It’s always a cast of characters who make Fish Wrap work and this week is no exception. Salt and freshwater fishing has been pretty good these last few weeks and while striper season started off a little shaky, there’s pogies in the Bay with some decent sized bass chasing them while south of the bridges, silversides, anchovies and sand eels are keeping fishermen busy. Brian Hall left the security of his kayak, Thom Houde is climbing the Striper Cup leaderboard, Rene Letourneau is keeping his clients happy, Bob Buscher just keeps outfishing everyone on freshwater and Jim Kacynski is planning a Fall fishing party. That’s summer right there.
Fishing firefighter Brian Hall is no stranger to these pages. We’ve reported on his kayak antics over several years but this week, he hung up his paddle and went looking for tuna with Whistler Charters. They found a beauty in a top secret place. 511 pounds and 101 inches long, she was. Brian is a bit of a showman when it comes to catching fish so a picture of him laying on deck with his arms around that fish was just pure, classic Brian. When the fishing gets slow, he just goes to find fish somewhere else.
Yes, that is another Thom Houde keeper striper. The man is a fish magnet
Thom Houde is also on the move. He’s been up and down the local striper coast all summer, finding fish from the top of the Bay to South County. Thom’s a member of The Kayak Centre’s fishing team and is also part of Hobie’s kayak fishing team. You need a spare flash drive just to store all the pictures he takes of big bass, blues and black sea bass. Just this week he entered 72 inches to the leaderboard and sits comfortably in first place with the Aquidneck Island Striper Team which sits slightly less comfortably in eighth place.
Thom found a honey hole a few days back where bass were feeding hard and managed to catch and release five nice fish between 34 and 37 inches. We don’t like to give up people’s secrets but it’s well known he’s a fan of those Butchie Built tube and worm rigs, tipped with sand eels. Preparedness is one of his skills so while some of us are trying to find our paddle or figure out how we managed to leave the tackle box on our kitchen table, he’s producing a box of really fresh sand worms. As Thom continues to catch more and more stripers, he’s inching his way, pun intended, to the top. Thom hates to miss a fish but he really hates to miss winning a prize.
Captain Rene Letourneau of On The Rocks Charters spends much of his summer guiding fly fishermen around Newport and Brenton Reef. It’s been a season of smaller fish for most guys out there but now he’s seeing small, even microbaits, like silversides and bay anchovies. That’s a good indicator of some large fish and he’s been on them. Many have been finning (yes, I just made up that word) on the surface, chasing bait, like we’ve been seeing under the Pt. Judith lighthouse when the squid are in big. Few things are as exciting as catching a healthy bass on a nine weight and Rene has that place wired.
South County’s Bob Buscher has not let up one bit on his mission to catch and release one thousand pounds of largemouth bass. He’s just crossed the 600 pound mark and with a stretch of clear weather with no predicted monsoon rains, he’ll be on the good side of 650 in no time. We’ve been following Bob all year and can’t wait to see him hit his goal. Then we’ll ask him what he plans to do for next year.
Because it’s never too early to think about going fishing anywhere, here’s fair warning for the Second Annual Kayak Fishing Challenge on Narrow River. It’s actually kind of the first annual since last year’s challenge was a little challenging for organizers and participants but at days end, a big success. The day is hosted by the Narrow River Preservation Association; they keep an eye on the river, test it’s water quality, hold events like this to celebrate it and generally ensure that it’s protected from many of those shortsighted things we humans tend to do when we forget how important rivers are to our well being.
NRPA Tournament Director Jim Kaczynski will run a brief captains meeting on September 27 then the next morning, the fishing runs from 6:39 am to 1:00 pm. The rules are pretty basic: it’s catch, photo and release for bass, blues, fluke and shad. After boats tie up and captains start telling the one that got away stories, there’s a barbecue and if I know Jim, some good eats finished with Captain’s bags full of treats.