Pictured, Governor Lincoln Chafee signs a body surf board for Angelo Budano of Cranston. He also signed three fisheries bills into law at Salty Brine State Beach in Narragansett.
Last week Governor Lincoln D. Chafee held a bill signing ceremony in Galilee at Salty Brine State Beach. Governor Chafee, Salty Brine and striped bass - you can’t get much more Rhode Island than this.
Hats off to the governor for jumping right on ocean and fisheries issues when coming into office. The three bills signed, all relating to fisheries, were in the works as he ran for office. The bills passed and, without skipping a beat, he signed them last week.
The bills include the creation of the Rhode Island Seafood Marketing Collaborative of 2011 that aims to support local fishermen and small businesses, encouraging locally produced and harvested seafood; a bill that enhances penalties for illegally taking or possessing striped bass to deter poaching of this prized game fish; and the third bill authorizing unlicensed rod and reel fishermen serving as crew to assist licensed commercial rod and reel fishermen in harvest operations (this corrected an inequity, as for years unlicensed crew have been able to assist licensed commercial draggers but not rod and reel fishermen).
Congratulations to members of the General Assembly that led the charge on these bills, including Senator Susan Sosnowski (D-South Kingstown and New Shoreham), chairwoman of the Senate Fisheries Taskforce; Representative Teresa Tanzi (D-Narragansett and South Kingstown), who created the Port of Galilee Task Force through a House resolution; and to Janet Coit, director of the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) for not missing a beat either (she became director just eight months ago and marshaled her staff and department’s efforts to support the three bills).
Senator Sosnowski said that our goal should be to put “Rhode Island harvested seafood on every Rhode Islander’s plate.” She said, “This is very important to all of us; it is a great feeling [to have the bills signed].” Director Coit thanked the governor, members of the General Assembly and made it a special point to thank Steven Medeiros, president of the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association; Rick Bellavance, president of the Rhode Island Party and Charter Boat Association; and all fishermen that testified to help get the bills passed.
Other members of the General Assembly leading the way as chief sponsors of the three bills include Rep. Peter Martin, Rep. Peter Palumbo, Sen. Michael McCaffrey and Sen. James Sheehan.
Governor, thanks for signing the bills so quickly. They will go a long way to promote the fishing in Rhode Island, to protect our treasured striped bass, to allow rod and reel fishermen the help they need to harvest, and to explore ways to help fishermen get the catch to market, quickly selling fish caught here in Rhode Island to Rhode Islanders.
I did ask Governor Chafee about his personal fishing experiences. As a child growing up in the Potowomut section of Warwick, he said, “We fished right in the neighborhood ... but I haven’t had a chance to fish recreationally recently.” I’m sure a lot of recreational anglers feel the same way I do Governor Chafee; we will just have to get you out on the water soon.
Fisheries managers may limit menhaden catch
In August, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which sets policy for species that migrate along the East Coast, proposed a revision to its menhaden management plan that could reduce menhaden catches. ASMFC has opened the plan for public comment. Rhode Island’s DEM Division of Fish and Wildlife will hold a public comment hearing on Atlantic Menhaden draft amendment on Oct. 5 at the URI Bay Campus, Corless Auditorium, in Narragansett. Call Jamie McNamee at DEM for information.
Where’s the bite
Black sea bass fishing is good. Fish are being caught off Beavertail, Narragansett and most places where anglers are targeting tautog. I caught several keepers while tautog fishing at Coddington cove this past Saturday.
Tautog fishing is heating up in Narragansett Bay and along coastal shores. Rich and Gisele Golembeski had a great fishing day Saturday. Gisele relates on the RISAA blog, “Hit several rock piles just off Beavertail and Whale Rock. Several nice size Black Sea Bass and one nice Tog caught just south of Beavertail. Moved over to a nice little rock pile just west of Whale Rock and caught this nice 7.10-ounce beauty. All fish caught in about 60 to 70 feet of water using crabs cut in half. Total was four keeper Togs and four keeper Black Sea Bass – all nice sizes.”
Striped bass fishing is good. Big fish in the 30s and 40s still being caught off Block Island on a regular basis. Steve McKenna, noted R.I. shore angler and writer, said, “It has been pretty good this year compared to the last two. I am at 232 fish. This is good compared to the last couple of years [but nothing like it used to be when he would catch 500 fish a year].” I asked Steve his bait of choice this fall season and he said, “I have caught about 120 bass with the Sebile Magic Swimmer. It has three sections and has worked when no other lure was working.” They are available at CMS Enterprise tackle shop in New Bedford, Mass. Steve said he and other shore anglers are very optimistic about the fall season. He said, “I plan to hit it hard for the next seven weeks or so.” Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle in Warwick said, “Customers are catching keeper bass in the lower Bay, eels at the northern tip of Gould Island and tube and worm on the southern end.” Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle in Providence said, “The Providence and Seekonk Rivers are active with bass. Customers are catching them on clam worms and porgies, which are now plentiful in the Bay.” John Wunner of Johns Bait & Tackle in North Kingstown said, “Fishing is great. So far it has been a great September run. Menhaden are all over the Bay and customers are catching bluefish and striped bass in Greenwich Bay following menhaden schools.”
Blue fishing for big blues is very good this fall. John Wunner said, “I have customers targeting blue fish because they love to catch and eat them. They are catching monster blues with eels in and around the Jamestown Bridge and Quonset areas.”
Whiting, or King Fish as they call them in the South, are now in Narragansett Bay. John Wunner of John’s Bait & Tackle said, “This is a delicious eating fish that is light and white. They are now making their presence known in the Bay. They are a bottom fish in the cod family and customers are catching them when bottom fishing for scup, fluke and black sea bass.”
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 email@example.com.