No Fluke

West Bay Anglers raise $16,000 for charities

“We just got $100!” said Pat Gallien, president of the West Bay Anglers,  performing his role as MC at the group’s final Lobster Raffle when a member walked up to him and handed him $100 to help take kids fishing.  “This type of thing happens all the time,” said Gallien.

After eighteen weeks of fundraising Lobster Raffles this fall and winter, The West Bay Anglers raised $16,000. Half was donated to their take a kid fishing foundation and half to the Warwick-based Impossible Dream foundation. The West Bay Anglers foundation take 450 children fishing each summer aboard the Seven B’s party fishing boat out of Point Judith.

Pam Tameo, raffle chairperson and past president of the West Bay Anglers said, “You haven’t seen anything until you see a child catch their first fish…we take kids fishing eight days during the summer and you make this happen…we thank all of you for what you have done.”

Dianne Florio-Penza, executive director of Impossible Dream, said “These funds will be used for our playground to support facilities that allow children with disabilities to play alongside their friends.”

The Lobster Raffles occur every Saturday throughout the fall and winter months and the prizes are unusual. Large lobsters ranging from six to fourteen pounds are raffled. They usually have a raffle table with small appliances, a meat table with hams and roasts of all types, a miscellaneous table, and the last raffle table Saturday included a 50” flat screen TV and three very large lobsters.

For more information about West Bay Angler membership, contact Pat Gallien at dadothad@yahoo.com.

Summer flounder (fluke) size likely to be 18”

Summer flounder has undergone a new regional management approach originally combining Rhode Island and Massachusetts into one region.  The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) engaged this regional approach, that in essence grants more fish at smaller minimum sizes to states like New York that have historically overfished but claim they need more fish and lower minimum sizes to even things out among coastal states. However, many observers believe that this new regional plan is not an appropriate strategy, particularly with stock of summer flounder on the decline. Many fear that the new regional plan will lead to overfishing in 2014, to the point  that highly restrictive measures may be necessary in 2015 to get the fishery back in line.

Last month the summer flounder advisory panel of the Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council and DEM staff voted to recommend and advocate for status quo for recreational fishing. In other words, keep the regulations the same as last year: an 18” minimum size, with a bag limit of 8 fish per angler per day. This recommendation was approved unanimously by the AP even though our regional partner Massachusetts was at 16” last year and wanted to stay close to that size because they did not overfish last year even at 16”.  Robert Ballou, chairman of the RIMFC and a Rhode Island ASMFC member said, “The AP is coming down on the side of conservation here, not wanting a smaller size as they believe a smaller size would lead to overfishing in Rhode Island.”

On March 13 the ASMFC voted to approve Rhode Island’s (and Massachusetts’) request to have different summer flounder regulations. Rick Bellavance, ASMFC legislative proxy from Rhode Island and president of the Rhode Island  Party & Charter Boat Association said, “The Board did in fact reopen the addendum and split Rhode Island off into its own region. So we will be at status quo for next year. My thoughts are that we did the right thing for the resource and reduced the likelihood that the total coastwide Recreational Harvest Limit (RHL) will be exceeded. On the flip side we are making it easier for New York’s region to overharvest on our backs because we “should” harvest conservatively in 2014 and what we don’t harvest will be used to offset any other regional overages. If we still blow the coast RHL then as I understand it, the regions that made the overages will have to pay it back.”

So if recommended by the RIMFC and approved by DEM director Janet Coit, our summer flounder regulations for 2014 will likely be close to last year’s.

Saltwater fishing show this weekend

The New England Saltwater Fishing Show is scheduled to take place Friday to Sunday, March 28-30. Steve Medeiros, president of the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA), said, “This is our eleventh year and it will be the largest show ever with a focus on angler education. We have ninety seminars, demonstrations and workshops scheduled.”  The New England Saltwater Fishing Show is being held at the Rhode Island Convention Center and will have over 250 exhibitors including tackle, rods, reels, lures, electronics, charter guides, boats, motors, accessories, clothing and much more. Seminar topics include inshore and offshore fishing, specie specific seminars on tautog, fluke, striped bass, tuna, bonito as well as tactics for jigging, chucking, chumming, night fishing and more. Visit www.nesaltwatershow.com for a complete list of seminars, workshops, speakers and show information.

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. Contact or forward fishing news and photos to Capt. Monti at dmontifish@verizon.net.      

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