Tuesday the time of this writing water temperature at Conimicut Point was 62 degrees F, at Narragansett Pier it was 55 degrees F and sea water temperature at Narragansett Pier is expected to rise to …
Tuesday the time of this writing water temperature at Conimicut Point was 62 degrees F, at Narragansett Pier it was 55 degrees F and sea water temperature at Narragansett Pier is expected to rise to 58.6°F in the next 10 days. Average May sea temperature at Narragansett Pier is 51°F, the average for June is 60.3°F. Climate change experts tell us 2019 was the second warmest year on earth (on record), which makes the past five years the warmest five years on record.
With all this heat, what impact does it have on summer flounder (fluke), the forage they like to eat (squid, silver sides, sand eels and more), and how can you alter you fluke fishing strategies to catch them?
My experience is that the summer flounder (fluke) are coming earlier than ever before, following the bait. Last year the best fluke fishing was early in June, even close in shore. This year, due to a continued warming trend, I am expecting fluke to arrive early.
Last year the fluke bite off Block Island, in the Bay and along the coast was early. Once water warned in July and August fishing was spotty. In June last year the bite was as good as it gets in the mid-and lower Bay region before the fish move out to deeper, cooler water.
The fluke season runs from May 1 to December 31 in Rhode Island with a six fish/angler/day limit and a 19-inch minimum size. In Massachusetts the minimum size is 17 inches, five fish/person/day.
Rhode Island also has a special shore area provision. Two fish 17-inch minimum size are allowed in special shore areas only. Visit www.dem.ri.gov for special shore areas.
By Aug. 1 last year fluke fishing had dropped off. Mike Cardinal of Misquamicut Bait & Tackle said, “Fluke fishing along the southern coastal shore is tough, anglers are catching plenty of small fish but not a lot of keepers. It’s about 30 shorts to one keeper.” Michael Callahan of Red Top Sporting Goods, Buzzards Bay said, “Fluke fishing has been difficult in Buzzards Bay but things are improving a bit for anglers with larger fish.”
Most all of the large fluke we have caught on my charter boat in July and August were caught on edges and in deeper water. Summer flounder look into the current to ambush bait fish, and the larger ones like to use edges for cover. What I mean by edges is bottom structure such as reefs, channel edges, flat areas at the foot of jetties, open sandy spaces between bottom structure, underwater valley edges, etc.
Another important factor is water movement. When water is warm in August fish often can be found in deeper water and/or water that is moving and tossing around bait such as bridge abutments, jetty and channel edges, etc.
Search ‘larger fluke’ and ‘fluke tips’ when visiting www.noflukefishing.blogspot.com for tips from the experts on how to catch larger fluke as well as a list of my favorite places to catch fluke. Where’s the bite?
Bluefish and striped bass bite continues to be strong. John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside said, “The school bass bite is very good with some nice larger fish mixed in. One customer caught a 37-inch and then a 40-inch fish off Sabin’s Point with worms. Another was using chunks of Atlantic menhaden off Barrington Beach and landed seventeen fish (one keeper).” “Anglers are reminded that we have a slot limit this year, one fish/angler/day in the slot limit of 28” to < 35”. We have some customers confused about this as they are now catching larger striped bass. Last night one of our customers caught a 37-inch striped bass at the Hurricane Barrier in Providence using menhaden chunks. The pogies were all the way up the Providence River at the Hurricane Barrier.” said Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence. “We had another customer catch a nice squeteague (weak fish) at Sally Rock, Warwick in Greenwich Bay this week. The bluefish are also running strong with mixed sizes small to large. In fact many anglers are switching to using menhaden chunks as the bluefish are interfering with their striped bass fishing.”
Summer flounder (fluke) fishing is building. No reports of many keepers being caught in the Bay. However, the bite at Block Island is improving. Angler Derek Kolodziejczak said, “Fished the south west side of Block Island with my brother Matt and friend Ron from 6am-11am Sunday. Water temp was 53 degrees. We all used Bucktails and gulp and boated seven keepers up to 9 lbs. we must have caught roughly 30 -40 short fluke as well. It was a little rough out there early this am but well worth the trip.” Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “Things are starting to look up in Rhode Island. We finally got word from the state on when we can sail, when out of state can come and capacity. We kicked off our season this week for fluke. We are allowed to take 27 people by RESERVATION ONLY. This is very important as we do not want to leave anglers at the dock.”
Cod fishing is very good. Capt. Rick Bellavance of Priority Too charters said, “The cod bite has been outstanding. We caught 20 keepers in the 21-26-inch range today. Keeper to short ratio was about one to one.” Anglers Paul and Pauline Boutiette said hooked up with cod at the East Grounds earlier this week. Paul said, “Hooked up with eleven keepers to 28” at the East Grounds. Tried clams on one rod for a while but two hours and not one clam was taken until a dog took one clam and a BSB took another.”
Scup and balck sea bass (sea bass not allowed to be taken in RI yet, season opens June 24). Scup fishing has improved in the mid and lower Narragansett Bay with fish being taken off Britol, Newport, Jamestown and North Kingstown area. The black sea bass bite in Buzzard’s Bay was good this week. Angler Dave Garzoli said, “The wind was howling all day (Sunday) and the seas where rough. We had a steady pick of seabass in our 1st location and picked away at the occasional Tide and wind together made for quick drifts. After a bit of a grind that produce 6 keepers. We moved around and eventually ended out on Cleveland's ledge. We stayed on the outskirts of the fleet and found a better pick of seabass. At this point we hit the 3-person limit fairly quick. Fish were caught on a couple ounce Hogie jigs that I replaced the trebles with a single hook buck tail and hi lo pink and white small squid skirts tipped with squid. I would say the jig out fished the bait and definitely landed the biggest fish.”
Dave Monti 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, the American Saltwater Guides Association and the RI Marine Fisheries Council. Forward fishing news and photos to Capt. Dave at email@example.com or visit www.noflukefishing.com and his blog at www.noflukefishing.blogspot.com .