A lot more than fish at the Fishing Show
This year’s New England Saltwater Fishing Show held at the Rhode Island Convention Center last weekend was a big success. The three day show had a vibe that I have not felt in recent years. Show attendance was great as usual, but last weekend sales were brisk and there was an unusually high level of excitement about the upcoming fishing season.
Seven Medeiros, president of the RI Saltwater Anglers Association (and show director) said, “Every day we had long lines at opening that stretched all the way to the hotel. We won’t know exact attendance numbers until we get a final report from the Convention Center but venders were very happy.”
Al Conti of Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown said, “The traffic and sales have been fantastic.” Capt. BJ Silvia of Flippin Out Charters said, “I like the traffic and interest we received for the charter business, our summer flounder (fluke) fishing rigs and new this year the interest we received for the electric Minn Kota motors we are representing. The motors feature “Spot-Lock”; a GPS based system that allows you to automatically hover in the same location (over structure, over fish).”
But the fishing show was about a lot more than fishing gear and tackle. Two programs that caught my attention included Veterans Angler Charters and Anglers for Offshore Wind Power.
Capt. Kathy Granfield, Director of Veteran Angler Charters said, “We are an all-volunteer organization that offers free, small group charter fishing trips to injured and recovering veterans. Our mission is to provide our troops with recreational rehabilitation and therapeutic support.” Granfield said, “We started in 2009 in Connecticut and due to our success now have Capt. Randy Bagwell of River Rebel Charters working Rhode Island waters and have the program in Massachusetts too.” Visit www.veterananglercharters.org for details.
Patrick Paquette, a recreational fishing community advocate, was working the Anglers for Offshore Wind Power booth. The organization aims to help support the responsible development of ocean wind farms while creating new fishing opportunities. In short the organization supports access to turbine pylons and foundations (being able to fish close to them); public input or angler engagement early in the planning process for ocean wind power development; and science…fisheries and habitat research before, during and after wind turbine construction.
Paquette said, “Recreational angler interest in wind farms in New England is very high. Nearly everyone that stopped by our booth had high praises for ocean wind farms and if they fished in the Block Island area, most said the Block Island Wind Farm has had a positive impact on fishing in the area.”
The organization was showing an underwater video of sea life around Block Island Wind Farm turbine pylons. The video was filled with sea life… mussel group with high numbers of scup and black seabass all around the pylon foundations with larger fish such as bluefish and striped bass just off the pylons. Visit www.anglersforoffshorewind.org for information.
Congratulations to Steve Medeiros and the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association for producing another great fishing show for New England.
Fly fishing workshops
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) will hold a series of free fly-tying workshops at public libraries in Charlestown, Middletown, Portsmouth and Little Compton. Participants will learn how to make their own freshwater flies over several weeks and will have an opportunity to fish using the flies they created at a special fishing event in June. The classes are designed for beginning and intermediate fly-tiers ages ten and older and will cover techniques for freshwater fishing.
Classes will be taught by experienced anglers from DEM’s Aquatic Resource Education program. All equipment and materials will be provided; however, participants are welcome to bring their own materials if desired. Space is limited and registration is required. To register, contact Scott Travers via email at Scott.email@example.com.
Scheduled events include: Cross’ Mills Public Library, 4417 Old Post Road, Charlestown on March 15, 22, 29, 6 to 8 p.m.; Middletown Public Library, 700 West Main Road, Middletown, April 30, May 7, & June 4, 6 to 7:30 p.m.; Portsmouth Free Public Library, 2658 East Main Road, Portsmouth, May 3, 10, 17, 6 to 8 p.m.; and Brownell Library, 44 Commons, Little Compton, May 9, 23, 30, 6 to 8 p.m.
Captain Dave Monti has been fishing and shellfishing 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at www.noflukefishing.com.