Fishing offshore can be very exciting and challenging. Often, you travel long distances, sometimes in rough seas, fog and bad weather.
However, when a bluefin tuna hits your rig going 30 miles an hour, it all becomes very exciting. You also see things offshore that are remarkable such as porpoise, all types of whales and more exotic fish for this area like marlin, mahi and wahoo.
The big prize that many successfully sought this week, however, was bluefin tuna.
Last week, bluefin tuna fishing exploded off Rhode Island shores. The bluefin were not 100 miles out at the canyons, not 50 to 60 miles offshore at the Dump, nor were they at Cox Ledge, but rather right in the Block Island Wind Farm area,
“Customers were catching school bluefin tuna right in the wind farm area,” Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown said. “I bet there were over a hundred boats fishing there this weekend and they were hooking up. A 101 inch giant was also caught this weekend. So the bluefin bite is outstanding.”
With an enhanced bite, close to shore anglers who do not usually target bluefin got in the game. Social media channels were loaded with reports from anglers targeting bluefin for the first time having success.
Anglers Paul and Pauline Boutiette fished this weekend for bluefin for the second time in a week and had success fishing the Tuna Ridge area south of Block Island.
“The spreader bar sounded like a longbow that just released its arrow and sprang back straight up,” said Paul Boutiette. “Pauline instinctively wound in the empty rod so we wouldn’t tangle.
“Unlike last week’s maiden tuna voyage, the line kept paying out and going straight down, and the rod bowing as deep as it could go,” he added. “Dropping the two-speed reel into low gear worked, mostly. It felt like cranking a boat up onto a trailer. At times I could not even crank it, and the fish just kept taking line. The fish tired and we gaffed the fish. The curved fork length measured 40 inches and the bluefin weighed in at 42 pounds.”
Dariusz Kolodziejczak said, “We were about seven miles south of Block Island and wouldn’t have been there if not for the email from Dick Pastore and a blog post from Paul Boutiette. Absolutely awesome day with my brother, dad and friend. Each one of us got to land a bluefin tuna our first time out. Ridiculous!”
Matt Haczynski of the recreational fishing vessel “Fluke’it” reported that “we started out the morning at Cox Ledge with plenty of life, whales and dolphins, but no bite after a few hours of trolling. With so much radio chatter, we figured closer to Block Island would be better.
“A half hour later, we found the fleet of 100 or more boats in the Block Island Wind Farm area. We dropped our two spreader bars and one bird with daisy chain and within five minutes we hooked up on the bird. Our first-ever blue fin tuna! We repeated our troll area and hooked up four for four. We kept our two and safely released the others. Done by 12:30 p.m.”
Where’s the bite?
Striped bass and bluefish fishing: Reports have been good. Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence, said, “Large fish are still being taken in the upper Bay, all the way up to Pawtucket. The water is warm but the oxygen levels seem higher than usual. Stripers are usually gone from the Bay at this time of year but they are still here.” Cahill said, “The striped bass bite around Pt. Judith Light has been very good. The fish are there in 15 to 25 feet of water with anglers taking them from both shore and boats. The bluefish bite from the southern coastal beaches has been good too.” Angler Gil Bell of South County took a 30-inch, seven-plus pound bluefish from the beaches this weekend. Cape Cod Canal fishing expert and author East End Eddie Doherty said, “ The holiday weekend was slow with a few slot fish caught at the Herring Run and a school of bluefish made an appearance Monday morning in the east end. Tuesday morning’s east tide in the west end produced a 44 inch striper at pole 370. Joshua Thao of Wisconsin was fishing closer to the Railroad Bridge where he landed four stripers over 30 inches. The vacationing Wausau resident purchased his rod, reel and lures at Red Top Sporting Goods to set off for his very first day ever on the Canal. An Al Gags four ounce blue soft plastic jig was responsible for all of Joshua’s fish including a 39-inch fish.”
Summer flounder, black sea bass and scup: Summer flounder fishing was not robust this weekend. Anglers caught keeper fish but had to work for them. I had three charters this weekend and all caught keeper fluke to 25 inches with most parties going home with a nice mixed bag of fluke, scup and black sea bass. The fish were all caught off Newport, both in the Bay and out in front of Brenton Reef. Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor said, “Anglers are hooking up with fluke and black sea bass. Larger fluke are hard to come by but anglers are catching them at the East Grounds and off the southern coastal beaches in about 70 feet of water.
And the Frances Fleet party boats have been fishing for black sea bass and fluke around the Hooter Buoy with success.” Dave Henault from Ocean State Tackle, said, “Anglers ground-fishing are catching a mixed bag of fluke, black sea bass and scup. And don’t forget about sea robins as their tails filleted make for great table fare.”
Bluefin tuna and shark: Bluefin tuna fishing has been outstanding with anglers catching school tuna close to shore right in the Block Island Wind Farm. See above story. Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina said, “Big Game Fishing Charters caught a thresher shark with weekend and three young anglers caught a 101-inch giant bluefin tuna.”