hole and Cox’s Ledge.  “His trips netted school blue fin tuna, two hammerhead sharks, two Mako sharks, 35 or so cod fish and 8 to 10 Mahi Mahi each day.” said Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait. (Sorry about not referencing your shop correcting last week Ken and Ray).s