This week we get to meet a cool young fisherman, meet some firemen, scratch the surface on a noise issue and visit the state house. Big week.
Most importantly, awesome angler CJ Safford from Richmond landed a fine golden trout at the Browning Mill Pond last Saturday. These fish are specially bred by RIDEM and were stocked, along with 6000 other trout, in several ponds for last weekend’s Free Freshwater Fishing event. Politics, regulations, differences of opinion, all these can infiltrate our favorite activity but the look on CJ’s face reminds us of the real joy of fishing. Nice job CJ, catching that fish and a tip of the camo hat for releasing it. If you land one of these glowing fish, email firstname.lastname@example.org and she will send you a cool pin.
Local beaches are full of schoolie stripers in the 20” range, as are the breachways. The Pawcatuck and Connecticut River are producing lots of bass given the amount of bait like river herring, shad and peanut bunker that Spring has brought us. The minimum size for striped bass remains at twenty-eight inches with a one fish per day allowance, but new regulation means that any you intend to keep over thirty-four inches, recreational or commercial, must have the right pectoral fin removed. The Narrows in Narragansett is holding lots of small and the occasional keeper sized stripers and the section of Narrow River just below Sprague Bridge has been full of shad this past week. Scup season opened on the first so if the water temps rise just a bit, we should see some around the rocks very soon. All you need for them is a few Sabiki rigs and some squid strips for bait. Fluke season is open again with a daily limit of 8 fish a minimum length of eighteen inches.
Our local fire departments are powered by dedicated, highly trained volunteers who tear away the sheets in the middle of the night then race through town to knock down flames and save your home. In South Kingstown, as in many towns, these guys are firemen first, volunteers second. They risk their necks every time the horn blows. In the Union fire district, they average more than seventy calls a month, burning through fuel, gear and trucks every day. An excellent way to show your appreciation for all they do, help keep them in the safest equipment and have a good time is to buy a entry for their First Annual S. Kingstown Forest Fire Service 50 Clay Invitational at the Peace Dale Shooting Preserve on June 4. A ticket costs just forty dollars before the event and fifty if you pay at the door. Check in is at 9am, the shoot starts at 10am and you can call 973.525.6883 to register. The Peace Dale range is top notch; they are friendly, the stands are totally automated and this small business does quite a lot to be good members of our community.
Speaking of, on May 21, the Preserve is helping sponsor a steak fry at the South Kingstown Elks Lodge, with 100% of the proceeds going to the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The VFW building on High Street in Wakefield needs some attention, including a set of front steps. This is a grass roots local effort deal, where Cullion Concrete has stepped up by donating material and surely lots of hands will help get the building back in shape. Cheers to all involved.
Owners of the Peace Dale Shooting Preserve are fielding pressure from some neighbors who are now objecting to the sound of gunfire off in the distance. This new story is actually a very old one and certainly there needs to be a balance for all residents but at first blush, one of these folks was there first. Many towns feel these kinds of growing pains but they can be especially tough in a coastal community. People visit here from all parts elsewhere, fall in love with our local charm, colorful characters and nifty working types who power skiffs around the salt ponds doing something they don’t take the time to understand. What happens next is an old story; suffice to say that once the new house goes squeezed in on land requiring high and dry septic systems and the Beemer gets parked on the oyster shell driveway, the next order of business often is putting an end to those making all the noise and taking up all the scenery. Maybe that’s not the case here, maybe research will show that a gun blast is less noisy than a garbage truck or a dump truck slamming shut its tailgate. Always there are two sides to every sword, but some might say that when you buy a house next to a lighthouse, you shouldn’t complain about the light. Or the foghorn. My perspective is somewhat jaded because I know that fishing, shooting, hunting, hiking, clamming, all these are parts of a lifestyle we historically enjoyed and need to preserve. For the record, I can hear those shots from my house too. We will give this a big and balanced look from both sides soon.
Our State House, fresh from the newest scandal of financial and moral debauchery, has found time to approve Senator Coyne’s bill, 2016-s 2799, to “facilitate the creation of a system to allow Rhode Islanders to apply for hunting and freshwater fishing licenses online”. Small steps, I suppose. Has anyone ever fished in Maine or every used the MOSES system? Up in The Great State, it’s so easy to get a license from a million miles away that I swear you don’t want to cheat the system and hope you don’t get caught without a license because they go so far to give you information, water access, services for outdoorsmen-and women-that it’s a joy to deal with The State. The devil here is how the third party will be chosen to run the system. Here’s the call for no cousins, second cousins, next door neighbors nor anyone even remotely associated with any of our statehouse folks, no one who knows someone, to be that third party and let’s keep this in our state.
Thanks for all the inquiries for the 1 oz. Al’s Goldfish from last week’s column. Paula from Bellingham, Ma. checked in, saying she’s ready to start fishing salt water so hopefully we will see a picture soon of her with a nice striper on that shiny lure.