“What a fight… the fish cleared the water by three feet and then dug under the boat and ran… boy they are tough fish.”, said Greg Vespe of Tiverton, RI as he recounted his fight with a cobia he caught off the south side of Gould Island in the East Passage of Narragansett Bay. The fish was caught last Sunday at 10:30 a.m. with a bunker (Atlantic Menhaden) head when Vespe was fishing for striped bass. “The fish weighted 17 pounds, not really big for a cobia but what a fight.” said Vespe.
Cobia are a great sport (and eating) fish and commonly weigh between 20 and 50 pounds with lengths of 20 to 47 inches. According to the Florida Museum of Natural History a record cobia weighed in at 135 pounds.
Cobia migrate along the Atlantic coast on a seasonal basis. In spring, they move from southern Florida to the Carolinas as water temperatures rise. I checked online and some have been caught in Rhode Island but usually later in the summer when the water has a chance to warm. Last Sunday, surface water temperatures in the middle of Narragansett Bay were in the 80-degree range so perhaps this is what enticed the cobia to come into the Bay. In fall, Cobia reverse their migration pattern and head south as water temperatures fall.
Crabs are a favorite food of cobia, which are commonly called “crabeater”. They often cruise in packs of 3-100 fish, hunting for food during migration in shallow water along the shoreline. They will follow rays, turtles, and sharks, sneaking in to scavenge whatever is left behind.
This Rhode Island-caught cobia is a real prize, so congratulations Greg Vespe, and thanks for sharing your story about the fight.
Where’s the bite
Fluke fishing is good but is on and off some days. Mike Swain of Coventry fished the Newport Bridge area with his fishing partner Darryl and boated ten keepers last week, then went back to the same spot the next day and caught two fish,” said John Wunner of John’s Bait & Tackle, North Kingstown. I fished the west side of the Newport Bridge with two lines in the water Friday just before the tide turned and landed three keepers in about an hour, and then the fishing shut down. “A customer landed four keeper fluke fishing the Quonset Point and Wickford areas this Saturday,” Wunner said. Mary Dangelo of Maridee Canvas-Bait & Tackle, Narragansett said that some of her customers are catching fluke from shore. Capt. Dangelo of the charter boat Maridee II said, “Saturday we fished Block Island and had 41 keepers with six people on board. The fishing has been good but we haven’t been catching large fish in numbers. The largest so far this year has been in the seven plus pound range.” Brian Beltraimi wrote on the RISAA blog: “Fished the Newport Bridge area yesterday (Saturday), started with an outgoing tide and S wind, not the best drift conditions, this produced a few shorts. As the tide slowed we went into Potters Cove, dropped the hook and had lunch while waiting for the tide to change. We then went back and fished in about 80′ with an incoming tide and S wind. We soon started to hit them, all keepers 20-22″. Used pink and glow “Spintrami” spin rigs tipped with variations of squid, fluke belly, mackerel, and spearing.”
Striped bass fishing around Block Island has been good, according to Capt. Dangelo. “Last week we landed a 51 pound fish and today our largest fish was 49.8 pounds,” he said. “Tolling umbrella rigs and jigs are working well.” Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence, reports that striped bass fishing had been good, but that things slowed a bit when the Bay warmed up. Capt. Billy Silvia of Can’t Imagine Charters reported landing eight bass in one recent morning. John Wunner of John’s Bait & Tackle reports that pogy sales have slowed a bit. “We may have seen the best of the day time bass fishing in the Bay, however, we are now starting to sell a lot of eels and customers are starting to do more night fishing due to the water warming.”
Scup fishing remains strong with anglers catching fish off bridges, from shore and from boats in the upper, middle and lower parts of the Bay. Mary Dangelo reports that her customers are catching scup at State Pier number 5 in Narragansett.
Captain Dave Monti has been fishing and shell fishing on Narragansett Bay 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 www.noflukefishing.com; his blog at www.noflukefishing.blogspot.com, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Warm water fish: Greg Vespe of Tiverton, RI caught this cobia, an exotic warm water fish, off Gould Island when fishing for striped bass with a bunker (Atlantic Menhaden) head as bait.