It’s a great time to fish
I fished twelve locations earlier this week to prepare for four charters at the end of the week. The good news is that the fish are here and it is a great time to fish in our bays, along our coast and at Block Island.
Greenwich Bay was yielding bluefish casting or trolling silver or plastic swimming lures. Around Warwick Neck ground fish biting included black sea bass (can’t keep them until June 24 in RI), scup and yes summer flounder or fluke. Four fluke were caught drifting from the east side of Warwick Neck near the lighthouse through the passage down the west side of Patience Island. The fluke were all short (minimum size is 19”), however, the good news is that the large ones can’t be far behind. All fluke hit rubber rigs tipped with squid and silversides either drifting up or down channel banks.
The striped bass and bluefish were present in the East Passage too. Anglers are casting to them and trolling, with larger fish being taken with live and chunked Atlantic menhaden. Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick said, “Some commercial fishermen are catching large bass in the East Passage.” Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box, Warwick said, “Customers are spotting and catching some very large fish up the Providence River under schools of pogies, both striped bass and huge bluefish are being caught.”
Capt. Rick Bellavance of Priority Too Fishing Charters said, “Block Island is hot for striped bass fishing. Earlier this week we caught a ton of fish from 19” to 47” but it was hard to catch one that fit the legal slot size of 28” to < 35”.” Along the southern coastal shore large striped bass are harder to come by. Harrison Gatch of Watch Hill Outfitters, Westerly said, “Anglers are catching small bass off the Westerly reefs. The bluefish bite along the southern coastal shore from the beaches has been outstanding.”
The fluke fishing has been good (on and off) at Block Island with small fish being caught off the Sakonnet River, in the Bay and along the coastal shore. See ‘Where’s the bite?’ report below.
Saltwater Anglers move to online meetings
The Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) announced this week that it will be moving to online meetings for its monthly seminars. Steven Medeiros, president, said, “RISAA seminars average about 150 members and guests every month so the fifteen person COVID-19 phase II cap is not going to work for us. We now plan to hold online Zoom meetings and will have the capability to allow up to 500 members and guests to join.”
“We have two exciting seminars planned. This month on Monday, June 29, 7 p.m., Peter Jenkins, owner of the Saltwater Edge, Middletown and chairman of the board of the American Saltwater Guides Association, will speak about fishing the surf with a fly rod.” Jenkins said, “When the fish are picky, feeding in flow or on bait that is small, a fly rod might be the better tool rather than a surf rod. I’ll discuss those opportunities and cover the appropriate tactics and flies to catch stripers in these conditions.”
On Monday, July 27, 7 p.m., I will be the guest speaker on “How to Catch Bigger Fluke”, particularly as the summer flounder (fluke) season starts to wind down. Strategies and tactics for fishing summer flounder in bays and the ocean with maps and charts will be covered as well as rigs, jigs, baits and my favorite places to catch fluke.
Visit www.risaa.org for information on how to register for these webinars as they are developed.
Canal closes to commercial striped bass fishing
“Effective immediately, the Cape Cod Canal is closed to commercial striped bass fishing,” said the Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) of Massachusetts in a press advisory this week. The action was taken to address numerous and worsening public nuisance and safety problems arising from increased fishing activity along the Canal that are especially acute on open commercial striped bass fishing days.
Problems on the Canal include anglers conducting themselves in threatening and unruly manners, parking illegally on adjacent roads, trespassing over private property, and interfering with other recreational activities.
The new regulation states, “All striped bass retained from the Cape Cod Canal or possessed within 1,000 feet of the Canal’s shoreline must adhere to the recreational fishing limits of one fish of at least 28” total length but less than 35” total length.” An exception is made for the possession of striped bass 35” or greater legally caught elsewhere for commercial purposes and being actively transported through the 1,000-foot buffer area to a primary dealer.
Where’s the bite?
Striped bass and bluefish. Striper fishing at Block Island is hot. “We are catching nice fish at Block Island trolling wire frames that mimic sand eels,” said Capt. Rick Bellavance of Priority Too Charters. “There are sand eels and worms in the bellies of fish we are keeping. Some charter captains are having success using parachute jigs (which mimic squid).” Smaller school bass are still over most of the bay with large fish under pogies up the Providence River and in the mid-East Passage area.
Summer flounder (fluke) fishing. Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “We started out strong with a few dozen keepers and plenty of shorts to keep rods bent. We had around the same action all week long. Saturday did have the best action with keepers as well as size. We had 5 fish over 6 pounds and 2 fish around 8 to battle for pool honors.” Fishing around Block Island has been great some days and just so so other days. Anglers fishing the mouth of the Sakonnet River and the Elbow Ledge area report a fluke but most fish are undersized (less than 19”) and as noted above, small flounder are now being caught in the mid-bay area.
Scup and black sea bass bite are good all over. However, as noted we cannot take black sea bass until June 25 when the RI season opens at three fish/angler/day with a minimum size of 15”. Good size scup (to 14”) and black sea bass were caught in the Warwick Light area this weekend.
Freshwater fishing remains very strong. Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box said, “My business is 50/50 now half saltwater and half freshwater. Last year freshwater was about 30 percent. So the freshwater fishing continues to be good with anglers catching large Pike and Pickerel as well as largemouth and trout. Little Pond behind Warwick Vets, Warwick is yielding some nice pike with a lot of action from other area ponds too.” Harrison Gatch of Watch Hill said, “We continue to have anglers target trout in this area. All see to still be doing well.”
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.