Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Lots new at the Newport Boat Show

Steve Brustein of Portland, ME with a 30 pound Block Island striped bass he caught Saturday on No Fluke Charters.

Fluke still holding inshore: Angler Jack Leyden of North Kingstown with two fluke to 22” he managed to catch while fishing in the Newport Bridge area after storms last week.

 Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle and Capt. Jack Sprengle of East Coast Charters with the 120 pound bluefin tuna they caught Friday in Cape Cod Bay.

Lots new at the Newport Boat Show

The Newport International Boat Show held this weekend was a great success.  I attended Sunday under threatening skies and the in-the-water show docks were crowded with attendees. Over 600 exhibitors were at the show with an assortment of boats and a wide variety of accessories, equipment, electronics, gear and services for boaters. I visited the People’s Choice Award Winning manufacturer and checked out a few other exhibits that impressed me. 

The Nordic Tug 40 foot Flybridge won the People’s Choice award at the show.  Its big sister the Nordic 44 Tug took second place in the People’s Choice.  The Nordic Tugs on display at the show were getting a lot of attention when I toured them. I ran into three different Nordic Tug owners who were just stopping by to say hello to the Nordic team.  One owner said, “You know what makes the Nordic a desirable boat… it’s the fit and finish, just look at this woodwork.”  Paul Tortora, sales representative for Wilde Yacht Sales that represents Nordic, said, “Nordic gives you the economy of a displacement hull (2.5 gallons/hour), yet it can comfortably cruise into the mid to upper teens.”  The Nordic 40 features a new wider swim platform with a large stern entry door and new this year a second side door at the stern. The Nordic Tug 40 brochure price was $729,950. Visit www.wildeyachts.com   for details.

The Parker 2510 walk around with a cuddy cabin is a fishing machine.  This stable fishing platform has been upgraded with some finer touches such as colored hulls and fabrics.  Over the past couple of years they added a stern cockpit door and live well.  Tom Grimes, sales associate for Don’s Marine in Tiverton that represents Parker in this market said, “Parker was always a great fishing boat appealing to fishermen.  They now have added some touches like hull colors and fabric colors that appeal to women and families.”  The 25 foot Parker on display a the show featured a Windlass Package, a  West Coast Bow Rail Package, a Sandy Tan Hull and two 200 horsepower engines.  The show special price on this 2016 2510 W/A was $132,366.  Visit www.donsmarineri.com  for details on this Parker and others.

Dockwa software application that can find you dockage or a mooring in Newport, Boston, the Cape and Islands, New York and a host of other destinations. Discover and stay in new harbors… just tap, book a slip or mooring. The app works from your telephone or the web.  The application can be downloaded from the Apple Store or Google and it is totally free. So book in advance or make a last-minute reservation with Dockwa.  Visit www.dockwa.com  for details.

Zipwake dynamic trim control tabs.  These are not your conventional aluminum trim tabs but a system that incorporates a state of the art series of durable, fast-acting interceptors that eliminate the trim problems of planning and semi planning boats between 20 and 60 feet.  Zipwake sales associate Dan Schermerhorn of Pro Marine Distributing said, “The system eliminates boat pitch when passengers walk around the vessel automatically and the system automatically eliminates wave resistance which saves fuel and money.”  Prices for the system which includes a control panel, distribution unit and their state of the art interceptors that extend and retract as needed start at about $1,800 for vessels 18 to 20 feet.  To get a feel for how this system works, visit www.zipwake.com.

Fisheries Council reviews policy document

The Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council (RIMFC), which makes commercial and recreational fishing regulation recommendations, met last week largely to review and approve a new policy and procedures document for the Council.  The document formalized new Department of Environmental Management (DEM) policy pertaining to how it solicits public input on fisheries regulations at newly formed public workshops.

The workshops take the place of specie advisory panels that use to meet multiple nights rather than at one workshop meeting.  The workshops are part of the Department’s “lean initiative” that identified ways to save time and money while enhancing public participation at input meetings.

Although most specie advisory panels were eliminated, two remain intact; the Industry Advisory Committee (IAC) that coordinates recommendations from commercial fisheries sectors and the Shellfish Advisory Panel (SAP) which provides recommendations to the Council on all shellfish-related matters.

The RIMFC also welcomed two new councilpersons to their first meeting;  Michael Roderick, an executive at Town Dock, Narragansett and Travis Barao of East Providence, a recreational fisherman and a member of the RI Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) board of directors.

For information on RIMFC meeting material and minutes from past meetings, visit www.dem.ri.gov .

Where’s the bite

Striped bass fishing improved greatly this week as the water cleared from the storm.  Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence, said, “Anglers are catching striped bass from shore in the lower Providence River from Pawtuxet to Conimicut Point using eels and lures. Fishing is also good on the Cape. Customer Elijah Depaolo (13 years old) caught a 32 pound bass using live eels on the Cape Cod Cannel.” Jason Macedo of Lucky Bait, Warren caught a 47 pound striped bass last Friday at Block Island using eels at night.  Angler Eric Appolonia said, “My son Alex and his friends fished the Southwest Ledge of Block Island this past week and caught nine striped bass on one drift using eels.” I fished with Steve Brustein of Portland, ME Saturday at the Southwest Ledge where he managed to hook up with bass to 30 pounds trolling tube & worm.  Bill Sokolowski reports on the RISAA blog that, “We fished the Southwest Ledge Saturday night and once the sun set bass started to hit on each drift. Three of us caught a total of ten striped bass. The largest was 35 pounds. We each kept a small fish and released the balance. So much for no fish on a full moon. It couldn't have been a more beautiful night!”  John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside said, “School size bass are being caught in the East Passage with a few keepers mixed in.”

Black sea bass and fluke.  The fluke bite has softened a great deal, however the black sea bass bite is still good.  Angler Mike Swain of Coventry fished off Narrgansett Saturday and boated six nice black sea bass and one summer found.  I fished south of the windmill area at Block Island Saturday as well as the Hooter buoy area off Pt. Judith and did not catch as may black sea bass as we have in the bass with only short fluke caught at this time.  Manny Macedo of Lucky Bait said, “Sea bass fishing for some customers is OK with fluke still being gh off Newport and at the mouth of the Sakonnet River.”

False Albacore. “ The albie bite from shore at Pier Five, actually anywhere from Narrow River to the West Wall has been outstanding from shore.  One customer caught 50 false albacore from Pier Five. Most people do not eat them but I have some customers that like eating them.  They prepare them using coconut milk.” said Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle.

Cod fishing has been good.  Angler Lary Norin reports catchingt cod to 30 pounds on Cox’s Ledge.  Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “Our largest fish this week was in the 20’s with fish taken on both bait and jigs.  Hi hook this week went to an angler that boated seven nice cod fish.”

Bluefish large and small are being caught in the Bay with skipjacks growing in size.  John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait said, “Some skipjacks are 6 to 10 inches long, and they are still very plentiful.”  Manny Macedo of Lucky Bait said, “Bluefish are all over the Bay, more plentiful than they have been most of the season.”

Tuna fishing for school bluefin is hot at the Cape.  Angler Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle said, “I fished with Capt. Jack Sprengel of East Coast Charters, Warwick Friday on the Cape and landed a 120 pound bluefin using light tackle with a spinning reel and jig in 173 feet of water.”

