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Largemouth, ducks, a Go-Devil & chicken soup. Hell yeah, that’s Fall in RI

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The Rhode Island Kayak Bassin’ tournament season has wrapped up for 2018. Administrators Matt Tetreault and RJ Alves successfully created a few months of fun for freshwater fishermen, taking anglers to some of this state’s most beautiful water bodies and reminding us how much fun largemouth bass fishing can be.

Saltwater fishermen tend to get most of the media attention when the water is warm but the sweet water group is just as dedicated, passionate and important to the economy as the other.

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The idea of competitive freshwater fishing certainly isn’t new here but it exists almost as a subculture, very much under the radar. Some fall under state, regional or national umbrellas and therefore use their rules; others are more about fishing for fun with some friendly competition to keep things interesting. The Southern RI Bass Anglers, a small group unaffiliated with any larger groups, fishes nine lakes per season.

Understanding that August air and water temperatures are both uncomfortably hot, five tourneys are nighttime events. This change increases the challenge and adds a dose of mystery to a pond, especially if they’ve no fishing history there.

The juxtaposition of fresh and saltwater fishermen is pretty extreme for the summer months. Some guys are cruising rock piles along Block Island’s south side, where giant, possibly record breaking stripers lurk in murky shadows of massive boulders pushed down from Maine, while over on Johnson’s Pond, a few guys in a canoe are working lily pads or maple branch shadows with frog imitations for five pound largemouth on four pound test.

How fantastic is that?

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Three ducks, two brothers, one seriously good day

An early and short waterfowl hunting season was a big success.

Dalton and Justin Leonhardt set up early in their Louisiana special Go Devil aluminum boat on the back side of Worden Pond. The brothers knew there would be competition with only a four day opening followed by a wait of month to wing shoot again so they laid out a ton of decoys and settled into one of the coolest looking hunting boats ever.

She’s a Go Devil!

Covered with grasses that Dalton admitted might be a bit new and bright for ponds still edged with bunches of greens, the boat was loaded to the metal gunwales with decoys, paddles, guns and camo. The coolest part of this setup might be the long tail motor, specifically designed to race through shallow mud flats and over tree stumps, in other words, a perfect boat for Worden Pond which is barely six feet deep.

The Leonhardt brothers could not have been nicer and were proud to display their three mallards bound for the dinner table.

Guns are a tricky topic these days; perhaps too many good people take nightly news blasts as a reflection of all gun owners.

Here, in a gravel parking lot just down from a ball field and a retirement community, right where people fish, swim, paddle and sail was a group of gun owners doing what they loved, safely and successfully.

Fishermen get most of the media attention around here but hunters also pay the bills for land acquisition and protection so the sound of shotgun blasts from a pond’s backside on a chilly Fall morning is one of those sweet reminders of how lucky we are to live where we do.

And speaking of protecting what we have, the Narragansett chapter of Trout Unlimited is once again hosting a Adopt-A-Roadway cleanup near Arcadia. They’ll meet at the Route 165 check station at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 10 and, in keeping with President Glenn Place’s pace of generosity, coffee, donuts, gloves, bags and vests will be supplied.

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If you’re a TU member, thank you for all you do to protect fish and where they live.

If you’re not a member, come on! TU is a national organization dedicated to preserving our shared resources and they could really use your input and help.

So listen up, the inside skinny is that Glenn is one hell of a chef and doesn’t do anything without first ensuring there will be food. True to form, this day comes with the promise of chicken noodle soup and fresh French bread.

Membership is cheap.

Hanging out with the cast of characters who give up their time to pick up trash on a Fall day, well, that’s priceless.

Todd Corayer is a lifelong fisherman who lives not far from Rhode Island’s Saugatucket River with his wife, who supports his fishing mainly to get him out of the house and a young son and both are members of Trout Unlimited. 

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