By CAPT. DAVE MONTI Striped bass are in trouble, they are overfished with overfishing is occurring according to the most recent stock assessment. Last month the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), that managers striped bass in State
By CAPT. DAVE MONTI Striped bass are in trouble, they are overfished with overfishing is occurring according to the most recent stock assessment. Last month the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), that managers striped bass in State waters, received thousands of comments on a public information document used to relate issues that could be included in Amendment 7 of the striped bass management plan.
The plan would provide a glide path to rebuild the stock in a timely manner. The Amendment and plan are expected to be developed by the ASMFC Striped Bass Board and go out for public comment in 2021. The aim is that new regulations would be in effect for the 2022 fishing season. Anglers hope to have the Board incorporate many of the conservation options they suggested into Amendment 7.
In a press advisory last week, Commission Chair Patrick Keliher, said, “For many of the Commission’s species, we are no longer in a position to hold hope that things will revert to what they have previously been if we just hold static.”
After its review of an Advisory Panel report, input received at 11 virtual public hearings, and the 3,000 submitted comments, the Striped Bass Management Board approved the following issues for development in Draft Amendment 7: recreational release mortality, conservation equivalency, management triggers, and measures to protect the 2015 year class.
The Board will meet again during the Commission’s summer meeting in August to review the progress on the Draft Amendment and recommend further changes to the document. The Board will meet in October when it will hopefully approve a document for public comment.
For a copy of the Commission’s press release on the striped bass Amendment visit http://www.asmfc.org/uploads/file/60957a49pr10StripedBassAm7Development_final.pdf.
Rhode Island blue crab and lobster regulations for 2021
State residents do not need a license to harvest blue crabs recreationally in Rhode Island. Crabs measuring less than 5-inches spike to spike must be returned to the water immediately and there is a 25 blue crab limit. Blue crabs can only be taken from RI waters using a crab net, dip net, scoop net, hand line or trot line. Harvesting is prohibited between sunset and sunrise and the possession of egg-bearing crabs is prohibited.
To harvest lobsters recreationally in Rhode Island a license is needed (five pots per person). For lobster and blue crab recreational regulations visit www.eregulations.com/rhodeisland/fishing/saltwater/lobstercrab-regulations/. Massachusetts recreational lobster and crab regulations for 2021
Recreational fishers are reminded of the new Massachusetts recreational lobster and crab trap rules for 2021. There are new rules designed to prevent the gear from interacting with certain protected species and reducing the potential harm of any interaction should it occur.
First there was a recreational lobster and carb trap closure this winter. Recreational lobster and crab trap fishermen were not able to set their trap gear for 2021 until May 16. The closure did not apply to unbuoyed gear fished and retrieved from the shoreline. This closure was implemented to prevent right whales from becoming potentially entangled in recreational trap gear when they aggregate in local waters during the winter and early spring periods.
Second, recreational lobster and crab trap gear may only be fished with buoy lines not exceeding 5/16". This eliminates the potential for recreational trap fishermen to fish heavy diameter buoy lines. This includes the requirement for a weak link in the surface system where buoy meets the buoy line and that buoys lines bear a red mark at least four inches in length midway on the buoy line.
And, third there is a blue crab trap prohibition in effect. It is unlawful to fish for or retain blue crabs taken by cylindrical or six-sided trap gear. Fishermen may continue to fish for blue crabs using gears like dip nets and baited lines, as well as collapsible traps and lift traps that are actively tended and fished in an open configuration. The blue crab possession limit remains 25-crabs per person per calendar day and the minimum shell size remains five inches as measured from tip-to-tip across the shell spines. For recreational lobster and crab regulations visit www.eregulations.com/massachusetts/fishing/saltwater/.
Striped bass/bluefish. Gill Bell, South County surf casting expert, said, “Caught, weighed and released an eight pound bluefish last week form the beach. Nice to see the return of the hefty yellow-eyed devils.” For the first time I got to pilot by new/used Parker 25-foot center console this weekend back to its slip in Wickford from Allen’s Harbor. Picked about a couple of bluefish to 24” in about 30 minutes of trolling tube & worm between Quonset Point and Fox Island in the West Passage. David Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence, said, “Customers continue to catch school bass but now keepers are being caught from boats and shore. We had a 38-39 inch fish caught from Weekapaug Beach this weekend. Anglers were using SP Minnow swimming lures with success.”
Tautog. Jeff Barker, past president of the West Bay Anglers said from his boat Tuesday morning, “We started our tautog tournament this week and the fishing has been very good. We caught an 8-pound tautog yesterday in low water. Today we are fishing in about 6.5 feet of water.” "Customers are easily catching their tautog limit of 3 fish/person/day (16-inch minimum size) with both Asian and green crags continue to work for anglers.” said Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick. Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle said, “The tautog bite is outstanding this spring. Monday morning one of our customers caught a 27” tautog at India Point Park, Providence. Customers have been catching fish there using green crabs and jigs. They are reaching their limit catching 16-19 inch fish with an occasional big one.” Angler Jeff Sullivan of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren said, “The tautog bite has been outstanding many finding success using jigs tipped with crab in fairly low water 10 to 30 feet. I caught a 10-pound tautog out in front of Bristol Harbor. Most of the action is inside the Bay, the mid-Bay area.”
Scup fishing in the Bay has been good. A bit earlier than usual as both large and small scup are being caught from shore and on boats all the way to the lower Providence River.
Freshwater. “The largemouth bass bite and trout bite are still good at Only Pond, Lincoln Woods. I find the North Cove (that has a lot of structure in the water) one of the best spots for largemouth fishing there. Stump Pond, Smithfield and Turner Reservoir, East Providence are producing largemouth for customers too. They are also catching an occasional pickerel,” said Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle.
Dave Monti holds a captain’s master license and charter fishing license. He serves on a variety of boards and commissions and has a consulting business focusing on clean oceans, habitat preservation, conservation, renewable energy, and fisheries related issues and clients. Forward fishing news and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.noflukefishing.com.