Tuesday, July 23, 2019

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 www.risaa.org 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.

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