A number of readers have asked about small unusual fish they are catching in saltwater close to shore. They have been identified as Northern Kingfish and tomcod (or tommy cod)—two different species.
Northern Kingfish have a pronounced bar or strip marking. They are bottom feeders. Best bait is worms, small pieces of squid or clams. Their small mouth dictates the use of small hooks, the type you used for scup fishing (that is likely why anglers are catching them when fishing for scup). They range in size from 10 to 15 inches.
Microgadus tomcod, commonly called tomcod or tommy cod, resemble a small cod but they are different. They usually range in size from 9 to 15 inches. They are also bottom feeders and bite any bait greedily… clams, shrimp, worms or cut fish and squid. They are often found in harbors, at the mouth of streams and off docks. Both tomcod and Northern Kingfish are good to eat.
Where’s the bite
Off-shore fishing has been heating up. According to Elisa Martin of Snug Harbor Marina, the charter vessel ‘Big Game’ with Captains Shamus Mara and Brian Bacon landed four yellowfin tuna Saturday and Dr. Rick Turner caught a bluefin and yellowfin tuna at Tuna Ridge (at the 30 fathom mark about out 35 to 40 miles off Block Island). And this week, the ‘Thirty-Three II’, a 19-foot vessel, landed a 215 pound Mako shark.”
Roger Simpson of the Frances Fleet party boats said, “First tuna trip of the season was quite successful this past week with the emphasis on quality as they boated several big eye tuna all in the 160 to 200-pound range along with yellowfin and a nice bunch of albacore to 60 pounds, a handful of Mahi, two swords (one 150 pounds!), and last but certainly not least, a 70-pound Wahoo!”
Black sea bass fishing has been good with a lot of short fish mixed in. Angler fishing for fluke on the Frances Fleet caught fewer black sea bass this week. Roger Simpson of the Frances Fleet said, “… not as many sea bass as we had been seeing but still some hefty ones from time to time with the best for the week just over the 4-pound mark.”
Summer flounder (fluke) fishing continues to be good for this time of year. Craig Castro of Erickson’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick, said, “Two customers caught keeper fluke Friday off Warwick Light.” Mixed reports coming in about fishing for fluke around the bridges and Elisa Martin of Snug Harbor said, “Fluke fishing off southern coastal shores has slowed but it is till good at Block Island in 70 to 80 feet of water.” Roger Simpson of the Frances Fleet said, “Tuesday and Wednesday were the best outings of the week. On Tuesday about half the boat was limited out on fluke… and the big fish… a fine slab of just under 8 lbs that fell victim to a whole squid.”
Tautog fishing continues to be slow, however, increasing numbers of smaller fish are being caught with some keepers being caught too. Ken Landry of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick said, “Customers are starting to catch keeper tautog in the Bay which is a good sign. With cooler weather coming things are only going to get better.”
Striped bass fishing has slowed on Block Island with bluefish extremely thick at the north rip and southwest sides. Fishing in the lower part of the Narragansett Bay is improving. Manny Sousa of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren said, “Some customers have caught keepers off Bullocks Point but there seems to be more action south of the bridges. We are hoping thing open up as the water cools and we have bass thought-out the Bay like we did this spring.”
Captain Dave Monti has been fishing and shellfishing 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 .