Vespe-striped-bass

Greg Vespe of Portsmouth, R.I. shows off the striped bass he caught at sunrise in the Fort Adams, Newport area. Vespe used a spook steeple white floating lure to hook the fish.

Take it from East End Eddie Doherty, a Cape Cod Canal fishing expert and author — the striped bass are hitting.

“The dropping east tide brought striped from Buzzards Bay into the Cape Cod Canal,” Doherty said. “Some nice fish were caught Monday, including several 30-pounders and a 48-pound monster. Wednesday morning, I caught a 31- and a 35-inch striped bass. I was using a five-ounce Hurley olive/white rat tail on the dropping tide.”

Owen May of Red Top Sporting Goods in Buzzards Bay agreed.

“A 30- and 40-pound fish were caught Thursday morning. Anglers are using jigs with the bite at the railroad bridge on the west end of the canal,” May said. “Fishing has been good this week.”

Greg Vespe, president of the Aquidneck Island Striper Team and RI Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) board member, said, “The bass are beginning to drop out of Narragansett Bay for the next couple of weeks, so I recommend targeting the points and outcroppings near the mouth of the bay, which was where I had success this week with striped bass.”

Greg has caught a number of striped bass this time of year at places like the Ft. Adams, Newport area and at points around the mouth of the Sakonnet River. “Bass are transitioning, so it’s hard to target them, as they are moving around a lot as they head out ... so that’s why I like the points in the lower bay both east and west passage and the Sakonnet River. All the points to me offer the bass a staging and feeding area to stop at as they pass through.”

The black sea bass season opened on June 24 in Rhode Island, and anglers are hooking up with them. Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box in Warwick said, “Large sea bass are being caught off Beavertail and south. I mean nice fish with large humps on their heads.”

The summer flounder (fluke) bite picked up Saturday, as the drift was not just good at Block Island and in the bay earlier in the week. Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina in South Kingstown said, “The fluke bite improved Saturday; Roger and Sue Lemma hooked up with their fluke limit quickly fishing off the Center Wall of the Harbor of Refuge, with fish in the 20 to-25 inch range.”

I fished with Erica O’Donnell, Bill Bradley and Ray Ludvigson in the West Passage and they picked up five nice keeper fluke to 24 inches, eight sea bass to 23 inches and 10 scup in three-and-a-half hours of fishing. Later this week, the same area yielded a 26-inch fluke for West Philadelphia, PA resident Michael Garmisa.

Here are some fluke fishing tips I like to remind myself of when planning a trip.

  • Wind and tide should be in line, as you want to drag (or drift) over the front of the fish, as they set up looking into the current; this way it sees your bait, drift over the back of the fish and it may never see your bait.
  • Fish low/high bottom breaks ... this means fishing channel breaks, edges of structure, etc. My largest fluke have been caught on edges.
  • Match the hatch tipping with squid, bluefish, bass, silversides, mummies, minnows. Oftentimes whatever we catch (or seems to be in the water where we are fishing), I will cut up and strip for the fluke rigs.
  • Trailer teasers work; my largest fish have been caught with the trailer stinger bucktails.
  • Find the fish, repeat pattern ... noting both location and depth.
  • Power drift (putting boat in and out of gear to go slow) for movement at slack tide.
  • Both jigs and traditional fluke rigs work.
  • Power drift perpendicular when wind and tide not ideal.
  • Personal favorite is big bait ... Capt. Monti’s fluke cocktail ... squid rig tipped with squid, fluke belly and horizontal minnow; believe that big baits catch big fish, you will catch fewer fish but they will be larger.

Where’s the bite?

Striped bass. Atlantic menhaden enhanced their appearance in the Providence River this week. Tom Giddings from the Tackle Box in Warwick said, “Anglers are now using pogies, as they can be found in the river, however, anglers fishing with eels at night are landing bass in the 30 inches to 45-inch range. And, the bluefish bite in the bay has been very good.” John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle in Riverside said, “We have had a few customers catching 36-inch and 38-inch fish in the Providence Rover using clam tongue and pogies. Commercial customers fishing Block Island at night are catching their limit of five fish using eels at night. But it has been a slow bite.” Elisa Cahill of Sung Harbor Marina in South Kingstown said, “Surf fishermen are catching smaller bass with keepers mixed in. And, some anglers fishing from the west and off the Center Walls of the Harbor of Refuge are catching bonito. Some are pretty-good size. The day bass bite at the North Rip and the Southwest Ledge is yielding smaller fish, with the night bite on eels yielding 40- to 50-pound fish.”

Summer flounder (fluke) fishing improved greatly once the wind and tide started to work together last Saturday. I found the bite in the West Passage very good with drift from the Bonnet Shores mooring field to Dutch Island. Elisa Cahill said, “A customer caught a 10.9 fish from the beach this weekend, and when the dogfish are not around the wind farm, and the east grounds are yielding fish.” Cahill reports cod at the East Grounds and Sharks Ledge as well. “Customers are catching fluke off Warwick Light and Warwick County Club as well as off Quonset Point,” said Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box. John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait said, “The fluke bite off Newport has not been good, however, this weekend the black sea bass bite was good, with anglers catching decent-size fish.”

Black sea bass/scup. Black sea bass fishing opened June 24 and the season has gotten off to a great start, with anglers catching their limit of three fish/person/day. Most are catching them when fluke fishing with squid. Littlefield of Archie’s said, “Scup fishing has improved 100-fold in the bay. Anglers are catching their limit at Sabin Point, Colt State Park and at the white church bridge in Barrington.”

Offshore. Hans Lugus of the fishing vessel Twister caught a 325-pound thresher shark Friday. Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marine said, “Shark fishing is on. Just in time for our Shark Tournament July 6 and 7.” Visit www.snugharbormarina.com for details.

Captain Dave Monti has been fishing and shell fishing for over 40 years. He 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 and a member of the RI Marine Fisheries Council. Contact or forward fishing news and photos to Capt. Dave at dmontifish@verizon.net or visit his website at www.noflukefishing.com.

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