No Fluke

What matters most to anglers?

What matters most to saltwater recreational anglers was identified in a recent NOAA survey of more than 9,000 state and federally-permitted saltwater anglers from 22 coastal states in the continental United States and Alaska. Here are some highlights: 81% of anglers plan to take the same number of trips next year. 87% enjoy fishing with friends and family. 95% believe that ensuing high quality fishing opportunities for future generations is important. Additional analysis is forthcoming and will             provide more detail with regional breakdowns of the results.

DEM/fly fishing volunteers holding classes

DEM and fly fishing volunteers will hold classes for beginners and intermediate fly tiers on Thursdays from 7-9 p.m., through December 19. The cost is $6 per night. For more information and registration call RI DEM / Div. of Fish & Wildlife’s Aquatic Resource Education Program at 410/539-0037 or e-mail kimberly.sullivan.dem.ri.gov.

Striped bass spawning stock not healthy

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) announced that the 2013 Atlantic striped bass benchmark assessment indicates the resource is not overfished or experiencing overfishing. However, the female spawning stock biomass (SSB) has continued to decline since 2004 and is estimated at 128 million pounds below the SSB target of 159 million pounds. Additionally, total fishing mortality is estimated at .20, a value that is between the proposed new fishing mortality threshold (.219) and fishing mortality target (.18). The Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board approved the benchmark stock assessment for management use. This means the ASMFC technical committee will now consider measures to reach these new SSB and fishing mortality targets which could translate into new (more restrictive) recreational and commercial striped bass regulations.

Where’s the bite

Fresh water fishing is still good even though temperatures are now hovering at freezing at night. David Pickering, carp expert and local author said, “The air temperature was in the thirties and there was ice on my car when I went out in the yard…Still, the carp were hitting… two new members (of RI Carp Anglers Group) ended up with two mirrors and a common, not bad for this time of year. They were using lots different baits… sweet corn, maize and chick peas, all fished ahead of a method ball. Put in your time, even in the cold, and you will be rewarded.” Largemouth bass fishing still good too. John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, East Providence said, “A customer caught an eight pound largemouth bass this week at Johnson’s Pond, as well as a three-foot eel.” Striped bass, particularly small school size bass with some keepers mixed in, are still in Narragansett and Mt. Hope Bays and along the coastal shore from Sakonnet River down to Westerly, often times feeding on the surface. “Customers continue to catch striped bass near Hemingway’s Restaurant and at the Hurricane Barrier from shore in Providence using clam tongue and squid.” said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait. David Pickering, noted shore angler and author said, “There are schoolies around in the daytime in good numbers.  Keepers can be had but it’s a matter of putting in your time after dark…The schoolies I landed today (Saturday) were all taken on Cocahoes.  After dark I slugged it out in the cold for a couple of hours and was rewarded with two keepers in the 28-30 inch range.  These fish hit a large black Hogy…  I have seen and heard of very few larger keepers above 36 inches from shore this fall.” Tautog fishing remains good with a strong bite off Newport to the Sakonnet River area.  Capt. Charlie Donilon of Snapper Charters, Point Judith said, “Tautog fishing is good.  Anglers are limiting out but it is taking a bit longer.  We are arriving back at the dock a bit later than last year as it is taking some time to catch them.”  I fished the General Rock, North Kingstown area this weekend with poor results, one keeper 18”.  Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick, said, “This is tautog season and customers are buying green crabs (he ordered additional bushels for the weekend while we spoke in his shop).  Fish are being caught at Coddington Cover, Hope Island and Plum Light House (North Kingstown)and other places that produce tautog this time of year.” Roger Simpson of the Frances Fleet said, “Easily the best and most consistent tautog fishing in a couple years. There were full boat limits recorded on several trips this past week…(top) fish were in the nine to eleven pound range.  Plenty of through backs too… More chilly water dropping temperatures are in store for the coming week so this should keep the tog fishing going strong for some time…” John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait said, “The tautog bite is good at the day marker in the Warren River with anglers catching undersized fish to keepers at a five to one ratio.  Fishing is mixed and just so-so at Conimicut Light, at the white church bridge in Barrington and at the Wharf Tavern.  One day a customer caught an 18” and a 22” fish at the Wharf Tavern… the next day they caught no keepers.” Cod fishing has been good. Roger Simpson of the Francis Fleet said, “Jumbo sea bass and cod in the 20 pound range were caught Saturday with an addition of a fine green bonito… The cod/sea bass trips are scheduled to sail Monday, Wednesday, Friday and the weekends at 6 a.m. weather permitting. Please check www.francesfleet.com for updated reports and information.

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. Contact or forward fishing news and photos to Capt. Dave at dmontifish@verizon.net or visit his website at www.noflukefishing.com.

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