Jim Stevens holds up a couple of cod he caught near the Block Island Wind Farm. Learn cod basics Monday night at a webinar.

Get a jump on the cod fishing season this fall and winter with some expert advice from anglers Bob Murray and Rich Hittinger at a Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association webinar Monday at 7 p.m.

Cod fishing occurs at Cox Ledge, the East Fishing Grounds (about four miles east of Block Island) and Sharks Ledge (just about three miles south of the Block Island Wind Farm). Cod fishing also occurs over the humps and bumps right in the Block Island Wind Farm area. And, in the past couple of years anglers have been delighted with the enhance cod bite right off Newport. So cod fishing is occurring in a lot of places close to shore.

Learn the basics on how to fish cod including tips on tackle, jigs, baits and how you can find the locations and bottom structure that can hold cod.

RISAA members attend free at https://risaa.org/calendar.html https://risaa.org/calendar.html. Non-members are welcome with a $10 donation to the RISAA Scholarship Fund. Membership is $50/person/year. For information, contact president Steve Medeiros at 401-826-2121 or steve@risaa.org.

DMF starts round two of CARES Act Fisheries relief

The U.S. Secretary of Commerce Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 provides an additional allocation of $255 million in fisheries assistance funding to support activities previously authorized under Sec. 12005 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES ACT).

The CARES Act is for states and territories with coastal and marine fishery participants who have been negatively affected by COVID-19. In this second round of COVID-19 fisheries relief funding, Massachusetts has been allocated approximately $23 million, the third-highest allocation in the country, behind Alaska and Washington.

The Division of Marine Fisheries has begun the process to distribute these funds intended to mitigate the financial impacts of those marine fisheries participants that have suffered greater than 35% loss of revenue due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Permit holders in seafood processing and wholesale dealers, commercial fishing, aquaculture, and for-hire fishing (head boats and charter boats) or Massachusetts residents who are permitted in another state may be considered for this program.

Striped bass studies aim to enhance fishery

The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries is conducting a study on striped bass release mortality that aims to supply fishery managers with good data so that they can implement rules that will maintain a robust and sustainable striped bass population. The study is using acoustic tags with accelerometers.

“A vast array of acoustic receivers all along the Northeast U.S. can detect the acoustic signal from a tagged bass and record not only it’s location but also deduce if the fish is dead or alive by detecting tailbeats recorded by the accelerometer,” said Assistant Director of DMF Michael Armstrong, PhD.

“Through these studies we hope to re-evaluate and validate (or change) the currently used 9% release mortality.”

Where’s the bite?

The bluefin tuna bite remains strong with Mahi, bonito and mackerel being caught too. Mike Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters said, “The bluefin tuna bite is outstanding. With the front that moved in last week we thought the fishing would get better or worse. It is definitely better. I was out fishing at the Block Island Wind Farm at the beginning of the week and saw bluefin tuna busting the surface all around turbine No. 5. The water in the area is warm, 70 degrees, so conditions are right. Many are catching small school tuna but there are some larger fish in the 110-pound range mixed in with them. These fish are spooling recreational anglers but some commercial fishers who are prepared for the large fish are landing them.” Dave Henault of Ocen State Tackle said, “Both chub mackerel and king mackerel are being caught as well as bonito. Angler James Monti fished with his sons Jude and Rowan for bluefin. Rowan (11 years old) said, “I only want to fish for bluefin tuna for the rest of my life.”

Scup and black sea bass: “Scup are being caught all the way up to Save the Bay which is unusual.” Henault said. Scup fishing along America Ledge and Great Ledge on the northwest side of Jamestown has been very good as well just about anywhere in the Bay where there is structure and water movement.

“Fluke fishing seems a bit better at places like Fire Island with Block Island fluke fishing shutting down a bit. The fish are either in large, in the 25-inch range at Block Island, or they are all shorts. The fish closer to shore are in the 20-inch range and are more consistent,” said Wade.

“The fluke bite has been good along the coastal shore but you have to stick with it to catch them. Pt. Judith, Narragansett has been good, even the southwest side of Block Island with fish being found off Newport to the Sakonnet River,” said Jeff Sullivan of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren.

“Striped bass fishing at Block Island is still very good with very large fish being caught there as well as off the reefs off Fishers Island and Watch Hill. Eels seem to be working for those fishing the reef areas,” Wade said. East End Eddie Doherty reports a strong bite on the Cape Cod Canal, “Bill Prodouz of Pocasset had a productive week on the Canal landing several stripers over 40 inches including a 28-pounder.” One of Doherty’s personal best fish this week was a 42-inch striper fooled by a mackerel-colored Jobo surface lure. Jeff Sullivan of Lucky Bait & Tackle said, “Striped bass and bluefish fishing from Newport to the Sakonnet River has been outstanding. Anglers are hooking up with fish 20 to 40 pounds using eels or trolling with tub & worm or umbrella rigs from 9er’s Lures. And the Cape Cod Cannel has exploded with squid and mackerel bringing the big fish into the Canal.”

Freshwater fishing has been active with shiner being the bait of choice for many.

Sullivan of Lucky Bait & Tackle, said, “Top water fishing for largemouth bass with frogs in lily pad areas is working for anglers as well as large swim baits for largemouth bass. The best time of day is dawn or dusk when things are the coolest. Things are a bit hot now for trout fishing.”

Dave Monti holds a captain’s master license and charter fishing license. He serves on a variety of boards and commissions and has a consulting business focusing on clean oceans, habitat preservation, conservation, renewable energy, and fisheries related issues and clients. Forward fishing news and photos to dmontifish@verison.net or visit www.noflukefishing.com.

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