Camp aims to hook kids on fishing
OK, so there are all types of camps, sports, dance, even cooking camps and now there is a fishing camp in Rhode Island. The Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) is holding a pilot fishing camp at Rocky Point Park, Warwick, Tuesday, June 28 to Thursday, June 30 for children 7 to 14 years old.
A lot goes on when you fish. It appeals to our sense of adventure and teaches us patience, it is one of those activities where science and art converge, it teaches us to be good stewards of the environment and it allows us to build a lifetime of memories and friendships with those we fish with.
Steve Medeiros, RISAA president said, “The goal is to introduce youngsters to fishing. We find children of all backgrounds and cultures are attracted to fishing for all the right reasons and our aim is to give them a proper introduction to the sport. Our hope is that we fine tune the program and are able to hold additional camps in the future.”
For now RISAA’s piolet fishing camp is taking 40 children on a first- come, first- served basis and developing a waiting list. Children will be split into two groups, 7 to 10 and 11 to 14 year old age groups. The same children attend all three days.
There is no cost for children to participate, however, parents must complete and sign all participation forms, provide their child with proper attire for an outdoor fishing camp and weather conditions. Parents must provide transportation for children each day.
Topics to be covered over the three day camp include fish identification, fishing laws, use of spinning and conventional tackle, basic marine biology, how and why to use different baits and lures, casting and fishing from shore as well as boating safety and fishing on a boat.
The fishing camp is sponsored by the RI Saltwater Anglers Foundation and partners include the RI Department of Environmental Management, the City of Warwick, the Coast Guard Auxiliary and Brewers Marina.
There is limited space available, sign up this week by calling the RI Saltwater Anglers Association office at 401.826.2121.
Anglers catching large striped bass
The striped bass fishing season in underway and there are some large bass being caught in the East Passage of Narragansett Bay.
Expert angler Mike Swain of Coventry said he and his fishing partner Jay Anctil (also from Coventry) boated two bass in the 25 to 30 pound range Saturday while fishing with live pogies (Atlantic menhaden) around Conimicut Light on the channel edges. Mike said, “We had to work all day for these two fish. We had a couple of other bites but the bass would pick up the bait, run with it and then drop it. We were pretty happy to catch these two fish. They are mirror images of each other, almost twins.”
Capt. BJ Silvia of Flippin’ Out Charters and his fishing friend Greg Vespe boated a 36 pound striped bass last week using live pogies in the East Passage. Bass have been north of Popasquash Point, Bristol to Providence. Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick, said, “Customers have been catching bass at Conimicut Light. Last week the striped bass bite was concentrated in this area. My son Ken (Landry) caught three nice keepers at the Light using live pogies.”
Striped bass have to be at least 28 inches to take them and the limit is one fish/person/day.
Three favorite ways to catch striped bass in the spring
Surface plugs or lures
My all-time favorite way to catch a striped bass is using a surface lure or plug. There is nothing like seeing a striped bass explode on the surface to attack your plug.
This method is particularly good to use when conditions call for you to bring attention to the surface. The plugs can be pulled, swayed and skipped across the water surface making a splash when they move and a wake (in V form) much like a boat. Some lures add additional sound by making the lure rattle as it is pulled across the surface.
I have found this method to work particularly well in the spring and fall when the water is warmer on the surface and the bass are feeding in the upper portions of the water column and they are not down deep where the water tends to be cooler.
Atlantic menhaden (or pogies)
Fishing with live (known as live-lining) or dead cut up Atlantic menhaden (known as chunking) is most definitely a fun way to fish for striped bass.
Anglers chunk with fresh or frozen menhaden. You can anchor (and chum), drift fish or fish the moving bait schools with chunks. Some anglers like to use a weight (often with a sliding clip on their line) to get the bait down when the striped bass are feeding at the bottom.
Many anglers catch their bait by snagging the live Atlantic menhaden with a weighted treble hook and others net them. To live-line menhaden, hook the live bait through the bridge of their nose, find a school of fish and put the live menhaden into the school or near it and let it swim. This method is used most often when the Atlantic menhaden are running strong, particularly in the middle and upper portions of East Passage of the Bay.
The shipping channel in the East Passage of the Bay acts as a fish highway carrying bait and striped bass all the way through Providence to Pawtucket.
Trolling with tube and worm
I have had great success in the Bay using lead line weighted with two or three ounces of lead between the line and a five foot fluorocarbon leader. I find that bubblegum or red colored tubes work best in the spring (the tube hook is tipped with clam worm). The idea of added weight is to get the line down to where the fish are.
Tube and worm trolling has also been a successful technique for fishing the ocean, particularly the Southwest side of Block Island, using 300 ft. of wire line in 35 to 45 feet of water, amber colored tubes seem to work best there.
Where’s the bite
Fresh water fishing is still good. Expert carp angler and author Dave Pickering reports a great carp bite. Dave landed a 32 pound carp last week with many other anglers landing fish in the high teens up to 30 pounds. For more info, check out Dave’s carp fishing blog at www.ricarpfishing.blogspot.com. John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside said, “The bass are starting to move as the water warms and anglers are catching them. We sold a lot of shiners and night crawlers. The shiners seem to be working as customers are catching not only bass but pickerel and perch as well.”
Summer flounder (fluke) fishing is really starting to pick up. Matt Conti of Snug Harbor Marina said, “Fluke fishing is getting better every day with keeper fish (with a lot of shorts mixed in) being caught along the beaches in the Charlestown area but the best bite so far is on the West and Southwest sides of Block Island.” Diane Valerien of Coventry and Barry Gootkind of Narragansett caught fluke to over seven pounds fishing the Seven B's party boat last Friday. The Frances Fleet reports a good fluke bite with one customer limiting out last Friday and others returning home with three to five fish.
Striped bass fishing in the East Passage is good with anglers catching bass to 30 pounds using live Atlantic menhaden (pogies) as bait. See East Passage striper fishing story above. Matt Conti of Snug Harbor said, “School bass are plentiful in South County with keepers mixed (particularly at night) and I am willing to bet that there are some keeper bass on the north end of Block Island in the 30 inch range as they usually are this time of year. Worm hatches have occurred at Ninigret Pond but not at Potter and Salt Pond yet. With low tide mid-day this week the mud will likely not warm enough for a hatch in these ponds until next week.” John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle said, “Anglers are catching bass from Sabin Point with a keeper or two being caught right from the Barrington Bridge. A customer caught a 27” bluefish this week right at the Hurricane Barrier in Providence. Between the bass and bluefish eating the pogies and a good numbers of anglers snagging them, it has been hard for find Atlantic menhaden out there.”
Squid fishing has been good in Narragansett, Jamestown and Newport but it is hit or miss on any given day (or night). Matt Conti said, “Customers caught large squid in good numbers at Nebraska Shoal this past week.”
The tautog bite continues to be good for a spring season, fishing is spotty but there are some big fish being caught.