Friday, September 9, 2016

Fishing after storms

Newport Blues:  Angler Steve Brustein of West Warwick with one of four bluefish caught when a school surfaced in front of 1st Beach, Newport. The fish were bled and iced in minutes ready for the smoker.

 Fishing after storms

The storm is over.  The seas are settling down.  Ever wonder what impact storms have on fishing?  
A storm like the one we had this past week can change fishing a lot.  Some species may leave the area totally.  Yet others species just won’t bite.  They may not bite because the water is dirty with sand and mud that either irritates the gills of fish so they stop moving around and feeding or they simply cannot see your bait in murky, cloudy water. 

But there is hope. Storms also create opportunities with reefs, clam and mussel beds that get torn up with broken shells providing a feeding ground for many of the fish we target.  Additionally, a good storm this time of year often provides a cleansing and a wakeup call to anglers suggesting that it is time to target fall species like tautog, migrating striped bass, surface feeding bluefish and false albacore.

“The water is like dirt.” said Matt Conti of Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown.  “A stormy week like we just had can convince a species that it is time to move.  Like summer flounder.  Last week, right up until Sunday, we had a commercial rod & reel fisherman bring in 20 pounds of fluke.  So they were still here.  But very possibly with a storm like this, with water this dirty we won’t find them again.  We might get a few stragglers as the fluke move out to deeper water.  At the lower part of the Bay for example or it may come back for a while off shore.  We will have to wait and see.” 

There have been an abundance of school size striped bass in covers and ponds.  Wickford Cove and other ponds and coves around the state are holding Atlantic menhaden and a lot of smaller bait that the school bass are feeding on.  Matt Conti said, “Salt Pond is loaded with school bass.  This is a place and species you can target when the weather is bad out in front or offshore.”

At press time the water has started to clear so hopefully by the weekend anglers will be able to fish for species such as black sea bass, striped bass, tautog and cod fishing which has been experiencing a fairly  good bite close to shore. 

Neil Hayes of Quaker Lane Bait & Tackle, North Kingstown, said, “Customers have been catching cod fish just south of the windmill area.”  So the hope is that fall cod fishing will develop like last year… a good bite at the East Fishing Grounds and around Block Island and waters close to shore, like the waters off Newport that produced good cod fishing last year.

Another good thing about storms is that they create new fish habitats with a new food supply of insects, shrimp, shell fish and small fish that arrive with the water. These flooded areas and water adjacent to them can become good fishing areas as the water starts to recede.   Fishing is good at inlets and outflow too because water levels are high due to rain, abnormally high tides and heavy surf. Once water rushes out of rivers, bays, and inlets, bait that may have sought refuge up inlets gets tossed around as they leave for open water where larger fish are waiting.
Good fishing as the weather clears.

Pabst Blue Ribbon Catch & Release Tournament selects final winners

The Pabst Blue Ribbon catch and release striped bass, bluefish and summer flounder (fluke) tournament ended August 20th.  To be eligible for the season ending cash prizes, a minimum of three fish had to be caught and released.  The length of the longest three fish in each specie category makes up an angler’s total entry.

Last week after all winning candidates passed a polygraph test the results of the competition became final. 

Tournament winners: Striped bass category winners were Russell Zivkovich, 150”, $5,000 cash prize; John Hanecak, 149.5”, $1,500; and Keith Darrow, 147.5”, $500.  Summer flounder (fluke) winners were Gary Stephens, 87”, $5,000 cash prize; John Davis, 83”, $1,500; and Howard Ward, 74”, $500.  The bluefish winners were Russell Zivkovich, 110.25”, $5,000 cash prize; Al Tremblay, 108.50, $1,500; and Gary Stephens, 108.25”, $500.

Visit www.pbrfishing.com for details on the September 25 celebration event and for a listing of Junior Division winners.

Where’s the bite

Summer flounder and black sea bass.  Last week we bottom fished a portion of four separate trips.  The areas we covered included the West and East side of Jamestown and all along the Aquidneck Island’s southern coast from Elbow Ledge at the Sakonnet River to the Brenton Reef Area. We also fished the areas around the Newport Bridge.  The result yielded a number of nice sized black sea bass to 21” but only seven keeper summer flounder. So I am convinced that this storm is very likely to chase any remaining summer flounder up and out of the area and away from our coastal shores to deeper water for the rest of the season. Angler Mike Swain of Coventry said, “I checked my logs from last year and this time last year the fluke were gone.  So I think they are gone for good this year.”  Neil Hayes of Quaker Lane Bait & Tackle, North Kingstown said, “Fluke fishing had been great before the storm at Block Island in the wind farm area with tons of nice black sea bass being caught too.”  Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “Fluke fishing was picky most of the week with big fish to 10 pounds being caught but the overall numbers were not good.” 

Bonito and false albacore.  The bonito bite is expected to be soft as they seem to be moving out of the area.  Neil Hayes of Quaker Lane said, “Earlier last week the bonito bite was good along the coastal shore.  They were mixed in with schools of bluefish so anglers were getting cut-off quite a bit.”  However, the false albacore are in.  Matt Conti of Snug Harbor said, “Toward the end of the week the false albacore were here pretty strong.  Generally when they arrive, the Bonito leave the area.  But they were blitzing pretty good last week before the storm along the southern coast shore.”

Bluefish were on the surface from Elbow Ledge all along the Aquidneck Island southern coast to Brenton Reef.  They were rather spotty, you had to look for them but they surfaced from time to time.  Angler Kevin Fetzer of East Greenwich said, “We spotted schools of bluefish Sunday off of first beach and we casted into the fray when they surface. We landed four for a friend who likes to smoke them.  No false albacore on bonito were mixed in with them.”

Striped bass fishing remained very strong last week.  Angler Eric Appolonia said, “We fished with eels on the Southwest Ledge at Block Island just before and after high tide and did very well last week.”  Matt Conti of Sung Harbor said, “The commercial season opens again this week so I am sure we will have a lot of fishermen targeting striped bass as soon as the weather clears.”  Fishing for striped bass can be hit or miss as the fall migration starts.  Schools of fish move in and out so someday the fishing can be good and other days it is not good. 

“Yellow fin tuna fishing on our first trip of the season was successful last week as anglers caught fish in the 50 to 70 pound range drifting chuck bait during the day. The trips will be run into October.” said Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet.

Freshwater fishing for trout has not been good.  Anglers are waiting or the restocking of ponds and waterways with trout for the fall and winter season.  However, largemouth bass fishing has been consistently good.  Neil Hayes of Quaker Lane said, “The largemouth bass bite has been good with anglers using shiners and worms as well as spinner baits with success.  Worden Pond and Indian Lake have been yielding fish consistently for customers.”  Kim Petti of Fin & Feather Outfitters, North Kingstown said, “Fishing in our spring fed ponds had been good all season.  With no rain the ponds did not heat up.  The Wood River water level remains high but everyone is waiting for DEM to restock with trout.”

Light tackle tactics that catch fish

 Capt. Mike Roy shared tips Monday on how to catch fall striped bass using light tackle.
Cameron Sears (age 12) of Seekonk, MA caught black sea bass and fluke off Pt. Judith Saturday while fishing with Jack Leyden of North Kingstown.

