Thursday, June 20, 2019

Young anglers aim to hook big fish

Big bass bite: Capt. Rick Bellavance of Priority Fishing Charters, said “There were miles of striped bass from 20” to 46” at Block Island this week.” Like this 40 pounder caught by a customer last Sunday.

Summer flounder (fluke) like this seven pounder caught on Priority Fishing Charters were entered in the Fluke Til Ya Puke Tournament last Saturday.  The winning 10.20 pound fish was caught off Montauk, NY.

Young anglers aim to hook big fish

This is the week for young anglers.  They will be fishing in Narragansett Bay on Saturday, June 22 and Thursday, June 27.

Plan fishing in Greenwich Bay accordingly this Saturday as the RI Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) will hold their 21st annual Take-a-Kid fishing day, Saturday, June 22.  Approximately forty volunteer vessels and 125 shore and boat volunteers will take 119 kids fishing in Greenwich Bay trolling for bluefish.

Fishing will be followed by a 12 noon cookout at Brewers (Safe Harbor) Cowesett Marina, which donates the use of boat slips, staging and cookout areas.  Youth participation is limited to organizations such as Boys & Girls Clubs, Scouting Troops and city recreation departments. 
The aim of the program is to teach children about the ocean, environment, boating and give them an opportunity to fish.  Often children participating have never seen the saltwater, never mind ride a boat and fish.

Youth Fishing Camp, Tuesday, June 25-June 27

The RI Saltwater Anglers and the Department of Environmental Management Youth Fishing Camp is full with a waiting list, but watch for this camp next year.  The Camp will be held at Rocky Point State Park, Warwick, Tuesday, June 25 to Thursday, June 27 for children 7 to 12 years old. 
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.”

Topics to be covered over the three day camp include fish identification,  fishing laws, use of spinning and conventional gear and tackle, knot tying, 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 in partnership with RI DEM Aquatic Resource Education Program, US Fish & Wildlife and Brewers Marina. 

 Saltwater Fly Fishing School, Saturday, June 29

The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) Fish and Wildlife Aquatic Resource Education Program will hold a Saltwater Fly Fishing School, Saturday, June 29 at the Narrow Rive Bridge, Route 1A Boston Neck Road, Narragansett.  All students must have some fly fishing experience.

Edward Lombardo, local fly fishing expert and school instructor said, “Equipment including fly rod, gear and flies will be provided, however, participants should bring their own waders.”  The cost of the program is $15.00 per person which includes lunch. Students must be 16 years or older. Ages 16 and 17 need be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian.  Register with Kimberly Sullivan at 401-539-0037 or

‘Fluke Til Ya Puke’ tournament big success

The 14th Annual ‘Fluke Til Ya Puke’ fishing tournament held Saturday, June 15 was a big success once again.  Organizers, Captains Brian and Peter Bacon of Big Game Sport Fishing charters, South Kingstown, say it is the largest summer flounder (fluke) tournament in the world.  The tournament has multiple entry categories and over $50,000 in prizes.

Capt. Peter Bacon said, “We had our fingers crossed with the weather Saturday and lucked out with an eight hour window of good weather during the Tournament.  About 90 percent of the fish we weighed in were in the six to seven pound range. The largest fish, we had about four fish over nine pounds, were caught off Montauk, NY.”

12,001 anglers participated in the Tournament, down slightly from last year, likely due to the predicted bad weather.  The ‘biggest fluke’ prize of $5,000 went to Bill Robinson with a 10.20 pound fluke; followed by Nino Averso, 9.74 pounds; and third place went to Eric Alleyne with a 9.38 pound fluke.”

For additional information and a complete list of winners visit or the tournament Facebook page at

Where’s the bite?

Striped bass/bluefish.  The Cape Cod Canal continues to light up with striped bass. David Jeffers of Red Top Sporting Goods, Buzzards Bay, said, “The squid are in the Canal and the bass are here feeding on them.  We weighed in a 44 and a 35 pound fish this week.  Fish are being caught on the bottom with jigs.” Capt. Rich Bellavance of Priority Fishing Charters said, “Sunday the bass fishing at Block Island was outstanding with miles of fish in the 20 inch to 46 inch range. We are catching them on umbrella frames and parachute jigs.  They are feeding on small sand ells.  The southwest corner has been the best but there are fish at the north end (although smaller) and the southeast side is yielding blues and bass.”  Douglas Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters, Westerly said, “The beaches are producing smaller striped bass with larger ones being caught on the reefs.” John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside said, “There are not a log of pogies around in the Providence River/Pawtucket area.  Anglers are catching keepers in the Conimicut Light and Rumstick Point areas trolling tube & worm.”  Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence, said, “Steven Estrada caught a 45” striped bass at India Point Park, using Atlantic menhaden chucks.”  The bluefish bite in the mid Bay area continues to improve.  Jim Laird on the RISAA blog said, “Fished out of East Greenwich Bay with my nephew today and trolled up a mess of bluefish. We must have caught over 40 in three hours and they all ran around 2 – 3 lbs. The choppers are much bigger this year.”

