No Fluke

Lighten up to catch bonito and false albacore

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Bonito are still running strong with some false albacore too along our coastal shore. Newport and Narragansett are hot spots with these fish now starting to be caught along the Massachusetts shore. Ed Parisi, a bonito and false albacore fishing expert from Tsunami Fishing Tackle, shared his thoughts on how to hook one of these speedsters recently at a RI Saltwater Anglers Association meeting.

One of my take-a-ways from the meeting was “lightening up”. Bonito and false albacore are very sensitive to line and tackle in the water. Parisi said, “These fish have large eyes, like most species form the tuna family and can see very well. They rely on their sight a lot when feeding so the more you have in the water in terms line, leader thickness and swivels the greater the chances are that these fish are going to see it and not bite. I use a 15 pound braid with a 10 to 15 pound fluorocarbon leader with direct tie offs and no swivels. I have never had a breakoff using this weight line as long as my drag was set properly.”

Where’s the bite?

Freshwater. Jason Macedo of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren said, “The water is cooling off a bit and anglers are experiences a much better largemouth bass bite with Olney Pond at Lincoln Woods yielding fish for customers during sunrise and early morning hours.” John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside, said, “A customer caught a ten pound carp at Slater Memorial Park in Pawtucket.” Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence, said, “Customers are having good success with largemouth bass in a number of ponds and lakes. So the freshwater bite is turning on.”

Summer flounder (fluke), black sea bass, scup. Effective September 1 the black sea bass limit has increased to seven fish/person/day. The minimum size is still 15 inches. Littlefield said, “Scup is the only fish being caught in the upper bay with any regularity. We have had some small black sea bass being caught at Hanes Park.” Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “The fluke fishing has remained very strong. It had slowed up a bit with massive piles of scup moving onto the grounds. High hook still left with limits of fluke to ten pounds. Along with these piles of scup are more and more sea bass to five pounds. The last trip was the slowest but we still managed to catch over 100 keeper fluke with a full limit of sea bass.” Henault said, “Customers have been catching keeper fluke and black sea bass in the Bay at Warwick Light and around Prudence Island. They seem to be back in the bay chasing peanut bunker. The scup bite is good in many places, customers are catching a number of fish but they are not as large as they were earlier this year.” Macedo said, “With the water cooling off a bit earlier this week the Newport Bridge bite improved greatly with keeper fluke, black sea bass, bluefish and school bass being caught at the bridge.”

Tautog fishing is starting to pick up as anglers are now targeting them a bit more. Littlefield said, “Customers targeting tautog have only caught a few short fish.” Henault said, “Anglers are catching tautog at Beavertail Point from shore, at Matunuck and along the southern coastal shore.” Macedo said, “Our customers are catching keeper tautog.”

Striped bass and bluefish. Littlefield said, “Customers have caught small school bass in the Bay with no reports of keepers yet. We have had some small bluefish and some snapper blues in Barrington Beach and off Sabin Point.” Macedo said, “School striped bass are now being caught in Narragansett Bay with some keepers being caught out in front at Newport and well as in the Newport Bridge area with some good sized bluefish.” Henault said, “The striped bass bite has improved at Block Island after the cold front came through. Anglers are having luck using eels as bait. We do have some school bass in the upper bay and in the rivers along with some pogies.”

Bonito and false albacore. Henault said, “The bonito bite remains very strong with fish being caught at Pt. Judith and west. The false albacore bite is not strong at this time. Just a few reports of anglers landing them.”

Offshore. The offshore bite is picking up for both yellowfin and bluefin tuna, said Henault.

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 www.noflukefishing.com.

Dave Monti

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