No Fluke

Public hearing sets table for 2017 regulations

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The Department of Environmental Management’s (DEM) Marine Fisheries Division held a workshop and public hearing last week to review the stock status of a number of species and commercial fishing regulation options being proposed by the Department. The meeting gave attendees insight into the health and stock status of various species, which will set the table for 2017 commercial and recreational fishing regulations.

During the workshop meeting, fishermen were able to suggest additional regulation options for consideration. Those in attendance at the public hearing portion of the meeting were able to voice their support (or non-support) for the various options presented.

Licensing recommendations and exit/entry ratios for finfish, shellfish and crustaceans were developed and discussed with the stock status and health of the species in mind.

Meeting highlights on species discussed

A 30-percent quota decrease in summer flounder (fluke) has been recommended, as the species is being overfished (since 2014) with a recommendation to maintain effort at or below 2016 levels.

Scup are plentiful, however, a quota decrease of six-percent has been mandated, which should not impact the fishery greatly, with the summer effort limit to remain the same with some restriction during winter sub-periods.

Tautog overfishing is occurring, however, fishing morality rates have increased above the overfishing threshold, so fish managers are suggesting we maintain effort at or below 2016 levels.

A striped bass assessment update is being completed for review at the ASMFC October board meeting. Recommendations for 2017 are likely to maintain effort at or below 2016 levels.

A new black sea bass stock assessment should be complete for use in 2017. As of now, it is recommended that effort be maintained at or below 2016 levels

Bluefish quotas are expected to increase by 24-percent in 2017. A new Atlantic menhaden socioeconomic study is scheduled to be completed in 2017, in time for findings to be considered for a new amendment – amendment three – which is being developed; initially maintaining effort at or below current levels is recommended.

The Monkfish quota was not reached in 2016, so effort will likely increase above the current level in 2017.

Cod is overfished and overfishing is occurring, however, the Rhode Island quota was not reached in 2016, so fish managers may allow effort to increase above current levels.

Recommendation highlights from the Industry Advisory Committee (IAC) included a one-to-one eligible license ratio for finfish, which could result in 15 new license endorsement opportunities (more than we have had in recent years); and a proposal that would allow as many as 39 new quahog license endorsement opportunities.

For lobster, horseshoe crab and crustation regulation options, along with licensing recommendations, visit www.dem.ri.gov. You can also obtain copies of the workshop/public hearing presentations on this website.

Capt. Stachelek to present at United Fly Tyers

Capt. Ray Stachelek (www.castaflycharters.com) will present a program on the saltwater fall run in Southern Rhode Island at The United Fly Tyers of Rhode Island (www.UFTRI.org) Oct. 5, 6:30 p.m. meeting at the Knights of Columbus, 475 Sandy Lane, Warwick. He will also be one of the featured tyers at the meeting. Capt. Stachelek is a highly-recognized saltwater guide in Southern New England and operates Cast a Fly Charters. His articles and photography are frequently published in such national magazines as Saltwater Fly Fishing, Fly Fishing Saltwater and Fly Tier Magazine. For information, call Jeff Perry at 401-741-0598.

Where’s the bite

“Striped bass

fishing is hit or miss on Block Island (as the fish pass through migrating south). So it’s frustrating for many of our customers. We do have a ton of school-size bass in Salt Pond with some keepers mixed in. The best bite is in the channel. A customer caught a number of fish there last night,” said Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown. Doug Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters, Westerly, said, “Striped bass are everywhere along the coastal shore with many smaller fish in coves… the night bite with eels is very good at Block Island. I fished there three nights last week and each night we caught fish in the 40-pound range. We also have a good bass bite on the reefs.” Capt. Rick Bellavance, president of the R.I. Party & Charter Boat Association, said, “Striped bass fishing on Block Island aboard Rhode Island charter boat was amazing this past weekend. Many sizes of fish were caught with full boat limits common. The largest fish was nearly 50-pounds, so they were big.” John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside, said, “Small school-size bass in the 10- to 16-inch [range] have been in the upper portion of the Providence River in the Pomham Rocks Light area. One customer caught over 15 school bass in no time. The school bass bite is also good at Barrington Beach.” Fly fishing expert Ed Lombardo said, “Again, like last year at this time, the hickory shad and small bass are very abundant in the Narrow River. Lots of fun on a 7- or 8-weight fly rod. Outgoing or incoming tide works well…fish are very aggressive on either tide. Small all-white or all-hot pink streamers are working well. These streamers are a size No. 1 saltwater streamer hook. One of the keys to this river fishing is the fly line used. I like an intermediate sinking line that is one or even two weights larger than what the fly rod calls for. The shads are so aggressive that the stipend bass have a lesser chance in grabbing the fly.”

