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.”