No Fluke

How to get the most out of the fishing show

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If you want to enhance your fishing adventures this year, the New England Saltwater Fishing Show can help with instruction for beginners to accomplished fishermen and the latest in gear and tackle.

It’s that time of year. It’s time to get excited about fishing and the New England Saltwater Fishing Show, March 10-12, the largest show of its type in the northeast. I enjoy attending the seminars (over 60 this year) and learning about fishing tactics and strategies from top fishermen and charter captains in the region. And there will also be nearly 300 exhibitors with show specials on fishing tackle and gear to help land fish.

To get the most out of the show, I select the exhibitor booths I want to visit before the show by circling them in the program and marking them on the show floor plan. I then spend some time reviewing the seminar topics and speakers, noting the ones I want to attend and the times they are offered (most are offered more than once).
You can do your research at the show once you have a program in hand or before the show by visiting the show website at nesaltwatershow.com. There you will find a complete list of seminar topics from bottom fishing for summer flounder and tautog to fishing for big game like giant bluefin tuna that can be as large as 1,000 pounds.

The New England Saltwater Fishing Show is being held at the Rhode Island Convention Center Friday, March 10 from 1 to 8 p.m.; Saturday, March 11 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sunday, March 12 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The 300 exhibits include tackle, rods, reels, lures, electronics, charter guides, boats, motors, accessories, clothing and much more.

Sunday is family day at the show. All women and children under 12 will be admitted free. A scavenger hunt for children will also be held Sunday. As a child enters the show with a parent they are given a scavenger hunt search sheet that can net them a variety of prizes.

Tickets for the show are $10 at the door. Children 12 and under are admitted free. A $1 discount coupon is available online at nesaltwatershow.com.

Special show speakers include National Geographic’s ‘Wicked Tuna’ Capt. Dave Carraro and mate Capt. Sandro Maniaci of the F/V TUNA.COM (top captain/boat on the TV show Wicked Tuna). The duo will take the show stage on Saturday and Sunday and talk about what goes on behind the scenes when filming the Wicked Tuna show.

Black sea bass regulations to be liberalized

For several years now anglers have said, “You can’t drop a hook without catching a black sea bass.” Yet black sea bass regulations have become more restrictive over the years. Now we have a stock assessment that found the stock is not overfished and overfishing is not occurring.

So black sea bass (BSB) Recreational Harvest Limits (RHL) have been liberalized, however, last year we overfished and have to make up for the overage. So 2017 regulations will likely be similar to 2016 and moving forward we may experience some liberalization.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC), the two fisheries management bodies that make black sea bass regulations for Rhode Island and other coastal states, enhanced harvest limits which will result in liberalized fishing regulations in both state and federal waters.

For the first time the black sea bass stock was modeled as two separate sub-units. Rhode Island is now part of the ‘Northern’ sub-unit which covers Massachusetts through New Jersey. ‘Northern’ states have the flexibility to continue 2016 measures or develop new measures that will collectively constrain harvest to the 2017 Recreational Harvest Limit.

Recreational BSB regulations for 2017 will likely be similar to last year with a 15” minimum size and a split season. Three fish/person/day between June 24 and August 31 and a seven fish/person/day limit from September 1 to December 31. Some are advocating for an earlier start to the season so anglers can keep some of the sea bass they catch when fishing for fluke in late May and June and doing away with the days in the fall that the Federal back sea bass season is closed. Rhode Island regulations should be finalized by Janet Coit, DEM director, sometime in March.
With improved recruitment and declining fishing mortality rates since 2007, the black sea bass Spawning Stock Biomass (SSB) has steadily increased. SSB in 2015 was estimated at 48.9 million pounds, 2.3 times the SSB target of 21.3 million pounds, and fishing mortality (F) was estimated at 0.27, well below the F target of 0.36.

The stock status of BSB has been difficult for mangers to measure as BSB are a protogynous hermaphrodite, which change sex from female to male, the assessment defined SSB as the total of male and female mature biomass which accounts for changes in sex ratio. Additionally, a large 2011 fish class which is currently moving through the fishery, dominated in the northern (Rhode Island) area and less so in the southern area.

The distribution of black sea bass continues to expand northward. Many believe climate change and warming water greatly contribute to the northward expansion of the species.

For more information about summer flounder, scup, or black sea bass please contact Kirby Rootes-Murdy, Senior FMP Coordinator, at krootes-murdy@asmfc.org.

Where’s the bite

Cod fishing was mixed last week. Even though seas were calm the fishing was off some days. It was hit or miss, however, it is still worth giving cod fishing a try. Party boats sailing for cod fish at this time include the Frances Fleet at francesfleet.com , the Seven B’s (with Capt. Andy Dangelo at the helm) at sevenbs.com, and the Island Current at islandcurrent.com .

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 dmontifish@verizon.net or visit his website at noflukefishing.com.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.