False albacore

are up and down the coast from Narragansett all the way to Westerly,” said Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor. Doug Wade of Watch Hill said, “We have a lot of albies in the water.” Bluefish

bite off Jamestown and Newport has been good. “We have some large bluefish around Watch Hill with large snapper blues in our rivers,” said Doug Wade.

Black sea bass, fluke and scup.

Capt. Rick Bellavance of Priority Too Charters said, “Black sea bass and scup fishing was nonstop around Block Island, although there are a lot more throwbacks than keepers in the typical spots. Moving away from the crowds can be a good bet.” “The black sea bass and remaining fluke bite is best south of the windmills at Block Island and around the Southwest Ledge (for sea bass),” said Elisa Cahill of Sun Harbor Marina. “Scup are biting in the upper and mid-Bay with a strong bite at Lavin’s Marina, the Barrington Bridge with needle fish, northern kingfish and Tommy cod all being caught from shore as well,” said John Littlefield on Archie’s Bait & Tackle.

Offshore fishing

slowed off Rhode Island this week. “The Mud Hole is not giving up many fish. Anglers are traveling to the Fish Tales to catch blue and yellowfin tuna and mahi mahi. The shark bite has been off too,” said Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina. However, fishing off Cape Cod for tuna is still very good. Angler Gil Barao and his son Travis fished the Stellwagen area this weekend. Gil said, “My son Travis and I took our boat (Sashimi) to Marshfield Mass on Saturday to fish Stellwagen Bank for tuna. After a 20-mile run, we jigged up some healthy mackerel on the South East corner and live-lined a couple of them. Within 30 minutes, we had a reel screaming and it was fish on. Five minutes later, we had a nice, fat 53-inch bluefin tuna in the boat. It was a great day with good weather and good results.”

Tautog

fishing is hit or miss. Many anglers are not targeting them yet. I fished in the North Kingstown area last Thursday and managed three nice keepers up to 22 inches. An hour after the tide had turned to outgoing, the bite picked up. “Customers are catching lots of shorts to catch a keeper or two, but anglers are going tautog fishing at River Ledge in Narragansett, off Scarborough Beach and in the Pt. Judith area,” said Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina. John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle said, “Customers that have targeting tautog in the local Rivers have not done well. They are catching all small fish with few keepers in the mix,” said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle. Charlie Prisco from Warwick and his wife Carole had no trouble reaching their tautog limit (six fish), working a rock pile south of Jamestown. Carole caught the largest fish… a 23-inch beauty.

“Cod fishing

has been very good on Cox’s Ledge, but anglers are fighting through the black sea bass to get to the cod,” said Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina. Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “There was solid cod fishing on all trips this past week. The majority of the fish taken were in the 7- to 15-pound range with a few smaller keepers mixed in and also some bigger fish with pool fish most days from the high teens to mid-20s. Just about every cod fish was taken on fresh shucked clams this past week.”

Freshwater fishing

has been good, particularly for largemouth bass. “Customers are catching largemouth in the two to three and a half-pound range. Most ponds are producing for fishermen,” said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle. Doug Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters said customers are doing well with largemouth bass. Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle said, “This arguably is the best freshwater season we have had in some time. The water did not warm as much as usual and this kept bait and fish active.” Visit www.dem.ri.gov for a complete list of ponds stocked with brown, brook and rainbow trout by the R.I. Department of Environmental Management. The department does a fall stocking as well as spring stocking.

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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