‘I let out a holler that is still vibrating around Newport’

Posted 6/30/21

Last Friday Greg Vespe of Tiverton caught a 15-pound 8-once, 31.5- inch summer flounder (fluke) while fishing off Newport with his friend Capt. BJ Silvia of Flippin Out Charters.

The State of …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

‘I let out a holler that is still vibrating around Newport’


Last Friday Greg Vespe of Tiverton caught a 15-pound 8-once, 31.5- inch summer flounder (fluke) while fishing off Newport with his friend Capt. BJ Silvia of Flippin Out Charters.

The State of Rhode Island record is 17 pounds, 8 ounces. So this is a big fish. A trophy catch for any angler.

Greg Vespe said, “My rod just got heavy, no nibble or classic kind of tap tap, the whole thing loaded up.

For a second I thought I had a lobster pot line, then you could tell it was definitely something alive and it came up relatively easily the first 40 feet. When it realized it was hooked it decided to fight, and what a fight.

Even though my drag was tight she went all the way back down to the bottom and bulldozed for a bit. Finally she started to come back up.

When we saw it BJ was ready with the net and he didn’t miss, one scoop and she was in the boat! I let out a holler that is probably still vibrating around Newport.”

Greg caught the fluke with a fairly rare/hard to find deep purple squid body Capt. BJ fluke rig tipped with a six inch gulp and a teaser up above the rig tipped with a squid strip. The reel was a Diawa Saltist (40) spooled with 40-pound braid and a 30- pound monofilament top shot. The rod was custom built by Ted Zack of Aquidneck Island Rod Builders, a MHX 70 carbon fiber blank.

Summer flounder (fluke) fishing in Rhode Island runs from May 1 to December 31. The minimum size is 19 inches with a six fish/person/day limit.

Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful

A preliminary report to the National Climate Task Force titled “Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful” was highlighted to recreational fishing stakeholder leaders last week at a National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) listening session.

The report was an integrated agency effort between the Departments of Commerce, Interior, Aquaculture and the Council on Environmental Quality to address the nation’s 30 by 30 plan. The 30 by 30 plan aims to conserve 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by the year 2030. It is part of President Biden’s Executive Order on climate change which focuses on reducing pollution, promotes a greener environment and tackles the climate crises.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, right now about 12 percent of the land in the U.S. is in conservation.

Studies show that roughly 23 percent of America’s ocean is currently strongly protected, with the vast majority of ocean protections found in the western Pacific Ocean.

Two initiatives are suggested in the report to address baseline data (where are we now in regard to a goal of 30 percent) and how do we measure progress toward that goal.

In regard to developing a baseline an American Conservation and Stewardship Atlas was recommended.

And, an America the Beautiful Annual Report was recommended to measure progress.

To bring NOAA’s work in conservation to light, a list of initiatives (or Authorities/Acts) that already work toward conservation were highlighted.

They included the National Marine Sanctuaries Act, Coastal Zone Management Act, Magnuson- Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, Endangered Species Act and the Antiquities Act (if comanagement prescribed by proclamation).

At last Thursday’s meeting I raised the concern of some recreational anglers when marine sanctuaries were rolled out by past administrations many felt the process was not inclusive and the initial suggestion was to exclude all fishing. NOAA staff at the meeting outlined how this process has and will be inclusive of all state holders.

In regard to excluding fishing Russell Dunn, NOAANational Policy Advisor for Recreational Fisheries, responded to my question, “This is not an effort to restrict activity but rather to conserve.” Dunn referenced page ten of the Conserving and Restoring American the Beautiful Report that says “Notably, the President’s challenge specifically emphasizes the notion of “conservation” of the nation’s natural resources (rather than the related but different concept of “protection” or “preservation”) recognizing that many uses of our lands and waters, including of working lands, can be consistent with the long-term health and sustainability of natural systems.”

Key questions for future NOAA engagement include: What baseline conservation actions are currently effective? What criteria should we use to identify and select areas for additional conservation and restoration?

Are there areas — new areas or enhancements of existing areas — that meet these criteria? and How should we support and collaborate
with stakeholders?

Watch for NOAApublic input sessions on the Conserving and Restoring American the Beautiful report.

Where’s the bite?

Striped bass and bluefish. Striped bass fishing in the upper Providence River has slowed, however, some slot fish are still be caught there. The mid- Bay, East Passage is yielding fish live lining and chucking Atlantic menhaden as well as trolling with tube and worm. Matt Conti of Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown, said, “There is an early a.m. bass bite on the Southwest side of Block Island. Anglers are hooking up with eels and trolling umbrella rigs.”

Black sea bass, scup and summer flounder (fluke). Matt Conti of Sung Harbor said, “When wind and tide are in line anglers are doing well, catching all their keepers in an hour or two.” Angler Greg Vespe of Tiverton is reporting a fluke bite off Newport were he caught a 15- pound, 8-once fluke last week (see above story). We fished north and south of the Newport and Jamestown Bridges Sunday and Monday and managed to hook up some keeper fluke, black sea bass and scup.

When conditions are right anglers are catching keeper fluke along the southern coastal beaches with shorts mixed in.

Bluefin tuna. Angler Eric Weybrant and his daughter Rowan Alexander fished for bluefin tuna Saturday, said, “The BFT bite is still strong SE of Block Island. We started trolling West of the Gully about 6:30 a.m. and worked East. Nothing happening for us in a couple hours but there were some reports on the radio of people catching at the Mud Hole, the Gully, and Coxes. We ended up moving over toward Coxes starting on top of the SW corner then finally found fish a couple miles South.”

Dave Monti holds a captain’s master license and charter fishing license. He serves on a variety of boards and commissions and has a consulting business focusing on clean oceans, habitat preservation, conservation, renewable energy, and fisheries related issues and clients. Forward fishing news and photos to or visit

fishing, sports


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here