Now’s the time to try fluke fishing

PHOTO COURTESY OF CAPT. DAVE MONTI-Abby and Eric Wiler from Palm Beach, Fla., with a big sea bass that Abby caught on Saturday aboard the Lady Frances.

PHOTO COURTESY OF CAPT. DAVE MONTI-Abby and Eric Wiler from Palm Beach, Fla., with a big sea bass that Abby caught on Saturday aboard the Lady Frances.

Summer flounder (fluke) fishing has been pretty good this year.

“Fluke fishing along the southern coastal shore has been outstanding so far this season,” said Mike Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters in Westerly.

Capt. Rick Bellavance, president of the RI Party & Charter Boat Association said, “Fluke, black sea bass, scup and striped bass fishing were all great at Block Island. It’s been the best week for charter boats so far.”

So if you haven’t given summer flounder fishing a try, now is the time. This year. recreational regulations are the same as last year — minimum size is 18 inches with an eight fish/person/day bag limit. Fluke season runs from May 1 to Dec. 31.

Here are 10 fluke-fishing tips I like to remind myself of when planning a trip.

• Wind and tide should be in line as you want to drag (or drift) over the front of the fish so it sees your bait, drift over the back of the fish and it may never see your bait.

• Fish low/high/low bottom… this means fishing channel breaks, edges of structure, etc. My largest fluke have been caught on edges.

• Match the hatch tipping with squid, blue fish, bass, silversides, mummies, minnows. Often times whatever we catch (or seem to be in the water where we are fishing) I will cut up and strip for the fluke rigs.

• Trailer teasers work, my largest fish have been caught with the trailer stinger bucktail

• Find the fish, repeat pattern… noting both location and depth

• Power drift (putting boat in and out of gear to go slow) for movement at slack tide.

• Both jigs and traditional fluke rigs work

• Fluke face into current to feed, drag bait over front of fluke from boat or shore

• Power drift or troll perpendicular when wind and tide not ideal

• Personal favorite is big bait… Capt. Monti’s fluke cocktail… squid rig tipped with squid, fluke belly and horizontal minnow, believe that big baits catch big fish, you will catch fewer fish but they will be larger.

Where’s the bite

Striped bass fishing opened up at Block Island this week.

“Charter boats have been having great success with striped bass around Block Island with full limits on most trips. There are loads of bluefish around for those who like fresh blue to grill or smoke,” Capt. Bellavance said.

Angler Eric Appolonia said, “I fished the southwest side of Block Island Sunday and had no trouble landing bass in the mid 20 pound range trolling a green umbrella rig. My brother David did well too catching three fish in the 20 to 30 pound range.” Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence said, “Capt. BJ Silvia has been catching bass to 30 pounds in the shallows mid Bay on topwater plugs… Capt. Rene Letourneau has been catching bass fly fishing on the west side of Prudence Island… and we still have striped bass in the Bay with school size bass (with larger ones in the mix) chasing small bait off Newport.”

Mike Wade of Watch Hill outfitters, Westerly said, “Montauk seems to be the place to fish for bass as anglers are boating fishing in the 30-pound range. Another hot area is the Cerbeus Shoal area (about half way between Fishers Island and Montauk).”

Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick said, “Striped bass fishing continues to be good in the Bay. There are just as many bass up the Providence River as there were earlier this spring.” Manny Macedo of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren said, “Bass are still being caught in the Bay. However they are on the move, Providence was off and then it lite up for a couple of days so they can be anywhere on any given day.” Angler Ed Lombardo said he fly fished the Barrington River last week, “We fished Sunday morning on an incoming tide and did very well. This tide as you know brings in cooler water and the bass like that. We caught a good number of bass mostly small. Some fish where 15” to 16”, but a lot of fun on a 6wt. rod. Shrimp patterns and sand ell patterns with an intermediate fly line worked well.”

Summer flounder (fluke) fishing is heating up. “Anglers are still catching keeper fluke in the Warwick Light (red bell) area. Areas south of the Jamestown Bridge have been good for customers too,” Ferrara said.

“The Sakonnet River area is hot with some reports of fish being caught in the Mt. Hope Bridge area and in the Newport area.” said Macedo.

Wade said, “Fluke fishing along the southern coastal shore has been outstanding so far. Smaller fish are holding in the 30-foot range but the larger ones are in 60 to 80 feet of water. You will catch fewer fish in deeper water but they are more likely to be larger fish.”

Black sea bass fishing is outstanding. “Black sea bass fishing was great this week with most anglers limiting out on fluke trips and sizes angina to five pounds,” said Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet.

Scup fishing has exploded in Narraganset Bay and along coastal shores. “The big shore fish right how is scup as anglers are landing large scup shore with ease,” Wade said.

Offshore. The Charter fishing vessels Maridee II and the Striker both landed mako sharks in the 200-plus pound range on Saturday. Capt. Bellavance reports a good number of blue sharks caught on his shark trips last week.

Courtesy of Providence Journal by Dave Monti on July 7, 2016

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