Cod fishing basics

Posted 7/22/21

Get a jump on the cod fishing season this fall and winter with some expert advice from anglers Bob Murray and Rich Hittinger at a Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) seminar Monday, July 26 at 7 p.m. Both Bob and Rich are RISAA board

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Cod fishing basics


Get a jump on the cod fishing season this fall and winter with some expert advice from anglers Bob Murray and Rich Hittinger at a Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) seminar Monday, July 26 at 7 p.m.

Both Bob and Rich are RISAA board members who have fished off Rhode Island for cod for many years. Atlantic cod has almost disappeared from George’s Bank, but there is a cod fishery close to shore. Cod fishing occurs at Cox Ledge, the East Fishing Grounds (about four miles east of Block Island) and Sharks Ledge (just about three miles south of the Block Island Wind Farm). Cod fishing occurs over the humps and bumps right in the Block Island Wind Farm area. And, in the past couple of years anglers have been delighted with the enhance cod bite right off Newport. So cod fishing is occurring in a lot of places close to shore.

Learn the basics on how to fish cod including tips on tackle, jigs, baits and how you can find the locations and bottom structure that can hold cod.

Rich Hittinger said to find cod, it is very useful to have a good fish finder. “Cod have a developed swim bladder and they show up well on a good fish finder. Many trips we have spent 30 minutes driving around the area until we see good piles of fish and when we stop right on them we hit them immediately.”

RISAA members attend free. Non-members are welcome with a $10 donation to the RISAA Scholarship Fund. Membership is $50/person/year. For information contact Steve Medeiros, president, at 401.826.2121 or

Where’s the bite?

The bluefin tuna bite remains strong with Mahi, bonito and mackerel

being caught too. Mike Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters said, “The bluefin tuna bite is outstanding. With the front that moved in last week we thought the fishing would get better or worse. It is definitely better. I was out fishing at the Block Island Wind Farm at the beginning of the week and saw bluefin tuna busting the surface all around turbine No. 5. The water in the area is warm, 70 degrees, so conditions are right. Many are catching small school tuna but there are some larger fish in the 110 pound range mixed in with them. These fish are spooling recreational anglers but some commercial fishers who are prepared for the large fish are landing them.” Dave Henault of Ocen State Tackle said, “Both chub mackerel and king mackerel are being caught as well as bonito.” Fish are being caught both east and west of Beavertail Point along the coastal shores. “One angler caught a king mackerel in the Bay. And, the tuna bite remains strong, particularly when the water is clear. Angler James Monti fished with his sons Jude and Rowan for bluefin. Rowan (eleven years old) said, “I only want to fish for bluefin tuna for the rest of my life.” Fishing hot shot angler Jeff Sullivan of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren said, “The bluefin tuna bite has been great. We hooked up at Cox Ledge last week boating a couple of nice fish.”   

Scup and black sea bass.

“Scup are being caught all the way up to Save the Bay which is unusual,” said Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle. Scup fishing along America Ledge and Great Ledge on the northwest side of Jamestown has been very good as well just about anywhere in the Bay where there is structure and water movement.

“Fluke fishing

seems a bit better at places like Fire Island with Block Island fluke fishing shutting down a bit. The fish are either in large, in the 25-inch range at Block Island, or they are all shorts. The fish closer to shore are in the 20-inch range and are more consistent,” said Mike Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters. “The fluke bite has been good along the coastal shore but you have to stick with it to catch them. Pt. Judith, Narragansett has been good, even the southwest side of Block Island with fish being ftound off Newport to the Sakonnet River,” said Jeff Sullivan of Lucky Bait & Tackle.

“Striped bass

fishing at Block Island is still very good with very large fish being caught there as well as off the reefs off Fishers Island and Watch Hill. Eels seem to be working for those fishing the reef areas,” said Mike Wade of Watch Hill. Jeff Sullivan of Lucky Bait & Tackle said, “Striped bass and bluefish fishing from Newport to the Sakonnet River has been outstanding. Anglers are hooking up with fish 20 to 40 pounds using eels or trolling with tub & worm or umbrella rigs from 9er’s Lures. And the Cape Cod Cannel has exploded with squid and mackerel bringing the big fish into the Canal.”


fishing has been active with shiner being the bait of choice for many.  Sullivan of Lucky Bait & Tackle, said, “Top water fishing for largemouth bass with frogs in lily pad areas is working for anglers as well as large swim baits for largemouth bass.  The best time of day is dawn or dusk when things are the coolest. Things are a bit hot now for trout fishing.”

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