The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) has completed the second phase of a two-year project to develop an evaluation model on the operational costs of on-demand fishing gear …
The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) has completed the second phase of a two-year project to develop an evaluation model on the operational costs of on-demand fishing gear technology for lobster fishermen.
On-demand fishing gear, commonly known as ropeless fishing gear, replaces traditional vertical buoy lines, which can result in entanglements with marine mammals including North Atlantic right whales, with new gear retrieval and marking methods. Most on-demand fishing gear systems consist of submerged buoyancy devices that are activated using time-release mechanisms or acoustic signals transmitted from the surface.
The report, Estimating the Costs of Using On-Demand Gear in Massachusetts Lobster Fisheries, examines the financial impacts of using the gear onboard lobster fishing vessels. The report model can be used to estimate operational costs, providing information that will assist in the consideration of fishery management scenarios involving entanglement risk-reducing fishing gear.
Because some types of on-demand gear require significantly more time to operate than traditional vertical line gear, the costs of using it were shown to be as high as the purchase price of the gear itself.
For information about on-demand gear research programs visit Conservation of Protected Marine Species | Mass.gov.
Fishing the dog days of summer
Last week the water temperature in Narragansett Bay was 76.2 degrees Fahrenheit compared to the ten year August average of 72.1 degrees. With unprecedented warming water like this you can expect two things.
First, pelagic fish such as tuna, mahi, bonito, cobia, Wahoo and shark species come close enough to shore so anglers can target and catch them. For example, on just one day, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2022 over twenty-four giant bluefin tuna were caught just two to three miles off Scarborough Beach, Narragansett and Newport.
The warm water has brought robust bait profiles close to shore that these animals (including whales and dolphin) love to eat. Bait includes mackerel of all types, silversides, sand eels, squid, peanut bucker, Atlantic menhaden to name a few. We have had these baits around before but due to warming water, a climate change impact, these baits are here in abundance, often all at the same time.
The second thing that happens when water warms in that bait and fin fish leave our bays, coves and estuaries for cooler deeper water.
So when the water temperature heats up you need to change your fishing strategy too.
The key to fishing the dog days of summer is water movement. You need to fish an area that gets flushed often or has structure such as under or near bridges, rock clusters, jetties, pylons, outcrops, points, ledges or peninsulas on land and wrecks.
The Cape Cod Canal pushes water, bait and fish, at high velocity often up to five knots. Also, the shipping channel in the East Passage of the Narragansett Bay from the southern tip of Prudence Island to Providence serves as a “fish highway” flushing that side of the Bay bringing bait and fish into the Bay. Places such as Warwick Neck; Providence Point, Sandy Point and the T-Wharf on Prudence Island; Poppasquash Point, Bristol; Sally’s Rock, Greenwich Bay; and Quonset Point, North Kingstown all serve as natural structure that can whip water around them along with bait fish and fin fish. The Jamestown, Mt. Hope and Newport Bridges serve as manmade fish magnets, funneling water, bait and fish.
So when the water is warm you have to take advantage of structure and fish where the fish are.
Where’s the bite?
Tuna. “The school tuna bite for bluefin and yellow fin has been good with a lot of small giant bluefin tuna being caught too. Some fish are now on the surface so anglers are using poppers to catch them as well as trolling and jigs when the fish are down,” said Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence.
Declan O’Donnell of Breachway Bait & Tackle, Charlestown, RI, said, “Call the shop to find out current information as to where anglers are catching tuna. Fishing is good with most fish being caught with jigs or by trolling.”
Summer flounder (fluke), black sea bass and scup. “Fishing for fluke has been pretty good right here in the Bay at the red bell in front of Warwick light with some weakfish being caught there too,” said Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box, Warwick. “Fluke fishing has been good along the coastal shore with a lot of shorts but also reports of limit catches including fish into the 7- to 8-pound range. Fishing for black sea bass has also been picking up locally with more keepers being reported,” said O’Donnell of Breachway Bait & Tackle. Henault of Ocean Sate Tackle, said, “Anglers are catching fluke and squeteague in front of Warwick Neck with a strong scup bite throughout the Bay. Black sea bass fishing has improved in the lower Bay.”
Striped bass and bluefish. “Striped bass are being caught in the Bay at night with anglers chunking Atlantic menhaden. While large bluefish are popping up in the Bay. The Newport bite is stil yielding large striped bass with some anglers catching bonito of Newport,” said Henault of Ocean State Tackle. “Schools of bluefish keep popping up in the Bay with the striped bass bite fairly strong off Newport where we have heard reports of some false albacore out in front too,” said Giddings of the Tackle Box.
“With this warm water anglers can still catch striped bass fishing live bait out in deeper water or fishing the shallower water and ponds after dark,” said O’Donnell. Kayak angler Tom Houde of West Warwick, said, “We are still catching some great bass at Brenton Reef, Newport trolling tube & worm where I caught a 39-inch fish last weekend. I lost a good one that ran straight to a lobster pot and wrapped around it.”
Freshwater fishing for largemouth bass continues to be better early morning and at dusk when things cool off. Giddings of the tackle Box said, “Freshwater fishing remains strong in the city and region. Fish are still ducking the heat fishing deeper water and shaded area is a good idea.” “Carbuncle Pond (Coventry) and Stump Pond (Smithfield) are producing largemouth bass for customers. The bite is still primarily with shiners.” said Henault of Ocean State Tackle.
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 email@example.com or visit www.noflukefishing.com.