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.”