September is such a sportsman’s month. Fish are in big time, goose and deer season opens and the Fall archery season for turkey begins. Waters are warm; around 66 off the beaches and as high as 72 in southern salt ponds. Days are warm, nights are cool. Provided Mother Nature steers any impending tropical systems away from our secret spots, we should be blessed with weeks of tuna, stripers, albies and more.
There’s a load of small fish in close to the beaches but not many larger class fish. A few big girls have been caught off Block Island and there’s always the pub-inspired story of a cow off Charlestown Beach but mostly, fish are clearly smaller than we’d like.
There was a public hearing on the twenty-fourth to collect comments for the ASMFC’s Addendum VI. The government is addressing the situation of striper stocks being “overfished and overfishing is occurring” with a series of options to reduce the removal rate of striped bass by 18%. The sky is not falling into the sea; we are being proactive to rebuild a stock before it suffers another collapse. That’s when the fish and our economy suffers. If you couldn’t be there or are microphone shy, please send them an email with your choice of options. You’ll find the details and contact information on the ASMFC website, http://www.asmfc.org/species/atlantic-striped-bass
Shorelines are absolutely packed with silversides and bay anchovies.
Bay anchovie pic courtesy of The Chesapeake Bay Program
All that bait is keeping fish in close, which has been great for the kayak fishermen. Bass up to around five or six pounds have been seen in some salt ponds finning through very shallow water, chasing silversides. A few cool nights will call even more bass into the ponds for the winter, we hope.
Everyone’s favorite fast fish, albies have been cruising around the south side of our state for a few weeks now. A big shot of rain slowed the bite for a little while but predictions have been strong about them remaining. Captain Rene Letorneau of On The Rocks Charters has enjoyed a steady pick of stripers south of Newport and is now putting his clients on albies as well. Pure excitement it is, to fight back with a nine weight and a rocking center console against a false albacore intent on going the opposite direction.
Deadly Dicks, epoxy jigs
and Al’s Goldfish Saltwater Series have been favorites lately. Depending on the wind, one ounce or ounce and a quarter have been the sizes to cast off hot spots like Galilee’s West Wall and the avenues on the east side of Narragansett. Bonito and bonita have excellent eyesight to find prey so if the water where you’re fishing is weedy or sandy after a blow, it might be best to move a bit.
Speaking of, the end of Newton Avenue has public parking as it is a point of public access. This is a CRMC designated public right of way to the shoreline so don’t let the rocks and some bushes fool ‘ya. If you feel your ability to park and fish is being impeded here or at any other public right of way, please let the town know and drop me a line.
We have constitutionally protected ways to enjoy our shoreline and it’s critical to let homeowners it’s unacceptable to impede access.
Courtesy of The Chesapeake Bay Program
Tautog are starting to show so green crab sales should increase. We’re still seeing decent numbers of black sea bass and scup. With all the bait around, there’s really no reason for fish to go much of anywhere. Fluke however, are on schedule to head offshore as lower depths cool but there’s still a few around the East Passage.
The really, really big news is that the RI Kayak Bassin has announced a state-wide bass fishing tournament for kayakers on Saturday, October 12. The Rhode Island Online Open Tourney starts at 7:00 am and runs until 3:00 pm. you can fish any State of Rhode Island public waters with the exception of Stafford Pond, Bowdish Reservoir, Olney Pond and according to coordinator and master fishing emcee RJ Alves, “Any very small choked out ponds.” You’ll need to be a member of RIKB to fish the tourney but that’s not a rule, that’s a treat.
They are a great bunch who might just teach you a thing or two about finding some of the biggest large mouths in the state.
So your job is to get a bunch of people together, join the group, identify a sweet water hole and get in on the action. Circle October 12 on your fishing calendar, load up the ‘yak and you just might take home some prize money. Reach out to RJ or Ryan Bessell through RIKB’s Facebook page and good luck.