Jim’s Dock was busy all holiday weekend.
There’s a solid crowd there of first shift local fishermen with extra-large coffee’s, buck tails, faded tattoos and lots of stories. The second shift shows around 10 a.m .and is more the tanning oil, swim noodle, surf rod and bathing-suit-that-fit-last-year crowd. When the tide is ripping, it’s a great place to take in the scenery with a strong possibility of catching fluke, bass, scup, sea robins or bluefish. The fishing seemed to be slower than the week previous; local observations were that bass and blues were hanging closer to the bottom. Busy holiday weekends mean a dramatic increase in boat traffic which may push fish farther from the surface. There’s as many no parking signs as there are parking spots so if your day to fish from the dock also happens to be a decent beach day, you’ll need to get there early before traffic backs up from the state beach entrance, past Cap’t Jack’s, all the way to Gooseberry Road.
From the south side of the dock, Richard Morreale landed a nice 22” striper on a squid stripped fluke rig. The two posed for a few quick pictures before it was released with a belly full of his bait. Probably because it wasn’t a legal keeper, no one weighed the bass. There are quick estimations of a fish’s weight but fishermen tend to stretch such details. If it’s hot and the fish needs to get back in the water or if you practice the #keepemwet method of taking your pictures, there’s a fair way to determine a fish’s weight by using the International Game Fish Association’s method. You need to measure the fish’s length and girth then use an easy formula. Girth is the fish’s measurement at its widest part, overall length is measured from the mouth to the tip of the caudal fin.
So that’s girth x girth x length divided by 800 or for the chalkboard crowd, (GxG)xL/800, which will give you a weight in pounds. Pretty cool.
With the season finally open, sea bass are being caught all over. Anglers fished in frustration through schools of bass for the last few months and now with a 3 fish per day, 15” minimum, are reaping the bounty of warm waters. They seem to be throughout the bay, our south-facing beaches and out to Block Island. Best bets for bait would be jigs soft, metal or classic. You can use a smaller Storm shad-type lure or a heavy metal like something from Point Jude lures. The classic buck tail can also be tipped with some squid to increase your chances. Typically sea bass school in the 30’ range where there is some structure for protection and ambushing other prey. They have a taste for crabs, lobsters and shellfish as well as some small fishes like silversides and peanut bunker. As an interesting side note, sea bass are protogynous hermaphrodites, which means most are born as females then as they mature, become males.
RIDEM is again offering free fly-tying workshops for all skill levels. Fly fishing is experiencing a boost in popularity but might still have a perception problem of being expensive to get outfitted and most ads push us to buy gear for extremes we’ll likely never experience. Tying your own flies will require purchasing some basic tools and a vice, in addition to a basket full of materials but if you take a few free classes on how to put the parts together, you’re that much ahead of the money game. Plus then you can tie your own flies based on what you see around you. RIDEM does a great job with these Aquatic Resource Education (ARE) Programs and while you are invited to bring your own kit, they even provide all the materials.
The next class is on Monday, August 1 from 6-8 pm at the Langworthy Public Library, 24 Spring Street in Hopkinton, then again on the tenth, same time, at the North Smithfield Public Library, 20 Main Street, Slatersville. Contact Scott Travers at Scott.firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your vice.
Speaking of, RIDEM will be treating Shippee Sawmill Pond in Foster and Breakneck Pond in Exeter Arcadia Management Area, starting Friday. State officials are concerned about invasive weeds including white and yellow waterlily and variable water milfoil. Milfoil is of particular concern because it’s non-native and is highly adaptable and opportunistic. It’s perennial, it survives below the ice, it settles and thrives in muck, gravel or sand and if waters recede, it produces tiny sprouts resembling pine trees and remains alive until waters return. It also takes on many forms as it lives in both calm ponds and active streams. It’s annoying. It should not, however, be confused with other native, leafy water milfoils.
The State will treat the ponds three times over the next few months and signs will be posted, alerting users that even though the chemicals pose no hazard to us or aquatic animals, activities should be postponed on treatment days. Not to forget, felt soled boots or for that matter, any other material that will absorb water, are banned in our state to help reduce transfer of plants and animals between water bodies. So whether you take a large with 5 creams and 3 Splenda’s, a packet of squid or a handful of buck tails, there are plenty of fish in close to catch this weekend, if you can just find a place to park.