Climate impacts on fishing are a challenge. Habitat is degrading as sea levels rise and warm water species are moving up the coast. Anglers have adapted their fishing to what is in the water to catch. The challenge is that climate is and will continue to have an impact on what we can catch today and what we might catch in the future. What happens when the warm water fish here now like scup, summer founder and black sea bass in great abundance move through and out of our range? What will we fish for then?
It is budget time in Washington, DC for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023. In the NOAA FY 2022 budget many of the funds requested for climate and fishers were cut. We need to fund NOAA Fisheries so we can do needed climate research and fund more frequent stock assessment to get a handle on stock movement.
As anglers we need to advocate for approval of the $6.9 –billion NOAA budget submitted by President Biden for Fiscal Year 2023. Also the $1.17 –billion budget included for NOAA Fisheries, and just as important, we need to support the included Climate, Ecosystems, and Fisheries Initiative which would provide $10-million for climate and fisheries initiatives (much of this was cut from last years’ budget).
We need to fund NOAA so they become more climate ready. They need to manage fisheries sustainably and address climate impacts on fisheries at the same time. NOAA Fisheries will require adequate funding across its core fisheries science and management programs. Over the last decade, NOAA Fisheries and the Regional Councils have built a foundation for climate action, and now they are at a critical point where they need to expand and accelerate their efforts.
This budget also included habitat restoration and conservation funds. About a ten percent increase over the funding levels enacted in FY22. These funds will help develop restoration plans, conduct habitat assessments, mapping and restoring habitats and ecosystems in ways that benefit fisheries, anglers and protected species.
One way anglers can help is to send a support and thank you email to US Senators and your US Representative. Thank them for supporting NOAA’s budget as the entire RI delegation has signed support letters for NOAA Fisheries’ FY23 budget, as well as MA Senators and Representatives. Share your support as an angler for NOAA’s budget too. Ask them to continue to advocate for full NOAA funding so NOAA Fisheries can become more climate nimble and have the resources they need for more climate research and stock assessments.
To find your US Representative’s email address visit www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative, and to find the email address of your US Senators visit https://contactsenators.com .
Fish the edges. Over the years my largest fish have generally come on edges. So, fish the edges of channels, ledges, banks, jetties, underwater valleys and humps as big fish ambush bait there.
Fluke face into the current to feed, so you want to drag your bait over the front of them, drifting with the tide and wind in the same direction when in a boat or slowing pulling your bait over the bottom when on land.
When fishing slack or flood tide with no water movement, try to fish in locations that have a lot of current, like under bridges or around jetties) or try power drifting (putting the vessel in and out of gear to create movement.
When it comes to fluking, squid is the bait of choice. Some anglers cut it in very fine strips yet others like to use the whole squid with others using what they catch that day … strips of bluefish, sea robin, etc.
Both jigs and jigs with a second stinger hook trailing 30 to 36” behind work. Traditional squid rigs work as well.
Find the fish and repeat pattern … drifting over the same location or depth that is yielding fish.
One of my favorite fluke baits is a fluorescent green or white plastic squid rig, baited with a squid strip. And, depending on what the fish want a minnow or silverside and/or a strip of fluke belly. I sometimes use a stinger hook with some type of attractant above this rig.
Striped bass and bluefish. Jeff Sullivan of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren, RI, said, “The striped bass bite in upper Mt. Hope Bay has been outstanding. Anglers are hooking up with keeper slot size fish (28 to < 35 inches) as well as releasing fish above the slot limit. We have a good amount of Atlantic menhaden in the water. So live linking them and/or trolling them is working well.”
East End Eddy Doherty, said, “I saw my first bluefish of the season on the Cape Cod Canal so some of the yellow eyed devils are starting to enter the Canal. The Canal has slowed down a bit in most spots with local sharpies scratching up a striper now and then off the bottom with soft plastic jigs like the Bill Hurley Canal Killer.”
Cole Freeman of Red Top Sporting Goods, Buzzards Bay, said Thursday, “We have a sunrise and sunset bite at the Cape Cod Canal with top water lures, as the day progresses anglers are fishing the bottom catching slot size fish as well as 20 to 30 pounders.” There is an abundance of bluefish in Narragansett and Mt. Hope Bay. You just have to find them. Bluefish, medium to large size, are being caught by anglers with swimming and surface lures and while trolling with tub & worm and other method for striped bass. Greenwich Bay was producing bluefish particularly well for the past couple of weeks.
Summer flounder/black sea bass. Black sea bass season opened May 22 to August 31 with a two fish/person/day limit. Anglers are reminded that the minute size is now 16 inches. Peter Johnson of Connecticut said, “Chartreuse and salmon colored gulp worked best this week for summer flounder (fluke) fishing in the Block Island Wind Farm area. I limited out with keepers but caught 12 shorts in the 15” to 17 “ range so hopefully the fishery is recovering.” Some reports of fluke now being caught at Warwick Light and mid-Bay areas. Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle said, “Anglers are catching fluke on the channel pad in the East Passage of Narragansett Bay.”
Freshwater fishing for trout has slowed. “Customers are catching small and largemouth bass in area ponds, bass are now starting to spawn.” said Cole Freeman of Red Top Sporting Goods.”
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 email@example.com or visit www.noflukefishing.com.