Fluke catches

A pair of anglers show off the fluke and black sea bass they caught at the Block Island Wind Farm. Registration is still open for the Block Island Inshore Fishing Tournament on July 24-25.

The big fishing stories this week are the explosive Cape Cod Canal striped bass bite and a continued strong bluefin tuna bite off Rhode Island.

“Since Wednesday the bass bite on the canal exploded with fish 45 inches being caught,” said Allen Newell of Red Top Sporting Goods, Buzzards Bay. “Both the striped bass and bluefish are chasing mackeral and squid so anglers using lures that mimic these forage fish are working best for anglers.”

“The canal has been on fire with breaking striped bass every day since July 8,” said East End Eddy Doherty, Cape Cod Canal fishing expert and author. “Hundreds of anglers catching multiple stripers in the 20-to 30-pound class. The rising east tide was very productive for Vito Marsico of Long Island. His fishing culminated last Sunday with a 45-pounder.”

The Rhode Island bluefin tuna bite continues just south of Block Island.

“We fished Tuna Ridge (south of Block Island) in the fog and put out three lines,” angler Lou Neumann said Wednesday. “Five minutes later, wham — a 35-inch bluefin tuna, followed by a 34-inch fish and then a 24-inch tuna we released. We put the first fish on ice and when we cut it open it was filled with about 20 squid.”

Multiple social media reports indicate a great bluefin bite off Rhode Island this week.

Fluke bite mixed, but some tips to enhance your catch

The summer flounder (fluke) bite has been mixed this season with some nice fish being caught off Block Island on the south side, and a monster fish weighing 15.24 pounds was caught off Newport by angler Greg Vespe.

Overall, however, the bite has been sluggish. Anglers catching fluke are working for them fishing edges to find the fish. I fished 10 different spots to find the fish on one outing. All of these spots were pre-selected based on wind and tide moving in the same direction and the fact that we would be fishing edges. By edges, we mean the base of a jetty or bridge pylon, the edge of a reef, an uphill or downhill slop underwater, etc.

So when fluke fishing is off, plan where you will fish first, second, third, etc. the night before based on recent wind forecast and tide and plan on fishing the edges. Summer flounder minimum size is 19 inches with a six fish/person/day bag limit.

I like to remind myself about these fluke fishing tips:

  • Wind and tide in line as you want to drag (or drift) over the front of the fish so it sees your bait, drift over the back of the fish and it may never see your bait.
  • Fish channel breaks, structure edges, etc. My largest fluke have been caught on edges.
  • Tip rigs with squid, bluefish, silversides, mummies, minnows, sea robins. Whatever bait is around we cut up and strip for the fluke rigs.
  • Trailer teasers work, my largest fish have been caught with the trailer stinger bucktail.
  • Find the fish, repeat pattern… noting both location and depth.
  • Both jigs and traditional fluke rigs work.
  • Fluke face into current to feed, drag bait over front of fluke from boat or shore.
  • Personal favorite is big bait… Capt. Monti’s fluke cocktail… squid rig tipped with squid, fluke belly and horizontal minnow, big baits catch big fish.

Register for Block Island Inshore Fishing Tournament

There’s still time to register for the Block Island Inshore Fishing Tournament which starts Saturday, July 24 and ends Sunday, July 25, at noon. An ‘After Party’ will be held at Capt. Nick’s Rock & Roll Bar on Block Island.

This is a length-only tournament with entries made electronically on a smartphone application. You never have to land on the Island to win. Winners will be posted online.

Awards include $10,000 in VISA card prizes, swag and tackle shop gift certificates. $500 for adult 1st place fluke, black sea bass, striped bass and bluefish with boat, shore, youth, team and photo divisions. Register at sandypointco.com/bi-inshore-tourney.

Where’s the bite?

Striped bass and bluefish: Brendon Roden of Breachway Bait & Tackle in Charlestown, said, “Striper fishing from the beach has been slow. However, it has been lights out for striped bass fishing at Block Island.” John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait and Tackle, Riverside said, “The striped bass fishing in the upper Bay has slowed with some fish being caught at Providence Point and Kettle Point.” “Striper fishing in the Conimicut Point, Rocky Point and Warwick Neck area has been very good. Anglers are catching slot fish (28 inches to less than 35 inches trolling tube & worm as well as live lining and fishing with chucks of Atlantic menhaden (poggies). And they are using eels at night with success.” said Mark Passarelli of the Tackle Box, Warwick.

“Fluke fishing at Block Island has been very good while fishing along the southern coastal shore has been slow. When you find them it is a steady pick of shorts with some keepers mixed in,” said Roden. Passarelli said, “Customers are catching fluke off the beach side of Conimicut Point with some doing well at Warwick Light.” Littlefield said, “The fluke bite has not been outstanding. One customer fishing the Newport bridge area with some pretty good drifts caught 17 short fish and no keepers on Sunday.”

Black sea bass fishing has improved a bit with fish being caught off Newport in the ocean and the Bay. Littlefield said, “Customers are starting to catch black sea bass all the way up to Sabin Point which was unheard of in past years.” Passarelli said, “The sea bass bite at Warwick Light has been good for customers.” “Large black sea bass are being caught along the coastal shore with very nice keepers being taken around Block Island,” said Roden.

“Scup fishing continues to get better with good sized fish being taken just about anywhere in the East Passage,” said Passarelli. Littlefield said, “The scup bite is hit or miss. Some days guys are catching 35 fish and others just five.”

Freshwater: “Anglers are still catching trout at stocked ponds with a decent largemouth bite on days that are not too hot.” said Passarelli. “Ponds producing for customers include Sandy and Gorton Pond in Warwick, Carbuncle Pond in Coventry; and Silver Spring in North Kingstown.”

Dave Monti holds a captain’s master license and charter fishing license. He serves on a variety of boards and commissions and has a consulting business focusing on clean oceans, habitat preservation, conservation, renewable energy, and fisheries related issues and clients. Forward fishing news and photos to dmontifish@verison.net or visit www.noflukefishing.com.

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