2019-07-27-tsc-spt-Higgins

Chris Higgins holds up the 46-pound striped bass he caught on Archangel Charters, fishing with eels in Narragansett Bay.

It’s almost August and time to think about bonito and false albacore.

Both of these species are hard to catch, but have thrilled local fishermen with their furious runs, stripping line from light tackle and giving anglers a memorable fight.

Bonito and false albacore are often mixed in with striped bass and bluefish. They can be caught from boat and shore with lures and even on the troll. They generally range in the two-foot range, weigh four to five pounds, but have been caught as large as 12 to 15 pounds.

Atlantic bonito are part of the same mackerel family (Scombridae) as tuna. Their meat has a darkish color and a firm texture, with a moderate fat content. The meat of young or small bonito can be of lighter color, close to that of skipjack tuna. They are often grilled or baked. However, false albacore are usually not eaten.

“Use as little hardware has possible,” said local bonito and false albacore expert Susan Lema. “We tie directly to a 25-pound fluorocarbon leader with a uni knot and no swivel. This keeps things simple with no hardware flashing in the water to spook the fish. These fish are ram feeders. They open their mouths and hit the bait at high speed so things are moving.”

Roger Lema, Susan’s husband, says to “fish the outgoing tide in front of rivers, coves and ponds as the water and bait have to be moving. When we go out, we have five rods ready to go. Some are prepared to cast silver lures like Deadly Dicks and Kastmaster lures. But we are also ready to troll (at four knots) with broken back lures, shallow-swimming and deep-swimming lures to use depending on where the fish are in the water column.”

“You have to anticipate where these speedsters will surface again and be there when they do,” Roger added. “So we like to fish the sides of the schools rather than getting out in front of them.”

Ed Parisi, a bonito and false albacore fishing expert from Tsunami Fishing Tackle, advises to lighten up.

“Bonito and false albacore are very sensitive to line and tackle in the water,” Parisi said. “These fish have large eyes, like most species form the tuna family and can see very well. They rely on their sight a lot when feeding so the more you have in the water in terms of line, leader thickness and swivels, the greater the chances are that these fish are going to see it and not bite. I use a 15-pound braid with a 10- to 15-pound fluorocarbon leader with direct tie-offs and no swivels.”

Orsted follows with another win from state of New York

Orsted, the Danish ocean wind farm developer that bought Rhode Island’s Deepwater Wind, was awarded an 880-megawatt contract for power from the State of New York last week.

The win follows one awarded last month for a 1,100 megawatt wind farm off the coast of Atlantic City.

New York also made an 816 megawatt contract award to Norway’s Equinor for its Empire Wind farm located off New York. The 1,700 megawatt contract awards made last week will provide enough energy to power 1-million homes in New York state.

Locally, Massachusetts and Rhode Island commercial and recreation fishermen continue to be concerned about the pace of wind farm development off their shores as the power for the Orsted New York award will come from the Revolution wind farm at Cox Ledge, a popular recreational fishing spot for cod fish as well as pelagic fish such as tuna and mahi mahi.

Due to the type of bottom at Cox Ledge, recreational anglers have long voiced their opinion about the importance of rod & reel studies in this area before, during and after construction.

“It may be too late to conduct proper fish and habitat studies before construction to see what is there because testing has already started that may be disruptive to conducting ‘before’ studies.” said Richard Hittinger, first vice president of the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association.

The Orsted New York award will likely translate to 80 additional turbines in the Cox Ledge wind farm lease area.

Where’s the bite?

Striped bass: According to John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle in Riverside, R.I., “A customer at Second Beach in Newport said the striped bass were thick one afternoon in waist-high water at the beach and another customer experienced school bass in just a couple of feet of water off the dock he was fishing in East Providence.” Dave Henault of Ocean State Fishing in Providence said, “Chris Higgins caught a 46-pound striped bass with eels fishing in the vay on ‘Archangel Charters’ with Capt. Mike of Littlefield. The bass seemed to have come into the bay a bit this week.” Capt. Rick Bellavance, president of the RI Party & Charter Boat Association, said, “Tuesday, we had a good mix of fish ranging from 27- to 45-inches with Polyjig parachute jigs the lure of choice. Earlier in the week, big blues were thick and available along the east side of Block Island.” Angler East End Eddie Doherty of Mattapoisett said, “There were a lot of nice striped bass caught (last Saturday) between the Railroad Bridge and the Bourne Bridge in the dark and at first light. Eighteen- to 25-pounders, and a few 30’s, succumbed to the temptation … of soft plastic jigs on the dropping west tide.”

Summer flounder (fluke), scup and black sea bass: Capt. Rick Bellavance said, “The large male black sea bass arrived and that fishery is excellent. Fluke is a pick but there are some keepers if you work at it and Wednesday Maridee II Charters landed a 12.6-pound, 31-inch fluke. Scup fishing is fantastic around Block Island.” Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle said, “Fishing for black sea bass has been very good. And, anglers fishing the Newport Bridge area find it is yielding fluke as skip jack blue fish seem to be infiltrating the bay. Even areas off Patience and Prudence Island where skip jacks have appeared are yielding fluke. And Goat Island and Colt State Park have been great for scup fishing.”

Freshwater: John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle said, “Turner Reservoir has been good for largemouth bass. We weighed in a 4.5-pound largemouth bass this weekend from an area pond.” Anglers are also finding fish in deeper, cooler water in area ponds and lakes.

Offshore fishing continues to improve with a good shark bite. Capt. Rick Bellavance said, “On Monday, we hooked up with five blue sharks and a mako which were all released and we played around with a hammerhead, but it did not take our hook.”

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. 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 dmontifish@verizon.net or visit www.noflukefishing.com.

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