Thursday, August 8, 2019

Commission approves addendum for public comment… striped bass getting a haircut

 Striped bass bite ‘lights out’ at Block Island:  Striped bass caught early morning on the southwest side while fellow anglers continue to jig for bass on C-Devil Charters with Capt. Kelly Smith. 
Dave Garzoli found bonito Sunday off Charlestown Beach.  He hooked three of the speedster on a small Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow.

Commission approves addendum for public comment… striped bass getting a haircut

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) with a 16 to 0 unanimous vote Thursday, approved Addendum VI to the striped bass management plan for public comment.  The aim of the addendum is to reduce harvest by 18 percent.
A number of reduction options will be put out for public comment so new regulations for striped bass can be enacted for the 2020 fishing season.  The most recent stock assessment shows the stock is overfished and overfishing is occurring.

Both commercial and recreational fisheries will be taking a cut, however, how much of a cut each sector takes is outlined in Addendum VI options.  One option (2) calls for an equal reduction of 18 percent in both sectors, and in option (3) the commercial sector takes a smaller percentage reduction of 1.8 percent and the recreational sector takes a 20 percent reduction.  The rationale for this option is that the commercial fishery is managed via a static quota system which keeps effort and removals relatively constant from year to year, while the recreational management program does not have a harvest limit. This has allowed recreational effort and, therefore, removals to increase with resource availability and other social and economic factors.

Highlights of recreational options going out for public comment between August and October include:

Option 1: status quo… keep things as they are now which will do nothing in achieving the required harvest reductions.
Option 2:   Has multiple components. It calls for the recreational and commercial sectors to both absorb an 18% harvest reduction from 2017 levels. To achieve this in the recreational sector they are offering three sub-options, all options would maintain the existing season for striped bass, which is year round for recreational anglers in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Option 2-A1:  One fish at 35" minimum for ocean states which would result in and 18 percent reduction

Option 2-A2:  One fish between a 28"-34" slot which would result in a 19 percent reduction

Option 2-A3:  One fish between a 32"-40" slot which would result in a 21 percent reduction

An additional sub-option was suggested at the meeting, which is to include a slot size limit with a 30” minimum size and a maximum size limit that meets the required reduction.  Circle hooks for striped bass bait fishing is also offered in Amendment VI with three options for the public to comment on.  The Addendum also has options for the Chesapeake Bay fishery, which historically have been different.

Patrick Paquette, a fish advocate and former president to the Massachusetts Striped Bass Association, commented to commissioners prior to their vote, “We are wasting the public’s time if they are not able to comment on the fact that Addendum VI has only a 50 percent chance of being successful in meeting mandated reductions.  The public should be given the opportunity to comment on this as well.”

Visit for details on what was approved for public comment in both commercial and recreational fishing sectors as the original Draft Addendum VI has changed via striped bass board input and approval.

Where’s the bite?

Striped bass and bluefish. Capt. Rick Bellavance of Priority Too Charters and president of the Rhode Island Party & Charter Boat Association, said, “Striped bass fishing was fantastic his week at the southwest corner of Block Island.  The bite is good in the morning as well as the afternoon.  Polyjig parachutes are working for us.  Others are catching bass on eels.” Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence, said, “It’s been lights out striped bass fishing at Block Island with eels and at the Cape Cod Canal for the past week.  Law enforcement has cracked down on poaching on the Canal and last week issued over $8,000 in fines on the weekend.  The fishing was so good there bass were swimming between anglers legs as the bass had pushed bait up close to shore.”  East End Eddie, noted Canal fisherman and author said, “I caught a 34 inch striped bass this morning (Tuesday) on the Canal on an early west tide and the guy next to me landed a 35 incher. I stopped at Red Top Sporting Goods (Buzzards Bay) and while I was there owner Tom Coots told me that Jacob, an associate there, caught a 50 pound fish last night at 5:00 p.m. in the Canal on a surface plug. He released the fish, but it bottomed out his 50 pound BogaGrip scale so it was probably heavier than 50!” Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick, said, “We had a customer put out an eel while black sea bass fishing at Seal Rock off Newport.  Shortly after a 50 pound bass bit the eel.  It took the angler 20 minutes to land the fish.”  John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle said, “The snapper bluefish bite has improved in our coves and estuaries.” Anglers have also caught blues on the surface in the East Passage as well as in the Sakonnet River.

