Wiggle is everything when it comes to bottom fish

Tom Peters (left) and his brother Allan limited out on tautog this weekend at General Rock in North Kingstown, fishing with green crabs and conventional double-hook tautog rigs. Tom Peters (left) and his brother Allan limited out on tautog this weekend at General Rock in North Kingstown, fishing with green crabs and conventional double-hook tautog rigs.

Tom Peters (left) and his brother Allan limited out on tautog this weekend at General Rock in North Kingstown, fishing with green crabs and conventional double-hook tautog rigs.

Jigging continues to gain popularity with fishermen who target bottom fish like fluke and tautog as well as striped bass and tuna that might be anywhere in the water column. I attended the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) monthly seminar last week and one of the topics was vertical jigging for bass and tuna.

Ron Poirier of Ronz Lures talked about vertical jigging for striped bass and tuna. “Vertical jigging allows you to locate the fish with electronics and then send down a jig with pinpoint accuracy for quick hook-ups,” he said. “With Ronz Lures it’s always about the wiggle.”

Ronz Lures’ soft plastic baits are connected to a wedge-like head that allows the head to walk from side to side so the attached tail is always wiggling to elicit a strike from the game fish. A tip from Ron on how to know you’re hooked up when the bait is falling: “Drop the bait and if it stops falling or goes faster, you may have a bite.”

Ronz Lures use Owner and Gamakatsu hoops. Their hydro jig heads are made of pure tin, which make them durable and non-toxic. Soft plastic tails are infused with fish oil. For more, visit www.ronzmfg.com.

Bottom jigging for fish such as fluke and tautog is more popular than ever. With the tautog season upon us, you might want to give jigging for them a try. Jigs come in many weights, from 1/4 ounce to 10 ounces. Using light tackle to jig for tautog creates a whole new type of tautog fishing. It makes catching even small tautog a lot of fun. To take a look at tautog jigs, visit www.htlureco.com.

More tautog fishing tips

After losing two anchors that were caught in structure, I’ve started to use a cinderblock when anchoring over severe structure to tautog fish. Often you want to be on top or on the edge of structure, so the more precise you are with boat placement the better the fishing. Because the cinderblock can be dropped anywhere, even on top of rocks, it allows you to be targeted with your boat placement. If you lose a cinderblock, who cares? They cost $1.29 at Home Depot. Use a chain on the block to avoid line chaffing.

To get the chum down to where you want it, fill a brown paper lunch bag with your chum (grass shrimp, crab legs, pieces of clam, crushed crab, etc.) and a three- to four-inch rock. Tie a line to the bag and lower it to where you want the chum, let it sit on the bottom for a couple of minutes and then yank the line. The bag breaks and releases the chum exactly where you want it to go. The technique was shared by a RISAA member a few years ago.

Here’s a tip from George Poveromo’s “Rock’em Sock’em” article that appeared in a back issue of Saltwater magazine: When a fish is hooked and it has muscled its way back to structure, apply pressure to force a respectable amount of bend in the rod. If the fish is not moving, hold the rod vertically to the water, tighten the line and pull or pluck the fishing line like a banjo string. The sharp vibrations emitted work their way back down to the fish through the line and irritate it. The fish, in a state of confusion, may back out of the hole to free itself from the irritation. Once you sense this has happened, start reeling it in.

If this doesn’t work, let the line go limp for a minute or two; with no pressure on the fish, it may dislodge itself. The rig often frees itself, the fish may get unhooked, or you may still catch the fish.

Scallop season opens Nov. 3

The R.I. Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announced that the bay scallop harvest season will open at sunrise Saturday, Nov. 3, and continue until Saturday, Dec. 31 at sunset.

Rhode Island residents can take up to one bushel of scallops per day without a license, and commercial license holders can take up to three bushels per day/per boat from state waters. Non-license holders cannot offer scallops for sale. Harvesters are reminded that possession of seed scallops is prohibited. Legal scallops possess a defined, raised, annual growth ring. To protect scallops and bottom habitats from dredge damage, scallops can be harvested by dip-net only from a boat from Nov. 3 to 30. Dredging will be allowed after Nov. 30 to access remaining adult scallops residing in deeper waters.

Visit www.dem.ri.gov for additional information.

Boating safety class

The U.S. Coast Guard will hold a safe boating class from 1-4 p.m. on Oct. 27 and Nov. 3, 10 and 17. The $50 fee includes all materials. Participants will get both state and Coast Guard certification. Class size is limited to 30; sign up by calling Debbie Wood at Wood Boat & Motor, Inc., in Warwick at 401/739-4040.

Where’s the bite?

Freshwater fishing is expected to improve as DEM stocks select area ponds and rivers with trout for the fall season. Visit www.dem.ri.gov for details.

Striped bass fishing is picking up along southern coastal beaches and in the bay. Mary Dangelo of Maridee Bait and Canvass in Narragansett said, “Quite a few customers are catching striped bass in front of the Coast Guard House in Narragansett. I weighed a 24-pound fish Saturday.”

According to John Wunner of John’s Bait & Tackle in North Kingstown, “A customer caught two keepers in East Greenwich Cove last week using surface plugs.”

Angler Chris Jalbert fished Block Island last week during the evening. He reported on the RISAA blog, “Wind picked up at dark and made for bad drift until the tide turned. First bass was about 30 pounds and I thought it would be a great night (but after that) all the stripers were small by Block standards. Many were 28 to 32 inches.”

Green bonito and false albacore fishing continue to be excellent along the Rhode Island southern coastline. Mary Dangelo said, “The albies are all along the beaches but they are pretty elusive; not many shore anglers are catching them.”

Tautog — “Customers are catching tautog at Ohio Ledge and around Prudence Island,” said Patti Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle. According to John Wunner, “Customers are catching tautog at about a 10 to one ratio. One of my customers, a young man, caught a 4-pound, 2-ounce, and a 5-pound, 5-ounce tautog when fishing with his dad.” Angler Tom Peters of Warwick and his brother Allan limited out on keeper tautog at General Rock in North Kingstown this weekend.

Capt. Dave Monti has been fishing and shellfishing on Narragansett Bay for more than 40 years. He holds a captain’s master license and a charter fishing license. Your fishing photos in jpeg form, stories, comments and questions are welcome. Visit Capt. Dave’s No Fluke website at www.noflukefishing.com or e-mail him at dmontifish@verizon.net.

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