Get ready to cast for albies, striped bass and bluefish
Be prepared to cast to fish on the surface including false albacore (albies), striped bass and bluefish. For the past five weeks anglers have been having a blast fishing for these fish that can appear on the surface during just about any fishing trip from shore or boat. For two to three years we have had an outstanding fall false albacore run all the way up to the Hurricane Barrier in Providence. Last year five to six pound fish were caught there with Barrington Beach being a favorite spot for anglers to catch them too.
On any given day the bite could be further down the Bay, in Buzzards Bay, out in front of Newport, Narragansett and all the way down the coast to Watch Hill.
Jeff Ingber of Ocean State Tackle, Providence said, “Anglers are catching albies with epoxy jigs… popular types include Hogy and Gunslinger… they are working well for customers. Anglers are hooking up off Newport and Beavertail to Narragansett, Scarborough Beach and Pt. Judith.” Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick said, “Albies are running off Newport and Narraganset but in the Bay we have striped bass in the East Passage and schools of bluefish on the surface. Anglers are catching keeper striped bass in the Providence River.”
To catch these speedsters (particularly false albacore and bonito) you need to lighten-up your tackle. I generally have three rods prepared to fish. One with a Deadly Dick or Kastmaster silver lure, a second with a Hogy epoxy jig/lure and my favorite a Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow grey swimming lure.
My personal gear favorite for this type of site fishing is lightweight rods and reels as they provide a most challenging fight and you can target cast a mile. I have three St. Croix Mojo medium and heavy inshore spinning rods paired with Shimano Stella 4000 reels. The Shimano Stella reels are spooled with 20 pound braid and 15 pound fluorocarbon leaders usually direct tied to the lures.
Tips from an expert
Roger Lema (he and his wife Susan are false albacore/bonito hotshots) said, “Fish the outgoing tide in front of rivers, coves and ponds as the water and bait have to be moving. When we go out we have five rods ready to go. Some prepared to cast silver lures like Deadly Dicks and Kastmaster lures. But, we are also ready to troll (at four knots) with broken back lures, shallow swimming and deep swimming lures to use depending on where the fish are in the water column.” And, one last tip, “You have to anticipate where these speedsters will surface again and be there when they do. So we like to fish the sides of the schools rather than getting out in front of them,” said Roger.
So be ready to cast this year even if targeting other species as you never know when you’ll see a school on the surface.
Where’s the bite?
Striped bass and bluefish. Angler Jeff McNally of Tiverton said, “While I was out fishing on a charter with Capt. Mike Massa of Little Compton I caught a 49” striped bass, my largest ever, when trolling tube & worm at the mouth of the Sakonnet River.” Harris Gatch of Watch Hill Outfitters said, “Striped bass and bluefish are being caught from the beaches and jetties in South County. Slot limit fish (28” to less than 35”) are being caught along with fish larger than the slot limit. And, we still have some large fish being caught at Block Island.” “We had two large fish over the slot limit caught at Sabin Point this weekend. Where they’re also catching bluefish from shore.” said John Littlefield from Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside. Jeff Ingber of Ocean State Tackle said, “Bass fishing slowed a bit at Block Island and off Newport but anglers are still catching bass on the surface.”
“Tautog fishing is picking up. The fish are not here in high numbers yet but anglers are catching some nice fish.” said Gatch. Ferrara of Ray’s Bait said, “Keeper tautog (minimum size is 16 inches, three fish/person/day) are being caught at Codington Cove, Middletown with tautog and black sea bass being caught at Brenton Reef and Seal Rock.” Ingber of Ocean State said, “The tautog bite has been solid at the rock piles off Narragansett as well as off Beavertail and Newport.”
Scup fishing remains very strong in the Bay and along the coastal shore. Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle said, “Scup fishing has been very good at Sabin Point, Kettle Point and Colt State Park with northern king fish and Tommy cod being caught at Colt Park as well.” Ingber said, “Scup fishing is good at the Hurricane Barrier and at Sabin Point.”
Freshwater fishing is picking up as the water cools. Ingber said, “Anglers are targeting largemouth at Stump Pond, Carbuncle Pond with fall pickerel soon to be targeting….The freshwater bite is more active now as fish are leaving the deeper water and moving closer to shore where shore anglers can reach them.”
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, the American Saltwater Guides Association and the RI Marine Fisheries Council. Forward fishing news and photos to Capt. Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.noflukefishing.com and his blog at www.noflukefishing.blogspot.com.