No Fluke

Shallow Water Striper University


Shallow Water Striper University hosted by Captain Jim White promises to be a great one this year. It will be held Saturday, February 18 and Sunday, February 19 at the Sheraton Airport Motor Inn, Warwick, RI. This two day seminar series features top local and regional experts on how to find and catch striped bass and become a better angler.

Topics include the use of soft plastics, surf casting, boat fishing, live bait tactics, fly fishing, fly tying, plug building, kayak fishing and rigging. Featured speakers include Capt. Joe Pagano, Capt. Pat Rena (T-Man), Capt. Jack Springel, David Pickering, Armand Tetreault, Don Smith and Peter Vican (RI stipend bass record holder), Capt. Jerry Sparks, Gene Matteson, Ronald St. Denis,, Capt. Jim White and Capt. Dave Monti.

Register in advance for $49 for one day and $89 for both days. There will also be charter trip give-a-ways, raffles, prizes, and more. Contact Debbie Wood at Wood Boat & Motor, 401-739-4040 or visit .

Get your gear ready

You might say, “I just use this rig for school bass, the small ones, so the line is fine.” However, you can’t pick the time when a big fish hits. So make sure your gear is in good working order at the start of the season and throughout the year.

The experts suggest checking all reels, rods and line before the season starts and do regular maintenance throughout the season. Replace line, repair line guides on rods and perform reel maintenance twice a season if necessary, particularly on those rigs that get a lot of action.

So, to make sure I do not lose a big fish, I perform the following maintenance routine before the season starts. To paraphrase Vince Lombardi the great football coach who said football games are won in the summer when training is done… big fish are caught in the winter when proper maintenance is done.

Reel maintenance

George Poveromo, host of George Poveromo’s World of Saltwater Fishing said, “As a rule of thumb, a reel should be brought to an authorized reel center at least once a year.” And, with reels that get a lot of action, perhaps twice a year.

Give your reels a good cleaning, particularly when the line is off. Grease where directed by manufacturer, often times, the reel is marked where to do this. If instructions are long gone do not hesitate to stop by your local bait or tackle shop to ask where to grease. Do not grease the drag, it is not meant to be greased, if you do, it will not work. John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside, RI, said, “Anglers often forget to put oil on the line guide worm gear on bait caster reels as this is can go a long way allowing the gear to perform properly throughout its lifetime.” It costs about $10 to $15 to clean and grease your average spinning reel.

Check the RISAA website at for member bait and tackle shops that repair reels, many of them appear on the member discount landing page.


Each year, replace used line. This is a judgment call as to what is meant by “used”. The braid line I spooled on two rigs at the end of the season is still ok, however, I took line off at the beginning of the reel that was showing signs of wear. Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick said, “A lot of guys cross braid line when spooling onto conventional reels to prevent the line from digging into the spool when a big fish is on.” Ken also suggests re-spooling lead line putting the used portion on the reel first, “This way you use line that is new as most anglers rarely use more than three to four colors (90’ to 120’) of line.” Replace all the monofilament line on reels at the start of the seson. Monofilament line has memory so it tangles easily and creates bird nest tangles when it is old or has been sitting in the cold for a while. Also stretch the line, the first 100 feet (of monofilament line) to relax its memory and avoid tangles. When you change any type of line it is important to spool tight or the line may slip on the spool.


Examine the rods for cracks and stress marks. Closely examine the eyes for chips or cuts that could cause line to snag, rub or break. Do not place hooks on the eyes or they will eventually create cracks that will cut line as it passes through. Place all baits at the base of the reel as those hooked to an eye brace will bang on the rod and may cause microscopic cracks in the rod blank that could lead to a broken rod..


I get tackle ready in chronological order when certain species are fished… starting with tautog, striped bass, blue fish, fluke, sea bass, etc. I then go through tautog rigs first, then the striped bass, etc. Make sure you have enough rigs to fish the species. Hooks should be clean and sharp (no rust), and strong enough for the size fish you are going after. Often hooks that come with lures are not quality hooks so I replace them with stronger hooks.


Use wire leaders for blue fish and monofilament or fluorocarbon for striped bass, fluke, sea bass, etc. Blues won’t bite though the wire and other species will find it harder to see the monofilament or fluorocarbon leaders. As a rule I replace all used leaders at the beginning of the season. During the season make sure leaders have no nicks or stress marks from fish pulling. If they do, replace them. I switched most of my hooks to circle hooks, I did this so I can safely catch and release undersized or unwanted fish (particularly striped bass). Circle hooks are designed to hook the fish at the corner of the mouth and not down in the belly. All hooks should be sharp and rust free.

Recreational fisheries meetings

Wednesday, February 15 – RIMFC Menhaden Advisory Panel Meeting, 6:00 p.m., URI Bay Campus, Coastal Institute Hazard Room

Wednesday, February 22, Public Hearing. 6:00 p.m., URI Bay Campus, Corless Auditorium. Agenda to include proposed changes to the Management Plans for most species.

Where’s the bite

The unseasonably warm weather has fish performing in an odd way.

Striped bass are in the upper reaches of the Providence River more so than other years. Angler Tommy Pelto of Tiverton, RI said, “There were tons of pogies (Atlantic Menhaden) in the Providence River on Saturday. I snagged a bunch along with three stripers as well. Definitely great to get out there and get a line wet.” Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence said, “Brandon Hagopian and Donald Legault both caught striped bass… Another guy caught a keeper while they were there.”

School blue fin tuna have being crashing schools of herring in the lower part of the Bay off Narragansett and Jamestown. No reports of anglers catching them yet.

Cod fishing on both the Seven B’s ( and Francis Fleet (1.800.662.2824) vessels has been good. Anglers are taking three to five keepers home.

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 ; his blog at or e-mail him at


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