Fooling fish with soft plastics

Fooling fish with soft plastics

Eight pound fluke: Tom Popick (right) from South Windsor, CT with the eight pound fluke he caught aboard the Francis Fleet last week.

“Vibration and color are important when using soft plastic baits.” said Al Gagliarducci, owner and designer of Al Gag’s Custom Lures since 1978. He spoke to 250 fishermen last week at a Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) seminar on ‘Fooling fish with soft plastics.’
“Fish can feel vibrations and can tell the difference between light and dark…That’s why our lures are designed to move back and forth vibrating as they swim through the water,” said Gagliarducci. And, in regard to color the rule is simple. “Bright day, bright (or light colored) lure; dark day, dark colored lure.” said Gagliarducci.
Al Gag’s Custom Lures came out with a new lure this year, the Whip-It-Fish. Like its predecessor the Whip-It-Eel, the new lure is PVC rubber, can be used in fresh or saltwater, comes in various sizes and colors and uses the same weighted heads and hooks.
Al  Gag said, “The Whip-It-Fish has a unique design paddle tail that allows the lure to roll from side to side as it travels though the water.”  The lure mimics a variety of bait fish including shad and silversides and is available in 3” to 6” sizes.
“Throw one of these Whip-it-Fish off the stern and deadhead it in a rod holder and you will be surprised at what you catch. The lure bounces off the bottom as the boat bobs up and down.”  Gagliarducci also showed his new double hook fluke rig that can be use as is or weighted using a three way swivel, however, he said, “If you are going to use a three way swivel to weight the lure make sure you have an extra long leader, about five feet, to allow that lure to bounce up and down off the bottom.”
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Where’s the bite

Shore fishing. “Anglers fishing for scup on the Warren River, at Ft. Adams and all around the Bay are catching large scup in the 13” to 14” range, and we had a 48” striped bass landed at Ft. Adams from shore this week.” said Manny Macedo of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren. “Fishing from shore for scup at Colt State Park has been good, anglers like the new extended dock, they are getting out deeper and catching larger fish.” said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, East Providence. “Sabin Point is also seeing a lot of action from shore with a ton of sea robins, school bass, snapper blues and a lot of scup which has not been the case in recent years.” said Littlefield.  Before the storm last week Brian Therrien said, “Went down to the (Conimicut) Point last night to enjoy the cooling breezes and see what was moving. Set up for some scup with clam bellies and ten minutes later… bam, nice little striper, not a keeper so he was set back, but a very solid fish. A few scup after that one about 15” and broad.”
Summer flounder (fluke).  “Fluke fishing was good before the storm, but this weekend conditions with tide and wind were not right,” said John Wunner of John’s Bait & Tackle, North Kingstown. “Fishing in the Mt. Hope Bridge area, Newport and at the mouth of the Sakonnet River has been yielding fluke,” said Manny Macedo of Lucky’s Bait & Tackle. John Wunner of John’s Bait said a kayak angler fishing the Monahan’s Dock area in Narragansett  landed a 22” fluke this weekend and in the bay a seven pound fish was taken on the east side of Warwick Neck in the seminary cove area.” Angler Dennis Talos, who fished the Newport Bridge area this Sunday said, “Lots of boats moving around, didn’t look like anyone was catching. Still pretty choppy out there. Water temp was 69. Only caught the one black sea bass.” Angler Jack Leyden of North Kingstown said, “Fishing under the Jamestown Bridge was slow Sunday as the tide and wind were not right.”  Roger Simpson of the Francis Fleet said, “Fluke and sea bass fishing remains strong despite some stormy weather late in the week. Wednesday and Monday (of last week) were the best days overall — many fish over 4 lbs and quite a few over 6 lbs.” Last week Mike Bucko of Bucko Bait & Tackle, Fall River said, “The fishing at Sakonnet Point for fluke has been good, a lot of fluke being caught, the ratio is four fish to one keeper. Most of the customers start with squid and change over to fluke bellies.”
Striped bass fishing was fair this weekend as anglers did not get our due to high winds. “Anglers continue to catch striped bass in the channel at Conimicut Light area using chunked Atlantic Menhaden with tube and worm yielding bass too in the Barrington Beach area.” said John Littlefield of Archie’s bait.
Black sea bass fishing is very good with many anglers catching their limit of three fish. John Wunner of John’s Bait, North Kingstown said, “Richard Sears of North Kingstown landed a five pound black sea bass when fishing the Newport Bridge area.  Another angler fishing the Monahan Dock area in Narragansett landed sea bass to 3.2 pounds.” Tom Fegtherston said “(Sunday) ran to 55′ south of East Gap (of the Harbor of Refuge, Narragansett). Good marks, began bailing sea bass, some double headers. Non-stop 0700-0800.”
Scup fishing has exploded in our bays and off coastal shores. John Wunner of John’s Bait said, “The scup have been very large.  This Sunday a customer landed a 21” scup off the northern end of Jamestown.”

Captain Dave Monti has been fishing and shellfishing for over 40 years. He holds a captain’s master license and a charter fishing license. He is a RISAA board member, a member of the RI Party & Charter Boat Association and a member of the RI Marine Fisheries Council. Visit Captain Dave’s No Fluke website at; his blog at or e-mail him at [email protected].