No Fluke: winter a good time to perfect skills, tune regulations

Togzilla:  Capt. Mel True has successfully used vertical jigging to land bottom fish like this big tautog. Togzilla: Capt. Mel True has successfully used vertical jigging to land bottom fish like this big tautog.

All smiles: George Poveromo after landing this 39-pound striped bass outside of Chesapeake Bay. He will host the Salt Water Sportsman National Seminar Series on January 18 at the Mohegan Sun Casino.

All smiles: George Poveromo after landing this 39-pound striped bass outside of Chesapeake Bay. He will host the Salt Water Sportsman National Seminar Series on January 18 at the Mohegan Sun Casino.

Saltwater Sportsman’s seminar Saturday, January 18

The Saltwater Sportsman’s national fishing seminar series with host George Poveromo will hold its New England seminar Saturday, January 18, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; at the Mohegan Sun Casino’s Grand Ballroom in Uncasville, Connecticut. Poveromo is an editor-at-large for Salt Water Sportsman magazine and is the host of George Poveromo’s World of Saltwater Fishing television program on NBC Sports. The $55 seminar  fee includes six hours of fishing instruction from local, regional and national fishing captains and guides, a course text book, a year subscription or extension to Salt Water Sportsman magazine, goodie bag, door prizes and more. Register www.nationalseminarseries.com.

ASMFC Summer flounder public hearing January 15

Summer flounder (fluke) regulations are likely to get more conservative in 2014. At press time Rhode Island representatives to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) are trying to identify key summer flounder challenges and possible solutions important to RI anglers. An ASMFC public hearing is planned for January 15 on Draft Addendum XXV. The addendum is expected to force RI to engage 2014 summer flounder recreational fishing regulations that are more conservative than the eight fish/angler/day 18” minimum size regulations that were in effect for the 2013 season. It is important for anglers to attend and express their point of view on proposed recommendation options at the January 15 ASMFC meeting. The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. in the Coreless Auditorium at URI’s Bay Campus in Narragansett.

Togzilla:  Capt. Mel True has successfully used vertical jigging to land bottom fish like this big tautog.

Togzilla: Capt. Mel True has successfully used vertical jigging to land bottom fish like this big tautog.

Vertical jigging good for many species

Capt. Mel True, Jr. of East Freetown, MA  taught anglers about vertical jigging for striped bass and blue fish (and bottom fish like tautog) at a recent Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association seminar. Capt. True said, “The approach to vertical jigging is simple and direct… first locate schools of fish and then stay on them.”
He uses silver jigs of various types for striped bass and blue fish. “Metals with green tails seem to work best, but you have to mix it up and find out what the fish are interested in on any given day. I’ll start the day with all different jigs and colors, find out what type and color is working and then switch everyone to the lure that is working.” said Capt. True.
When the action slows, like at slack tide, he uses soft plastics (that mimic sand eels) with 1 ½ to 3 once jig heads playing them off the bottom much the same way he jigs with the metal lures. For tautog he uses the new bright (orange) colored style jigs that became popular a couple of years ago. In fact, he uses vertical jigging to catch black sea bass as well as scup. Visit Capt. True’s Fishnet Charters website at www.meltrue.com.

Is ice safe for fishing (or skating)?

At press time there has been no safe ice reported in Rhode Island, even though it was cold after January 1.  Check with local cities and towns to find out if ice on a local pond or lake is safe to fish or skate on. Ice must have a uniform thickness of at least six inches before it is considered safe by the Department of Environmental Management (DEM). It generally takes at least five to seven consecutive days of temperatures in the low 20s. However, safe ice is determined by a number of factors such as the size and depth of a pond, presence of springs or currents, and local temperature fluctuations. DEM advises the public to check with individual communities about safe ice conditions before ice fishing or skating. DEM has an ice safety guide that can be found online at www.riparks.com.

Ponds stocked with trout

As a reminder, the ponds stocked with rainbow trout by DEM in December include Carbuncle Pond (Coventry), Barber Pond (South Kingstown), Silver Spring Lake (North Kingstown), Meadowbrook Pond (Richmond), and the Wood River, Route 165 access (Exeter).
Fresh water license and trout conservation stamp needed to fish
A current fishing license and a Trout Conservation Stamp are required to keep or possess a trout. The daily creel and possession limit for trout, through February 28, currently stands at two per day. Visit www.dem.ri.gov for additional information.
Where’s the bite

Fresh water fishermen are fishing here in Rhode Island from shore, and doing some ice fishing north of Rhode Island where there is ice. As of press time, there was no safe ice to fish on here in Rhode Island.  Patti Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick, said, “Customers have been trout fishing all week… they are buying shiners and we sold a few ice fishing items… we sold a trout stamp too.”  John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, East Providence said, “We sold about six dozen medium sized shiners. Some were headed to Lincoln Woods to fish. And then we sold a St. Croix ice fishing rod to a customer that was heading up north to fish.”
Cod fishing has been good when boats have been able to get out. “Fishing was good after Christmas but with the bad weather arriving after New Year’s things have slowed down,” said Elisa Martin of Snug Harbor Marina. Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said that they were only able to make it out after local cod on New Year’s Day last week due to some very challenging winter weather. New Years Day was cold but winds were modest and a light crowd of anglers were able to drift and put together a very nice catch of market cod. Nothing over eight or nine pounds, but all nice green fish. Roger Simpson of the Frances Fleet said, “Both bait and jigs worked… anglers aboard generally managed an average of a half dozen keeper cod apiece with a few having more and a few having less.”

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.

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