Fluke fishing is mixed.  Capt. Peter Bacon of BIG Game Sport Fishing Charters said, “During the ‘Fluke Til Ya Puke’ tournament last Saturday anglers fishing the south side of Block Island had to battle dog fish to land fluke.” Doug Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters said Tuesday, “The fluke bite along the southern coastal shore has been outstanding with anglers hooking up with a lot of nice black sea bass which they will be able to take starting June 24 when the season opens in RI.”  “Fluke are being caught in the mid-Bay region on the shipping channel pads in the Prudence Island ‘T Wharf’ area.” said Henault of Ocean State Tackle. John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle said, “Some reports of customers catching keeper fluke drifting along the side of Dutch Island in the West Passage of Narragansett Bay in 40 to 60 feet of water.”

Scup.  Dave Henault said, “Scup to 16” are being taken under the Mt. Hope Bridge and off Barrington.”  John Littlefield said, “The scup bite is just starting to improve with fish being caught at Colt State Park.”

Freshwater fishing.  Dave Henault of Ocean State said, “The trout bite is off, however, customers are catching largemouth and the carp fishing has been very good.”  Doug Wade of Watch Hill said, “The largemouth bass bite at Chapman’s Pond in Westerly had been very good.”

URI puts ocean wind on front burner

URI’s ocean wind role:  Jessica Willi, executive director of Block Island Tourism Council and Meg Kerr, senior director of policy, Audubon Society of RI, listen to fellow panelists at URI’s ocean wind workshop.
Bluefish bite arrives:  Chris Boutin, Marine and Army Guard combat veteran, service dog Freya, and Capt. Monti fished Project Healing Waters as a team.  Chris’s fly hooked up with multiple bluefish.

URI puts ocean wind on front burner

The University of Rhode Island (URI) reached out to ocean wind stakeholders last week at their ‘Preparing for Offshore Renewable Energy’ workshop held at the Coastal Institute, URI Graduate School of Oceanography, Narragansett. 

Jennifer McCann, workshop facilitator and director of US Coastal Programs for the Coastal Institute/Sea Grant said, “This is not a prioritizing exercise, but rather an effort to identify information needs, technology questions and workforce gaps created by offshore renewable energy growth.”

The goal of the workshop was to identify how URI can fulfill needs contributing to the appropriate growth of offshore renewable energy.

URI offers a broad range of multidisciplinary expertise to understand the impacts of renewable energy siting, construction and implementation.  David Bidwell, assistant professor of URIs Department of Marine Affairs said, “To date URI has received about $20-million in grants in regard to ocean wind farm industry research.”  The idea would be to engage a variety of URI departments moving forward.

Highlights of the workshop included:

Fred  Mattera, president, RI Commercial Fisheries Center, said, “I see safety as a big concern, our experience with the sinking of the Mistress off the Block Island Wind Farm was that Coast Guard helicopters had to call off the air search due to high winds fearing that they would come too close to wind turbines.  We also see safety as an issue within planned wind farm transit zones.  The planned two mile wind transit zone is simply not wide enough. We are advocating for a four mile wide zone.”
Grover Fugate, executive director, RI Coastal Resource Management Council (CRMC), said, “All data and science needs to be shared, who better than the University to provide an independent, non-bias voice, on the impacts of ocean wind farm development.”

Andrew Gill, principle scientist, Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (in the United Kingdom) said, “The inclusive philosophy of your Ocean SAMP program worked well.  I would suggest building the spirit of this program into the development of ocean wind.  For example in Belgium (the gold standard for ocean wind development), all stakeholders have a voice at the table and collectively stakeholders come up with the best solutions to challenges.”

Gill continued, “Additionally, in Belgium, they address research continuity and cumulative impacts by having one central source to decide how research funds are spent, key learnings from the past year are used to set the research agenda for the following year.” In this way research learnings are able to be applied to future wind farms immediately.

Key recommendations made at the closing session on how URI should contribute to appropriate growth of offshore wind included: URI as a consensus builder/facilitator, like the SAMP program prior to the development of the Block Island Wind Farm; serve as a research, communication and education resource like a ‘Center for Offshore Wind’ that engages all stakeholders, the ‘Center’ would aim to educated, communicate and serve as a funnel for all research.

Additional recommendations included the coordination of all research by one entity which would allow research money to be pooled for greater impact and apply both good and bad cumulative impacts of multiple wind farms immediately; explore benefits of tower foundations and anti-scour pads to develop habitat for recreational fishing;  develop research protocols for all wind farms; the need to educated the public about renewable energy to help build an understanding and a ‘pipeline’ of qualified work force.

