Thought it might be fun to relate five of my favorite fishing stories of 2013. Here they are… Happy New Year!
1. Giant tautog caught in September
It was a chilly fall morning requiring jackets. The sun rose and things started to warm up in the lower part of the West Passage of Narragansett Bay. Anglers Scott Kiefer of Exeter, RI and his fishing partner Angelo Manni anchored and sent their chum pot down.
"We started to land fish right away. The tide was ripping. Conditions were right." said Scott Kiefer. Then Scott got a huge hit on the green crab he was using for bait. "This fish didn't go down heading for structure like most tautog. It ran, very much like a striped bass. It went behind the boat. Under the boat and when I finally brought it up Angelo looked it in the eye and it ran again." said Kiefer. It took Scott with Angelo's help on the net about six minutes to land the tautog.
The fish was sixteen (16) pounds, and about 30" long. This is a huge tautog. A ten pound fish is considered a prize and a fish of a lifetime for many. The Rhode Island record for tautog is 21 pounds, 4 ounces, established in 1954. Ken Landry of Ray's Bait & Tackle, Warwick weighed the fish in and said, "I couldn't take my eyes off this big one."
2. Cobia, a warm water fish, caught at Jamestown Bridge
At the end of July Mason Sherman, a URI engineering student from North Kingstown, RI, caught a 32 pound, 46 inch cobia when he was bottom fishing for fluke (summer flounder) just south of the Jamestown Bridge. Mason said, "I was using very light tackle... 20 lb test monofilament line and a plastic squid rig tipped with a fresh piece of squid. Every time I would get the fish close to the boat it would dive. I mean dive deep below the boat… it took about 25 minutes to land the fish."
This was one of several cobia caught off costal shores or in our bays this summer. Cobia (a warm water fish) migrates along the Atlantic coast on a seasonal basis. In spring, they move from southern Florida, to the Carolinas as water temperatures rise. So it is somewhat usual to see so many being caught locally this summer.
3. Windmills off Block Island
Deepwater Wind made good progress toward building a five turbine wind farm pilot project off the south side of Block Island. The project will set the table for a much large two hundred plus turbine wind farm tentatively planned for the Cox's Ledge area between Block Island and Martha's Vineyard. The final schedule for the Block Island project depends on receipt of permits, financing, procurement and completion of engineering. Pending approvals activities could begin in late 2014 with contracting, mobilization and verification. If this start window is missed it would be pushed to the same time period in 2015. Actual pile driving for jacket foundations would be either in the months of May to July or August to October.
Overall I am impressed by Deepwater Winds commitment to the fishing community. It is not easy but they are trying to get it right.
4. Squeteague bite came back
All summer long we had a pretty good squeteague (weakfish) bite. Often referred to as saltwater trout, squeteague are a great eating fish. The bite was so good this year that anglers began to target them specifically with good results. Squeteague were commonly caught off Warwick Neck Light and all around Bay islands. Charlie Prisco of Warwick (with his daughter Amanda and wife Carole) caught four squeteague in September. The largest was 26". Charlie said "We were using large pieces of squid between Hope and Gould Island in the East Passage of Narragansett Bay when we caught the squeteague."
5. Great summer flounder bite, the best in years in Greenwich Bay
The summer flounder (fluke) bite was good this year on the east and west sides of Jamestown, under the bridges, in front of Newport, off Block Island, and along southern coastal shores. The surprising news was that the summer flounder fishing was good in the early part of the summer in Greenwich Bay. The fluke bite was hot off the east side of Jamestown at Hull Cove in July for Jacob, Chris and Alexa Beaulieu of Warwick. In July they landed four or five summer flounder each in a mater 90 minutes in 55 feet of water. You have to keep moving to find fluke and they did. Young Jacob said, "This is the best fishing trip we have ever been on."
Learn how to vertical jig for bass & blues at Monday's seminar
Learn how to vertical jig for striped bass and blue fish at the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) seminar Monday, December 30, 7:00 p.m. at the West Valley Inn, West Warwick. Speaker Capt. Mel True of Fishnet Charters will relate what you need to know to get into jigging... tips and techniques that will work off Block Island, Narragansett, Newport or Watch Hill. His presentation will talk about rods, reels, use of electronics and tackle that produces results. Capt. True said "Using this method resulted in me landing many 30-pound fish… with my largest being 44-pounds just last season." Seminar preceded by dinner from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. with RISAA's annual business meeting following the seminar. Non-members welcome with a $10 donation to Scholarship Fund, no charge for RISAA members.
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. Contact or forward fishing news and photos to Capt. Dave at dmontifish@