Striped bass fishing is hot in Narragansett Bay. So if you were thinking of giving it a try on your boat or from shore, now is the time to do it. When the water warms in July the striped bass have a tendency to leave the upper and middle portions of the Bay.
So with striped bass fishing hot in the Narragansett Bay now is the time to give it a try. Visit www.noflukefishing.blogspot.com for ten favorite ways to catch striped bass. However, for the past couple of weeks the bait of choice has been Atlantic Menhaden (or pogies as they are commonly called).
Anglers fish pogies chunked up in pieces, whole or fish them live hooking them through the forehead above the nose and putting them down in a school of pogies that bass or blue fish are feeding on. Live lining, as it is called, can be used without weight or with weight (with a weight slide that moves along the main line or an egg sinker) to get it down where the fish seem to be feeding.
Atlantic Menhaden enter the Bay to spawn up rivers, and the striped bass follow them as they migrate north from the Hudson River and Chesapeake Bay areas. Menhaden is the primary forage food for striped bass this time of year and this year there seems to be a good supply of it in the Bay. Anglers can purchase them at bait shops frozen or fresh as commercial fishermen net them to sell to bait shops as bait. Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick, said Saturday, “We have sold hundreds of fresh menhaden for bait this weekend.”
Anglers also locate schools of Atlantic Menhaden and try to catch them themselves to use as bait by snagging them with a treble hook. This weekend Kevin Pellegrino of Swansea said, “I took my buddy John Martin from Bristol out striper fishing in Mt. Hope Bay on my boat Four Paws for his first time. We found a good school of pogies and I was snagging one and then handed him the rod to reel it in… when a striper hit a pogy… he felt the hit, but had no idea what was happening. He fought it like a champ (on light tackle) and we landed it at 40″ and 23.88 pounds!”
Striped bass fishing is starting to pick up along Southern coastal shores. Phil Matteson of Breachway Bait & Tackle, Charlestown, said “They are starting to land keeper bass out in front, and in Ninigret Pond they are catching school sized bass and an occasional fish in the 28 to 35” range. Anglers are using a variety of artificial lures.” “Striped bass fishing is still not strong at Block Island” said Capt. Rich Bellavance of Priority Too Charters, Pt. Judith. “Tuesday of last week striped bass were crashing a school of pogies right in from of Fields Point, Providence. You could see the bass chasing them like tuna just under the surface. Before we could pull in our snagged pogies a bass would hit it so we snapped off the barbs on our treble hooks so we could safely release most of the fish.” said Greg Bruning of the Tackle Box, Warwick. John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, East Providence said, “Striped bass fishing had slowed a bit later in the week in the Providence River, but Sunday things broke wide open again south of Conimicut Light in the Barrington Beach, Nayatt Point and Rocky Point areas. I think the bass are starting to move down the Bay a bit with the bait. Three customers limited out in two hours fishing the Barrington Beach area with chunks, live lining and yo-yoing Atlantic Menhaden.” Saturday angler Mike Imbornone of North Kingstown landed a 38” striped bass while fishing the Poppasquash Point, Bristol area using tube and worm, earlier in the day chunked Atlantic Menhaden was not working. John Wunner of John’s Bait & Tackle, North Kingstown said, “Fishing was great this week. Customers are landing bass and fluke, everyone seems to be happy.”
Charlestown Breachway fishing is improving with one or two anglers catching twenty pound fish nightly. Anglers targeting scup are staring to land fish too,” said Phil Matteson of Breachway Bait & Tackle. Steve McKenna noted striped bass shore fishing expert and an associate at Quaker Lane Outfitters, North Kingstown said “Shore anglers seem to be having a mixed bag of experiences. Those that know how to fish the shore are experiencing a good bite, and those that do not are not landing fish. I heard of two 40-pound fish being caught from the shore last week.” John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait said “Colt State Park anglers are catching school bass and just a few scup. The scup just haven’t arrived in large numbers yet.” Dave Pickering, expert shore angler and author said “I’ve been out quite a few times in the last week in the Bay both with the boat and from shore, and the results are the same. There are far more blues around than stripers. The blues seem to be everywhere.”
Bluefish are being caught particularly where you find the pogy schools. Some are huge. Greg Bruning of the Tackle Box, Warwick said, one of my customers landed a 18.5 pound blue fish while trolling along the wall at Salter Grove, Warwick last week.” This weekend, when fishing in the middle of the East Passage the party I was fishing with picked up smaller blue fish in the 20 inch range when trolling tube & worm for bass. However, schools of bluefish on the surface have not been the case yet.
Summer flounder (fluke) fishing has been improving in shore and is hot off-shore. Capt. Rick Bellavance of Priority Too Charters said “Fishing on the south side of Block Island has been great.” Mike Cardinal of Cardinal Bait & Tackle Westerly said “Fluke fishing along the coastal shore has been improving and Block Island is doing very well.” Phil Matteson of Breachway Bait & Tackle said, “There is a ton of bait in the water… squid and sand eels. From Matunuck to Charlestown customers are catching fluke in 35 to 55 feet of water landing 3 to 4 pound fish with 6 to 7 pound fish common too.” John Wunner of John’s Bait, North Kingstown, said, “They are catching summer flounder in the mid Bay area in the West Passage near Warwick Neck. And Austin Hollow Jamestown, which usually holds fish this time of year, has not been good.” Greg Bruning of the Tackle Box, Warwick said, “This weekend fluke fishing really picked up in the middle of the Bay with some nice fish being landed in the flats of Rocky Point in about 15 to 20 feet of water. I weighed in a nice 7.5 pound fish for a customer.”
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 noflukefishing.com; his blog at noflukefishing.blogspot.com, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.