Bluefish arrive for Project Healing Waters

Last Saturday was a good day for fly fishing wounded Veterans participating in the Project Healing Waters event out of Allen Harbor, North Kingstown.  Ten boats took twelve fly fishing anglers out for a morning of fishing on Narragansett Bay from 6:00 a.m. to 12 noon.  The trip was followed by a cookout on shore at Allen Harbor Marina.

The vessels found a good bluefish bite in Greenwich Bay, Warwick in front of the Buttonwoods area. 
For a little more than a decade Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, part of the Stars & Stripers initiative, has focused on healing those who serve. 

Fibromyalgia Striped Bass Tournament

The 2019 Fishing for Fibromyalgia Striped Bass Tournament will be held July 19, 6:00 p.m. to Sunday, July 21, 12:00 p.m. at Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown.  The waterway boundaries for the tournament extend from the Westport River, MA to Watch Hill Lighthouse, including Block Island.

The $10 donation/entry fee goes directly to researching the safe and effective treatment of fibromyalgia/chronic pain by the Massachusetts General Hospital, Department of Rheumatology.
Tournament organizer Richard Geldard said, “We have four tournament division… shore, boat, kayak and a 12 and under division.” First place trophy for the heaviest fish in each Division with tie decided by length and/or girth.  Second and third place fish will receive gift subscriptions and/or a special edition almanac form On The Water Magazine.

For information visit  or contact Richard Geldard at and 774.930.7098. 

Where’s the bite?

Striped bass fishing was hot at the Cape Cod Canal and mixed everywhere else this week.  Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box, Warwick said, “Some larger fish in the 30 pound range have been caught in Mt. Hope Bay.”  Manny Macedo of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren said, “The large fish were in Mt. Hope Bay in the Somerset and Bristol Street Bridge areas.  Last week we had an east passage bite.”  Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle said, “We have some anglers still catching school bass in the coves in Rhode Island.”

Fluke fishing.  Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait said, “Anglers are catching keeper size fish in front of Warwick Country Club.”  Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box said, “Some nice fish are being caught at the 12’/32’ depth break in front of the Warwick Neck golf course.”  Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “Fluke fishing had its peaks and valleys last week. The bite that we had earlier at the Island seemed to have thinned out. Hope it picks up this week.”  

Scup fishing has improved throughout the Bay,  “Customers are catching scup to 14” at Colt State Park, the Narrows and under the Mt. Hope Bridge.”, said Manny Macedo of Lucky Bait.  Tom Giddings said, “Scup are moving into the Bay as well as sea bass.  Customers are catching some nice black sea bass but are having to throw them back as the season does not start until June 24.”

Freshwater fishing for largemouth bass is hot.  Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box said, “The largemouth bite has been outstanding at Tioque Lake, Coventry, Stump Pond and at Warwick Pond.  Some pickerel are being caught too.  The bass are now post spawn, the fish are nice large fish but they don’t have those sagging bellies as they did a couple of weeks ago that were loaded with eggs.”

Striped bass under attack, anglers need to take a stand

Spring bass a hoot: Steve Brustein with a 25” spring striped bass caught on an Al Gag’s soft plastic white lure in five feet of water near the Godard Park boat ramp, Warwick.
Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing Program, part of the Stars & Stripers initiative, will take place Saturday, June 8 at Allen Harbor, North Kingstown. Donations of all types are welcome.

Striped bass under attack… anglers need to take a stand

Striped bass are under attack.  The recent stock assessment indicates they are overfished and are subject to overfishing. Think of the striped bass in the water as bank account, we are not only earning less than we are spending (overfishing), but the account is overdrawn (overfished).

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), that regulates striped bass coastwide, recommended an Addendum that aims to reduce harvest by 17 percent to lower mortality and bolster Spawning Stock Biomass (SSB), females in the water that can spawn.

Yet some government officials are advocating to take more fish for short term economic gain, rather than rebuilding the stock growing it to abundance so there are more fish in the water for all to catch, eat and/or release.

Additionally, some special interest groups want to move an Amendment (different than the Addendum mentioned above) forward that would move the goal post. So rather than fishing within the scientifically arrived at target to insure a sustainable fisher, they aim to lower the bar on ‘ecological reference points’… the amount of spawning stock biomass that is required to be left in the water.

