Summer flounder arrived early this year.
They arrived in the West Passage of Narragansett Bay on shelves and ledges three weeks ago where charter customers caught fluke to 22 inches. And this week, the summer flounder bite was on in a big way at Warwick Light in Warwick.
How good was the fluke fishing? Fishing an incoming tide with a south wind inline and very turbid conditions this weekend, three anglers managed 11 fluke in two hours, eight nice keepers to 28 inches. We fished the flat between the red bell and Patience Island, down the slope, across the 60-foot channel and up the other side to 30 feet as we drifted at 1 to 1.2 knots toward Rocky Point. The summer flounder were there this weekend, but as often happens in Narragansett Bay, as the water warms, the fish we like to catch and eat leave the bay.
Angler Peter Johnson of Connecticut said, “This is the largest fluke I ever caught. I have been waiting for this a long time. I caught the nine-pound, 28-inch fluke using 15-pound braid line … a white four-ounce buck tail jig with white feathers did the trick. The idea is to keep it light.”
Anglers using more conventional bait rigs caught fish too, but fewer in number. Some of the time the fluke jigs were tipped with squid or Gulp, however no teasers were used, as anglers had difficulty with them tangling in the turbid water, and weeds were a constant challenge.
The fishing was on and off at Block Island this week, where dogfish often penetrated deeper water in prime fluke territory. However, angler Rich Hittinger of Warwick did manage a personal best, an 11.16-pound, 30-inch fluke. Hittinger said, “We moved to 50 feet of water to avoid some of the dogfish. The fish hit a trailer hook with a green squid skirt. I had a 10-ounce sinker holding bottom. She fought from the bottom to the top, taking drag several time.”
On the Cape Cod Canal, the striped bass bite improved with larger and larger fish being caught every day. The bait seem to be there and the striped bass followed. Expert canal fisherman and author East End Eddie Doherty of Mattapoisett said, “Breaking fish in the dark starting at 3 a.m. (Tuesday) on the canal. I caught a 31-pounder on the bottom with a five-ounce white Hurley Canal Killer at first light. The fish hit during the west dropping tide and measured out to be 45 inches.”
Angler input sought on wind farm fishing
Ørsted, a leader in offshore wind, has developed an online survey for ocean users on the United States’ East Coast. The survey aims to identify angler attitudes toward offshore wind, who fishes, and what they fish for in the wind farm areas. The survey takes five minutes and ends with an option to be updated on a regular basis about wind farm activity and news.
Ørsted projects includes the Block Island Wind Farm, South Fork Wind, Revolution Wind and Sunrise Wind off the coast of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, as well as Ocean Wind off the coast of southern New Jersey and the Skipjack Wind Farm off the coast of Maryland and Delaware.
Where’s the bite?
Striped bass and bluefish fishing continues to be good. Jeff Sullivan of Lucky Bait & Tackle in Warren said, “The big bass are in at Mt. Hope Bay and the West Passage of Narragansett Bay. Guys are live lining Atlantic menhaden and the bass are blowing up on them on the surface. And guys are catching monster blues trolling tube and worm.” Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box in Warwick said, “Customers are catching 30-inch fish in Warwick coves at night using lures, top water lures in particular are working well. And those fishing with pogies have switched off at times and had success with clam tongue.” Harrison Gatch of Watch Hill Outfitters in Westerly said, “Seems like we are right in the middle of the big fish, they are catching them on either side of us, but for the most part they are not here yet. We expect that to break loose any day now.”
Summer flounder (fluke) bite continues to improve. Harrison Gatch of Watch Hill Outfitters said, “If you can pick through a lot of shorts, there are keepers, and once you find them the bite is good. As the water warms, the fluke fishing will get better.” Giddings from the Tackle Box said, “We have gotten a few reports of big fluke in our coves foraging for food at night, with anglers seeing them from their docks.” We caught eight keepers to 28 inches and nine pounds this weekend at Warwick Light (see above story). Also fished the Newport and Jamestown Bridge areas and caught fluke in all places, but they were all shorts. The Block Island bite for summer flounder was good this week too. It is getting a bit more consistent.
Black sea bass season opened this week this past week. The limit is three fish/person/day in Rhode Island. The season in Massachusetts has been open for some time now. Anglers have been reporting a great black sea bass bite in Buzzards Bay, with big fish in both RI and MA.
Scup fishing has been good. “Customers are having success using clam necks, as the bait is a bit harder for them to steal. We fished the Tidewater Drive in the Warwick area this week in my neighborhood with success, fishing for scup from the beaches,” said Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box.
Freshwater fishing. “Poppers, spinner baits and swim baits are all working for large-mouth bass, and when appropriate, frogs are working too.” said Jeff Sullivan of Lucky Bait. Giddings of the Tackle Box said, “Little Pond behind Vets High School in Warwick has been good. The pike have always been good there but this year the large-mouth bass bite has been outstanding.” Gatch from Watch Hill Outfitters said, “Trout fishing is over, with many freshwater anglers switching over to saltwater fishing.”