alewives

False Albacore, kayak frustration and courtesy on the Narrow River

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Albies are here in force. From the Harbor of Refuge to the east side of Narragansett Beach and Monahan’s, fishermen are lined up hoping to catch a ride with these bullets. Long revered for the great fight they give, they are loathed for their ability to disappear and follow no pattern we humans can understand. False Albacore, Euthynnus alletteratus, are local favorites that require lots of driving around with binoculars and can speed through the water up to 40 MPH devouring schools of rain bait, sardines and even some crustaceans. They surface en masse, fire through the air like bullets and school up just long enough for you to miss them.

Fishing for them from boat or kayak affords a better chance when they are balling bait a little farther off the beach. But man you have to wait. And watch. And wait. Waiting for albies to surface is like driving in neutral: you’re on the move but patiently waiting. For lures, think Deadly Dick’s, small Kastmasters, Swedish Pimples, Albie Snax, and Po-Jee’s. The retrieve should be fast from a reel loaded with plenty of line because these little fish, weighing up to about 15lbs, can spool you in a heartbeat.

Still no word about the construction starting date for the new Saugatucket River fish ladder near Main Street in Wakefield. Each inquiry as to an actual date gets a reply that the state is waiting on funds. Hopefully additional monies have been allocated for water-level detour signs because at this rate, herring and shad could be running into cement mixers and guys in hardhats come springtime. Speaking of, the Palisades Mill, where so many volunteers met to move herring around the useless fish ladder, is also home to Whalers Brewing and a worthy American Strong Ale. Just a thought.

There are plenty of schoolie sized stripers along the beaches, mixed in with those smaller bluefish which fit perfectly on the grill. Lots of black sea bass are being caught all over our waters with squid strips on high/low rigs being a favored method. We have a few weeks of decent scup fishing left and if you are in search of fluke, cooling waters are pushing them out to the 100’ line, although there are reports of a few being caught around the mouth of the bay and in the salt ponds, mostly by the breach ways. Water temps in the middle of the Bay are holding around 69º but cool to 65º or lower around the island and Montauk.

This Sunday is the Pabst Blue Ribbon Northeast Tourney Closing Ceremony at South Kingstown’s venerable beach bar, the Ocean Mist. It’s been a memorable summer for the boating crowd and there are major cash prizes to be awarded in several categories like bass, blues and fluke. Striped bass record holder Peter Vican is atop the leaderboard for bass by boat with a 59lb 8oz cow landed on August 16. This could be a good time to pick his brain for some secrets because the man has a seriously hot hand when it comes to catching big, really big fish. Richard Rade leads with a 16 lb11/2 oz. bluefish caught August 7th and given the size of the blues around Block Island this summer, there likely were many larger fish landed by people not registered.

If there are questions about the lack of big bass in close, just look at the landings in the August Shore category. Nothing. No fish entered. In last week’s Galilee Fishing Tournament, only the first two slots of the striped bass from shore division were filled and both fish entered were less than thirty pounds. Obviously not everyone who fishes enters contests but surely there were lots of guys working the beaches hoping to cash in on the big cash prizes. Since several states were involved this year’s Pabst tourney and since few fishermen can resist the call of a tall cold PBR, the Mist should be packed next Sunday. In the great words of JP Harris, “Most of my winnin’s have been Blue Ribbons”. The fun starts at 1pm and everyone gets the hook at 5:30.

If you did not attend the The ASMFC’s hearing this week regarding proposed changes to striped bass regulations, your comments will still be accepted until 5pm on September 30. You can snail mail them to Mike Waine, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, 1050 N. Highland St, Suite A-N, Arlington, VA 22201, fax him at 703.842.0741 or email your thoughts to mwaine@asmfc.org. Does anyone even have a fax machine anymore?

RIDEM has a new 2014-2015hunting and trapping book, which closely resembles the style of similar publications from the great state of Maine. It has all you need to know for the new hunting seasons in an easy to read format. If you are headed out to Block Island to hunt for deer or the few pheasants left in the few cornfields left, you need to read up as there are some real changes this year.

Last Friday night, a shore fisherman’s line met up unexpectedly with a boat propeller as the latter was motoring back into the Narrow River at dusk. With a Kastmaster lost and a shaft made tight with 30# braid, there was a pause for both. So what happened next? Was it the expected cursing, the one finger salute or was the whole thing ignored by the boater, even that nasty snapping sound as the line gave way? No, not this time. Apologies were passed and the next statement was, “What was the lure you lost, I may have one with me to give you. I’m really sorry.” For the course of an unwanted chance meeting, courtesy ruled the river. “So shines a good deed in a weary world”, said Willie Wonka. Hopefully luck puts us together again one day soon, in a room where Strong Ale is offered, because the first round is on me.

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