Above, David Murphy of Seekonk holds up the striped bass that he caught with his 11-year-old son, David, at the mouth of the Sakonnet River while drifting an eel when fishing for black sea bass. Below, Bob Weir of Stoughton caught a 28-pound striped bass in the Cape Cod Canal this week.

Massachusetts is hosting its annual free saltwater fishing days this Father’s Day weekend.

No need for a saltwater fishing permit in state marine waters, out to three miles until the weekend is over. So grab your rod, gather up the family, and head to the shoreline for some great fishing action. For information on saltwater fishing, visit http://www.eregulations.com/massachusetts.

Striped bass bite good

“Some nice fish are moving into the Cape Cod Canal now,” Author and Canal fishing expert East End Eddie Doherty said. “Bob Weir of Stoughton, a certified Canal Rat, caught a 28-pounder Tuesday.”

“Customers are catching keeper bass, a lot of school bass, but not super-large fish,” Neil Hayes of Quaker Lane Bait & Tackle, North Kingstown said. “Even our commercial fishermen customers are catching fish in the 35- to 39-inch range and fewer large fish than in the past.”

How to catch striped bass this weekend

Based on conditions and what anglers have had success with this week, I will employ three strategies to help customers catch striped bass this weekend.

Trolling with tube and worm. I have had great success in the Bay using lead-core line weighted with two or three ounces between the line and an eight-foot monofilament leader. I find that bubblegum or red-colored tubes work best (the tube hook is tipped with clam worm). The idea of added weight is to get the line down to where the fish are. Tube and worm trolling has been a successful technique for the Southwest side of Block Island using 300 feet of wire line out in 35 to 45 feet of water, amber colored tubes seem to work best there. Trolling umbrella rigs was working on BI too.

Casting soft plastics, swimming lures and surface lures. Many anglers have had success with lures this week, even in the Providence River where striped bass are feeding on Atlantic menhaden, often times they are feeding close to the surface so lures are working. I love this technique of casting to the fish and there is nothing like seeing and feeling a striped bass of size hit you lure. My favorite swimming casting lure is a grey Yo Zuri Crystal Minnow.

Live lining or fresh chunked Atlantic menhaden. Snag the live bait with a weighted treble hook, hook the bait through the bridge of the nose, find a school of fish and put the live menhaden into the school of bait and let it swim. Used when menhaden are running strong, particularly up the Providence River in early spring. You can anchor (and chum); drift fish or fish the moving bait schools with chunks. Some anglers use a weight slide to get the bait down to the striped bass.

Where’s the bite?

Striped bass fishing continues to be good at Block Island, both at the North Rip and the Southwest Ledge, with fishing picking up on the Cape Cod Canal. In our bays, there are big fish under pogies (Atlantic menhaden) all the way up the Providence River to Pawtucket. Angler Mike Swain of Coventry said, “The bass season has been outstanding. We are finding that the best time to fish is at night. Most of the fish we catch at night are larger and do not fit the slot limit (28 to 35 inches). The upper Providence River all along the channel banks has been good as well as Ohio Ledge area and the channel banks to Poppasquash Point. You just have to put your time in and find the fish.” Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence, said, “Fishing has been good in the upper Bay with anglers hooking up casting metal and swimming lures, live lining and chucking with pogies. Anglers are catching fish at India Point, Bold Point, Sabin and Conimicut Point.” Angler David Murphy reports, “My son David (11 years old) caught a 44-inch striped bass off Sakonnet Point Tuesday evening. My guess is the fish weighed somewhere around 35 pounds, but we did not weigh her as we wanted to get her back in the water. We caught this beauty by drifting a live eel while we were bottom fishing for sea bass.” Angler Eric Travis of Riverside said, “Caught a 35-inch striped bass Northwest of Conimicut point in about 15 feet of water using a mullet swim shad. The fish was released due to the new regulations.”

Summer flounder (fluke) fishing is still not remarkable in the Bay. Large fish have not arrived in mass. Landry of Ray’s Bait said, “Anglers are catching short fluke with an occasional keeper mixed in.” We fished off the west side of Jamestown north of the bridge and managed only a few keepers this week, and Newport Harbor yielded just short fluke. Anglers are experiencing a strong black sea bass bite at the mouth in Buzzard’s Bay and at the Sakonnet River, however, the fluke fishing has been very slow. Angler Eric Duda said, “Tried Sakonnet Point and Elbow Ledge Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. hoping the fluke bite would improve. Nope. We only got six fluke, all shorts. A bunch of black sea bass around though, all keeper size pretty much and all returned to the ocean.” Fishing the south and southeast side of Block Island for fluke has been mixed. Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “There were a few high notes and a few lows but over all a very strong week of fishing. When we had the drift fluke fishing was great with many limit catches throughout the week. Last Wednesday’s drift was strong in the morning and then at noon it seems someone flipped a switch and the fish shut right down.”

Freshwater fishing remains very strong. The largemouth bass bite is good, however, anglers and bait shop owners are having difficulty getting shiners. “The freshwater bite is good with anglers still catching trout,” Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle said. “A customer caught a golden trout at Only Pond, Lincoln Woods this week.”

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. Forward fishing news and photos to Capt. Dave at dmontifish@verizon.net or visit www.noflukefishing.com and his blog at www.noflukefishing.blogspot.com.

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