SPORTS

Wind Farm still yielding fish

by CAPTAIN DAVE MONTI
Posted 10/14/20

I fished briefly at the Block Island Wind Farm Friday as a recreational angler. And the good news is that it is still yielding fish into the fall season. We fished there with a video crew that interviewed me for a special report they are doing on

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SPORTS

Wind Farm still yielding fish

Posted

I fished briefly at the Block Island Wind Farm Friday as a recreational angler. And the good news is that it is still yielding fish into the fall season. We fished there with a video crew that interviewed me for a special report they are doing on offshore wind farms.

Within 10 minutes with two lines in the water four fish, a 14-inch scup (porgy) and three sea bass to keeper size, were caught right in front of the Block Island No. 5 turbine.

The Block Island Wind Farm, like wind farms in Europe, has increased fish abundance in the wind farm area. Even though fishing pressure has dramatically increased there, fishing is arguably better now. Friday we had a Connecticut party boat with fifty or so anglers on board and a few charter and private vessel fishing in the area.

Underwater photography of the pylons shows mussel growth and new habitat on the pylon bases and around them. Smaller fish feed off the new life such as scup, black sea bass and tautog with larger fish such as striped bass and bluefish circling the pylons hunting for dinner.

We have had four years fishing the Block Island Wind Farm now. Commercial gill nets are set up in the wind farm area, private boats, charter and large party boats as well as commercial trawlers and rod & reel fishermen fish there. They fish there because the fishing is good.

So it is about time we start to advocate for the responsible development of offshore wind farms as they have proven to be good for habitat, fish and fishers in Rhode Island and Europe. We need to insist on research and monitoring plans developed with angler input for every wind farm so we rely on science and fact based studies to measure the positive and negative impacts to habitat and fish before, during and after construction.

I was happy to catch fish within 10 minutes on Friday. It reinforced the thought that we need to measure the positive cumulative impacts offshore wind farms will have on habitat, fish and commercial and recreational fishers. Where’s the bite? Tautog fishing has been good when anglers have been able to get out and fish. High winds and seas have prevented some fishing this week. When water is turbid it kicks up sand into the water. The sand irritates the gills of tautog so they tend not to move around much and have difficulty seeing and fishing is not good. The hope is that by the end of the week things will settle down and tautog fishing will improve.

Before the storms fishing was good. Angler Eric Travis of Riverside, caught multiple tautog to 21-inches off Newport. Travis said, “I fished in the Brenton Reef area and was using a three once Tsunami yellow/green jig head with a full green crab with success.” Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box, Warwick, said, “Anglers are catching tautog at Ohio Ledge, the Mt. Hope Bridge and Rocky Point fishing pier. That Pier has constantly produced fish all season including keeper summer founder, large scup and now keeper tautog. I believe it is serving as a giant chum source with all the anglers fishing there. It has been great.”

Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick, said, “All the action is out in front of Newport, the Brenton Reef and Seal Rock area have three 30 feet humps and that is where most of the action is with customers catching large black sea bass, tautog and the nice surprise this year, an occasional keeper cod fish.” Abbie Smith of Quonnie Bait & Tackle, Charlestown said, “Customers are catching tautog from shore and boasts. The Quonnie Breachway and Watch Hill Light are producing for shore anglers.”

Striped bass, bluefish, false albacore. Smith of Quonnie said, “The beaches are on fire. Anglers are cashing fish 45-inches and larger form the beach. They are using epoxy jigs, Storm soft plastic baits and Deadly Dicks with success catching stripers, bluefish and false albacore. I weighed in a 7-pound, 2-once albie this weekend.” “Two of our staff fished the Weekapaug Breachway this weekend and caught six striped bass to 25 inches. The bite along the beaches has been hot until sunrise.”, said Dave Henault of Ocean State. Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box said, “The bass bite at Block Island is hot with angles using eels, and this week a customer caught a fish in the mid thirty inches range live lining a pogie around the Pawtucket Warwick area.”

Scup and black sea bass. “Scup are being caught in the upper Providence River with customers catching as many as 23 keeper scup this weekend.” said Henault of Ocean State.” Tom Giddings said, “Angler are catching large scup in the 16-18 inch range from the Rocky Point fishing pier.” The black sea bass bite continues to be good around Block Island and out in front of Brenton Reef.

Bluefin tuna. Dave Henault of Ocean Sate Tackle said, “I fished with three friends last week on Shark, Shark, Tuna Charters out of Yarmouth, MA. We boated a 250-pound bluefin tuna fishing with mackerel off Chatham.”

Freshwater fishing was good this weekend in ponds stocked with trout. For a list of stocked ponds in Massachusetts visit https://www.mass.gov/service-details/trout-stocking-report. Daily trout stocking updates in Rhode Island will be available each afternoon on the Rhode Island DEM Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/rifishwildlife/ or by calling 401-789-0281. Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle said, “A customer sent me a photo of a trout caught at Only Pond, Lincoln Woods. She caught her first fish using PowerBaits five minutes after she arrived at the pond.” Giddings of the Tackle Box said, “The bass bite has been very good with angle catching fish on the surface with trout fishing very good at Silver Spring Lake, North Kingstown and Carbuncle Pond, Coventry.”

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 dmontifish@verizon.net or visit www.noflukefishing.com and his blog at www.noflukefishing.blogspot.com.

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