Light tackle tactics that catch fish 

I looked across the room Monday night and in the audience I spotted Peter Vican.  Peter is a well respected fisherman in Rhode Island and is the state striped bass record holder (77.4 pounds).  He was listening intently as Capt. Mike Roy from Connecticut shared his technique for fishing a reef for striped bass. 

Capt. Roy had the full attention of Peter Vican as well as 200 other fishermen who came to listen to him at a RI Saltwater Anglers Association meeting at The Villa Restaurant, West Warwick. Capt. Roy shared his knowledge of fish and the new, exciting and effective techniques he has developed to land fall run fish (striped bass, false albacore and bonito) on light tackle.

Roy is a former school teacher that trailers his 21 foot Steiger Craft boat.  Capt Roy said, “I like to trailer the boat because it gives me great flexibility.  We can fish Connecticut, Rhode Island and New York waters depending on conditions.  It allows me to fish March to December.”

Here are some light tackle tips Capt. Roy shared.

  • Along the Connecticut shore, eels work best at night and live bunker (Atlantic menhaden) works during the day.  Roy said, “I know eels work during the day at Block Island but not along the Connecticut shore.  Perhaps the reason is that there is not much bunker out at Block Island and the fish are not use to feeding on them.”

  • His standard rig uses 50 pound braid line with a seven foot 50 pound monofilament leader tied directly to the braid so he can cast and reel more effectively than when a swivel is used.  His seven foot rod is custom made by him and last year he started to use Shimano reels exclusively. He using J hooks rather can circle hooks and pays attention to the hook set so fish are not hooked in the gut.
  • Capt. Roy said, “I enjoy a strong hook set.  I wait until I feel a thump, lower the rod tip and they set the hook hard.  I will generally set it two more times to make sure the barb in the hook penetrates the fish.”
  • Believes in using no weight with eels (as he often fishes in low water, 15 feet) but does weigh them down with slip shot (small pieces of lead) when ne needs some weight to get them down.  He is a firm believer in maintaining contact with the bait to know when you get a hit and to prevent the eel from burying itself in structure below.
  • When fishing a surface blitz of false albacore, bonito or striped bass he positions his boat up wind and up current casting into the edge of the blitz as he believes in the ‘iceberg’ effect.  Roy said, “The fish you see on top are only the tip of the iceberg, likely the school is a lot larger under the surface, often times you can see it on your fish finder.”
For additional information visit Capt. Mike Roy’s website at www.reelcastcharters.com .

Where’s the bite?

Freshwater fishing has improved as the weather was not as warm this week.  Chris Catucci of the Tackle Box, Warwick said, “Gorton’s Pond, Warwick, has been giving up some four to five pound largemouth bass but you have to work for them.”  John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle Riverside, said, “Stump Pond has been producing a mix of largemouth bass, pickerel and perch for customers. There bait of choice has been shiners.  We sold a lot of shiners this week. “Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle said, “Bass fishermen have been landing fish shiners as well as with Yamsmoto Senkos.”

Scup/black sea bass fishing remains strong throughout Narragansett and Mt. Hope Bays with fish being caught around structure particularly where there is moving water.  Chris Catucci of the Tackle Box said, “Customers have been catching a lot of scup at Conimicut Point and Rocky Point.”  John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle  said,  “Scup, Tommy cod and some northern king fish are being caught around Lavin’s Marina on Bullock’s Point Cover, Barrington.”  Angler Ken Blanchard reports on the RISAA blog, “Fished from 9:45 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Saturday), lots of short scup and sea bass at the rock piles near the Quonnie Breachway. Fished the corner of the Breachway with rubber shad. Caught one schoolie bass about 14 inches and then got cut off by a bluefish. Started out cloudy and warm with an outgoing tide. Water is in the mid-70's, clear and weed free (pretty much).” Angler Jack Leyden of North Kingstown said, “Went out at 2:00 p.m. Saturday about one mile southeast of Pt. Judith in 64 feet of water and caught large black sea bass and small summer flounder on every drift.”

Striped bass fishing remains spotty a Block Island during the day with a much better night bite.  Anglers fishing the north rip and the southwest ledge in daylight have not done well. “The evening bite is pretty good at Block Island.” said Littlefield of Archie’s Bait. “Customer Al and Kevin Bettencourt (and Kevin’s son) continue to do well at the southwest ledge at sunset.  This weekend they caught their three fish and returned to the dock at about 10:30 p.m.  They caught a total of 17 fish with 30 ells with black sea bass taking many of the eels.”  Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence said, “The striped bass bait of choice has been eels with fish taking pencil popper lures as well.”  Fly fishing expert Ed Lombardo, who has been fishing the Narrow River said, “Shad and small striped bass are vey abundant.  Lots of fun on a 7 or 8 wt. rod.  Both the incoming and outgoing tide worked well as the fish have been very aggressive on either tide.  Small all white or all hot pint streamers work well.”  Capt. Frank Blount of the Francis Fleet reports a great night time striped bass bite.  Capt. Blount said, “This week turned out to be extraordinary for striped bass night fishing. Not only was the boat easily limited out all three nights, but piles of good size blue fish mixed in too. Some better size bass mixing were in the 15 to 25 pound range.”

Fluke fishing.  Although somewhat of a slowdown in some areas Mike Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters, Westerly said, “The fluke bite along the southern coastal shore has moved out to deeper water outside the Watch Hill Reef in about 60 to 80 feet of water. Although further out these fish are larger. The outside of the North Rip of Block Iland is producing fluke too as well as the wind farm area.”  I fished the lower west passage off Jamestown and Dutch Island and managed four keepers Friday and two on Sunday.  It has been a slow pick with some nice fish of size caught but not the steady pick we have witnessed the past two years fishing off Brenton Reef and Seal Ledge area, Newport.  Fishing off Block Island in the wind farm area continues to yield fish but not at the volume it had been early this year.  Angler Mike Swain of Coventry said, “We fished the wind farm area Sunday and hooked up with some nice fish, it’s arguably the best fluke fishing off Rhode Island, however, it was hardly worth the ride to fish there as we did not catch a volume of fish.”

The bluefish bite off Sabin Point and Barrington Beach has been very good.  Chris Catucci of the Tackle Box said, “Customers are catching some bluefish of size using poggy (Atlantic menhaden) chunks as bait.  We also have a lot on anglers catching skipjack bluefish in coves and ponds and inlets.  John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait said, “Bluefish are being caught in the Rivers.  In Pawtucket we have pogies three feet thick and some bluefish have worked their way up the river to feed on them.”  Reports of blue fish running at Block Island an along the southern coastal shore from Charlestown to Pt. Judith with some striped bass mixed in.

“Bonito have been running hot from the West Wall at the Harbor of Refuge to Watch Hill with the West Wall and Weekapaug areas being the hot spots.”,  said Mike Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters.

Tautog fishing has started to pick up as anglers are targeting them early than usual due to a soft fluke season in shore.  Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle said, “Tautog are hitting Asian crafts with a fair bite off Jamestown and Newport.”  Sophia Garzoli weighted in a 5.7 pound tautog at Ocean State Tackle that was caught with Asian crabs off the West Wall of the Harbor of Refuge.

