Ponaug Bait & Tackle has community roots


Tom Olson, owner of Ponaug Bait & Tackle at 287 Arnolds Neck Road, Warwick (the old Ray’s Bait location), has been a member of the Warwick and Apponaug community all his life. He grew up in Warwick, is a graduate of Tollgate High School and worked for Ray Chase, owner of Rhode Island Boat Moving at Ponaug Marina which his son Dave Chase runs today.

The new shop has all the bait anglers are interested in this time of year, i.e., squid, silversides, crabs, eels, clam worms, shiners and more. He also has a variety of tackle, new gear and some slightly used gear for sale. “My brother-in-law upgraded all the gear on his charter boat, so we have much of the old gear from him and others on sale,” said Tom.

Last week I purchased green crabs for a charter fishing trip. I reserved them the night before when Tom said, “I only have a few gallons left so I will put some aside for you.” I appreciated the effort but thought, oh boy the last of the crabs, they are going to be limp and not lively. To my surprise they were fresh looking and alive, Tom had stored them not in the refrigerator but naturally in the Apponaug Cove water behind his store.

This is the type of service and product Ponaug Bait & Tackle is offering customs. They are open at 6 a.m. weekends in the Fall, and 7 a.m. weekdays, the shop closes at 6 p.m. However, if you are planning a trip and need access to the shop Tom asks that you give him a call and make a special arrangement like I did when I bought the green crabs that allowed my charter customers to catch their first keeper tautog.

Fly fishing clinic for women

If you are a woman, and think you want to learn how to fly fish, now is the time to give it a try at the Women’s Introductory Fly Fishing Clinic, Saturday, September 23, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The clinic is being held at the South Kingstown Land Trust Barn, 17 Matunuck Beach Road, South Kingstown.

Susan Estabrook, clinic coordinator said, “The clinic is sponsored by the Rhode Island Chapter of Trout Unlimited in collaboration with the South Kingstown Land Trust. Early registration is suggested as the clinic class size is limited. The cost is $25 and including lucnh.” To register email and include “Women’s Clinic” in the subject line of your email.

The workshop will cover an overview of fly fishing rods, reels and lines; basic fly fishing knots and terminology; how to make a roll cast and when to use it; and how to make a pick up and lay down cast.  Anglers will paractice casting with certified fly fishing instructors on the grass at the Land Trust Barn.

Rhode Islanders finish 1, 2 and 3 in Boston Bluefin Classic

Nick Papa of South Kingstown, RI, captain of the vessel Ruthless, took first place in the Boston Bluefin Classic tournament held September 3 to 6 with a 788 giant bluefin tuna caught off Scarborough Beach, Narraganset in 100 feet of water with a bluefish filet as bait.

Congratulations also to team Mission Critical captained by Brad Righi also from Rhode Island who took second place with a 783 pound bluefin. And, to charter captain Rob Taylor. His boat Reel EZ from Newport finished third place in the tournament with a 781-pound fish.

Where’s the bite?

Striped bass, bluefish, false albacore and bonito. This week the bluefish were being caught throughout Narragansett Bay with the hot spot being between Gould Island north of the Newport Bridge to Hope Island and Prudence Island. 

Angler Max O’Connell of Cranston said, “We caught about a dozen school striped bass and monster bluefish off the southern tip of Prudence Island trolling tube and worm Saturday,” when he picked up more worms Sunday at Ponaug Bait & Tackle. 

Jay Marshall of Sam’s Bait, Middletown, said, “The bluefish and striped bass bite from the beaches off Middletown and Newport has been very good. Most anglers are using top water lures with success with customers also catching false albacore off the Sakonnet River.”

Tom Olson of Ponaug Bait & Tackle, said, “The bluefish bite has been outstanding in Greenwich Bay and even Apponaug Cove in Warwick. Fish are hitting all types of swimming lures.”

“The false albacore bite has been good from outside of the Breachway down to Point Judith. Dozens of schools of mackerel, peanut bunker and rain bait. Epoxy and metal jigs rigged with a teaser seem to be producing bites. As well as Albie Snax and small swimbaits. Bonito are still being caught too,” said Declan O’Donnell of Breachway Bait & Tackle, Charlestown. “Striper fishing in the ponds and breachways has been producing good number of fish up to around 40 inches.”

“Tautog fishing is fairly slow in the Bay and rivers around dock piles but fish are being caught off Newport,” said Jay Marshall of Sam’s Bait.

“Tautog fishing seems to be heating up a bit with fish to around 7 pounds caught this week along local reefs.” said O’Donnell.

Black sea bass, scup and summer flounder. “Scup fishing is good throughout the Bay with a fairly strong black sea bass bite in the lower Bay.  Not many fluke being caught in the Bay,” said Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence.

Tuna and mahi fishing. “There are giants being caught off Narragansett. Fish in the 700-pound range are common with anglers who have never fishing for bluefin or yellow fin school tuna buying gear and catching fish,” said Henault of Ocean State Tackle.

“Offshore, the tuna bite south of Block Island continues to produce well for yellowfin and bluefin. Fish are being caught on the troll, jigging, and chunking with quite a few mahi around the highflyers and debris. More tuna was seen off Charlestown/Green Hill with giants being caught off Pt. Judith to Beavertail,” said O’Donnell.

“Freshwater fishing for largemouth bass remains good with many anglers using shiners. Ponds producing for include Olney Pond at Lincoln Woods and Stump Pond, Smithfield,” said Henault.

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 or visit


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