Black sea bass season open

This year, the minimum size for black sea bass in Rhode Island is 15 inches, last year it was 14. The first sub-period started June 24 and runs to Aug. 31 with a three fish/person/day limit. The second sub-period runs from Sept. 1 to Dec. 31 with a seven fish/person/day limit.

PHOTO COURTESY OF CAPT. DAVE MONTIJack Sprengel of Warwick took first place in the Fishing for a Cause tournament with this 25.25-inch summer flounder (fluke).

PHOTO COURTESY OF CAPT. DAVE MONTIJack Sprengel of Warwick took first place in the Fishing for a Cause tournament with this 25.25-inch summer flounder (fluke).

Anglers have been catching keeper-size black sea bass since early spring before the season opened while fishing for tautog and summer flounder. So this should be a good year for black sea bass. Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, in Providence, said, “Right now the black sea bass bite is far more productive than the summer founder bite off Newport and Jamestown.” Anglers have been catching black sea bass when fishing for summer flounder (fluke) in the four to five pound range. I caught several this weeks at Warwick Light.

Where’s the bite

Black sea bass and summer flounder (fluke) fishing improved this week with Block Island’s south side and the southern coastal shore being good spots.

Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet, said, “It was a good week for fluke fishing with excellent results on sea bass when the season opened this week. Easy boat limits of big sea bass were attained with fish up to and over 5 pounds recorded. Solid fluke results each day but anglers often had to work for them a bit. Still a respectable amount of anglers amassed four to six keepers apiece with a couple of anglers managing a boat limit this week. The biggest fish of the week was taken by longtime regular Joe Gagne of Cumberland, RI who put a fine 12.3 pound slab on the deck of the Gail Frances Saturday. Joe caught this mammoth fluke on a half-ounce white Spro tipped with squid and spearing.”

Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle in Providence, said “The summer flounder bite has not been great yet, but the black sea bass bite has been good off Newport and Jamestown.

“We weighed in a 9.1-pound fluke from the southwest side of Block Island this week. The best bite is definitely at Block Island. And the black sea bass bite is great with some very nice fish being taken at the Hooter Buoy, off the center wall (of the Harbor of Refuge) and along the coast in the Greenhill area,” said Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown.

“Fluke fishing at Warwick Light was on and off this week… one day anglers were catching them and the next day nothing.” said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside. Capt. Rick Bellavance of Priority Too charters said, “We’re happy the fluke bite is good off Block Island as the bass bite has been off the past two weeks.”

The striped bass bite disappeared off Block Island this week. Some think it was the full moon. I think it will return by the end of the week. One customer was spotting them at the Southwest Ledge on his fish finder but they were just not biting,” said Cahill.

Bellavance said, “The bass fishing has not been good but we hear they are nailing them in states south of us and the hope is the bait and the fish will be holding on Block Island by the end of the week.”

“Smaller striped bass in the 12-to-15 pound range are being caught in the Warren River with pogies (Atlantic menhaden) being the bait of choice. However, anglers are saying the Atlantic menhaden are not plentiful this year, they are very hard to come by compared with the last couple of years,” said Littlefield.

Henault of Ocean State Tackle said, “Capt. Jack Sprengel of East Coast Charters is catching striped bass in the Providence River to 30 pounds using live and chucked Atlantic menhaden. There is also a good bass bite on the east side of Prudence Island.”

The scup bite is still good with anglers catching them all over. “Colt State Park and the Mt. Hope Bridge have been good areas to fish for scup. They have been catching large fish there in the 15” to 20” range,” Littlefield said, “The scup bite has improved in the upper bay with anglers now starting to catch them a Sabin Point and at the Barrington Bridge.”

Offshore: “The charter boat Lady K landed a 110-pound mako shark last week. Many other smaller makos where taken by anglers too. Bluefin tuna were sited on the surface this week at Cox’s Ledge but no one has hooked-up with them yet.”

Courtesy of Providence Journal by Dave Monti on June 30, 2016

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