Friday, August 26, 2016

380 pound mako landing was team effort

 The crew of the Kimberly Marie landed a 380 pound make last week… Marian Kach, Wakefield; Ian Drumm, Burrillville; Bob Neilson, Exeter; Dan Fleury, Hope Valley; and Eric Berg of North Stonington, CT.
Sophia Garzoli of Massachusetts weighed in this 5.7 pound tautog at Ocean State Tackle, Providence. She caught it using Asian crabs as bait fishing off the West Wall of the Harbor of Refuge.

380 pound mako landing was team effort

There is something mystical about coming in contact with sharks.  They are very powerful. Anglers do take them for food.  Very much the way they catch and eat cod fish, summer flounder, striped bass or tuna. In fact, mako sharks taste very much like swordfish.

Shark fishing can be exciting.  Like fishing for any other large game fish such as giant bluefin tuna, shark fishing is very much a team effort with the entire crew working to successfully land a fish.  Teamwork was exhibited last week when Bob Neilson and crew landed a 380 pound mako shark that was nearly eight feet long.  One of the largest mako sharks landed in Rhode Island this year. Here is their story.

Bob Nielson said, “We started the day cod fishing at Cox’s Ledge and after landing 20-25 cod we decided to set up a slick and start shark fish.  Within ten minutes, we had a two foot mako in the slick and we watched it devour a bait close to the boat. The fish left in a hurry.  We hooked into a mako approximately six feet in length which shook the hook at boat side. I figured we were done with mako fishing for the day. About 30 minutes later, an eight foot mako hit a bluefish filet. The fish made five spectacular jumps and it took about an hour to bring it along side and tail rope it.”
Bob Neilson of Exeter was fishing on the Kimberly Marie owned by John Kowaleski of Narragansett, RI. 

The fish was landed by Dan Fleury of Hope Valley and Bob Neilson was the leader man and fought the fish on the harpoon line.  Bob said, “I am very proud of the crew and how they handled the battle. This was the first Mako for Ian Drumm of Burrillville who fought the fish valiantly for the first thirty minutes while other crew members jumped on the reel and drove the boat.  The dock hand at Sung Harbor Marina, where the fish was weighed in, said at 380 pounds it was the largest mako weighted in so far this year.”

Location of RISAA meeting changed
The Monday, August 29, 7:00 p.m. Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) meeting will be held at The Villa Restaurant, 272 Cowesett Avenue, West Warwick.  Capt. Mike Roy will speak about how to catch striped bass, bonito and false albacore on light tackle (an appropriate topic for the fall fishing season). Non-members welcome with a $10 donation to the Scholarship Fund, RISAA members attend free.  Separate fee for dinner which is provided by The Villa.

Fall hatches will be the topic at Trout Unlimited meeting
The August 31st meeting of Trout Unlimited (TU) will focus on fly tying for fall hatches, primarily a variety of terrestrials.  This will be the last streamside meeting of the summer held at the Deer Check Station on Rte 165 (Ten Rod Road) in Exeter, RI.  In a meeting announcement the Trout Unlimited Narragansett Chapter said “For those interested in tying with our experts, bring your tools.  For those who would like to learn the basics of fly tying, we will host a beginners tying table with tools and materials.”  Networking will start at 5:00 p.m., food available at 5:30 p.m., with a short meeting at 6:00 p.m. before the fly tying starts.  The meeting will end in time for anglers to fish at dusk.  Contact chapter president, Ron Marafioti, at (401) 463-6162, with questions.

Where’s the bite

“Striped bass fishing is good at the Southwest Ledge (Block Island) with a stronger bite at night.  However, Saturday was a pretty good day on the Ledge with a good night bite at the North Rip.” said Matt Conti of Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown, RI.  Kim Petti of Fin & Feathers Outfitters, North Kingstown said, “Narrow River is holding bait which has really brought back the shad and school size striped bass.”  “Customers Albert and Kevin Bettencourt made a Block Island trip Friday night.  They launched from the boat ramp in Galilee at about 7:00 p.m. and arrived at the Southwest Ledge at about 8:00 p.m.  They had a total of three people on board and returned by 11:30 p.m. with a 38, 34 and 32 pound fish.  They drifted eels… three drifts and each time all three rods when down.  They could not turn two fish in time and experience a couple of brake offs that were likely very large fish.” said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside.

Bluefish reports are spotty in the bay, however, they are at Block Island with anglers catching them when fishing for striped bass.  Skipjack bluefish (small bluefish) are in coves and rivers in force.  “I had a barrel full of those small skipjack poppers and they are half gone in just a couple of days.” said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle.

Bonito. Reports of anglers seeing or landing bonito are common almost every day now.  Matt Conti of Snug Harbor said, “Two customers had a school of bonito come close enough to them while fishing the West Wall of the Harbor of Refuge but could not hook up.  There were boats chasing them too, but no reports of landings.”  Kim Petti of Fin & Feathers said, “Customers who fish the southern coastal shore have been landing bonito that have been feeding on bay anchovies.”

The scup bite remains strong just about everywhere.  “Customers are catching scup (and Tommy cod) at Sabin Point and just about everywhere else, they are doing well from the Barrington Bridge (at the old police station).” said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait.

Summer flounder fishing remains strong with the East Grounds (about three miles east of Block Island) and the area around the wind farm towers producing best for anglers.  Fluke fishing expert Bob Murray of Skipjack said, “We could not get a good drift going Tuesday at the East Grounds but we managed to hook up with a few fish and then we moved to the windmill area and did better.”  Matt Conti said the south shore experienced a wave of good fluke fishing this week, but most of the action is still at the wind farm and the East Fishing Grounds.”  Mike Swain of Coventry said, “We have been able to catch summer flounder off Newport but it has been slow going.  Saturday I fished alone and managed to land two nice fluke in the 21” to 23” range and my limit of sea bass (three fish/angler/day).  But fluke fishing in the lower Bay, off Newport and Jamestown has not been good this season.” Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “Fluke and black sea bass fishing was good this week with angler Tom Lombardi of Connecticut landing a 29 inch,  11.6 pound fluke that was caught on his first drift of the day using a bucktail rig he made himself."

Fresh water fishing has been just OK.  “The Wood River water flow is up.” said Kim Petti of Fin & Feathers.  “We are optimistic the high water level will be good for fishing over the next week… Customers have also been doing well with trout fishing the Farmington River in Connecticut using small flies.  Ant flies are working well and soon green inch worms will be in season which will change fly presentations.”

“Offshore fishing at the Canyons (Atlantis and the Fishtails) was not great last week. With the full moon this week customers did not do well fishing offshore.  Some small yellow fin and big eye tuna were caught there.  At the outer Butterfish Hole anglers have been catching some small yellow fin tuna and some very small bluefin tuna (18” to about 34”).” said Matt Conti of Snug Harbor.  Capt. Rick Bellavance of Priority Too Charters said, “Offshore tuna fishing slowed to a crawl this past week.  I fished Butterfish Hole last week and the Dump on Monday for not much.”  Last Wednesday angler Richard Pastore said he fished the northwest corner of the dump and trolled halfway down the southwest corner and then turned towards the Suffolk with nothing showing, “Lots of whales, birds, dolphins and bait but no tuna. bait was at 50’ and 125’. Water temps are 75+ anywhere south of the Block Island. My summary conclusion is the tuna have left the building so don’t bother chasing them. Mahi and cod are the fun fish right now.”