Summer flounder, scup and black sea bass.  Balck sea bass fishing continues to be good at Block Island.  Anglers are drifting on the southwest side of Block Island and are doing well with black sea bass.  John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle said, “Shore anglers at Colt State Park, Sabin’s Point and other mid and upper Bay areas continue to do well catching scup.  Customers have not had a good week for summer flounder as the bite seems to be off in the Bay.” Capt. Rick Bellavance said, “Black sea bass fishing could not be better with easy limits of 18” to 20” blue male fish common.  A simple one hook rig with squid is all you need.  Monster scup ae mixed in too.  The summer flounder bite has been difficult with some dog fish, however some sharpies have been able to catch fluke.”  Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle said, “The Bay is warm so angler are doing much better south of the Newport and Jamestown Bridges and out in front.  Scup, black sea bass are being caught at Seal Ledge and Brenton Reef.”

Bonito have been off the southern coastal shore.  Dave Garzoli said, “Two for three with bonito Sunday in the Charlestown beach area. Small Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow worked well.  First found a few birds moving fast over them. Figured it was bonito. Stayed in the area and made a ton of blind casts to eventually hook up.”

Freshwater.  Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait said, “A 6.5 pound, 25” largemouth bass was caught at Gorton Pond in Warwick.  The customer was fishing from the town deck, he saw the largemouth circle his bait but did not take the minnow.  Shortly after a small turtle made a move for the shiner and before he got there the largemouth came up and took the minnow.  That largemouth wasn’t going let that turtle take ‘his’ minnow.” John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle said, “Fishing for largemouth bass has been good.  Last week we weighed in a seven pound bass a customer caught at Only Pond, Lincoln Woods.  He was fishing for sun fish with his kids using worms and the largemouth took the worm.”  Dave Henault of Ocean State said, “The largemouth bite continues to be good a Twin Rivers, Stump Pond and Only Pond in Lincoln.”

How to catch larger fluke

 Winning bass: Jude Monti of Warwick with the 14.5 pound striped bass that took first place in the Youth Division of the ‘Fishing for Fibromyalgia Striped Bass Tournament'.
No Fluke:  Steve Brustein of West Warwick with a 26” fluke he caught Sunday coming out of the deep water trench at Austin Hollow, Jamestown.

How to catch larger fluke

Anglers are catching a lot of summer flounder (fluke) but the fish are undersized. In Rhode Island the minimum size is 19”, six fish/person/day, and in Massachusetts the minimum size is 17”, five fish/person/day.

Mike Cardinal of Misquamicut Bait & Tackle said, “Fluke fishing along the southern coastal shore is tough, anglers are catching plenty of small fish but not a lot of keepers.  It’s about 30 shorts to one keeper.”  Michael Callahan of Red Top Sporting Goods, Buzzards Bay said, “Fluke fishing has been difficult in Buzzards Bay but things are improving a bit for anglers with larger fish.”

Most all of the large fluke we have caught on my charter boat have been on edges or in deeper water this time of year.  Summer flounder look into the current to ambush bait fish, and the larger ones like to use edges for cover.  What I mean by edges is bottom structure such as reefs, channel edges, flat areas at the foot of jetties, open sandy spaces between bottom structure, the edges of underwater valleys, etc. 

Another important factor is water movement.  When water is warm in August fish often can be found in deeper water and/or water that is moving and tossing around bait such as bridge abutments, jetty and channel edges, etc.

I also like to use a large bait to catch larger fluke and often tip my squid rig with squid, silversides or spearing and often add a piece of fluke belly.  I do not catch as many fish with this rig but the fish we do catch are larger.

Search ‘larger fluke’ when you visit my blog at for tips from the experts on how to catch larger fluke.

Favorite Places to catch fluke
Channel breaks in and around Warwick Neck light
Channel breaks and edges around the Jamestown and Newport bridges
Drop off areas on the North West corner of Dutch Island
Underwater valley off the southeast side of Dutch Island
Areas off URI’s Bay Campus
Austin’s Hollow (an underwater valley) off the west side of Jamestown
Beavertail in deep water off the west side
Southern Rhode Island coastal beaches… Watch Hill, Charlestown, in front of the five cottages, etc.
The center wall of the Harbor of Refuge
Newport at any number of deep water brakes off Seal Ledge and Brenton Reef, often 80’ of water
At the mouth of Hull and Mackerel Coves off Jamestown at the drop-offs
Off Block Island… the North Rip, Cow Cove on the north end, along the State beach on the east side, the south side of the Island in and around the wind farm area, the East Grounds, three miles off Block Island

Jude Monti takes Tournament youth division

Jude Monti, age 12 of Warwick, took the Youth Division of the first annual ‘Fishing for Fibromyalgia Striped Bass Tournament’ with a 14.5 pound striped bass.  Mike Mcgee took first place in the kayak division.
Organizer Richard Geldard said, “The Tournament (which was held July 20) was sponsored by Snug Harbor Marina, On The Water Magazine and Massachusetts General Hospital. “

Jenn Monti, Jude Monti’s mother said, “My husband (Jimmy) signed Jude up at the last minute when they were buying bait that Friday.  He was so excited to win. There is nothing he would rather win a trophy for!”  Richard Geldard said, “We had 24 entries, a good start for a tournament we plan to hold annually.”

