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RICAC Emerges & Treonze Wins Big

A new advocacy group has formed in the wake of concerns of how our Coastal Resources Management Council publically notifies shoreline abutters and users of public trust waters when applications for commercial business licenses are considered. The RI Coastal Advocacy Coalition coalesced around the idea that CRMC needs to reform, in some cases radically, not only how it informs potential abutters to commercial businesses like shellfish aquaculture but also how they consider potential impacts on historic recreational uses like swimming, sailing, fishing and clamming. Perry Raso’s move to expand his oyster farm in South Kingstown’s Potter Pond, despite ardent opposition by many year round recreational users, along with applications to develop deep and shallow water shellfish farms near the Seapowet Marsh in areas heavily and historically used by recreational anglers and hunters, have largely proceeded with little public notice outside of official website listings which many never knew existed. And that’s the long ignored rub.

Signs of opposition have sprouted in Tiverton

Tiverton’s Seth and Deb Hagen saw an opportunity with RI House Bill 6252, meant to study and reorganize CRMC. They assembled motivated, experienced and concerned people from around the state to redefine priorities and communication protocols with their thorough, thoughtful letter to the Special Commission charged with analyzing how CRMC manages its responsibilities. Personally, we believe CRMC and their aquaculture coordinator need to finalize whether they are working to promote private businesses in public waters at the expense of historical users or if they are determined to protect our history of recreational and commercial uses with careful positioning of leases which minimize negative effects on those historic users.  The issue really is not the business of shellfish growing businesses, it’s how applications are noticed, how hostoricalk uses are valued and how they are ultimately sited. There may be no easy answers here but this new Coalition clearly wants change; now it’s time to see how motivated regulators and politicians are to accept that if nothing changes, then nothing changes. We are seeing positive signs on the horizon.

Todd Treonze Wins Big

Todd Treonze has been awarded the Ocean State Kayak Anglers Association 2021 Angler of the Year. Todd earned this honor after a busy few seasons chasing stripers, blues, tautog, albies and largely anything with fins. Newport is a favorite haunt and as a relatively new Rhode Island kayak fisherman, it did not take long for him to get local places wired.

“It’s an absolute honor to be recognized by OSKAA. Over the past several years I have had the chance to meet dozens of the crew and have learned an incredible amount from the more experienced members of the group. From key insights that led me to buy a Hobie Outback, to learning the ins and outs of the Lowrance platform, to exploring new waters and techniques, I have so much to thank OSKAA for,” Todd said. OSKAA meets frequently throughout the state, following fish movements, bait patterns and weather. It’s a hardcore group of passionate kayakers who clearly enjoy each other’s company.

Todd Treonze hides behind a sweet striped bass

“I am most grateful for the friendships made through the group,” Todd added, “and for the many hours of laughs and memories that I can take with me into the dark cold winter ahead. I look forward to fishing with many of you next year and helping new members of the group experience all that I have in the years to come.” Cheers to Todd Treonze and to the entire OSKAA membership.

Dennis Zambrotta knows his way around Block Island

While Todd and his fellow kayakers had a busy summer striper season, the fall striper run has been a bit disappointing. With the exception of some big Pt. Judith light nights and a few being dragged up onto some slimy Charlestown Breachway rocks, a much anticipated migratory blast of fish feeding on what has been a largely epic year of inshore baitfish populations has failed to produce. Back in the day, sometimes right up until Thanksgiving, Block Island was a renowned destination for hearty surfcasters. For weeks of cold nights, Black Rock, Southwest Point, Grace, Dories and Cow Cove would draw sportsmen who knew the potential to land thirty, forty and fifty pound bass on big Danny plugs and heavy needlefish. That reputation has waned over the last few years but noted surfcaster and author of “Surfcasting Around The Block,” Dennis Zambrotta knows there’s always hope.

“A basic package of surfcasting lures to use on Block Island,” he advised, “are needlefish plugs, Cotton Cordell Redfins, needlefish plugs, Red Gill Rascal teasers, Super Strike Darters (Zig-Zags), needlefish plugs, eels (live and/or rigged) and Hopkins No-Eql 2 ounce tin with white tubes. Did I mention needlefish plugs? Day in, night out, needlefish plugs are the most effective plug to use on Block Island.  I often refer to Block Island as “Needlefish Island” or the “Needlefish Proving Grounds”.  Make sure to have some Gibbs or Super Strike needlefish in the Neon Green back and white belly color pattern, often referred to as “Block Island Green”. Thank you Dennis, you are a gentleman and a wealth of knowledge.

Greg Vespe with a 7.5# November bonito

And just when you thought the warm water fishes had all moved south or deep, RISAA member Jason Grear reported seeing, “Albies mixed in with stripers around the center wall this morning. It’s like they’re trying to trick me into continuing my season.” Indeed, there is always hope. Just ask new RISAA Executive Director Greg Vespe. Just prior to his first day on the job, he found a 7.5# bonito on the tog grounds south of Newport. There’s always hope.

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