Mike Clini (right) with a 9.6 pound summer flounder and Matt Davidson with a 6 pounder, both caught in the Block Island wind farm area aboard ‘Skipjack’ captained by Rich Hittinger of Warwick.
Where’s the bite
Striped bass. “There are so many pogies (Atlantic menhaden) in the rivers (Providence and Seekonk) that anglers are scooping them up with nets. School bass are being caught in the rivers with 20 pound fish mixed in. Fishermen are catching 12 to 18 pound fish on pogie chunks in the triangle area of Barrington beach, Nayatt Point and Conimicut Light.” said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside. Andrew Cournoyer of Riverside Marine Bait & Tackle, Tiverton said, “Things really opened up in Mt. Hope Bay this week. Customers are catching striped bass with pogies and umbrella rigs.” The abundance of bait in bays and rivers has made it a bit difficult to get the attention of bass so anglers have started using swimming lures of all type with success to attract striped bass. “The bite has been solid in pre-dawn and late dusk hours with lures from Conimicut Light all the way up the Providence River”, said Jeff Ingber of Ocean State Tackle, Providence. John Lavallee of Continental Bait & Tackle, Cranston said, “We fished the upper Bay this weekend at night and landed fifteen striped in the 28” to 33” range using chucks of pogies.”
Black sea bass (BSB) bite is on. The season opened May 25th and fish are being caught with anglers limiting out when fluke fishing.
Last Monday night at a public workshop RI DEM took comments on their recommendation to reduce catch limits to meet Atlantic States Marine Fishers Commission (ASMFC) harvest limits. Pending final ASMFC approval (which seems imminent) recreational anglers will be allowed to take just five fish and not seven in the months of November and December. So the season catch limits for BSB (minimum size is 15”) are as follows: May 24 to August 31, 2017- three fish/person/day; September 1 to September 21, 2017 – seven fish/person/day; September 22 to October 21`- closed (when the Federal BSB season is closed); October 22 – October 31 – seven fish/person/day; and November 1 to December 31, five fish/person/day.
Summer flounder (fluke). Fluke fishing in the East Passage of Narragansett Bay on the shipping channel edges has been producing for anglers as well as the Warwick Light area and the West Passage south of the Jamestown Bridge. Tuesday Margaret and Ken Choiniere of Seekonk, MA hooked up with fluke to 22” on the edges of the underwater gully south of Dutch Island with fish being caught on the bank as we left the gully. This week Rich Hittinger and guests fishing the Block Island wind farm area on his vessel Skipjack caught multiple fluke to 9.6 pounds. Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet, said, “Fluke fishing was solid this week. A good mix of nice size fluke and good size sea bass on most outings with the largest fish being a seven pound fluke and a five pound black sea bass. Best trip of the week overall was Saturday. Some anglers had bag limits on both fluke and sea bass. Both bait rigs and jigs worked.”
The scup bite at Colt State Park in Bristol has been good with anglers catching them at the mouth of the Sakonnet River from shore as well and just about on any structure where water is moving.
Sea robins are being caught in the Bay and along the shore. Anglers are now keeping them, cleaning the tails and eating them. They are a great eating fish.
Freshwater fishing continues to remain strong with anglers catching a lot of large and small mouth bass. John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait said, “Angler Brian Strayer caught a 5 ½ pound largemouth bass at Bad Luck Pond (Rehoboth, MA). Anglers have also done well with bass at Brickyard Pond, Barrington. The bass have not been large there but the bite is good.” John Lavallee of Continental Bait said, “Customers are catching bass but the trout bite is a little off as the water is warming and some ponds are starting to get fished out.”
Commerce Dept. agreement to halt red snapper rebuild
The Department of Commerce announced last week that an agreement between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the five Gulf Coast states to extend the 2017 recreational red snapper season by 39 weekend days in the Gulf of Mexico for private recreational anglers.
The action was lauded by some in the recreational fishing community and criticized by others. NOAA had reduced fishing days to rebuild the stock. The red snapper fishery is rebuilding, however, scientists and conservationists felt it premature to liberalize regulations at this time as they estimate red snapper overfishing could occur in one year and damage the rebuilding plan for the species.
In a press release Wednesday, the Center for Sportfishing Policy, an industry group composed of recreational fishing industry supporters in tourism, boat manufacturing and fishing gear and tackle retailers said, “As a result of today’s action, red snapper season will reopen for private recreational anglers in the Gulf out to 200 miles every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, including Monday and Tuesday of the July Fourth holiday and the Monday of Labor Day. This 39-day season will begin Friday, June 16, in time for Father’s Day weekend and ends on Labor Day, September 4. State seasons will run congruently with the federal season.”
Meredith More, director of Fish Conservation at the Ocean Conservancy said “Red snapper regulation liberalization will almost certainly lead to overfishing of red snapper, plain and simple. Private anglers of the Gulf of Mexico deserve a real solution to the problem of shortening seasons for red snapper, not an ill-conceived quick-fix. Years of sacrifices and tough choices by fishermen and managers have begun rebuilding this valuable fishery. We’re finally seeing more fish in the water and any short-sighted decision that puts those gains at risk is an affront to their hard work.”
Rep. Raúl Grijalva, the top Democrat on the Natural Resources panel, agreed that the decision will interfere with ongoing efforts to recover the red snapper population.
In a press statement Rep. Grijalva said "Gulf Coast businesses literally cannot afford a fishery management fiat that eliminates all the progress that has been made… The public needs to see a scientific justification for this plan before it goes into effect."
Grijalva pointed to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, noting the law is intended to ensure the use of scientific data for fisheries decisions.
He noted that the Federal Register announcement of the extension suggested the amended fishing season "may delay the ultimate rebuilding of the stock by as many as six years."
Now… a drive-up bait window
Ocean State Tackle, Providence now has a drive up window for bait, fishing tackle, gear and soft drinks. Dave Henault, owner of Ocean State said “People want to fish. They do not want to stand in line so we developed the drive-up window to accommodate them. This will get them in and out a lot quicker.”
Fly tying workshop at Free Library
A fly tying workshop will be held on Wednesday, June 21, 6:30 p.m. at the North Kingstown Free Library, 100 Boone Street, North Kingston. John Smith, a lifetime angler, avid fly tyer and biology professor at East Stroudsburg University will tie a few different styles of flies and introduce participants to basic fly tying equipment. Registration is requested but not required. Call 401.294.3306.
Graduate School of Oceanography launches seminar series
‘Warming Seas and the Ocean State’ is the topic that will be discussed Thursday, June 22, 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Coastal Institute Auditorium, 220 South Ferry Road, Narragansett. The discussion will be led by students of the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography. The seminar will cover how physical processes are responding to warming sea surface temperatures. The later portion of the program will focus on the effects of warming on coastal ecosystems, illustrating how fish species are being impacted by climate change and what it means for Rhode Island fisheries. For information contact email@example.com .