Where’s the bite?

Summer flounder (fluke) fishing remained mixed this week with some large fish being taken but anglers had to work for them.  Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “The fluke fishing has really been a toss of the coin, good fishing one drift and then nothing on the next. The beginning of the week saw the best action with fluke to 10 pounds.”  On Sunday Steve Brustein of West Warwick caught a 26” fluke on the north end of Austin Hollow, Jamestown coming out of the 70 foot trench in 38 feet of water. Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box, Warwick said, “We had a 25” fish caught off Prudence Island last weekend.”  Mike Cardinal of Misquamicut Bait & Tackle said, “Fluke fishing along the southern coastal shores is tough, anglers are catching plenty of small fish but not a lot of keepers.  It’s about 30 shorts to one keeper.”

Striped bass fishing has been mixed.  Many reports of school bass in lower Narragansett Bay area with keepers mixed in.  “We weighed in a 25 and a 28 pound striped bass this weekend caught in the Gould Island to Prudence Island area.” said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside.  Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box, Warwick, said, “This weekend we had customers travel to Block Island and caught no bass, yet when they returned to Narragansett Bay they hooked up with school bass (some keepers mixed in) at the Jamestown Bridge.  Fishing at Block Island has been good.  Mike Cardinal of Misquamicut Bait & Tackle said, “They are hooking up with many large fish, almost too many in my book. Fishing from shore, particularly at the breachways has been good.  A lot of school bass with keepers mixed in.”  Neil Hayes of Quaker Lane Bait & Tackle said, “Striped bass fishing at Block Island is very good.  Anglers continue to catch fish at night and during the day with eels and on the troll as well.  Shore anglers are catching keeper striped bass too with Brenton Reef yielding fish but nothing like Block Island.”

Black sea bass and scup.  Scup fishing is good.  Customers are catching 15” fish in the Bay and the black sea bass bite has been good.  Very large sea bass off Pt. Judith Light.” said Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box.  John Littlefield said, “We have had a lot of scup caught at Sabin Point and Colt State Park with balck sea bass being caught at Colt State Park.  For some reason the black sea bass do not travel to the upper Providence River areas.”

“Freshwater fishing customers are crushing it.” said Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box.  “The largemouth bass bite has been very good.  Anglers are finding success with top water lures early morning and at dusk, and are fishing a bit deeper during the day when water is warm.” said Giddings.  Neil Hayes of Quaker Lane said, “The small and largemouth bass bite has been very good.  Indian Lake (South Kingstown) is yielding fish for customers.” John Littlefield said, “We weighted in a 5.5 pound largemouth last week.”

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Striped bass, our State fish, in jeopardy

Newport Catch: Taylor Potter, Jake Santos, Peter and Aiden Coulombe with fluke and sea bass caught off Newport Sunday.

First keeper fluke: Aiden Coulombe (seven) of Massachusetts and his father Peter with fist keeper fluke he caught at the Newport Bridge last week.

Striped bass, our State fish, in jeopardy

I like to fish for striped bass as other anglers do.  It was designated Rhode Island’s official State fish in 2000.  It is also the official State symbol in New York, Virginia and New Hampshire. And, although striped bass are revered in Massachusetts, cod was designated there state fish in 1974.

On August 8 the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), which regulates striped bass coastwide in state waters, will be discussing striped bass and options on how to rebuild the species as they are presently overfished and overfishing is occurring.  This in part means that based on the best available science, the Spawning Stock Biomass (SSB) of striped bass is too small to sustain the fishery.  If we continue to take fish, at the rate we are taking them, the science says the stock is and will continue to crash. 

If you live in Massachusetts or Rhode Island and do not want striped bass to continue to crash, and want to feel good about taking a stand to rebuild them, send an email to your Massachusetts or Rhode Island commissions that sit on the ASMFC.  Visit for commissioner email addresses.

We need to rebuild striped bass now.  In your note to commissions simply relate we need to return striped bass fishing mortality to the target in the current management plan (known as Amendment 6) and that it needs to be done by 2020.

Ask commissioners to oppose the motion to begin a new amendment to the management plan, which could result in new goals and objectives that reduce striped bass abundance and harm the long-term health of the spawning stock.

For information about striped bass stock status visit .

