Luck helps, but a lot of training and preparation to land a bluefin
David Appolonia of South Kingstown landed a 730-pound giant bluefin tuna last Thursday. He caught an 878-pound giant bluefin three years ago. Both fish were caught on his 26-foot Regulator center console boat. This is remarkable, as thousands of fishermen vie for this prized catch but few have ever taken even one home. And, very few giants have been caught in the Northeast this year.
The sport requires extreme dedication … preparing gear in winter months, putting in hours, days and months of time on the water fishing, the heartache of countless break-offs … and a personal focus that few have. Never mind the cost … bait runs $400 to $500 per trip and fuel costs can run into the thousands per season or per trip depending on the type of vessel you have.
Last winter, I had coffee with David at Brewed Awakenings in South County Commons. He said, “This year I am going for it … I have the boat, the vehicle to tow it if I have to [many anglers fish the Cape Cod waters] and I have my health.” Sport fishing for giants takes a lot of physical strength and stamina just to make it through the fishing day, which can be 20 hours or longer. Keep in mind that fighting a fish can take two to six hours to land.
So, hats off to David Appolonia and the team that caught this fish. Once again, David set his mind to it and caught a giant bluefin tuna.
Here are some specifics about the fish and the fight. In addition to David, there were two other crew team members on the boat, seasoned tuna fisherman Bill Catauro of Narragansett and Mario Fernandes of Exeter. Dave said, “The team takes credit for the fish as we switch off several times … at the helm and on the fish … The fish towed us for six miles, coming up and trying to circle the boat several times. We had everything we could do to keep the boat in position. Finally, after three hours, it came up and Bill Catauro was able to harpoon it. It carried the harpoon for another hour.” The fish was caught south of Block Island. It was a long fish measuring 115 inches.
Registration opens for Galilee fishing tournament
The town of Narragansett, the Department of Environmental Management and the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) announced that registration is open for anglers who want to participate in the Galilee “Fishing for a Cause” Tournament on Sept. 7, 8 and 9.
The entry fee is $15 for adults and $5 for juniors (14 and under). Proceeds from the tournament will be donated to Hasbro Children’s Hospital, Narragansett Parks and Recreation Financial Aid Program and the Johnnycake Center of Peacedale.
The tournament will include a boat and shore division. Species for adults include bluefish, fluke and striped bass with prizes such as fishing charters, fishing tackle, Sea Tow memberships, golfing and other certificates donated by local businesses. Fish species for juniors include bluefish, fluke, striped bass, black sea bass, scup and tautog with trophies for prizes.
Registration is available at: Breachway Bait & Tackle, Bucko’s Tackle Service, Cardinal Bait & Tackle, Erickson’s Bait & Tackle, Frances Fleet, Galilee Bait & Tackle, Narragansett Parks & Recreation, Narragansett Town Hall, Pete’s Bait & Tackle, Quaker Lane Bait & Tackle, Quonny Bait & Tackle, RIDEM Coastal Resources Office, Sam’s Bait & Tackle, Snug Harbor Marina, The Tackle Box, Watch Hill Outfitters and Zeek’s Creek Bait Shop.
The Galilee “Fishing for a Cause” Tournament and Seafood Festival aims to celebrate and promote Rhode Island’s recreational and commercial fishing industries. For more information about the tournament and festival, visit www.galileetourney.com or call RISAA at 826-2121.
Fishing regulations for 2013
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (Commission) and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) announced in a media statement the commercial quotas and recreational harvest limit recommendations for summer flounder, scup, black sea bass and bluefish for the 2013 fishing season. The Commission’s actions are final and apply to state waters (0-3 miles from shore). The Council will forward its recommendations to NOAA's Northeast Regional Administrator for final approval.
Summer flounder: The Commission approved and Council recommended a commercial quota of 11.44 million pounds and the recreational harvest limit of 7.63 million pounds for the 2013 fishing year, a decrease from 2012 levels due to the drop in the spawning stock biomass estimate.
Scup: The Commission approved and Council recommended a 2013 commercial quota of 23.53 million pounds and a recreational harvest limit of 7.55 million pounds, a decrease of 3.97 and 0.76 million pounds, respectively.
Black sea bass: The Commission approved and Council recommended a commercial quota of 1.78 million pounds and 1.85 million pounds for the recreational fishery, slightly higher than the 2012 quota.
Bluefish: The Commission approved and the Council recommended a commercial quota of 9.08 million pounds and 8.67 million pounds, respectively for 2013 and 2014.
For all four species, the approved and recommended actions are consistent with the recommendations of the Scientific and Statistical Committee regarding acceptable biological catch, which is the level of total removals that cannot be exceeded based on the best available scientific information.
For information about summer flounder, scup or black sea bass, contact Toni Kerns, acting ISFMP director, at firstname.lastname@example.org. For bluefish information, contact Mike Waine, FMP coordinator, at email@example.com.
Where’s the bite
Striped bass fishing in Narragansett Bay and off southern coastal shores is very slow, with some fish being caught at night, at sunset or at sunrise. Fishing at Block Island was good last week for Kevin Bettencourt, his father Albert and sons Shane and Nathan. Kevin said, “Shortly after arriving on the fishing grounds Nathan [10 years old] hooked into the largest bass of his life ... a beautiful 34-pounder, which beat his previous record by 3 pounds! His older brother Shane managed to land a 32-pounder before the day ended … We had a great time with a great captain [Billy Silvia of Can’t Imagine Charters], who knows how to load the boat!”
Tautog fishing is slow as not many anglers are targeting this species yet.
Scup fishing remains very good with large fish being taken in Narragansett Bay and off coaster shores. RISAA angler Ron Nalbandian said, “Trekked up to Neb Shoal and spent a couple of hours catching what had to be the largest scup I’ve ever seen. I swear, if I live-lined one of them, it would have kicked any striper’s butt that tried to nail it!”
Fluke (summer flounder) fishing continues to be hit or miss. Fishing the Newport area was mixed this week with some fish being caught under the Newport Bridge when wind and tide were in line. Angler Rick Sustello said, “I decided to check out the East Grounds for BSB ... It was dead calm with next to no drift. I started checking out the edges in 50 to 60 feet by throwing some jigs tipped with squid around. Not much happening, so I decided to power drift around to try to find where the fish were. Started picking up a few small BSB on the edges, then went over the top with nothing, then down the east side then BAM, four straight fluke from 20 to 24 inches in 55 to 60 feet.”
Cod fishing is good. Snug Harbor Marina reports, “SE Corner of Cox's good cod fishing. Snug Harbor Express had over 20 fish [last week with] clams and jigs…”
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 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; his blog at www.noflukefishing.blogspot.com, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.