Fishing tournament for visually impaired set for June 26

By Captain Dave Monti
Posted 6/8/16

The R.I. Lions Sight Foundation (RILSF) will be hosting its 9th Annual Fishing Tournament for Visually Impaired Persons (VIPs) on June 26 aboard the Frances Fleet party boat in Galilee, R.I. The half-day tournament is free to the VIPs and their guides

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Fishing tournament for visually impaired set for June 26


The R.I. Lions Sight Foundation (RILSF) will be hosting its 9th Annual Fishing Tournament for Visually Impaired Persons (VIPs) on June 26 aboard the Frances Fleet party boat in Galilee, R.I.

The half-day tournament is free to the VIPs and their guides and includes gifts, breakfast and a half day of fishing from 8 a.m. to noon. The fishing tournament will be followed by lunch and an awards ceremony at Hanks’ Down South restaurant. The three top winners will be eligible to represent Rhode Island at the Lions National VIP Fishing Tournament held on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

There are over 2,500 visually impaired persons in Rhode Island, so organizers are urging readers to pass along information about this opportunity. For information and registration forms, visit or call Ken Barthelemy at 401-529-6173.


Mike thinks like a fish

What time do you fish? Where are you fishing this week? Are you leaving the dock at 5 or 6 a.m.? These are the questions Mike Swain of Coventry hears often as angler acquaintances try to figure out what he is doing right to catch such large striped bass, summer flounder and other species.

Mike works at Electric Boat, Quonset Point, but fishing is his passion. It is in his genes. His Dad fished commercially and recreationally for years and he learned a lot from him.

To catch fish consistently in Narragansett Bay and along coastal shores, you have to learn from your experiences, the patterns fish have followed over the years and start to think like a fish. Mike Swain has done this.

On a morning walk this week, I was going up a hill and saw a rubber ball rolling down the hill in the gutter. To catch this ball Mike would have been at the bottom of the hill where the ball would come to rest and he would pick it up. Thinking like a fish is much the same way, except there are many more variables. It is usually about the forage fish stripers eat. The type of food striped bass eat and the variables that bring them to a particular spot include spawning seasons of forage fish, water temperature and depth, current and tide, time of day and learning from past fishing experiences. Mike computes all of this to think like a fish and shows up waiting for them with the type of bait or food they are eating.

He relies on his past experiences and then puts in the time to catch fish. “We fished all day for two fish,” said Mike as we talked about striped bass fishing in the upper Bay a couple of weeks ago. The fish caught were in the high 20-pound range, which for some are lifetime trophy fish and/or their personal best.

Mike and his fishing partner Jay Anctil (also of Coventry) have caught dozens of striped bass, many in the 15-, 20- and 30-pound range this season, with one of his largest being caught last week topping 36 pounds. These are large fish for the Bay and he has caught fish like this year after year.

Two years ago I had the privilege of fishing with Mike. We fished on his boat his way…with the freshest bait possible, moving from place to place fishing where the bass have appeared in the past… trying to think like a fish and being patient waiting for them to bite.

Atlantic menhaden, either live lining them or fishing with cut-up chunks, is his bait of choice this time of year for striped bass. This Saturday, Mike called me while on the water, “Hey Dave, I am fishing just north of you (in the East passage) and can’t revive a fish. He came to the boat and we chatted. He and his fishing partner had caught two fish in the 25- to 30-pound range.

Mike has a nose for bass, a nose for fish in general. Once the bass fishing slows in the upper Bay, he moves to the mid and lower Bay, fishing favorite spots around Prudence Island, Hope Island and Jamestown. He then puts his summer flounder (fluke) game face on and finds them wherever they are including Warwick, North Kingstown, Jamestown, Newport, Narragansett and more.

“You just have to put the time in,” said Mike. And yes, think like a fish to find and catch striped bass and other fish consistently.

Where’s the bite

Striped bass

fishing remained good in the Bay but anglers have to first find the fish and work to catch them. And, at Block Island the bass bite dramatically improved last week. Capt. Rick Bellavance of Priority Too Charters, Pt. Judith, said, “We are starting to catch some nice fish at Block Island, both at the North Rip and Southwest Ledge area. There seem to be a lot of small scup in the water, so we have been using silver spoons with success.” Manny Macedo of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren, said, “Anglers had a slow day or two but the bass bite overall has been tremendous with anglers catching fish all along the coast in the East passage from shore and from boats. This week we weighed in a 32-pound fish caught off Colt State Park.” Noted local fly fisherman Ed Lombardo said, “We have been fishing the Barrington River for the last week and a half and there are plenty of striped bass, but they are small fish that are a lot of fun on a 6-weight or 7-weight fly rod. Dark olive and black flies work very well because the number of the mummichogs (mummies) in the River. One bass was a nice 19-inch fish, big for what we have been getting at the Narrow River, Barrington, and other rivers.” Bass fishing expert Mike Swain of Coventry said, “We caught striped bass up to 27 pounds in the upper Providence River last week, and this weekend we landed multiple fish in the mid 30-pound range, our largest was 45 inches (about 36 pounds) in the East Passage. We were spotting some very large fish. It was a great week for striped bass fishing in the Bay and River.” John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside, said, “Things slowed in the upper Rivers this week with a lot of activity moving further south to Nayatt Point, Rocky Point and Colt State Park. One customer caught a 36-inch fish from Sabin Point. It was a short fish, but it was very fat, it must have had 15 pogies in its belly.”

Summer flounder (fluke).

Jim Pontarelli of Narragansett (and his son Will) fished with brother-in-law Paul Bertelli for fluke off Matunuck this weekend. Jim said, “We got several around 20 inches, but had many just under the limit. A lot of throw backs.” Mike Bestwick of Quaker Lane Bait & Tackle said “Customer Matt Garstka of Central Falls weighed in a 13.4-pound, 29.5-inch” fluke Saturday that he caught while fishing off Block Island.” Bruce Lawing reports on the RISAA blog a good fluke bite on the west side of Block Island. Mike said, “We fished four hours and had a 50/50 short to keeper ratio with our largest fish just over four pounds.” Angler Rick Sustello and his wife fished off the southern coastal shore in a couple of favorite spots from 40 to 60 feet of water. Rick said, “We returned with eight keeper fluke, with five of them between 22 and 24 inches and two slab scup about 15 inches. Capt.” Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “Quite a few big fish this past week. Biggest fish of the week was an 11-pound fish caught last Thursday along with other fish in the 6- to 8-pound range. There seems to be respectable amounts of fluke just about everywhere, but the amount of bait around is staggering and the fluke seem well fed, which can lead to them being wary about taking an angler's offerings. It is more of a finesse fishery lately.”


fishing is still very good. Trout are being caught in ponds restocked by the State of R.I. (visit for a complete list). A variety of other species are also caught by anglers.

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. He is a RISAA board member, a member of the RI Party & Charter Boat Association and a member of the RI Marine Fisheries Council. Contact or forward fishing news and photos to Capt. Dave at or visit his website at


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