Fishing when the water gets hot

It’s not even mid-summer and the water is very warm. The water in Buzzards Bay Wednesday was 73 degrees, warmer than the usual average of 68 degrees. And, Narragansett Bay was 75 degrees this week, even hotter in low water coves and sanctuaries.

When water gets hot and things are compounded by poor flushing of our north facing coves, the oxygen levels drop and fishing in some areas can be challenging.

Bait fish leave the area and the fish we like to catch (and eat) often leave for cooler, deeper water that is better oxygenated.  Fish such as black sea bass, scup, summer founder, even bluefish and striped bass may be harder to find in Bay.

So, how do you catch fish when it seems like there are no fish to be found? As a charter captain I have often had to find fish for customers, family and friends even though the water was warm.  Here are some tips I remind myself of when wanting to catch fish when the water warms up. 

Fish where the fish are

The key to fishing warm water in summer is water movement.  Fish areas that get flushed often and have structure or edges where water movement is brisk and often deep.  This includes structure such as channel pads, under or near bridges, rock clusters, jetties, outcrops, points or peninsulas on land and wrecks. 

For example the Cape Cod Canal gets flushed with each tide.  Fishing is usually pretty good there this time of year.  And, the shipping channel in the East Passage of Narragansett Bay, from the southern tip of Prudence Island to Providence, serves as a "fish highway" flushing that side of the Bay bringing bait and fish into the Bay.  Places such as Warwick Neck; Providence Point, Sandy Point and the T-Wharf on Prudence Island; Poppasquash Point, Bristol; and Sally’s Rock, Greenwich Cove; as well as Quonset Point, North Kingstown all serve as natural structure that can whip water around them along with bait fish and the fish we like to catch. 

And, the Jamestown and Newport Bridges in Rhode Island serve as manmade fish magnets, funneling water, bait and fish. So when the water is warm you have to take advantage of structure and fish where the fish are.

This holds true for freshwater fishing too.  Fish deeper water, areas that are shaded and areas that have some water movement when the water gets hot.

Where’s the bite?

Freshwater.  Lorraine Danti of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren said, “Anglers are doing better in deep water ponds as the water temperature is rising in smaller ponds creating algae bloom and poor water quality.  Stafford Pond in Tiverton is producing bass for customers.” Stafford Pond is relatively deep with a maximum depth of about 22 feet. Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick said, “Shiners are a problem.  We have only been getting half of what we order, but customers that are fishing are doing well.  Fishing in Gorton Pond, Warwick has been good, producing a seven and a six pound bass for customers last week.  Many are fishing from the dock with shiners when they can get them or floating night crawlers to hook up with bass.”

Striped bass fishing remains strong at Block Island. “We weighted in three 50 pound fish from Block Island last week.  The bite is very strong there.  However, anglers have been hooking up off Gooseberry Island too.” said Lorrain Danti of Lucky Bait & Tackle.  Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “Night bass fishing has been very good at Block Island. Last Wednesday did have the best tides and we had a full boat limit by 10 p.m. We have been seeing more shorts around this year than ever before. We are catching 2-3 shorts per keeper.”  Fishing in the Brenton Reef and Seal Rock areas off Newport is producing bass for anglers, however, they are mostly school bass with some keepers mixed in.  Expert Cape Cod Canal fishermen East End Eddie Doherty of Mattapoisett said, “The bluefish have invaded the Canal this week.  Have lost a lot of soft plastic baits to them, however, this weekend an 18 and a 25 pound striped bass were caught. So the bass bite has slowed but not stopped.”

Fluke, scup and black sea bass. This week we did fairly well off Newport Brenton Reef fishing for fluke and black sea bass.  The keepers were smaller fish, many just the minimum size of 19”, but the bite was good.  The largest black sea bass caught there was about 21”.  Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait said, “Areas south of the Jamestown Bridge are producing. We had a customer land a 27” fluke.  Areas around Dutch Island, Austin Hollow and off Beavertail are all producing keeper fluke and sea bass for customers.”  Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “The days where we get a little bit of breeze the fish are really coming over the rails. Biggest fluke last week was just shy of 10 pounds.” Lorrain Danti said, “The scup bite has been very good off the back side of Colt State Park.  And, customers are catching fluke and nice balck sea bass off Newport.”

“The shark’s first run was spectacular.” says Tournament winner

Snug Harbor Shark Tournament 1st Place Winners: Jim DeAngelo, Richard Napolitano (captain), Chris Napolitano (angler), Matt Charland and Ryan Napolitano with 328 pound thresher shark. 

 “The shark’s first run was spectacular.” says Tournament winner

“The thresher shark picked up our squid and ran with it.  That first run was spectacular. We fought the shark for an hour and forty-five minutes.” said Richard Napolitano recounting the battle for the fish that took first place in the 38th Annual Snug Harbor Shark Tournament.

