‘The shark kept trying to get under the boat’


“We were fishing southeast of Newport in sight of land and picking up some nice cod, fluke and sea bass in about ninety feet of water,” said Greg Vespe, executive director of the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA). So when his crew said, “let’s try catching another shark,” Vespe said, “easier said than done.”

Vespe had caught his first thresher shark seven days ago, they were within 100 yards of that location, right at a water temperature break, in the 19’ center console he custom built three years ago.

Vespe and his crew, all RISAA members, Todd Corayer, Phil Duckett Jr. and Dave Dube were using a scored frigate mackerel for bait that they caught earlier in the day.

“Within 40 minutes the fish hit and it stayed down. Down for two hours so we really didn’t know what it was?  It kept trying to get under the boat. Dave Dube was at the helm and he did a good job keeping it away,” said Vespe. “That left me, Todd and Phil to take turns on the reel, in 30-minute intervals.”

The fish came up and all were surprised. It was another thresher and measured eleven feet and four inches and weighed about 325 pounds. Vespe said, “We were using a 16/0 circle hook, with three feet of wire and a 12’ 400 mono leader.”

Recreational fishermen must have an Atlantic HMS permit to harvest Atlantic common thresher sharks in federal waters. NOAA’s website says, “U.S. wild-caught Atlantic common thresher shark is a smart seafood choice because it is sustainably managed and responsibly harvested under U.S. regulations.”

And, according to Vespe, “Thresher are delicious and taste very much like swordfish. Needless to say our families will be eating well for a while.”

Congratulations Greg and crew, this was a very nice fish.

 International Fly Fishing

Film Festival screening

The Rhode Island Chapter of Trout Unlimited will host a screening of the 2022 International Fly Fishing Film Festival (IF4™) on Friday, Oct. 14, 7 p.m. at the Varnum Amory, 6 Main Street, East Greenwich, RI.

IF4™ consists of eight short and feature length films produced by professional filmmakers from all corners of the globe, showcasing the passion, lifestyle and culture of fly-fishing.

Doors open at 6 p.m. so you can tour the Varnum Amory which houses the largest collection of Rhode Island military history on display in the world spanning from the Revolutionary War through to the present day.

Fly-Fishing Film Festival screening starts at 7 p.m. Food and cash bar available. Tickets $20.00, purchase at

Where’s the bite?

Striped bass and bluefish. Bluefish continue to be caught in our Bays, estuaries and along the coastal shore. We found bluefish on the surface in the West Passage of Narragansett Bay most of the week when transiting the area.

Jeff Sullivan of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren, said, “Top water lures worked well out in front of Newport last week where I caught a 53-pound striped bass.”

Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box, Warwick, RI, said, “Large bass to 30 pounds are now in the Providence River all the way up to the Hurricane Barrier with large bluefish popping up everywhere. Snapper blues are in most coves and harbors.”

“The bass bite exploded this weekend in the Providence River. One customer caught seventeen striped bass, two were slot fish (28 to <35 inches) and two above the slot size. The bite was good at Sabin Point, Kettle Point and at Barrington Beach,” said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside. 

Declan Thomas O’Donnell of Breachway Bait & Tackle, Charlestown said, “The salt pond and Breachway continuing to produce some nice sized fish. Surfcasters have been doing well on Yo-Zuri Mag-Darters and Super Strike Bullets. Fishing live eels in the pond has been producing bass up to around 15 pounds.”

Fluke, black sea bass and scup. Summer flounder bite continues to be OK with keeper fish being caught in the lower Bay, out in front from Pt. Judith to Watch Hill and in the Block Island Wind Farm area.  Scup fishing continues to be good particularly in areas with structure and water movement i.e. ledges, bridge abutments, jetties, etc. 

Fluke fishing was a slow pick in the lower Bay south of the bridges but Friday angler Jake Howard of Minnesota caught a 22-inch fluke drifting down the edge at Austin Hollow, Jamestown. Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box said, “Customers are catching fluke to 22 inches at Conimicut Light with a strong scup bite too.” 

John Litchfield of Archie’s Bait said, “The scup bite remains very strong along the East Providence and Barrington shoreline.”

Tautog fishing is starting to come alive as anglers begin targeting them. The water is still very warm but anglers are hooking up with some nice keepers off Newport and in the lower Bay. “Those who have been targeting tautog are doing well with fish in relatively shallow water right now,” said Declan O’Donnell of Breachway Bait & Tackle.

False albacore and tuna. School and giant bluefin tuna have been close to shore. Tuna fishing expert Richard Pastore said, “I fished the giant bite off Scarborough Beach Sunday in 100 feet of water. Set up north of fleet and live lined the squid and the mackerel with no luck. Boat just south of me pulls in and immediately hooks up. Twenty-four tuna were caught to the point a hold was put on buying them because there were so many. Plenty of chatter on the radio about people fighting fish for hours and then chaffing off or asking others to move during the fight. Yellow fin bite is still on in the gully and tuna ridge which has been joined by some bluefin.” 

“False albacore have been pretty thick with some really nice sized fish being caught from shore at the wall. Tuna fishing continues to produce well for yellowfin and bluefin tuna from areas south of Block Island,” said O’Donnell.

Freshwater fishing has improved greatly now that the water is cooling a bit. “Lake Tiogue and Carbuncle Pond, Coventry are producing for customers. And in Warwick, Gorton’s Pond and Warwick Lake have been producing with 3.5 to 5-pound largemouth bass taken by customers from Warwick Lake.” said Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box.

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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