The Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) will be holding a ‘How to catch bigger fluke’ online seminar Monday, July 27, 7 p.m. I will be the guest speaker. And, I plan to highlight tactics I have employed to catch larger fluke as well as tips from others I have interviewed including anglers that have caught fish in the 9-12 pound range this year.
Steve Medeiros, RISAA president, said, “The Zoom seminars are easy to link to and this one on fluke is expected to be well attended. We have the capability to allow up to 500 to attend.” To be sent a seminar link email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Strategies and tactics for fishing summer flounder in Bays and the ocean with maps and charts will be covered as well as rigs, jigs, baits and my favorite places to catch fluke.
Research broadens in wind farm area
The South Fork Wind Farm Research and Monitoring plan gives me hope. Hope and evidence that government, fishing interests, developers and scientists can work together for the benefit of all the people of the United States of America.
Don’t get me wrong, no one stakeholder group is getting all it wants, but this plan includes research that will safeguard the fish and help move badly needed offshore renewable energy forward.
Stakeholder input like this is the very foundation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). We need to keep this law strong so science and stakeholder input always have a place in policy making in this great nation.
The 15 turbine South Fork Wind Farm is located on Cox Ledge, which consists of rich recreational and commercial fishing grounds 19 to 24 miles southeast of Point Judith, Rhode Island. The South Fork plan includes support of two ongoing studies and four new studies that fishermen have been advocating for through the Fisheries Advisory Board (FAB) of the Coastal Resource Management Council of Rhode Island.
In May the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), in conjunction with the states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, announced five studies it will be funding in offshore wind farm areas. The aim of these studies is to measure positive or negative cumulative impacts across a broader region that include multiple wind farms.
The aim of the studies is to measure the negative or positive impacts offshore wind farms could have on fish and invertebrate species before, during and after construction. The Rhode Island FAB led by Lanny Dellinger, chairman, did a good job with industry input. Commercial fishing industry facilitation of recommendations at the March 2020 meeting was done by Fred Mattera, president of the Commercial Fisheries Center of RI, who consolidated fishermen concerns and research requests on the monitoring plan.
Greggory DeCelles, fisheries science specialist on the strategic permitting team for Ørsted said, “The guiding principles developed at the Block Island Wind Farm have been applied to South Fork’s Monitoring Plan. We are committed to conducting sound, credible science, and biological surveys, developed in coordination with the commercial and recreational fisheries as well as state and federal agencies.”
Highlights of the monitoring plan include a gillnet survey that will target winter skates and monkfish; a beam trawl survey to study demersal fish and invertebrates because it is easier to maneuver in tight spaces where a limited amount of seabed can be sampled safely; a ventless trap survey will be conducted to collect data on lobster and crab resources; a ventless fish pot survey to study black sea bass, scup and tautog, which are not often represented well in trawl surveys, so the idea is to use fish pots, which are more suited for complex sea bottoms; and a passive acoustic telemetry study tagging species of fish with acoustic transmitters, their movements and habitat use will be tracked using receivers on fixed buoys, as well as an autonomous glider vessel that travels the ocean.
Ørsted has pledged to coordinate with and contribute to ongoing and planned acoustic telemetry projects. Projects underway include a BOEM cod spawning study and a pelagic study that will examine movements of bluefin tuna, blue sharks and shortfin mako sharks using the same technology.
DeCelles said, “Ørsted is also committed to conducting a variety of monitoring studies to understand the potential impacts of offshore wind development on marine mammals, birds and bats, and changes to the benthic habitat and community structure.”
We need renewable energy to combat climate change impacts. This research and monitoring plan is an example of how fishermen, developers and government can work together to make it happen.
Where’s the bite?
Striped bass and bluefish. Striped bass fishing has been fairly good at Block Island with eels at night and anglers hooking up with keepers during the day too. Neil Hayes of Quaker Lane Bait & Tackle, North Kingstown, said, “Top water lures, trolling tube & worm or umbrella rigs are working at Block Island during the day.” Angler Tom Miozzi of Jamestown said, “We did well catching keeper striped bass in the 28” to <35” slot this week out in front of Ocean Drive. One early evening we hooked up with five nice fishing trolling tube & worm letting about 150 feet of braid out with a weighed tube.” Anglers were also catching keeper bass at Beavertail this week. John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside said, “Customers are still doing pretty good catching striped bass at Conimicut Point and in front of Barrington Beach.” Bluefish that are being caught are fairly small, not like the larger ones that had been chasing schools of Atlantic menhaden in the Bay earlier this season.
Summer Flounder (fluke), scup and black sea bass. The summer flounder bite is still mixed with anglers catching a lot of shorts in the Bay as well as off our coastal shares from the Sakonnet River, Little Compton to Watch Hill, Westerly. Hayes from Quaker Lane said, “What I hear from customers fluke fishing is not very good out there. Customers are catching a lot of shorts.” We fished at Elbow Ledge off Sachuest Point this week and then a second time about three miles southeast of there while black sea bass fishing and managed just two keeper fluke. John Littlefield of Archie’s said, “Some keeper fluke are still being caught off Warwick Neck and the scup bite has not been good compared to other years. Anglers are going home with just 3 or 4 scup.” Black sea bass fishing remains very strong in deeper water. We hooked up with bigger fish in about 80 feet of water consistently last week.
Freshwater fishing has slowed. Few anglers targeting or catching trout now that the water has warmed, however, the largemouth bass bite is still very good. “Anglers are catching largemouth with spinner baits as well as shiners,” said Hayes of Quaker Lane. Littlefield said, “Due to a shortage of shiners customers have reverted to using night crawlers and are catching a lot of sun fish, largemouth bass anglers have found that frogs are working fairly well now.”
Dave Monti 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, the American Saltwater Guides Association and the RI Marine Fisheries Council. Forward fishing news and photos to Capt. Dave at email@example.com or visit www.noflukefishing.com and his blog at www.noflukefishing.blogspot.com.