Napolitano was quick to point out that his sport fishing vessel, ‘Knot Reel Teeth’ successfully caught, tagged and released five other mako and blue sharks during the Tournament… as they normally do as it serves as a great data resource for fish mangers when managing sharks.

“We had just moved the boat to a new location, put out two rods and as soon as we put out the third with squid… that’s when the 328 pound mako hit. We chased it around a bit and then the shark sounded and we had to get it up.  We finally circled the fish with Chris (Napolitano) putting on the pressure by pumping and reeling, pumping and reeling, trying to disrupt the fish.  Finally the fish turned on its side and came up.”
“My son Chris did a great job on the fish, son Ryan orchestrated the whole think from the cockpit while I has at the helm.  We also had two other crew that did a great job helping to harpoon and tail tie the fish… hats off to Jim DeAngelo and Matthew Charland for their great work.” said Napolitano.
Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina said, “Jim Sansaua took second place in the Tournament with a 230 pound thresher.  Both fish were caught on Saturday, July 6. The tournament kicked off on July 6 at 5:00 a.m. and concluded at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 7 with a cookout.”  Twenty-five vessels participated in the Tournament.
“Proceeds from the tournament go the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association and the Recreational Fishing Alliance.” said Cahill.

New cod and haddock regulations
NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Regional office announced changes to cod and haddock recreational regulations last week.
First, the 2019 Gulf of Maine cod and haddock recreational regulations have changed.  The Gulf of Maine cod season will open September 15 to 30 with a one fish/person/day limit, minimum size is 21 inches (NOAA is not opening an April season for Gulf of Maine cod).
The haddock season is May 1 to February 28/29 and April 15 to 30 with a 15 fish/person/day limit (this limit has been liberalized, the 2018 limit was 12 fish), the minimum haddock size is 17 inches.
Georges Bank cod regulations (which govern fishing off Rhode Island) have also changed.  The minimum size in 2019 will be 21”, this is a liberalization as last year the minimum size was 22”.  The possession limit has not changed, it is 10 fish/person/day.
For more information on recreational rules on these and other species in Federal waters visit .
Where’s the bite?
Striped bass fishing has moved out of the Narragansett Bay.  Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box, Warwick said, “The bass bite in the Providence River slowed this week with not many fish being taken.” Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence, said, “Any bass of size are being taken south of the bridges, out in front of Newport, along the  coastal shore and out at Block Island where the bite is occurring from 12:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. on eels.”  Bruce Miller of Canal Bait & Tackle, Sagamore, said, “The bass bite on the Canal has been OK this week but not as good as last week.  Anglers are still hooking up with 30 to 40 pound fish using jigs on the West Side of the Canal.” Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown, said, “The bass at Block Island are not as large as they were but there is a pretty good bite at night on the southwest ledge with eels.  Fish are also being caught by anglers trolling wire on the southwest ledge and the north rip during the day but they are not as large.”
Black sea bass/summer flounder.  Bruce Miller of Canal Bait said, “The fluke and black sea bass bite has been very good with anglers staying inside or fishing Cleveland Ledge where the bite has been outstanding.”  Anglers continue to hook up with fluke around the Jamestown and Newport bridges with some finding fish out in front along the coastal shore. “Fluke fishing at Block Island is pretty good.” said Henault of Ocean State.  “Nice fluke have been taken around Warwick Light as the fish seem to have held there.  We also have customers catching fish in the low 20 inch range south of the Jamestown Bridge. And, customers continue to catch large black sea bass off Beavertail Point.” said Giddings of the Tackle Box. Earlier this week the dog fish were pretty bad south of Block Island said Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina.  Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “The morning fishing trips have been on the slower side so we have been focusing on the sea bass. Most days anglers are all leaving with limits of big knob heads to 5 pounds.  Biggest fluke of the week was 12.5 pounds! We have seen double digit fluke at least once a week for the past month.”
Scup fishing continues to be very good just about anywhere there is structure and water movement. John from Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside, said, “Scup are being taken everywhere in the Bay. Anglers are still catching scup at the white church bridge in Barrington.” Tom Giddings said, “Many customers have said the scup have been larger than ever before. They are also catching more sea robins and dogfish than ever before from shore at Conimicut Point”  “Ethan, one of our associates at Ocean State, caught scup to 17” from Goat Island, Newport. Anglers are also catching scup under the Mt. Hope Bridge, at Colt State Park and at Rocky Point.”
Offshore.  A report from noted offshore angler Richard Pastore. “We headed out at 5:30 a.m. from Wickford on Wednesday to Tuna Ridge and the temperature break we saw (on satellite). At Tuna Ridge temperature change went from 69 to almost 73 in a couple of miles. Flat seas, no bait and a few birds. Set in about 7 AM heading south towards NW corner of the Dump. We put out black squid and brown squid splash bars on the outside tracks about 150' back in the outriggers. Inside lines were a black and blue Islander with a Ballyhoo and green machine daisy chain with a bird leading the way. Twenty minutes out the brown spreader bar explodes and almost tears the outrigger off the boat. The fish came out of nowhere. The fish dumps about half of a spool of a 50 wide Penn reel until my son Joseph finally slows him down. 10 minutes later fish is pin wheeling next to the boat. We gaffed the fish, a fifty pound real fat bluefin tuna loaded with squid.”
Freshwater.  No major trout fishing or bite reported.  All the action is focused on largemouth bass with anglers using medium to large shiners to hook up.  Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle said, “The largemouth bass are in post spawn now and customers are catching them at Stump Pond, Smithfield; the Turner Reservoir, East Providence and at Onley Pond, Lincoln Woods.”  Giddings of the Tackle Box said, “Freshwater fishing continues to be fantastic for customers.  Largemouth bass, white perch and carp at Roger Williams Park all continue to be good.  Customers are hooking up with bass at Carbuncle Pond, Coventry; Warwick Pond and Onley Pond, Lincoln.”

