The buzz at the Saltwater Fishing Show
The New England Saltwater Fishing Show last weekend at the Rhode Island Convention Center was a big hit with 445 booths, and 300 manufacturers, the most ever. It’s the largest show of its type in the Northeast.
Fishing policy and regulations were the talk of the show with ocean wind farm booths including Vineyard Wind (developer of the 84 turbine wind farm 13 miles off Martha’s Vineyard) and Anglers for Offshore Wind (AFOW). The group advocates for ocean wind farms as they believe clean, renewable energy is vitally important to help turn the tide on climate change. AFOW supports ocean wind as long as it is developed responsibly with fish and habitat research before, during and after construction as well as research that identifies any positive or negative cumulative impacts ocean wind farms may have.
My No Fluke Fishing Charters booth was located next to Vineyard Wind’s booth. They received a lot of positive comments from recreational anglers that wanted to make sure the wind farm was accommodating them with open access to fish right up to pylons as they create structure and habitat for mussel growth, small fish and larger fish.
Fishing regulations for black sea bass were top of mind for a lot of anglers at the show. Greg Vespe, noted local angler, fishing mate on Flippin Out Charters and RISAA board member said, “Black sea bass was the big angler concern at our booth. Anglers just cannot understand why the State of Rhode Island is once again proposing to start the season so late (June 24). These fish are caught in the bay by boat and shore anglers in early June and it is often the only time they get to target black sea bass. By delaying the season once again we are denying particularly shore anglers the benefit of this fishery as these fish move out of the area in July. Pushing the season back to accommodate a handful of charter and party boats so their fall season can be extended is just not right.”
2019 fishing regulations (for recreational and commercial fishing) will go before the Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council including proposed black sea bass regulations on April 1. Anglers are urged to attend. The meeting starts earlier than usual, 5:30 p.m. on Monday, April 1 at Corless Auditorium at the University of Rhode Island Bay Campus. Visit www.dem.ri.gov for meeting agenda and background information.
The Saltwater Edge, top lures. From the surf Tom Dzis of the Saltwater Edge, Middletown, said, “Super Strike lures were hot at the show. The Zig Zag Darter in the new Midnight Harvest color was a good seller. Their Needlefish lure in ‘Eely’ color was a great seller at the show too. Other top lures included the fairly new Ocean Born Lures.”
Ocean Born Lures by A Band of Anglers is a fairly new company from the world's top lure developer, Patrick Sebile. He is known in the fishing world for developing such productive lures as the Magic Swimmer and the Stick Shad.
The Saltwater Edge has a great online store that’s very easy to use and is loaded with product at www.saltwateredge.com or you can visit their retail store at 1037 Aquidneck Avenue, Middletown.
Flippin Out Fishing Charters and lures was at the show marketing their summer flounder (fluke) lures, charters business and demonstrating how to tautog fish using saltwater electric trolling motors (the Minn Kota Riptide line with spot lock). The new motor designs allow fresh or saltwater anglers to hover over their favorite fishing spots to hook up with hard to fish species like tautog. The motors are GPS based and is gaining a lot of traction with saltwater anglers and fishing guides.
Minn Kota electric motors with Spot-Lock are now being used even on larger mid-sized boats to help keep you over the fish. Their saltwater Riptide Ulterra model with i-Pilot features Spot-Lock, a GPS anchor. Just hit a button and lock onto any spot you chose automatically. For saltwater or freshwater anglers this means over structure, on a bank, next to a dock or jetty that is holding fish (saltwater bottom fish such as tautog, scup or black sea bass).
Many of the fluke fishing lures sold by Capt. BJ Silvia, owner of Flippin Out Charters and lures, feature a large plastic squid and large wide gap hook on a three way swivel. The rig has a sinker clip that makes changing out different sinker weights easy. These rigs have been some of my favorite fluke rigs for years and can be purchased at a number of bait & tackle shops in Rhode Island. Visit Flippin Out Charters and lures at www.flippinoutchartes.com.
Snug Harbor Marina in South Kingstown is a full serve bait & tackle shop. They had a large show presence this year as usual with a variety of rods, reels and tackle. Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor said, “Jigging rods and reels have been very popular at the show. Anglers are interested in learning and fishing this way to mix things up. All the popular rods have been selling well… Shimano, Lamiglass and a host of others. Anglers are jigging for striped bass, tuna and other species. By far… fluke rigs have been the bestselling rigs at the show.”
Snug Harbor Marina offers customers gas or diesel fuel and a complete selection of inshore and offshore bait and tackle along with marina supplies, seafood, groceries and a snack bar. Visit them on line at www.snugharbormarina.com or visit them on Point Judith Pond at 410 Gooseberry Road, South Kingstown.
Council Exploring Party/Charter Boat limited access program
The New England Fishery Management Council has scheduled eight listening sessions to solicit public comment. The listening sessions are on whether it should develop a limited access program for the recreational party/charter boat fishery under the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan, better known as the groundfish plan.
Seven in-person sessions will be held April 4 through May 9 from Maine to New Jersey, and a final webinar will be held on May 10 for anyone who could not attend an in-person session or who has additional comments to offer. The Webinar is being held Friday, May 10, 1 to 3 p.m.
Three Massachusetts listening session will be held in Chatham, May 7; Plymouth, May 8; and Gloucester, May 9. The one RI session will take place April 23, 6 p.m. at the University of Rhode Island Bay Campus, Corless Auditorium, Narragansett.
For information on the sessions including the type of input the Council is looking for visit www.nefmc.org or contact Dr. Jamie Cournane the Council’s groundfish plan coordinator at 978.465.0492, ext.103, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where’s the bite
Cod fishing. Party boats sailing for codfish at this time include the Frances Fleet at www.francesfleet.com, the Seven B’s (with Capt. Andy Dangelo at the helm) at www.sevenbs.com, and the Island Current at www.islandcurrent.com.
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 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 email@example.com or visit www.noflukefishing.com.