Friday, August 18, 2017

Trophy bluefin tuna fishing closes

 Connor Sears (11) of Seekonk, MA and Jack Leyden of North Kingstown with the 35 and 40 pound striped bass they caught at night fishing with eels on the Southwest Ledge off Block Island.
Ten pound fluke caught aboard the Frances Fleet last week by angler John Topper of Bristol, RI.

Trophy bluefin tuna fishery closes

Effective August 11th, NOAA Fisheries closed the Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) angling category for large medium and giant ‘trophy’ BFT measuring 73” or greater in the Northern area.  The fishery closed based on reported landings from the Automated Catch Reporting System.  NOAA determined that the trophy BFT subguota has been reached and that the trophy fishery should be closed. 

In an advisory last week NOAA said, “Retaining, possessing or landing large medium or giant BFT by persons aboard vessels permitted in the HMS Angling category and the HMS Charter/Headboat category (when fishing recreationally) must cease.”

The intent of this closure is to prevent overharvesting. The Southern and Gulf of Mexico areas closed June 7th, 2017.  Catch and release fishing is permissible. 

Fishing for BFT between 27”to <47 47="" allowed.="" and="" angling-permitted="" b="" bft="" charter="" eadboat-permitted="" fish="" for="" hms="" is="" large="" medium="" nbsp="" one="" school="" small="" still="" three="" two="" vessels="">

At press time, NOAA issued an advisory that temporarily closed the General and Charter/Headboat categories when fishing commercially.  NOAA said, “Retaining, possessing, or landing large medium or giant BFT by persons aboard vessels permitted in the Atlantic tunas General and Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Charter/ Headboat categories (when fishing commercially) must cease at 11:30 p.m. local time on August 16, 2017, through August 31, 2017.”

Visit for regulations that change as category quotas are met.

Where’s the bite?

Striped bass fishing off the Watch Hill reefs has been very good this past week.  Capt. Tim Terranova of Bonito II Sportfishing Charters landed a 50 pound bass this week trolling wire.  Several anglers have picked up thirty plus pound bass on the reef live lining scup. Overall we have had a very active food chain off Montauk starting with sand eels, maceral and thresher sharks and in shore along the southern coastal shore bay anchovies are attracting bonito.”  said Mike Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters, Westerly. “We were fishing the Southwest Ledge off Block Island late last week at night and landed a 40 and 35 pound striped bass using eels.  We fished from sunset to about midnight and then the bite turned on.  We hit two big fish at once then lost four other fish.  Connor Sears (11 years old) of Seekonk caught a 35 pound bass and I hooked a 40 pound fish at the same time.” said Jack Leyden of North Kingstown.  Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina said, “The bass bite at the Ledge is still good, the night bite is on eels but anglers are still landing fish in the day trolling umbrella rigs with a lot of bluefish mixed in.” Kianna Macedo of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren said, “School bass are still fairly plentiful in the Bay and along the coast and one customer reported catching a keeper in the Bay so hopefully they will be coming back into the Bay.”

Summer flounder (fluke). “Fluke fishing along the southern coastal shore from Misquamicut Beach to Watch Hill has been good, particularly over rocky areas like Old Reef off Weekapaug.” said Mike Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters.” Fishing at Block Island was spotty this week.  Plenty of black sea bass but you were either on or off the fluke and had to look around for them.  The fluke bite in the lower bay north and south of the Jamestown and Newport Bridges was slow this week with anglers finding keepers far and few between.  Capt. Frank Blount of the Francis Fleet said, “Trips were affected by little to no drift last week. This equated to buck tail set ups tipped with white or green gulp far out producing anything else. Still limit catches were recorded by a few fishers each outing. The largest fluke of the week was a 10 pound fish taken by John Topper of Bristol RI.” Fluke fishing at the mouth of the Sakonnet River has been fair. “This week the southern shore fluke bite was in about 65 feet of water off Watch Hill.  The bite at the wind farm at Block Island and at the Hooter buoy slowed this week.” said Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor.

Tautog.  With the fishing bite slowing down in the Bay some anglers are starting to target tautog with limited success.  “Anglers are catching small fish in low water (15 feet) at rock piles along the southern shore.  Not many reports of keepers caught.  The fish are still in that low water.” said Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor. Kiana Macedo of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren said, “We have reports of angles catching keeper tautog at Colt State Park.” “Customers targeting tautog from shore at Ft. Adams, Newport caught shorts only.” said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside. 

Scup fishing continues to be strong in the Bay and along the coast.  “Colt State Park has been yielding some nice scup for customers.” said Kiana Macedo of Lucky Bait. “Scup fishing has been very good all over the Bay with an awful lot of sea robins being caught too. But that has been about it.” said John Littlefield of Archie’ Bait.

Bonito/false albacore are in.  Mike Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters said, “The Bay anchovies are in shore and Bonito are feeding on them.”  Matt Conti of Snug Harbor Marian said, “We have reports of customers catching Bonito so they have arrived.” Elisa Chill of Snug Harbor said, “Bonito and false albacore have been up and down but they are around.  Bob Kolb’s grandson (six) caught a false albacore when fluke fishing with a bucktail at Nebraska Shoal.”

Offshore/cod fishing continues to be good. Eric Duda reports on the RISAA blog “Cox’s ledge has been very good last couple of weeks for Cod. South side, east or west in about 130 feet of water. Make sure you move around a lot to find them.  Everyone I have caught has been a keeper size, average around 6 pounds with the largest about 14 pounds most trips. Both jigging and clams have been working. A lot of ling out there too. Never tried ling before, but now it’s one of my favorites for dinner. Two weeks ago, saw a lot of Mahi around high fliers but last week only one or two.”  Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor said, “The bluefin tuna bite at the Tuna Ridge, the Suffix, the Gully, Cox’s Ledge and the North West Corner of the Dump has been good.  Customers are catching them on the troll with Green Machines and Ballyhoo’s.  There has been some white marlin around too.  Dean Venticinque of the charter fishing vessel Twenty-five spotted three white marlin sunning themselves at the Mudhole.  He caught and released one earlier this week.”  Cahill said, “Cod fishing at the southeast corner of Cox’s Ledge has been good.  Customer Phil Bertoncini did well there this week.”