Jim Malachowski of Cranston with a monster bluefish (11 pounds) he caught off Block Island last weekend. Bluefish make for tasty table fare, see Captain Dave Novick’s smoked bluefish recipe in this week’s No Fluke column.
Last month there was good news for the scup and fluke (summer flounder) fishery. Regional fishery management council committees voted to recommend an increase in both fluke and scup quotas, which may translate to an enhanced recreational and commercial catch limits here in Rhode Island for the 2012 fishing season.
In a joint meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) and the Black Sea Bass, Scup and Summer Flounder Management Board of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) approval was given to recommend increases for the summer flounder quota (by 1.55 million pounds) and for the scup quota (by 21.43 million pounds) for the 2012 fishing season. Healthy stock assessments for both species led to the enhanced quota recommendations. In regard to summer flounder, the recreational fishery generally gets 40 percent of the total quota and the commercial fishery 60 percent.
When will we know for sure that quotas will increase? It is hoped that the MAFMC and the ASMFC will meet in December 2011 to approve recommendations, if they do; it is likely that some form of quota enhancement will be sent to state fishery managers for regulatory consideration ... minimum size, bag limit and season length enhancements.
Smoked bluefish recipe
Readers continue to request bluefish recipes. This one is from Captain Dave Novick of Sanctuary Ocean Adventures off the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) fishing blog.
· Make sure the fillets are boneless, leave the skin on - you can scale them if you wish - it prevents scales from getting on the flesh during brining.
· With the fillet skin side down, cut out the center dark strip by making a "V" shaped cut on either side of the lateral line down to but not thru the skin and pull out the dark meat and the few bones that hide there.
· Rinse and try to get all the scales off the meat side if you didn't scale.
· Lay out fillets on a tray or drop in a bag and coat with a mix of brown sugar and kosher salt 2:1.
· Let sit refrigerated for 2-24 hours (longer is saltier).
· Smoke to desired dryness, 2-10 hours depending on outside heat and smoker.
You can experiment with additions: hot pepper, old bay, curry, herbs, etc.
Where’s the bite
Striped bass fishing this week continued to be outstanding at Block Island. Erick Appolonia of North Kingstown, R.I. said, “I fished the southwest side of Block Island on Saturday with my son Alex and the striped bass bite was great. We caught bass up to the lower 40-pound range and we were back at the dock in Point Judith by noon.” Al Conti of Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown, R.I. reported on his website that the “South side and SW Ledge [of Block Island] is loaded with stripers. One boat landed 88 fish last night on live eels. Trolling wire is great during the day. North end has too many bluefish to get to the bass.” Striper fishing was slow on Narragansett Bay, Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick, RI said, “Customers are catching black sea bass and tautog but striper fishing in the Bay is slow.” Saturday I fished in the lower Bay trying to find the fish for a Sunday fishing trip. I fished Newport and Middletown around Codington Cove with eels along the jetty as well as with tube and worm. Caught a 40-inch striped bass, two school bass and with three blue fish. Sunday, I fished the same way, in the same places, at the same time with Bob Matano of Warwick and did not manage to land any striped bass. We saw Captain Jim White of White Ghost Charters, East Greenwich, Sunday morning on the water. He said, “This is the first time I have been out looking for bass in the Bay since the storm and there doesn’t seem to be much around.”
Bluefish bite in the Bay is spotty but with some nice fish being caught off Newport, Beavertail and the Narragansett areas. The bluefish bite around Block Island was good with striped bass anglers often finding it difficult to stay away from the blues.
Black sea bass fishing is strong off southern coastal shores, Narragansett, Jamestown and around Block Island with some nice fluke mixed in which is not always the case this time of year after a big storm. Francis Fleet party boats out of Galilee reported a strong black sea bass bite this weekend, “Black Sea Bass were the stars of the day [Sunday]; good-sized fish came aboard in droves throughout the day. Some anglers nearly managed their limit of sea bass. A nine-pound fluke took the pool, with quite a few other nice fluke to keep it company.”
Tuna fishing is starting to pick up with some of the first blue fin school tuna being jigged up this weekend at the Mud Hole with a lot of False Albacore being caught too, reports Al Conti from Snug Harbor Marina. Chris Jalbert reports on the RISAA blog, “Went to New Harbor [Block Island] for lunch and saw a small school of albies [False Albacore] up and down. Hooked one on my favorite yo-zuri jig and my son reeled it in ... the kids were impressed with its speed.” False Albacore is sought after as a sport fish due to its line stripping 40 miles per hour runs and hard fighting ability relates Wikipedia.
Tautog. Anglers just starting to turn their attention to tautog. Good reports of keeper fish being caught off Wickford with a slow bite reported from anglers fishing off the Coddington Cove jetty in Middletown.
Captain Dave Monti has been fishing and shell fishing on Narragansett Bay for over 40 years. He holds a captain’s master license and a charter fishing license. Your fishing photos in JPEG form, stories, comments and questions are welcome ... there’s more than one way to catch a fish. Visit Captain Dave’s No Fluke website at www.noflukefishing.com or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.