The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Southeast Fisheries Science Center in Miami, Florida has been tagging fish for years with the help of fishermen and scientists throughout the world.
A 9-pound bluefin tuna caught, tagged and released by Capt. Al Anderson of Narragansett in 2004 at the Mudhole (about 17 miles east/southeast of Pt. Judith) was recaptured recently in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Sardinia, weighing in at 602 pounds.
Anderson, who has tagged more bluefin tuna than anyone else in the world, said, “This was the 13th bluefin tuna I caught, tagged and released. The tagging of fish caught by fishermen helps scientists determine their migratory pattern, define their populations and if possible, estimate their growth rates, population sizes and mortality rate.”
Tagging programs also help scientists determine the need for conservation programs, as well as how to plan for conservation programs.
“During the 11-year timeframe from point of tagging to point of recapture, this bluefin tuna traveled 3,865 miles,” said Anderson.
In 2012, Anderson, who served as captain on the Galilee-based charter boat
Debate to make striped bass a gamefish
The debate to make striped bass a gamefish that cannot be commercially harvested, continued with a recent data release by Stripers Forever.
Stripers Forever is a volunteer organization dedicated to making the striped bass a gamefish, and advocates for the conservation and responsible stewardship of wild striped bass along the Atlantic Coast.
In both Rhode Island and Massachusetts, Stripers Forever released information that suggests it would be financially advantageous if the states were to grant the striped bass gamefish status.
Frederic Jennings PhD, president of the Center for Ecological Economic and Ethical Education in Ipswich, Massachusetts, and co-chair of Stripers Forever in Massachusetts, released a study last month that suggests the recreational fishery for striped bass in Massachusetts vies with the commercial scallop fishery for most valuable in the Commonwealth.
Jennings claimed in a release, “Based on information provided by NOAA, the Massachusetts recreationally-allocated portion of the Wild Striped Bass (WSB) fishery is, on average, 130 times more economically valuable than the commercial component of this fishery.”
The release continues to suggest that “it would be wise to rethink our fisheries’ management policies with regard to this unique and valuable resource.”
However, there are two sides to every story and many recreational anglers, as well as commercial fishermen, are opposed to making striped bass a gamefish. Many say why give one portion of the fishing community exclusive rights to fish a species, because if it is a resource, shouldn’t it be shared and enjoyed by all?
Additionally, many believe that the commercial fishery provides all people (not just those that get to fish recreationally) access to fish, and in this case, it allows all citizens the ability to eat striped bass at the dinner table that they buy at the market or in a restaurant.
This will be a highly-debated topic moving forward.
Rhody Fly Rodders fishing meeting
The Rhody Fly Rodders’ next fishing meeting will be held in the Jacob's Point area of Warren, Rhode Island, on Saturday, May 28, at 7 a.m. Contact Peter Nilsen, club president, with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where’s the bite
Striped bass fishing exploded this week in the Narragansett and Mt. Hope Bays. Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box, Warwick, said, “My fishing partner, Adam James of Warwick, caught a 40-pound, 41 1/2 inch, striped bass off Warwick Light Saturday night and a 33-pound fish the following night. The bass were caught with Atlantic menhaden chunks, fishing off the bottom and using a bait runner reel. The 40-pound fish hit with a short burst and then the second time the fish ran and the reel was screaming. When Adam set the hook, the fish was so powerful it jerked him forward. We were in about 60 feet of water. When it got to the boat, only half the fish fit in the net and it rolled out, so I jumped on the swim platform as Adam held my belt and grabbed the fish under the gill and brought him into the boat.” Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown, said “The worm hatch in ponds continues to produce fish in the 24- to 26-inch range. Narragansett Bay and Mt. Hope Bay, in particular, were on fire this weekend. It’s rare when school bass, good size keeper bass and bluefish are here together, but that’s exactly what is happening.
“Red tubes are working well on the troll and anything white seems to be working, especially soft plastics, like Slug-Gos,” said Manny Macedo of Lucky Bait, Warren.
Mike Wade, of Watch Hill Outfitters, said, “We have a great worm hatch going in the Pawcatuck River with different areas of the River hatching at different times. The large fish are being caught with big baits such as pogies and eels. One of our kayak fishing customers caught a 23-pound and a 15-pound striper using swimming lures. The ones that rattle like the revised bombers are doing well.”
John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside, weighed in a 37-pound fish that was caught at low tide in the afternoon off Colt State Park. Albert Bettencourt and his son boated 24-, 23- and 16-pound bass live lining pogies between Barrington Beach, Rumstick Point and Barrington Beach.”
Tautog fishing is hit or miss. John Littlefield, of Archie’s Bait, said, “Tautog were caught at the BP marker and Conimicut Light last week… it seems the bite is on or not. Some customers limit out and go back the next day to the same spot without catching any keepers.”
“We weighed in a 12.9-pound tautog last week that was caught at Colt State Park. Fish have also been caught at the Mt. Hope Bridge, Ohio Ledge and the T-Wharf at Prudence Island,” said Manny Macedo of Lucky Bait.
Mike Wade, of Watch Hill Outfitters, said, “Our customers have a tendency not to target tautog in the spring and I believe they should do away with the spring season so no harm comes to them before breeding.”
Summer flounder (fluke) bite is starting to pick up along the coast, around Block Island, and there are some fish being caught in Narragansett Bay. Many anglers have not started summer flounder fishing as they are focusing on striped bass. Tom Giddings, of the Tackle Box, said, “Anglers are catching summer flounder in Greenwich Bay, in front of Warwick Light down to Rocky Point.”
This is the first report of fish in the Bay. Saturday was the best day so far this season for the Frances Fleet. Capt. Frank Blount said, “There were a couple of limit and near-limit catches, and just about everyone walked away with at least a couple keepers. Trips this past week fished to the east, all around Block Island and just about everywhere in between, with the best results found surprisingly close to home.”
Mike Wade, of Watch Hill Outfitters, said, “Customers continue to catch fish off Block Island. We had several in the 5- to 8-pound range this week, with a 28-inch fish that was nearly 10 pounds, all caught around Block Island. Locally, off southern coastal shores, a lot of shorts continue to be caught with some keepers mixed in.”
Block Island seems to be the place for fluking now. I tried several places in the Bay this weekend and off Newport and Jamestown, and had no luck, but that could change quickly with the warm days forecasted for this week.
Squid fishing along the southern coastal shore has been very good. Watch Hill Outfitters measured a squid that was 14 inches to the mantle and a total length of 23 inches.
“So the squid are large and are being caught off the beaches in about 40 to 50 feet of water,” said Wade.
Squid fishing off Newport, Jamestown and Pt. Judith was spotty this week.
Bluefin tuna were spotted this weekend in local waters. Elisa Cahill, of Snug Harbor Marina, said, “Bluefin were spotted at the Southwest Ledge and at the tip of the North Rip off Block Island, as well as at the Hooter.”
No reports of anglers fishing and catching them yet.
Fresh water fishing remains strong with anglers still fishing for trout, particularly at ponds restocked by the Department of Environmental Management, and those that have been stocked with Golden Rainbow Trout. (visit www.dem.ri.gov for a complete list of ponds restocked and to learn about the Golden Trout program.)
Captain Dave Monti has been fishing and shell fishing for over 40 years. He holds a captain’s master license and a charter fishing license. He is a RISAA board member, a member of the RI Party & Charter Boat Association and a member of the RI Marine Fisheries Council. Contact or forward fishing news and photos to Capt. Dave at email@example.com or visit his website at www.noflukefishing.com.