Cod fishing remained strong this week at Cox’s Ledge.  Angler Richard Pastore said, “Wednesday we fished the east to south west corner of Cox’s Ledge where we spotted eight boats fishing cod. Took a few small to medium sized cod on jigs and squid.  Also a nice biomass of black sea bass mixed in with the cod and better yet no dog fish.  The cod bite is pretty reasonable.”  Saturday angler Pastore fished Cox’s Ledge again, “The Ledge is covered with a sparse biomass of small to medium cod and plenty of black sea bass… pick a spot and start drifting. Watch the sounder for violent changes in the bottom structure. Every time we drifted across one of those we hooked up.”  Capt. Rick Bellavance of Priority Too charters said, “Cod fishing is better than it’s been in years.”

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Bottom fishing is family fishing fun

Capt. Dave Monti with a Newport Bridge area fluke caught last week.  Fishing there has been better the last week or two.
 Mikele St. Germain, daughters Eva and Francesca, husband Pierre and friend Steve Brustein (back row) enjoyed a family afternoon of scup fishing Friday on Narragansett Bay.
 Jude (nine) and Rowan (six) with their father Jimmy Monti of Warwick fished the Hooter Buoy area off Pt. Judith and landed multiple summer flounder (fluke) to 24”.
 Steve McGonagle holds a monster fluke his son Brenden caught in the Gould Island/Newport area last week.  They also caught a 50 inch bluefin tuna last week when fishing offshore.

Summer flounder (fluke) spawning stock biomass (SSB) has been on the decline for six years.

Bottom fishing is family fishing fun

Now is the time to bottom fish in the mid or lower Narragansett Bay area, along the coastal shore, and around Block Island.  The water is too warm in upper Narragansett Bay.  Most of bait and fish have moved or come into the mid and lower bay.  Areas around Aquidneck Island, the Newport, Jamestown and Mt. Hope Bridges as well as off Narragansett, Jamestown, Newport  and along our coastal shores are generally good to fish this time of year.
You can bottom fish when anchored, on the drift or from shore.  Bottom fishing for black sea bass, scup and summer flounder (fluke) can be fun for the entire family.  This type of fishing is not stressful in any way and is great for all including casual fishermen and children.  The best part is the down time between bites which serves as a great opportunity for family and friends to talk and socialize.

Anglers often anchor or drift on Great Ledge about a third to a mile northeast of the Jamestown Bridge.  Water flow there is good and you are up on a ledge in about 15 to 25 feet of water with 45 to 60 feet of water on one side and lower water on the Jamestown side of the ledge.  This is a “go to” place to catch scup and black sea bass when children are on board.  The best strategy for children and fishing is to hook them up with fish quickly within minutes to keep their interest.

Anywhere there is structure and water movement is good for bottom fishing.  This includes places in the around Block Island and the coast as well as the mid bay area in such places as Providence Point, Prudence Island, Colt State Park, Independence Park, Warwick Light, Ohio Ledge, etc.

Drifting under and around the bridges is outstanding for summer flounder and black sea bass in particular.  Favorite spots near the Newport Bridge include south of Rose Island were the water is 20 to 30 feet near the green harbor can, the water then drops off to 60 to 90 feet.  The rocky bottom on the south side of Rose Island close to shore has yielded may scup and black sea bass in the summer.  The  water  flow around Rose Island and in and out of Newport Harbor is very good.

Fishing for summer flounder just north and south of the Newport Bridge is good too.  Because the water flow is good, depending on the tide and wind I will focus either on the north or south side of the bridge.  Both the east and west sides are good.  The idea is to stay close to the bridge at the start or end of the drift.  Strikes often occur on depth breaks and where the current is strongest near the bridge.

Black sea bass are fun to catch and a great eating fish.  You usually catch them when fishing for summer flounder (fluke) or where there is underwater structure… rocks, wrecks, piers and jetties will attract black sea bass.  The larger males are generally found in deeper water.

Gear, baits and hook set for bottom fish

Usually bottom fishing rigs for scup and black sea bass are simple and have two hooks and a sinker. Fluke rigs generally have some time of plastic squid, spinner plate or other covering around or above the hook.  I often buy off-the-shelf rigs at bait & tackle shops that sell for about three to five dollars. 
The idea is to keep the piece of bail small (often squid) for scup and black sea bass as both species are bait stealers so you want them to bite the hook and bait (not just pull the bait off the hook) and then set the hook quickly.

When targeting summer flounder with a fluke rig, I believe in larger bait arrangements using strips of squid, silver side fish, with some other type of attractant to hold the squid and silverside on like strips of summer flounder belly, bluefish, sea robin or scup strips depending what you are catching that day. 

There is no quick hook set when fishing for summer flounder as they eat their way up the hook so if you set the hook quickly you may miss the hook up. I let the fish eat the bait for a second or two and then gently raise the rod an inch or two.  If I feel the weight of a fish I firmly but gently continue to raise the rod to set the hook and start reeling the fish in.
I generally use light tackle, spinning or conventional reels are fine with light to medium weight rods with 15 to 20 pound test braid.  The idea of most bottom fishing is put on just enough weight to hold bottom.

Summer flounder spawning stock down

This season some recreational anglers felt summer flounder (fluke) fishing was good, others felt it was way off.  The truth is that the summer flounder spawning stock biomass (SSB) is down and has been down for six years.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) announced on August 15th that they modified specifications for summer flounder reducing catch limits in 2017 for both recreational and commercial fisheries by about 30%. 

The 2016 assessment update indicates that summer flounder has been on a downward trend.  The summer flounder spawning stock biomass has been on a downward trend for the last six years.  Fish managers have taken action with 30 percent reductions proposed for 2017, both recreational harvest limits and commercial quotas. How this will play out with Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts fishing regulations for 2017 remains to be seen, but no doubt more conservative regulations for 2017 are on the way.

Previously implemented specifications for scup, black sea bass and bluefish were reviewed but essentially kept the same pending fishery changes and any new scientific information.
The Commission’s actions are final and apply to Rhode Island state waters but how they are implemented is to be determined. The Council will forward its federal waters recommendations regarding summer flounder specifications to NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Administrator for final approval.

The summer flounder recreational harvest limit was 5.42 (millions of pounds) in 2016, it will be 3.77 in 2017 (a 30% reduction) and 4.42 millions of pounds in 2018.  From a commercial quota perspective catch limits are going from 8.12 millions of pounds in 2016 to 5.66 in 2017 to 6.63 in 2018.

This decrease in catch and landings limits responds to the findings of the 2016 stock assessment update, which indicates summer flounder has been experiencing overfishing since 2008. In 2015, fishing mortality exceeded its threshold (the level beyond which overfishing is occurring) by 26%. The 2015 estimate of spawning stock biomass (SSB) is at 58% of the biomass target, and only 16% above the threshold.

The ASMFC said in a press release, “If the summer flounder stock were to fall below the threshold, it would be considered overfished, requiring the development of a rebuilding plan to reduce fishing mortality and rebuild stock biomass. These results appear to be driven largely by below-average recruitment, an underestimation of the fishing mortality level in the last years of the assessment, and declining biomass indices.”

