No Fluke

Rhode Islanders dominate giant tuna tournament


If you are a woman, and think you want to learn how to fly fish, now is the time to give it a try at the Women’s Introductory Fly Fishing Clinic, Saturday, Sept. 23, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The clinic is being held at the South Kingstown Land Trust Barn, 17 Matunuck Beach Road, South Kingstown.

Susan Estabrook, clinic coordinator, said the clinic is sponsored by the Rhode Island Chapter of Trout Unlimited in collaboration with the South Kingstown Land Trust. Early registration is suggested, as the clinic class size is limited. The cost is $25 and includes lucnh.

To register, email and include “Women’s Clinic” in the subject line of the email.

The workshop will cover an overview of fly fishing rods, reels and lines; basic fly fishing knots and terminology; how to make a roll cast and when to use it; and how to make a pick up and lay down cast. Anglers will practice casting with certified fly fishing instructors on the grass at the Land Trust Barn.

Rhode Islanders finish 1, 2 and 3 in Boston Bluefin Classic

Nick Papa of South Kingstown, R.I., captain of the vessel Ruthless, took first place in the Boston Bluefin Classic tournament held Sept. 3 to 6.   

Nick and his crew boated the 788-pound giant bluefin off Scarborough Beach, Narraganset in 100 feet of water on Monday, using a bluefish filet as bait. Nick’s crew included Claire Hodson, who harpooned the fish; Anthony Pastore and Max Sherman on the reel; and Nick Papa at the helm.

Robbie Carter, Boston Bluefin Classic Tournament director, said, “This is the first year we had multiple weigh-in locations in each state, which was more convenient and enhanced participation.”

Congratulations also to team Mission Critical, captained by Brad Righi, also from Rhode Island, who took second place with a 783-pound bluefin.   And, to charter captain Rob Taylor. His boat, Reel EZ, from Newport, finished third place in the tournament with a 781-pound giant bluefin tuna.

Only seven pounds separated the top three finishers, and the fact that they were all from Rhode Island was remarkable.

Where’s the bite?

Striped bass, bluefish, false albacore and bonito: This week the bluefish were being caught throughout Narragansett Bay, with the hot spot being between Gould Island north of the Newport Bridge, to Hope Island and Prudence Island.  Angler Max O’Connell of Cranston said, “We caught about a dozen school striped bass and monster bluefish off the southern tip of Prudence Island trolling tube and work this Saturday,” when he picked up more worms Sunday at Ponaug Bait & Tackle, a new shop that opened in July at the old Ray’s Bait location at 287 Arnolds Neck, Road, Warwick.

Jay Marshall of Sam’s Bait, Middletown, said, “The bluefish and striped bass bite from the beaches off Middletown and Newport has been very good. Most anglers are using top water lures with success. And customers are catch false albacore off the Sakonnet River.”

East End Eddie Doherty, Cape Cod canal fishing expert and author, said, “Big blues, up to 12 pounds, and bass were keyed in on small bait, including peanut bunker, butterfish, whiting and squid in the Canal last week.”

Tom Olson of Ponaug Bait & Tackle, said, “The bluefish bite has been outstanding in Greenwich Bay and even Apponaug Cove in Warwick. Fish are hitting all types of swimming lures.”

“The false albacore bite has been good from outside of the Breachway down to Point Judith. Dozens of pods of mackerel, peanut bunker and rain bait. Epoxy and metal jigs rigged with a teaser seem to be producing bites. As well as Albie Snax and small swimbaits. Bonito are still being caught too,” said Declan O’Donnell of Breachway Bait & Tackle, Charlestown. “Striper fishing in the ponds and breachways has been producing a good number of fish up to around 40 inches. The breachways at night have been producing consistent fishing along the south shore. Bucktails and big swimming plugs have been working as well as live eels drifted with the current.”


“Tautog fishing is fairly slow in the Bay and rivers around dock piles, but fish are being caught off Newport,” said Jay Marshall of Sam’s Bait.

“Tautog fishing seems to be heating up a bit, with fish to around 7 pounds caught this week along local reefs, ” said Declan O’Donnell.

Black sea bass, scup and summer flounder

“Scup fishing is good throughout the Bay, with a fairly strong black sea bass bite in the lower Bay.  Not many fluke being caught in the Bay,” said Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence.

“Black sea bass fishing continues to be good, and there are tons of scup around. Both are gladly eating crabs while tautog fishing,” said Declan O’Donnell of Breachway Bait & Tackle.

Tuna and mahi fishing

“There are giants being caught off Narragansett.  Fish in the 700-pound range are common, with anglers who have never fished for bluefin or yellow fin school tuna buying gear and catching fish,” said Henault of Ocean State Tackle. “Offshore, the tuna bite south of Block Island continues to produce well for yellowfin and bluefin. Fish are being caught on the troll, jigging, and chunking. There have also been quite a few mahi around the high flyers and debris. More tuna have been seen off Charlestown and Green Hill, as well as giants being caught from Point Judith to Beavertail, Jamestown,” said Declan O’Donnell.


“Freshwater fishing for largemouth bass remains good in ponds ,with many anglers using shiners.  Ponds producing for customers include Olney Pond at Lincoln Woods and Stump Pond, Smithfield,” said Dave Henault.

Dave Monti holds a captain’s master license and charter fishing license. Forward fishing news and photos to or visit

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