No Fluke

Bluefish recipe from the chef’s chef


Steve Brustein is a trained chef who mangers a team of chefs and food service personal in assisted living facilities throughout New England. He submitted this recipe.

“This is a recipe I got from one of my chefs. He prepared it at work and it was great. Of course, fresh bluefish is key. And when we catch 'em, bleed 'em and prepare them ourselves, well... that's fresh!”

1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh chopped ginger

Marinate the bluefish fillets for anywhere from 1 hour to a day. Remove the fillets from the marinade and place in a greased baking dish. Bake the fish (375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with fork).

Black sea bass, summer flounder and red snapper likely be impacted first by new data

“I can’t understand… we’ve got 350,000 anglers in New York, not 900,000.” said the caller from New York when questioning black sea bass numbers during the July 13 webinar about the revised Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) estimates.

The estimates are used to develop recreational harvest limits. The new estimates for 1981 to 2017 were recalibrated as part of MRIP’s transition from the Coastal Household Telephone Survey to the new Fishing Effort Survey that is mailed. The mail survey (with a response rate three times higher) is a more accurate way to estimate saltwater recreational fishing trips form shore and private boat anglers.

However, the new estimates have created a bit of confusion and concern. Because recreational harvest limits utilize historical harvest estimates, data from 1981 to 2017 needed to be recalibrated using effort ratios from the new mailed survey.

Overall the new estimates are several times higher than past estimates. The study indicates that the increase in effort estimates are due because the mail survey does a better job of estimating activity. They are not higher because there is a sudden increase in fishing trips.

MRIP developed a calibration model to utilize new effort data obtained from the mail survey. A similar process to adjust historical catch rate estimates was produced by a new Access Point Angler Intercept Survey. The shore side survey, conducted by state partners, collects information on angler catch and was overhauled in 2012. Using the two calibration models, MRIP released revised estimates of total recreational catch on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts from 1981 to 2017.

MRIP officials on the call insured call participants that new recreational catch data would have to be integrated into new stock assessments. Then and only then will we be able to know the impact of the new data as an increase in catch and effort data may be due to an increase in stock abundance.

Species on the east coast and in the Gulf of Mexico that are undergoing stock assessments that will be the first to incorporate the new catch and effort data include red snapper, black sea bass and summer flounder. So if we are going to see changes due to harvest limits using new data it is likely going to be from these three species first in 2019 at the earliest.

The new MRIP data model provides the best available data; however, they are still estimates. I believe we need to record catch and effort from anglers electronically on everything they catch. This way we will know exactly what is being taken out to the water and not have it be an estimate.

Data collection for the recreational fishery has long been problematic. Recreational harvest limits are established in part by estimating catch then multiplying it by effort estimates. Commercial catch limits are established with hard data with fishermen reporting all fish they extract from the water.

Since 2006, NMFS has worked to improve the survey program. In 2016 NMFS requested the National Academies to conduct a second study to evaluate how well and to what extent NMFS has addressed recommendations. The 2017 National Academies Report recommendations are now being implemented.

Where’s the bite

Freshwater fishing in area ponds and lakes improved this week. John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside said, “Freshwater fishing picked up for our customs. Several of them found a good largemouth bass bite at Stafford Pond, Tiverton with some hooking up at Echo Lake, Pascoag.”

Cape Cod Canal fishing continues to be very good. Angler Ed Doherty of Mattapoisett said, “The Canal is on fire right now. I have caught several keepers, at least one per day; including fish weighing 31, 27 and 25 pounds on white savage gear sand eels and white tsunami heavy swim shads The biggest fish are in the west end right now.”

Striped bass and bluefish. The snapper bluefish bite has not been good, however, Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick said, “Customers are catching small bluefish trolling swimming lures (like Rebels) in the Bay.” John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle said, “Some small bass are still being caught in the Bay but most customers targeting large striped bass are fishing Block Island at night with eels.” Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown, said, “The bass bite has been off a bit at the south and southwest sides of Block Island but that is likely to improve later this week.”

Bonito. Elisa Cahill said, “Bonito have been surfacing here and there. So keep on the lookout.”

Summer flounder, black sea bass and scup. Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle Warwick said, “Customers are catching keeper fluke and black sea bass around the bridges and at Warwick Neck. The bite off Quonset Point, around Hope Island and Plum Island Light has been good for black sea bass too. The scup bite has been consistently good too.” Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “The largest fluke this week was 31” and 12 pounds. There were many other fish in the six to nine pound range. The largest sea bass of the week were around five pounds.” John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside said, “Fluke is being taken in some areas off Brenton Reef with a good black sea bass bite there. Fluke are being caught off Dutch Island and at Plum Light as well. In the upper Bay the scup bite with some sea bass are being caught near Lathan’s Marina, Hanes Park and Sabin Point.” Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina said, “The water at the windfarm was dirty with the fluke bite tapering off. The East Grounds has been producing fluke for anglers with some fish being caught at the Hooter Buoy. The black sea bass bite has been hot along the coastal shore.”

Offshore fishing. Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina said, “Reports of blue sharks being caught at the Mudhole with an occasional mako there. The bluefin bite at Cox Ledge has slowed but when the bite first started we weighed in a 300 pound bluefin caught by Tuna Wish. Most of our offshore angles are participating in the Tri-Sate Canyon Shootout tournament this week so we will have a better offshore report later this week (tournament ends Thursday).”

Dave Monti 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. Contact or forward fishing news and photos to Capt. Dave at or visit his website at

Dave Monti

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