Where’s the bite

Bottom fishing for summer flounder (fluke), black sea bass and scup.  Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “Fluke fishing had its ups and downs last week, however, some anglers continue to limit out with one fisherman boating fifteen keeper sized fluke.  All customers caught their share of black sea bass averaging in the four pound range with more and more scup in the two pound range being caught.” Jimmy Monti and his two boys Jude (nine) and Rowan (six) boated fluke to 24” while fishing the Hooter Buoy off Pt. Judith this Saturday.  Angler Steve and son Brenden McGonagle fished the Newport area for summer flounder (fluke) last week. Steve said, “We started by Rose island, made our way over to the Newport Harbor area, across the water to the Conanicut mooring field area and then under the bridge and up to Gould Island point.  The tide was incoming so the drift was uphill.  Brenden's rod doubled over with line pulling fast off the drag and said, ’Darn, I am tight with a bluefish’.  As the fish neared the boat Brenden saw the leader, then some color from the rig and said ‘it’s a...it looks like it’s a...Dad get the gaff QUICKLY, GET THE GAFF!!!  And we gaffed Flukezilla.  It was easily the biggest fluke either of us had ever seen in 15 years of fishing Rhode Island waters.”  I fished the same Newport areas Saturday and did well with fluke and black sea bass with two anglers on board.  John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside said, “Customers are catching a fair about of fluke off Brenton Reef in 60 to 80 feet of water but it is slow going with one customer catching seventeen fish to get keepers.  Scup fishing is good all the way up the East Passage to Providence.”  Matt Conti of Snug Harbor Marina said, “Fluke fishing is spotty at the windmills and East Grounds which is an indication the fish are moving out with a better bite east of Pt. Judith, at the mouth of the Bay, and off Newport as an indication of this too.”

Striped bass. Saturday in five foot seas angler Eric Appolonia of North Kingstown said, “We caught three nice keeper fish at the Southwest Ledge trolling a spoon and released two.” Matt Conti of Snug Harbor Marina said, “The bass bite on Block Island is better at night with eels than during the day.”

Offshore.  Matt Conti of Snug Harbor said, “There are still bluefin tuna at the Dump along with white marlin and occasional Wahoo.  The last trip a customer made they did on see any mahi.  The bluefin bite has also been good at the Butterfish Hole (south of Montauk, NY).”  Offshore fisherman Steve McGonagle said, “(Last Tuesday) my son Brenden spotted a school of BFT cruising just below the surface. It was clear that they were not on bait, which we knew right away gave us a shot at coming tight.  He pulled back the throttles and positioned the boat ahead of the pushing fish.  The first two bluefin pulled the lines out of my hands as I was setting in and we were tight to two 50 inch fish.  Brenden fought one fish and his friend Tyler fought the other as I maneuvered the boat, managed the cockpit and tried to decide if we could gaff or harpoon either fish.  The fights went well but we lost the smaller fish at the boat and darted the larger fish, dragging her through the tuna door.”
Cod fishing is still good on the southeast corner of Cox’s Ledge. We have anglers using salted clams (which we have) as well as jigs and are doing well.” said Matt Conti of Snug Harbor Marina.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Free fresh and saltwater fly-tying workshops

 Chase Reilly of Narragansett with the 56” bluefin tuna he caught last Thursday fishing with his grandfather Bill Catauro on his boat the Joka out of Pt. Judith.
 Capt. B.J. Silvia (left) of Flippin Out Charters fished with Capt. Eric Thomas on his boat Saturday and landed this 60” Wahoo just south of the Dump.
Tony Battalino and friends Chuck and Willy from central CT with a nice days catch of summer flounder and black sea bass taken aboard the Gail Frances party boat.

Free fresh and saltwater fly-tying workshops

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is hosting a series of free fly-tying workshops for novice and experienced fly-tiers this month.

Instruction on both fresh- and saltwater fly tying will be included, and all equipment and materials will be provided. Participants are welcome to bring their own materials, if they prefer.  Children aged 10 and older are invited to participate.

Remaining sessions will be held 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Monday, August 15 and 22 at Langworthy Public Library, 24 Spring Street, Hopkinton;  Wednesday, August 17 and 24, North Smithfield Public Library, 20 Main Street, Saltersville; and Tuesday, August 16, 23, 30 at the Riverside Sportsman’s Association, One Sportsman Drive, East Providence.  
Space is limited and registration is required. To register, contact Scott Travers at Scott.travers@dem.ri.gov .

Dolphin show offshore

Richard Pastore fished offshore this weekend and ran into a spectacular school of dolphin.  Dick said, “I see a lot of dolphins but we ran into a school the size of a football field south of the Dump (about 50 miles south of Block Island). They ranged in size from babies to 600 pounds.  They ran with the boat for 20 minutes putting on an aerial show better than something at Sea World, including synchronized three members proposing within five feet of the boat. Another 500 pound jumped thee feet out of the water, five feet from the boat parallel to our direction. This was an unbelievable performance.”

Where’s the bite

Black sea bass and summer flounder (fluke) fishing is holding up along the southern coastal shore.  Mike Cardinal of Cardinal Bait & Tackle, Westerly said, “You have to pick through a lot of shorts to get some keepers but fluke fishing is holding up and good at Fishers Island and along Misquamicut Beach.” Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick said, “The fluke bite is south of the Jamestown and Newport Bridges.  The warm water has driven most fish south to the lower Bay off Jamestown and Newport.”  “Customers have reported a good fluke bite in the Sakonnet area and off of Newport with a very hot bite off Block Island.  The current out there is something else.  I sold 18, 20 and 24 once sinkers to fishermen who planned to use them in the quick current out at Block Island.”, said Manny Macedo of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren.  John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, 
Riverside said, “Some black sea bass are being cauth at Colt State Park, Bristol and south, however, they very rarely come father north toward Providence.” 

“Striped bass fishing is holding up at night off Block Island with customers finding success with eels.”, said Mike Cardinal of Cardinal Bait & Tackle.  Christian Silvia of Watch Hill Outfitters, Westerly said, “Customers are killing the bass at Block Island trolling parachute jigs or tube & worm and eels are working well too.  The bite is good in the day as well as at night. However, the beaches are very slow, no large bass being taken from the shore along the coast, however, some good sized school bass are being caught.”  John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle said, “One of my customers caught a 24 pound bass from shore at the Mt. Hope Bridge this week.  He was using clam tongue and was fishing early in the evening before it got dark. And, we have very small school striped bass in the mid and upper Bay that are 8, 10 and 12 inches long.  We do have a ton of pogies (Atlantic menhaden) in the River all the way up to downtown Pawtucket. So we are ready when the weather cools and the bass start to move because we have the bait.” Manny Macedo of Lucky Bait & Tackle said, “Customers fishing from shore at Water Street, Warren from docks and near the Mt. Hope Bridge are starting to catch keeper bass again.  One customer cleaned his fish here and it was just 28 ½ inches.  He was using clam bellies and was fishing during the day.  He also caught two at 25” and one larger fish that got away.”  

“Scup are huge along the costal shore.  They really came on strong last week.  Some of the largest scup we have ever seen, said Mike Cardinal of Cardinal Bait & Tackle. “We have a good Tommy Cod and scup bite at the Wharf Tavern, the Barrington Bridge near the old police station and Colt State Park.” said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle.

