No Fluke

Favorite ways to catch striped bass

Captain Dave Monti
Posted 6/12/15

We have a lot of Atlantic menhaden in Narragansett and Mt. Hope Bays and all along the southern coastal shore in ponds, rivers and sanctuaries.  Mike Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters, Westerly, …

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No Fluke

Favorite ways to catch striped bass

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We have a lot of Atlantic menhaden in Narragansett and Mt. Hope Bays and all along the southern coastal shore in ponds, rivers and sanctuaries.  Mike Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters, Westerly, said, "We have a lot of bass in areas where there's Atlantic menhaden… the Pawcatuck River, Little Narrgansett Bay and nearby Long Island Sound."

So now is the time to try to catch some striped bass because they have arrived in force following the schools of Atlantic menhaden (pogies).  Here are my ten favorite ways to catch striped bass:

10. Trolling with umbrella rigs.  I like to use this technique trolling in deeper parts of Narragansett Bay, off Newport or Block Island with a variety of squid, shad, worm or eel umbrella rigs.  Hook two fish at the same time and you will experience a great fight.

9. Casting soft plastics, various bait types and weights to fish different depths. Many anglers love this technique and use it successfully in the spring.  Make sure the plastic baits are scented if they are not add some scent.

8. Buck tail jigs with pork rind squid strips.  Have had success with this method to get under schools of blue fish and to the striped bass on the bottom.

7. Live eels.  Used by shore and boat anglers, some fishing guides use this as their primary method to catch killer stripers.  Hook the eel through the mouth and out one eye.  Going between the eyes usually kills the bait.  I use circle hooks because bass (small and keeper size) tend to swallow the bait whole and often get hooked low.  Circle hooks generally slide out of the fish and hook it on the corner of their mouth on the way out allowing you to release the fish you are not keeping… and release them alive and well.

6. Live menhaden.  Snag the live bait with a weighted treble hook or net them. Hook the bait through the bridge of the nose, find a pod of fish and put the live menhaden into the pod of bait and let it swim. Used when menhaden are running strong, particularly up the Providence River in early spring.

5. Chunking fresh or frozen menhaden.  You can anchor (and chum); drift fish or fish the moving bait pods with chunks.  Some anglers use a weight slide to get the bait down to the striped bass.

4. Surface plugs.  Have caught hundreds of school bass in the spring using surface plugs of all types.  

3. Swimming lures.  Great way to catch fish in coves, on rivers, etc.  My favorite is a grey Yozuri Crystal Minnow.

2. Parachute squid jigs.  Often used in ocean water (or where there are squid). Anglers successfully use this method off Newport, Narragansett and Block Island.

1. Trolling with tube and worm.  I have had great success in the Bay using lead line weighted with two or three ounces of lead between the line and a five foot fluorocarbon leader.  I find that bubblegum or red colored tubes work best (the tube hook is tipped with clam worm).   The idea of added weight is to get the line down to where the fish are. Tube and worm trolling has been a successful technique for the Southwest side of Block Island using 300 ft. of wire line out in 35 to 45 feet of water, amber colored tubes seem to work best there.

Where's the bite

Striped bass.  John Littlefield of Archie's Bait & Tackle, Riverside said, "The bass are getting larger.  Albert Bettencourt of Riverside weighed in a 33 pound striped bass for the Striper Maine Tournament which took second place.  His grandson took second place too in the youth division with a 24 pound striped bass.  The largest fish we heard of from shore at Sabin Point last week was a 38" bass.  They even landed bass from shore at Colt State Park. One customer said there were 40 boats Sunday far up the Providence River."  Angler Jason Ancgil of Coventry fished with Mike Swain Sunday and they landed bass to 17 pounds using live menhaden in the East Passage.  Mike said, "There were about 20 or 30 boats in the area, we moved a bit to say out of all the congestion."  Manny Macedo of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren said, "We weighed in a 42.4 pound striped bass lass week.  The fish are getting large with the smaller fish being caught on umbrella rigs and the large ones with live pogies. Last week we also heard of fish caught off Poppasquash Point and Colt State Park, Bristol." Mike Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters, Westerly said, "Anglers are catching the bass with bunker. We have so much of it around."

Summer flounder (fluke) fishing has been improving along the southern coastal shore.  We weighed in a seven pound, eight ounce fish caught by Braeden Biller right off Misquamicut Beach over the weekend." said Mike Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters.  Frank Travis of Wakefield landed a 24" fluke when fishing on the west side of Block Island in 55 to 70 feet of water.  "Fishing at the mouth of the Sakonnet, and in the Newport Bridge/Ft. Adams area was good last week." said Manny Macedo of Lucky Bait.  Littlefield from Archie's Bait said, "Hot places for fluke include the Sakonnet and Newport areas but also we had reports of fish being taken at Warwick Light as well.  Capt. Frank Blount, owner of the Frances Fleet, said, "Much improved fluke fishing this week with better numbers along with some real nice quality slabs hitting the deck of the Gail Frances (party boat) Wednesday through Saturday. On both Thursday and Saturday's outing nearly one third of the keepers were in the jumbo category (4 lbs or better). Biggest fish of the week was the fine 8 lb. slab."

Atlantic menhaden (pogies) commonly used for striped bass bait have been spotted in large numbers  in Narragansett Bay, Mt. Hope Bay and in south county area in rivers, coves, salt ponds and sanctuaries.

Scup are just making their presence known with reports of anglers starting to land scup in several areas , not in large numbers yet but few anglers are targeting them at this time.

Offshore fishing is just starting.  Chris Young of North Kingstown said, "We fished the Dump and several other places Sunday and found fish but we could not get them to rise.  About three miles south of Block Island we came across a large school of school bluefin tuna but just could not hook-up."

"Fresh water trout fishing has slowed; hopes are that DEM restocking will reinvigorate things later this spring.  However, the pickerel bite was very strong this week at the Kickemuit Reservoir and some nice carp have been caught in the Blackstone River." said Manny Macedo of Lucky Bait.  "The bass bite has been good at Echo Lake, Barrington along with a decent catfish bite." said John Littlefield of Archie's Bait. 

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. Visit Captain Dave's No Fluke website at www.noflukefishing.com or e-mail him with your fishing news and photos at dmontifish@verizon.net.

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