Striped bass on the move, fluke and black sea bass bite mixed

 Greg Vespe, Portsmouth with a striped bass he caught at sunrise in the Ft. Adams, Newport area.  Greg said he hooked the fish with a spook steeple white floating lure.

 Bill Bradley, Erica O’Connell and Ray Ludvigson all members of the RI Saltwater Anglers with some of the summer flounder they caught earlier this week in the West Passage of Narragansett Bay.

Michael Garmisa of West Philadelphia, PA with a 26” fluke and father-in law Michal Sullivan, former RI DEM director, with black sea bass.  The fish were caught off Jamestown, RI.

Striped bass on the move, fluke and black sea bass bite mixed

Greg Vespe, president of the Aquidneck Island Striper Team and RI Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) board member, said, “The bass are  beginning to drop out of Narragansett Bay for the next couple of weeks, so I recommend targeting the points and outcroppings near the mouth of Bay which was where I had success this week with striped bass.” 

Greg has caught a number of striped bass this time of year at places like the Ft. Adams, Newport area. “Bass are transitioning so it’s hard to target them as they are moving around a lot as the head out... so that’s why I like the points in the lower bay both east and west passage and the Sakonnet River. All the points to me offer the bass a staging and feeding area to stop at as they pass through.”

 “The dropping east tide brought striped from Buzzards Bay into the Cape Cod Canal.” said East End Eddie Doherty.  Doherty is a Cape Cod Canal fishing expert and author. “Some nice fish were caught Monday including several 30 pounders and a 48 pound monster.  Wednesday morning I caught a 31 and a 35 inch striped bass.  I was using a five once Hurley olive/white rat tail on the dropping tide.” said Doherty.

The black sea bass season opened last week (June 24) in Rhode Island and anglers are hooking up with them.  Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box, Warwick said, “Large sea bass are being caught off Beavertail and south. I mean nice fish with large humps on their heads.”

The summer flounder (fluke) bite picked up Saturday as the drift was not just good at Block Island and in the Bay earlier in the week. Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown said, “The fluke bite improved last week, Roger and Sue Lemma hooked up with their fluke limit quickly fishing off the Center Wall of the Harbor of Refuge with fish in the 20” to 25” range.” 

I fished with Erica O’Donnell, Bill Bradley and Ray Ludvigson in the West Passage and they picked up five nice keeper fluke to 24”, eight sea bass to 23” and ten scup in three and a half hours of fishing. Later this week the same area yielded a 26” fluke for West Philadelphia, PA resident Michael Garmisa.

Here are some fluke fishing tips I like to remind myself of when planning a trip.

       Wind and tide should be in line as you want to drag (or drift) over the front of the fish, as they set-up looking into the current, this way it sees your bait, drift over the back of the fish and it may never see your bait.

       Fish low/high bottom breaks… this means fishing channel breaks, edges of structure, etc.  My largest fluke have been caught on edges.

       Match the hatch tipping with squid, bluefish, bass, silversides, mummies, minnows.  Often times whatever we catch (or seems to be in the water where we are fishing) I will cut up and strip for the fluke rigs.

       Trailer teasers work, my largest fish have been caught with the trailer stinger bucktails

       Find the fish, repeat pattern… noting both location and depth.

       Power drift (putting boat in and out of gear to go slow) for movement at slack tide.