“Large bluefish are in the East Passage from Conimicut and East Providence all the way down to Half-way Rock (south of Prudence Island).  I would fish for them at Barrington Beach and Bear Point, Prudence Island.” said Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle. “The bluefish have been very big, in the ten to fifteen pound range along the coast and off the beaches.” said Christian Silvia of Watch Hill Outfitters. “Customers are catching large bluefish in the ten pound range on second beach, Middletown. We also have a large number of skipjack bluefish chasing bait in covers and bays. We have sold a ton of skipjack rigs as they are everywhere.  The kids have a blast catching them.”, said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle. 

Offshore. The bluefin bite continues to be red hot.  “Customers have caught bluefin tuna in site of the Montague Light.  So they are close.” said Christian Silvia of Watch Hill Outfitters.  Angler Chase Reilly of Narragansett caught a 57” bluefin tuna Thursday fishing on this grandfather Bill Catauro’s boat the Joka. Capt. B.J. Silvia, who fished on Capt. Eric Thomas’s boat Saturday, said “We caught a 60” wahoo just south of the Dump on an X-Rap lure.” “Guys are killing the tuna.  I had to order more chum and Ballyhoo as guys are doing well and buying bait for tuna more so than ever before.” said Macedo of Lucky Bait.  Offshore fishing expert Dick Pastore fished the northwest corner of the Dump for tuna last Friday with little success.  Dick said, “We then picked up and ran down to the top of shipping lanes into 75 degree water at about 10:30 a.m. There was nothing to see when we arrived so I turned and ran back north. Half way between the lanes and the dump there were some high flyers. Some contained nothing however we got on one which probably had 50 mahi that I could see. Initially we used a small green deadly dick which the mahi frenzied to attack. When they got tired of that, we used chunks of squid on circle hooks, free spooled into the school. We boated about 15 fish the majority of which were 33-36”.

Bluefin tuna running hard

 Alex Appolonia of North Kingstown with the 80 pound bluefin tuna he caught last week when fishing with his father and uncle at the Dump (about 50 miles offshore).
 The Maridee II crew with the 40” bluefin they caught last week 50 miles offshore.
 A total of fifty veterans, family members, friends and care givers fished on charter boats from the Rhode Island Party & Charter Boat Association last week.
Steve Brustein and Kevin Fetzer caught over 22 keeper fluke and black sea bass fishing in the windmill area off Block Island Saturday.

Bluefin tuna running hard

Fishing offshore can be very exciting and challenging.  You travel long distances, sometimes in rough seas and bad weather. 

However, when a bluefin tuna hits your rig going 30 miles/hour it all becomes very exciting.  And, you see things offshore that are remarkable.  Sites you do not ordinarily see along the coastal shore and in the bays.

You see porpoise, all types of whales and more exotic fish like marlin, mahi mahi and Wahoo.  And, the big prize that most seek is the tuna. 

Last week bluefin tuna (BFT) fishing exploded off Rhode Island shores.  The bluefin were not 100 miles out at the canyons, nor were they off Cape Cod but about 50 to 60 miles offshore at a place called the Dump.  Here’s what happened.

Matt Conti of Sung Harbor Marina said, “All the bait and food is at the Dump not further out at the Canyons.  Whales were at the southern sections of the dump with some large fish being caught and they are catching 40” to 60” bluefin tuna with yellowfin tuna mixed in at the northern end of the Dump.  Most guys have switched to tuna fishing from shark fishing but there are still plenty of sharks around too.”

I spoke with Matt yesterday and he said, “The northeast wind and rough seas kept boats at the dock
Tuesday and Wednesday this week, however, it may be a good thing as the water may cool just a bit and keep all the bait in place.”

Alex Appolonia of North Kingstown caught an 80 pound bluefin at the Dump Thursday.  He was fishing with his father Eric on his Uncle David Appolonia’s boat.  

Avid offshore fisherman Richard Pastore said, “We started fishing at the Fingers which is just above the center of the Dump at about 7:30 a.m. on Saturday with whales, birds, dolphin and a one degree temperature break.  Schools of medium size bluefin tuna were breaking on the surface… at 8:00 a.m. a fish hit and almost spooled me until I finally turned it.  A few minutes later we gaffed a 51” BFT which weighed about 100 pounds. An hour later the black bar hooks up again with another identical fish. Their bellies were jammed with sand eels to the point where I don’t know how they expected to swallow the 14” squid that they hit on my spreader bar.” 

Capt. Rick Bellavance said, “The charter boat Maridee II got into some 40 inch Bluefin tuna on Sunday within 50 miles from Point Judith.  “I spoke with my brother Doug Thursday at 9 a.m. and they had boated their fist bluefin.” said Mike Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters, Westerly. 

Charter Fishing Association says ‘thanks for serving’

Last Tuesday, July 26 twelve charter fishing vessels from the Rhode Island Party & Charter Boat Association took veterans fishing aboard their vessels out of the Port of Galilee.   It was the third year in a row that veterans, many of them with disabilities, family members, friends and care givers (about fifty of them) where out on the water with charter fishing association members in Rhode Island.
Everyone on the trip caught fish.  Capt. Rick Bellavance, president of the RIPCBA, said, “The veterans caught black sea bass, scup, fluke, striped bass and sea robins. We thank them all from the bottom of our hearts for their service and tremendous sacrifices.”

Jenny McLaughlin, adaptive sports case manager from the VA Boston Healthcare System said, “I continue to be humbled by the number of captains that continue to come out each year and volunteer/donate their time and boats for our Veterans to fish… the captains and mates did great accommodating each Veteran and their ability.”

Tautog season opens

The recreational tautog season opened August 1 and will run through October 14th with a three fish/person/day catch limit.  In the next period of the season, from October 15th to December 15th the catch limit will jump to six fish/person/day. A maximum of ten fish per vessel applies during all periods.

Where’s the bite

Freshwater fishing has slowed with warming water.  Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence said, “Largemouth bass are still being caught at Turner Reservoir in Rumford and at Ten Mile River.  Pickerel perch, bass, trout and carp (on the north side) are being caught a Lincoln Woods.”

Summer flounder and black sea bass.  Matt Conti of Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown, said, “The windmill area at Block Island was pretty good Sunday for fluke and there are plenty of black sea bass being caught too.”  Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick said, “It seems that the fluke and black sea bass action has moved south of the Jamestown and Newport Bridges and out in front.”  This weekend I fished with Kevin Fetzer and Steve Brustein at the Block Island windmills and did well with black sea bass and fluke to 24 inches. “The fluke bite is now off Block Island or along the coastal shore with few fish being caught in the Bay.” said Dave Henault of Ocean Stale Tackle.

“Bluefish in the Bay at Ohio Ledge and Barrington Beach have been big in the 12 and 13 pound range.” said Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick.  Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle said, “Huge blue fish in the 40” range are being caught in the Seekonk River and other parts of the Bay.”

“The Scup bite has been very strong at Warwick Light, Sabin Point, Colt State Park, the Mt. Hope Bridge and the fish have been big… some topping 20”.” said Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle.  Anglers continue to catch scup around any structure in the Bay.  Add water movement that pushes around the bait and the bite improves tremendously.

