Fluke tips from experts and where to find them
Fluke (or summer) flounder fishing is starting to improve along southern coastal shores off Rhode Island and in the lower part of Narragansett Bay around and south of the Jamestown and Newport Bridges.
This year and next year should be good fluke fishing years because according to Jamie McNamee of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management's Marine Fisheries Division 2009 was an outstanding year for new fluke. McNamee said, "The fast growers from this class (2009) of fluke will be growing to 18.5 inches this year and next." This means we should start to see more legal sized fluke.
Fluke is a species regulated by the Atlantic Marine Fisheries Commission and Rhode Island DEM. The minimum size limit is 18.5 inches and this year there has been a liberalization of recreational regulations… anglers are allowed to take eight fish/person/day compared to seven last year. The season runs from May 1 to December 31.
Fluke tips from the experts
Earlier this year I had the honor of interviewing some of the top fluke experts in the state. I asked them for fluke fishing tips we could pass along to readers. The experts included charter fishing guides and Captains Rick Bellavance, Jim White, John Rainone, Robb Roach, Charlie Donilon, Rich Hittinger, George Cioe; several excellent fluke anglers; and bait and tackle shop owners. Here's what they had to say.
Fluke fishing tips
• Drifting with wind and tide going in the same direction is the key to catching fluke
• Fluke set up looking into the current to feed which means you have to drag the bait over the fluke from boat or shore
• Fish low/high or high/low breaks on the bottom. Fluke like most other fish like structure. The largest fish are often on channel banks, drop offs, etc. So you want to fish these breaks.
• Match the hatch tipping with squid, blue fish, bass, silversides, mummies, minnows
• Jigs and trailer teasers 36" long placed a foot above the jig work well
• Once you find the fish, repeat the same pattern… note location and depth you are catching them at and repeat this pattern as the fish are likely in the same spot
• Power drift (putting the boat in and out of gear to move slowly) at slack tide
• Troll perpendicular when wind and tide not ideal, you will at least get your bait in front of some of the fish, some of the time
• My personal favorite is a big bait… Capt. Monti's fluke cocktail… a rubber squid rig tipped with squid, fluke belly and horizontal minnow
Favorite Places to catch fluke
Look for drop offs, structure, the banks of channels, and deep water particularly in the warm weather, in spring time they tend to be in lower depths. Favorite places to catch fluke include:
• channel breaks in and around Warwick Neck light
• channel breaks on the northeast side of the Jamestown bridge
• areas off the north west corner of Dutch Island
• underwater valley off the southeast side of Dutch Island
• areas off URI's Bay Campus
• Austin's Hollow (an underwater valley) off the west side of Jamestown
• Beavertail in deep water off the west side
• Off southern Rhode Island coastal beaches… Watch Hill, Charlestown, in front of the five cottages, etc.
• Off the center wall of the Harbor of Refuge
• Off Newport at any number of deep water brakes
• At the mouth of Hull and Mackerel Coves off Jamestown at the drop-offs
• Off Block Island… the North Rip, Cow Cove on the north end, along the State beach on the east side
The Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association's (RISAA) 15th Annual "Take-A-Kid Fishing Day" is Saturday, June 16, 2012 from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at Brewers Greenwich Bay Marina in Warwick on Masthead Drive. Children are treated to a morning of fishing on the Bay followed by a cookout. Last year over 250 children, 85 member boats and 300 volunteers participated. The purpose of the event is to give seven to thirteen year old children a chance to learn about Narragansett Bay, experience the thrill of catching a fish, and ride on a boat to start building a lifetime of fishing memories. For many children it is the first time they have ever been on a boat.
RISAA is looking for volunteers to help with logistics as well as RISAA members that have boats to offer. To volunteer or for more information contact Steve Medeiros at www.stevem@
Where's the bite
Fluke fishing has picked up with anglers catching keepers with a lot of shorts mixed in. John Littlefield of Archie's Bait & Tackle, East Providence said, "We had a customer catch five keepers off Second Beach, Newport last Wednesday." Matt Conti of Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown said, "Customers are catching keepers to eight pounds off Greenhill with a lot of shorts mixed in." Angler Bob Cavanagh reports catching three keepers and seven undersized fish off Matunuck in 35 feet of water. Ed Bisson fished the Jaemstown Bridge and Beavertail, Jamestown area and said, "Caught four keepers and about ten shorts in two hours."
Striped bass fishing remains good but sluggish for some anglers. John Wunner of John's Bait & Tackle, North Kingstown said, "Striped bass fishing is good with anglers catching them all of the Bay at Prudence Island, far up the Providence River, in Greenwich Bay, off Rose Island, Newport and outside of Allen's Harbor in North Kingstown." Matt Conti of Snug Harbor Marina said, "There are a lot of sand eels at Block Island but the fish are still fairly small in the 28" to 30" range." Several anglers fishing north of Conimicut Light to Providence I-195 bridge report catching large fish and others report slow action with just a few bites. Kayak angler Bob Oberg landed a 25 pound, 38" bass in seven feet of water in the upper part of the Providence River. As reported last week, ten year old Devon White, while fishing with his father, landed a 41.4 pound stipend bass. Ken Landry of Ray's Bait & Tackle, Warwick where the fish was weighed in said, "The bass hit when he was retrieving a menhaden he had just snagged. The fish was caught north of Conimicut Point early last week." Devon is the grandson of noted striped bass angler and author Captain Jim White of White Ghost Charters.
Scup. Ken Landry of Ray's Bait & Tackle said, "Customers are catching large scup both at Ohio Ledge and off the town dock in Jamestown." John Littlefield of Archie's Bait & Tackle said his customers are experiencing a good scup bite off Colt State Park, Bristol and at Ohio Ledge.
Captain Dave Monti has been fishing and shell fishing on Narragansett Bay for over 40 years. He holds a captain's master license, a charter fishing license, and is a member of the Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council. Your fishing photos in JPEG from, 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; his blog at www.noflukefishing.blogspot.com or e-mail him at dmontifish@verizon.