Holiday gifts for the angler
If you have a special someone on your holiday gift list that enjoys fishing, here are some gifts to consider. As a fisherman, I wouldn’t mind receiving any of these items as a holiday gift.
SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger. SPOT Gen3 keeps you connected even when you’re off the grid. Using the power of satellite technology, SPOT works virtually anywhere in the world. My wife gave me a SPOT a few years ago so she could track my location on Google Maps when on the water alone. Check in with your personal and professional networks and send custom messages. In an emergency, transmit an SOS with your location to GEOS International Emergency Response Coordination Center. Annual fee for SPOT’s Basic tracking service is $99.99 and the purchase price for the SPOT at West Marine and other stores is $149.95, a mail in rebate for 50 percent off is also available.
Great Grates shellfish cooking grates. Great Grates was invented by owner Tim Gilchrist of RI. They allow you to cook, serve and enjoy the tastiest, juiciest, clams, oysters, quahogs and mussels you've ever had plus you don't need to open them yourself. The original set ($37.90 with shipping) includes triangular rack that can hold sixteen shells, comes with hardwood serving tray and sauce cup. Visit www.greatgrates.com to see other available products or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘Seven miles after sundown’ by East End Eddie Doherty of Mattapoisett, MA. This new book about surfcasting for striped bass along the Cape Cod Canal is a colorful account of one man’s quest in the pursuit of striped bass along the rocky banks of the Cape Cod Canal. The book features photography by John Dobie. The paperback version is available on Amazon for $16.95.
Waterproof charts. I use these to plan my fishing trips the day before fishing to find structure for tautog fishing or to select spots for fluke fishing. The charts I have include Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island and Block Island Sound in a handy large spiral bound book with soft plastic case. These waterproof charts are great on the boat and cover fishing areas in complete detail, and pinpoint dozens of fishing areas and the fish caught in each area. Choose areas from Maine to the Bahamas, and points inland too. Available at West Marine stores or online at www.westmarine.com. Priced from $21.99.
Membership in the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA), $50. Purchase a gift membership for a family member or friend. The association is created by and for recreational saltwater anglers and the monthly seminars and education programs on fishing techniques and tactics are outstanding. Visit www.risaa.org.
General fishing or learn how to fish charters, $450 to $800 (depending on number of people, species targeted, boat size, duration of trip, etc.) Hire a charter to help teach adults or children how to fish or to take experienced anglers fishing. Visit www.rifishing.com, the Rhode Island Party & Charter Boat Association website for a list of boats and captains. Can also find party boat trips there for under $100 per person.
Rhode Island Boat Show Tickets with some cash for parking downtown. The new RI Boat Show, the only one in Providence this year, will take place at the Rhode Island Convention Center. Show hours are on Friday, January 4, noon to 7 p.m.; Saturday, January 5, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, January 6, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to the show is $5. On Sunday all women admitted free and children under 12 will be free throughout the show. Visit www.riboatshow.com for details.
Where’s the bite?
Tautog continues to be king. Angler John Iacobbo of Warwick said, “This has been the best tautog season I have experienced in a long time. I have been able to limit out with five fish each of the last four times I fished. And, the fish are large. Most of the fish have been caught in the lower bay around Newport.” Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick said, “Tautog fishing has been very good for customers. We expect good weather this week. We hope to get some fresh crabs in for the week. Customers are doing very well catching their limit at Codington Cove (Middletown) fishing alongside the jetty.” Matt Conti of Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown, said, “Customers are catching their limit of tautog off Newport at Brenton Reef, Land’s Ed with some anglers starting to move out to deeper water to Washington Ledge.” John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside, said “Tautog fishing has been very good for customer Albert Bettencourt and his family. They documented seventy nice keepers this season and about 180 undersized fish released. That’s a pretty good keeper ratio.” Neil Hayes of Quaker Lane Bait & Tackle, North Kingstown said, “We are selling crabs until the 2nd or 3rd week of December, customers that have been able to get out and fish are catching tautog. It has been tough either rough and windy weather or nice clear days and sub-freezing temperatures.”
Cod/black sea bass. Matt Conti of Snug Harbor Marina said, “Cod fish are starting to be caught at the East Grounds (three miles east of Block Island) and at Shark Ledge but things a spotty. Some days anglers are catching a half dozen keepers, returning the next day and catching one fish. The good news is that things are starting to improve. No reports of a solid cod bite at Cox Ledge yet, however, customers are catching some very large black sea bass there, the sea bass in other places have been small.” Cod fishing is starting to pick up. Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “Blackfishing has had its peaks and valleys with some dirty water which always effects the fishing for a few days. Our top fish last week was a solid eleven pound fish. We had three other fish around ten pounds as well.”
Weakfish and haddock. Odd to be reporting on these species but this week the Frances Fleet had some very interesting fishing news. Capt. Frank Blount said, “We did see something we have not seen in years this past week. We had a good showing of weakfish and haddock. The beginning of the week saw over a dozen weakfish boated. On Wednesday’s trip we caught ten haddock. This was something we were over the moon about, but Captain Rich had to outdo himself yet again and boated 80 on Saturday.”
Freshwater fishing remains fair with anglers catching small and large mouth bass as well as trout at area ponds that have been stocked by the state of Rhode Island and Massachusetts for the fall and holiday weekend. Neil Hayes of Quaker Lane Bait & Tackle, said, “We sold some shiners this past weekend but not a lot of anglers have been getting out. No reports of remarkable bass or trout being taken this week.”
Captain Dave Monti has been fishing and shellfishing for over 40 years. He 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 email@example.com or visit his website at www.noflukefishing.com.