“Striped bass fishing remained strong at night at Block Island and is better during the day than it was with anglers successfully using eels as bait.” said Matt Conti of Snug Harbor Marina.  “Anglers are catching striped bass off Newport in the Brenton Reef area.” said Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait.  Neil Hayes of Quaker Lane Bait & Tackle, North Kingstown said, “Customers are catching striped bass off Newport and Jamestown using both eels and Atlantic menhaden.  Block Island has been good for bass too.”

Bonito are here.  No reports of big numbers being caught yet but anglers at Block Island and along the coastal shore have hooked up.  Angler Eric Appolonia reported catching a bonito when trolling with an umbrella rig at the southwest ledge area of Block Island two weeks ago.  Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle report a customer caught one in the Pt. Judith area this weekend.

Barao of East Providence appointed to Marine Fisheries Council

 Travis Barao of East Providence, RI has been appointed to the Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council.
 Steve Gillissie with a Block Island striped bass caught last week using an umbrella rig.
Louie Alarie, Bob Ferioli and Mel Blake had no trouble catching black sea bass to 22” under and just south of the Newport Bridge last week aboard No Fluke Charters.

Barao of East Providence appointed to Marine Fisheries Council

Travis E. Barao of East Providence, RI has been appointed to the Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council (RIMFC).  He is one of three recreational representatives on the Council and replaces Richard Hittinger who reached his two term limit. Three commercial fishing representatives and two scientists also serve on the Council.

The RIMFC makes commercial and recreational fishing regulation recommendations to Janet Coit, executive director of the RI Department of Environmental Management (DEM).  The RIMFC solicits input from fishermen and community input on proposed fishing regulations and then makes recommendations to the DEM director.

Barao also serves on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Black Sea Bass, Fluke and Scup advisory panel which provides regional regulation recommendations for these and other species. He is a Life Member of the RI Saltwater Anglers Association where he has served on their board for three years.

Barao was confirmed by the RI Senate on June 16 with a term that expires on April 1, 2020.

United Fly Tyers open to new members

If you are interested in fly fishing and want to learn how to tie your own flys or improve you skills in this area, The United Fly Tyers of Rhode Island may be the club for you. Meetings are more like workshops where members share their knowledge on how to tie flys that target both fresh and salt water species. 
The United Fly Tyers of Rhode Island (www.uftri.org) meets at the Knight of Columbus, 475 Sandy Lane, Warwick, R.I. 02889, the first Wednesday of each month, September through May. Call Jeff Perry at 741.0598 or Cindi Chrostek at 871.2332 for more information.

Trout Unlimited July meeting

The Narragansett Chapter of Trout Unlimited (TU225) will host its next meeting on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. at the Deer Check Station, Rte. 165 (Ten Rod Road), Exeter, RI.  This will be the third of four streamside meetings for this summer.

The primary focus of the meeting will be ‘A Night with RIDEM Conservation Officer Michael DiPietro’.  Officer DiPietro will review important issues from DEM’s perspective with a question and answer period where members can relate how the feel about key issues.  Networking will start at 5:00 p.m., food will be available at 5:30 p.m. and a short meeting will start around 6:00 p.m. followed by the discussion. 

One additional benefit of the summer streamside format is that the sun is still shining when the meeting is adjourned, and anglers have time to fish before the sun goes down. Contact chapter president, Ron Marafioti at (401) 463-6162 with questions.

Where’s the bite

Fresh water fishing has slowed with the heat and warming water.  “Low water levels at the Wood River  reduced fishing activity on the River.” said Kim Petti of Fin & Feather Outfitters, North Kingstown. “Bass fishing for customers has been slow.  When they have been able to catch them they have been down in deeper cooler water as the water is warming up quite a bit.” said Sam Busenbark of Bucko Bait & Tackle, Fall River.

Striped bass fishing remained very strong at Block Island last week with reports of 50 plus pound fish being caught at the southwest ledge.  Capt. Rob Roach of Kettlebottom Outfitters said, “Bunker in Providence River are becoming scattered and hard to locate and game fish are moving out of the Bay and onto South Shore and Bay reefs.  Many inlets are still producing a lot of school to small keeper-sized fish as are the associated salt ponds.  Eels at Block Island are showing good results with many 40 lb+ fish caught lately.” Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “Last week’s Wednesday Night's bass trip had a full boat limit of bass to 35 pounds by 9:30 p.m. and anglers practiced catch and release fishing thereafter and the boat was still tied up at the dock by midnight… at least a half dozen other bass around 30 pounds that night and many others in the 20's.”  I fished Block Island last week with Josh and Ron Barnes and friends where they caught bass to 46 pounds.  Umbrella rigs and eels seem to be the bait of choice with other methods working too.  Capt. Rick Bellavance of Priority Too charters said, “Striped bass fishing this week switched more to a night time bite on Block Island where anglers are using eels.  Parachute jigs are working well in the day too.”

Bluefish.  Kim Petti of Fin & Feather Outfitters, North Kingstown said, “I was in Jamestown this weekend and small bluefish (and stripers) were being caught by fly fishermen.  Others are doing well in the Quonochontaug area with a decent bluefish bite off Prudence Island in the Bay as well.”  Angler Steve Hamilton and his son Devin caught a 28” bluefish while fluke fishing in the West Passage off the URI Bay Campus in Narragansett.  This fish took a small fluke rig tipped with squid and a silverside.” Sam Busenbark of Bucko Bait & Tackle, said, “The bass have moved out of the Sakonnet River due to the heat but some nice bluefish have moved in.”

Summer flounder (fluke).   Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “A big body of fish set up along the south side of Block Island and there were numerous angler limits and many fishers who boxed several nice fluke apiece on trips this week. Whole squid, buck tails and regular bait rigs all worked this past week. Best advice is to be prepared for two or three of these fishing strategies and adjust accordingly as the tide/wind conditions dictate.” Sam Busenbark of Bucko Bait & Tackle said, “We had some nice keepers taken at Elbow Ledge last week but fluke fishing activity has been slow.”  “Fluke fishing south of the Block Island is hot… some days it looks like there are 100 boats there.”, said Rick Bellavance of Priority Too charters. I bottom fished three times this week off Jamestown and Newport and had trouble hooking up with summer flounder as they do not seem to be in the area yet, hope is that they arrive this week or next.

Black sea bass and scup fishing is very strong just about everywhere.  Nelson Valles of Maridee Canvas & Bait, Narragansett said, “Scup and black sea bass fishing is very strong from shore off just about every dock, jetty and even from the beaches with a good bluefish bite from shore too.” “Scup fishing has been fantastic with fish being caught from shore at the Stone Bridge, Tiverton all the way up to Fall River from shore as well as in the Gooseberry and Horseneck areas.” said Sam Busenbark of Bucko’s Bait & Tackle.

Tuna fishing offshore locally has been slow.  Tuna fisherman Mike Schreffler said, “There have been no bluefin in close.  Guys are catching them at the Canyons, a 120 mile run, but we are waiting for them to get a bit closer at least to the Fish Tales which is about 70 miles offshore.  So things have been slow off Rhode Island and Cape Cod with some fish being caught up north.  We have heard that some are catching mahi mahi in the Shipping Lanes which is about 50 miles offshore.”