       Both jigs and traditional fluke rigs work

Power drift perpendicular when wind and tide not ideal

       Personal favorite is big bait… Capt. Monti’s fluke cocktail… squid rig tipped with squid, fluke belly and horizontal minnow, believe that big baits catch big fish, you will catch fewer fish but they will be larger.

Where’s the bite?

Striped bass.  Atlantic menhaden enhanced their appearance in the Providence River this week.  Tom Giddings from the Tackle Box, Warwick said, “Anglers are now using pogies as they can be found in the river, however, anglers fishing with eels at night are landing bass in the 30” to 45” range. And, the bluefish bite in the Bay has been very good.”  John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside said, “We have had a few customers catching 36” and 38” fish in the Providence Rover using clam tongue and pogies.  Commercial customers fishing Block Island at night are catching their limit of five fish using eels at night.  But it has often been a slow bite.” Elisa Cahill of Sung Harbor Marina, South Kingstown said, “Surf fishermen are catching smaller bass with keepers mixed in. And, some anglers fishing from the West and off the Center Walls of the Harbor of Refuge are catching bonito.  Some are pretty good size.  The day bass bite at the North Rip and the Southwest Ledge is yielding smaller fish with the night bite on eels yielding 40 to 50 pound fish.”

Summer flounder (fluke) fishing improved greatly once the wind and tide started to work together Saturday.  I found the bite in the West Passage very good when there was a good drift.  Elisa Cahill said, “A customer caught a 10.9 fish from the beach last week, and when the dog fish are not around the wind farm and the east grounds are yielding fish.”  Cahill reports cod at the East Grounds and Sharks Ledge as well.  “Customers are catching fluke off Warwick Light and Warwick County Club as well as off Quonset Point.” said Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box. John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait said, “The fluke bite off Newport has not been good, however, last week the balck sea bass bite was good with anglers catching decent size fish.”  Doug Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters said Thursday, “Fluke along the coastal shore are being caught but it is spotty, there are six pound fish but the larger ones are at Block Island.  We weighed in a 12 pound 11 once fluke caught there earlier this week.”

Black sea bass/scup.  Black sea bass fishing opened June 24 and the season has gotten off to a great start with anglers catching their limit of three fish/person/day.  Most are catching them when fluke fishing with squid.  Doug Wade of Watch Hill said, “Sea bass are kicking in with some nice fish being caught along the coastal shore.”  Littlefield of Archie’s said, “Scup fishing has improved 100 fold in the Bay.  Anglers are catching their limit at Sabin Point, Colt State Park and at the white church bridge, Barrington.” 

Offshore.  Hans Lugus of the fishing vessel Twister caught a 325 pound thresher shark Friday.  Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marine said, “Shark fishing is on.  Just in time for our Shark Tournament July 6 and 7. Visit for details.

Camp aims to hook youth on fishing

Joseph Stracuzzi (seven) of Hope Valley gets his life jacket inflated by Marcus Mitchell, Vice Commander Division 7 of the US Coast Guard Auxiliary at the RI Saltwater Anglers Association/DEM fishing camp.

 Take-A-Kid Fishing Day a Success:  Alexander, a Cub Scout from Providence, with a bluefish he caught Saturday with the help of Steve Brustein, a RI Saltwater Anglers Association volunteer from West Warwick.

Children at Fishing Camp participate in the symbolic ‘first cast’ with Steve Medeiros, president of the RI Saltwater Anglers Association, Mayor Joseph Solomon, DEM director Janet Coit, Warwick Parks & Recreation Director James Scott, and Rep. Joseph Solomon Jr. of Warwick.

Camp aims to hook youth on fishing

The Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) and the Department of Environmental Management’s (DEM) held their annual youth fishing camp this week for 55 children. Funding for the three day camp was provided by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services.  The camp was held at Rocky Point State Park, Warwick for children 7 to 12 years old. 

Steve Medeiros, president of the RISAA said, “Fishing appeals to our sense of adventure, teaches us patience and how to take care of the environment.  We learned that the children love to fish so we have optimized fishing time from shore, on private vessels and one day we will travelled to Pt. Judith to fish on the Seven B’s party boat.”

Topics covered over the three-day camp include fish identification, conservation, use of spinning and conventional gear and tackle, basic marine biology, how and why to use different baits and lures, boating safety, casting form shore and fishing from private boats as well as a party/charter boat.

Janet Coit, Director of the Department of Environmental Management, said, “The youth fishing camp is one of DEM’s favorite events of the year because it combines and highlights so many important values including clean water, access to recreational opportunities for all, ecological stewardship, fellowship with terrific partners like RISAA, and of course, fun.”