In a May 21, 2019 press release Rep. Lee Zeldin (R) from New York District 1 (which includes the Montauk, NY area) said, “New York fishermen faced a major blow due to ASMFC’s decision to cut the Atlantic Striped Bass fishery by up to 17% next year and maintain the current ban on striped bass fishing in the Block Island Sound Transit Zone. Rather than rooting these decisions in local stock assessments,… the ASMFC used flawed data that measures the Atlantic Striped Bass stock based on the entire eastern seaboard,”

First, the recommendation to reduce the striped bass catch limit was based on a stock assessment that was peer-reviewed by respected fisheries scientists, not a U.S. Representative that wants to take more fish to satisfy constituent fishermen in his District.  Striped bass migrate and they tend to spawn in the same places so it is important to have a coastwide assessment and not just use local ‘alternate data’.

In regard to fishing in the Block Island EEZ, Representative Zeldin said he would like to use “Alternative data that shows the Striped Bass stock is in a better place outside the 3-mile limit”.  We should all be concerned about ‘Alternative data’ developed locally as it often comes to a conclusion that is in line with the local political situation.  In this case taking more fish, for short term economic gains of special interest groups in the Congressman’s District. 

Don’t get me wrong, an abundance of data is a good thing (local and national).  However, when Congressman Zeldin uses the term ‘alternate data’ it raises a red flag as it sounds like the term ‘alternative facts’ we often hear today.

Taking more fish for short term economic gain rather than long term stock rebuilding of striped bass is wrong. Sacrificing environmental concerns for economic gain is characteristic of Rep. Zeldin.  Whether you like to bird watch, be outside in open spaces, or fish… beware of Rep. Zeldin’s environmental record.  His lifetime score (voting record) on environmental legislation has earned him a score of 10 percent (out of 100) which is the lowest score of any NY Congressman from the League of Conservation Voters (  By comparison twelve of the fifteen congressmen from New York have lifetime scores of 89 percent or better.

The fish in the ocean belong to all the people of the United States of American and not a select few.  We need to grow fish to abundance for all the people.

The ASMFC’s next meeting in August will consider Addendum options that will go out for public comment.  The goal is to have an approved Addendum in place for 2020 regulations.  Anglers need to comment on the Addendum when it is put out for public comment after the August meeting and oppose an Amendment that would move the goal post on Spawning Stock Biomass.

For a four part article series on the history of striped bass, regulations and recommendations visit  for Rep. Zeldin’s May 21 press release and a more detailed rebuttal to his claims visit . 

Project Healing Waters Supports Veterans
On Saturday, June 8 disabled veterans, local volunteers, businesses, and civic organizations will gather at the Allen Harbor Marina in North Kingstown for the second annual Narragansett Bay ‘Stars & Stripers’ fishing event. 

Over a dozen disabled veterans and their families from Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing programs in New England will be hosted for the day on the Bay by professional guides and local experts to fish for striped bass and bluefish.  Thanks to local businesses and civic organizations a special shore lunch will be provided for all at this invitation-only event.

Donations of all types are welcome to make the day more memorable for veterans and their families.  To make a donation contact Keith Tanner, event coordinator, at or 203.521.2457.

Where’s the bite?

Freshwater.  John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside said, “I sold a ton of shiners this week to anglers targeting largemouth and everyone was catching a quantity of fish.  Echo Lake in Bristol County was particularly good for anglers.”  Capt. Tom Pelletier of Quaker Lane Bait & Tackle, North Kingstown said, “DEM restocked some of the area ponds so the trout bite is very, very good.”

Summer flounder (fluke) fishing picked up a bit this week as the water warmed along the coastal shore, in the Bay and offshore.  Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “The fluke fishing is really starting to pick up. Saturday was picture perfect conditions and fluking was red hot. We had the best day of the year so far with over 60 keepers. We had five fish around eight pounds. Water temperatures have really risen with the warm week.”  Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box, Warwick said, “The fluke bite in the middle to upper Bay has really not started yet.”  Don Smith, expert angler and longtime RI Saltwater Anglers member, said, “We have been doing good with fluke on the south side of Block Island in about 70 feet of water.  Last week and this week we caught fish to 8.5 and 10 pounds.  There is a lot of bait around… sand ells and mackerel but no bass feeding under them.  We did start to catch dog fish when we moved to the East Grounds.”

Striped bass and bluefish fishing continues to get stronger with school striped bass and larger fish.  Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box said, “We weighted in a 30 pound bass this weekend caught on an umbrella rig in the Bay.”  John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside said, “The striped bass bite was good this week with a 42” fish caught in the upper Providence River and several keepers caught from shore at Colt State Park mixed in with school bass.  Anglers are catching as many school bass as they want in the Lavin’s Marina area in Barrington.”  Capt. Pelletier of Quaker Lane said, “Keeper striped bass being caught mixed in with school bass.  And it was nice to hear this weekend the bluefish arrived in force in the mid and upper-Narragansett Bay areas in Greenwich Bay as well as in the east passage north of Prudence Island.”

Tautog fishing season ends May 31 and reopens again August 1.