No Fluke

Tautog, striper and largemouth bite explode

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This week tautog fishing turned on with many anglers catching their limit (16” minimum, three fish/person/day) with fish in the twenty inch rang being caught regularly. Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle said, “Fish as large as 28” are being caught off Narragansett. And the bay bite has been outstanding too.”

The spring striped bass fishing was very good too. The East Passage bite is stronger and the fish are larger than West Passage fish. Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box, Warwick said, “I caught fish in the mid-20 inch range from the shore at Rocky Point, Conimicut and the Pawtuxet shore area. I almost measured one of them but planned to release it anyway.”
The bite in Greenwich Cove and Chepiwanoxet Point was good this week. I caught the smallest school striped bass I have ever caught at the Godard Park Boat ramp Sunday morning in the rain, however, the fish were larger there, averaging 18” and larger last week and early this week.

If you plan to fish for striped bass now is the time to start. I have two bits of advice that have helped me over the years to catch striped bass. First, you can’t catch fish where there are no fish. So you have to put yourself in places where the fish are feeding. And second, you need to be ready with a number of strategies. Some days they are biting on soft plastic lures, other times shinny sliver lures like Kastmaster work well and as the season progresses live or chunks of Atlantic menhaden, other days trolling umbrella rigs or tube and worm works best.

To put yourself where the fish are, read fishing reports/blogs and talk to friends and bait & tackle shop owners to develop a fishing plan. Based on the research you’ve done, select five or six places to find the fish. Now that you have your fishing plan, be ready with a number of fishing strategies to land that striped bass.

The freshwater largemouth bite has been very good too this week. Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box, said, “We are at the being of the pre-spawn bite and largemouth bass are feeding. Last week things exploded in smaller ponds like Warwick Pond and in larger waterways like Stump Pond and Lake Tioque, Coventry the bite was very good.”

Striped bass in tough shape, fish mangers take action

The Striped Bass Board of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) announced Tuesday that they plan to reduce striped bass total removals (commercial and recreational harvest, including dead releases) by roughly 17 percent.
The 2018 Atlantic Striped Bass Benchmark Stock Assessment indicates the resource is overfished and experiencing overfishing relative to the updated reference points defined in the assessment. Female spawning stock biomass (SSB) was estimated at 151 million pounds, below the SSB threshold of 202 million pounds. Despite recent declines in SSB, the assessment indicated the stock is still significantly above the SSB levels observed during the moratorium in the mid-1980s
The Draft Addendum that aims to reduce harvest will explore a range of management options, including minimum size and slot size limits for the recreational fishery in the Chesapeake Bay and along the coast, as well as a coastwide circle hook requirement when fishing with bait. The committee drafting the addendum was also given the requirement of developing solutions with no fish over 40” being taken.

The Draft Addendum will be presented to the Board for its consideration and approval for public comment in August. If approved, it will be released for public comment, with the Board considering its final approval in October for implementation in 2020.

A more detailed description of the stock assessment results is available on the Commission’s website at http://www.asmfc.org.

Anglers advocate for conservation, enhanced data and climate change tools

Anglers, guides, charter captains and fishing industry leaders met in Washington, DC this week to push to maintain strong conservation measures in our national fishing law, the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA). Provisions such as Allowable Catch Limits (ACLs) and Accountability Measures (fish sectors making up the difference if they overfish) are MSA provisions that have helped rebuild over 40 fish stocks since the year 2000.

The group of anglers visited the offices of senators and congressmen advocating for enhance data (possibly through electronic recording) and providing fish mangers with enhanced climate change tools to manage species that have migrated as water has warmed.

Peter Jenkins, owner of the Saltwater Edge outfitters in Middletown, RI and board chairman of the American Saltwater Guides Association said, “Our aim to run sustainable businesses through conservation and keeping the conservation measures in our national fishing law strong.”

Fly Rodders Fishing Get-Together

The Rhody Fly Rodders will meet to fish at Colt State Park, Bristol on Friday, May 11, any time after the high tide at 2:00 p.m. to fish the out-going tide. For information contact Peter Nilsen, president, at pdfish@fullchannel.net.

Where’s the bite

Freshwater fishing has been good, but like the saltwater, bad weather has deterred many anglers from fishing. Trout bite in ponds and lakes that have been stocked remains strong. John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside, said, “DEM has stocked Willet Avenue Pond, Riverside a second time. Customers are pulling 2.5 pound trout from the pond, many are using PowerBait to hook these newly stocked fish.”

Striped bass fishing has been very good and getting better every day. Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence, said, “Fish in the 25” range have been caught in the Province River but there is no indication that these are migrating fish. Squid fishing has been hit or miss but overall petty good at Goat Island, Newport as well as Ft. Wetherill and Getty, Jamestown. We have also had pogies in the East Passage around Ohio Ledge with birds feeding but no indication that bass are under them.” “Fish have been in the 18’ to 24” range in the East Passage.” said Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box. Cape Cod Canal angler East End Eddie Doherty said, “I caught a 25 inch striper this morning on the West End at 5:15 a.m. (first light) on a five ounce Bill Hurley tan swim bait just as the current turned east and the tide started to rise.” Gil Bell, shore fishing expert said, “Mackerel has been caught from the beaches and boats this week from Narraganset to Charlestown and there is Bunker now in the Pawcatuck River, Westerly. I am casting big lures for large striped bass now trying not to catch school bass.”

Tautog fishing has been very good. John Littlefield from Archie’s Bait & Tackle said, “Customers are catching fish at the Stone Bridge, Tiverton and off the Barrington bike path bridge. Conimicut Light has been good for customers too.” Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box said, “I weighed in three fish for RISAA anglers this weekend in the 22” to 23” range. The bite at Rocky Point has been good with anglers catching keepers. Capt. BJ Silvia of Flippin Out Charters, Middletown, said, “We had no problem limiting out on fish on any of our tautog charters this week. We released most all of the larger female fish so they can continue to spawn.”

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. Follow Capt. Dave on twitter @CaptDaveMonti. He’ll be tweeting about ‘Where’s the bite’, fishing regulations, national fishing policy, and issues that impact the fish. Forward fishing news and photos to Capt. Dave at dmontifish@verizon.net or visit www.noflukefishing.com.



Dave Monti

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.