The popular camp is annually held in June, visit for announcements on next year’s camp.

RISAA also held their annual Take-a-Kid Fishing Day last Saturday.  Thirty-two vessels took ninety-two children form Boys & Gils Clubs, scout troops and town/city recreation departments fishing.  Young anglers trolled for bluefish and the bite was on.  The bluefish were in the two to four pound range.  Hat’s off to RISAA and the 125 volunteers who provided fishing and a cookout for all after fishing. 

Now is the time to fish for fluke

It’s time to fish for summer flounder (fluke).  The bite is likely as good as it is going to get in the mid-Bay region before the fish move out to the lower Bay and out to deeper, cooler water.  The fluke season runs from May 1 to December 31 in Rhode Island with a six fish/angler/day limit and a 19” minimum size.

Rhode Island also has a special shore area provision. Two fish 17” minimum size are allowed in special shore areas only.  The total possession limit is still six fish, but two can be 17”, the rest must be 19” or larger.  When fishing from shore the special areas are Fort Wetherill, Jamestown; Fort Adams, Newport; India Point Park, Providence; Stone Bridge, Tiverton; the West and East and Walls of the Harbor of Refuge, South Kingstown and Narragansett; Conimicut Park, Warwick; and Rocky Point, Warwick.

Fluke facts

In May, fluke move in shore from deep Continental Shelf waters where they spend the winter.  They stay inland until October and then move back to the deep water.

Fluke return to the same areas, Bays, etc. year after year.

Fluke are a flat fish with two eyes on the same side of the fish.  They are bottom fish that do not look aggressive, but they will chase bait aggressively and eat the same bait that bluefish and striped bass eat.  The difference is that they feed off the bottom.

They can be caught from a boat (usually while drifting) or from shore with little knowledge, so they are an ideal catch for beginners and children

Fluke are chameleons, they change color to blend with the bottom.

Largest fluke on record is 26.6 lbs. and 36” long.

Where’s the bite?

Fluke (summer flounder) and sea bass bite is in full swing. Doug Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters said, “The fluke bite off Block Island was not good at the end of the last week.  Too many dog fish (sharks) and anglers are having difficulty working their way through them all.”  The coastal shore has been good for fluke. Wade said, “Customers are catching fish in the five to eight pound range from Misquamicut Beach to Watch Hill. So the fishing for fluke is good.  The Fishers Island bite continues to be strong.”  Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “We spent the whole week working the Island. Many anglers left with limit catches or one or two shy. The quality of the fish was great with pool fish being 7-10 pounds every day. More sea bass have been showing up as well. The half days have been off to a slower start. The beaches have been peaks and valleys. We are catching a few keepers and piles of shorts along the beaches. Sea bass are also starting to show up on the beaches.”  Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle Warwick, said, “Anglers are catching keeper fish off Warwick Country Club and in the channel between Warwick Light near the red can.  The bite south of the Jamestown Bridge has been OK too.  And, the sea bass have been larger in the lower Bay, south of the bridges.”

Scup fishing has improved a lot this week, particularly in the mid Bay region.  John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle Riverside said, “The white church bridge in Barrington is producing a lot of scup.  They are in the upper portion of the water column so anglers getting their bait to float in that area a doing well. One customer caught 30 keeper scup at the white bridge.”  Doug Wade of Watch Hill said, “The porgies (scup) are very big.  Southern coastal shore anglers are experiencing a great scup bite.”

Striped bass/bluefish bite has been mixed.  Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “Monster striped bass have been showing up in waves as well. Many fish between 30-50 pounds (at Block Island) have been reported by some of the day boats.”  “There are bluefish of all sizes all around the Bay” said Ferrara of Ray’s Bait.  Last Saturday 40 boats trolling for bluefish in Greenwich Bay as part of the Take-A-Kid Fishing Day hooked up with bluefish.  The striped bass bite in the upper Bay, the Providence River area, has not been good at all this year.  Anglers say there is a shortage of pogies (Atlantic menhaden) which the bass historically follow up the Rivers in Providence.  Littlefield from Archie’s Bait & Tackle said, “My avid bass fishermen and commercial fishermen are traveling to Block Island to hook up with striped bass.  We are catching a ton of school bass but keepers are far and few between.”  Wade of Watch Hill said, “Anglers are catching bass along the southern coastal shore but they are small fish.  Large bass in the 30 pound range are being caught off the reefs at Watch Hill.”

Freshwater fishing for largemouth bass has been good.  Littlefield said, “The trout bite is nonexistent as the water is warm now but anglers are catching sunfish and largemouth in area ponds.”  The largemouth bass bite in South County continues to be good said Wade of Watch Hill.