Release those large breeding-sized stripers
The striped bass spawning stock biomass has been on the decline since 2004. And, many say the 28 inch minimum size for striped bass wrongly puts the focus on the very fish we should be protecting… the spawning stock.
Last week, Stripers Forever, a striped bass conservation group, announced the official start of their ‘Release a Breeder’ program which is now in its fifth year. The release a breeder program offers recognition and potential rewards to fishermen and charter captains for releasing alive rather than killing prime breeding-size striped bass.
In a press release last week Stripers Forever said, “The Cheeky Schoolies Tournament, which took place this weekend on Cape Cod, is a popular catch and release tournament. It was the perfect time to announce the renewal of the ‘Release a Breeder’ program.” This year the Tournament was cosponsored by the American Fly Fishing Trade Association.
Stripers Forever said, “The 28-inch, minimum-size, coastal striped bass fishing regulations wrongly target the very fish that should be protected, and this has led to a reduction in the spawning stock of the East Coast’s most popular saltwater game fish – striped bass.”
The Release a Breeder membership requirements are the same as in previous years: the minimum qualifying size is 36 inches; the fish must be released alive and in good health; a picture of the fish must be supplied that clearly indicates that the fish was safely handled and released.
Release a Breeding program registration and rules are provided on the home page of the Stripers Forever at www.stripersforever.org.
Fishing tournament for visually impaired
The RI Lions Sight Foundation (RILSF) will be hosting their 11th Annual Fishing Tournament for Visually Impaired Persons (VIPs) on June 24 aboard the Frances Fleet party boat in Galilee.
The half-day tournament is free to the VIPs and their guides and includes a continental breakfast and the half-day of fishing from 8 a.m. to noon. The fishing tournament will be followed by lunch and an awards ceremony at a local restaurant. Winners will be eligible to represent Rhode Island at the Lions National VIP Fishing Tournament and during the Nationals trip and a New England Lions Tournament.
There are over 2,500 visually impaired persons in Rhode Island so organizers are urging readers to pass along information about this opportunity. For information and registration forms visit www.lions4sight.org/fish.htm or call Ken Barthelemy at 401/447-4228 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Freshwater fly fishing workshops
The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) will host a series of fly tying workshops for novice and experienced fly tiers and a fly fishing clinic for women.
Fly tying workshops are being held at three locations: Wednesday, May 30, 6 to 8 p.m. at the Brownell Library, 44 Commons, Little Compton; Tuesday, June 5, 12 and 19 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Glocester Manton Public Library, 1137 Putnam Pike, Chepachet; and Wednesday, June 13 and 20, 6 to 8 p.m., North Smithfield Public Library, 20 Main Street, North Smithfield.
Instruction on freshwater angling will be included, and all equipment and materials will be provided. Participants are welcome to bring their own materials, if they prefer. Children aged 10 and older are invited to participate. Space is limited and registration is required, contact Scott Travers at Scott.email@example.com.
Ladies fly fishing workshop
A ladies fly fishing day will be held Saturday, June 23, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Carolina Trout Hatchery, Carolina. The free workshop for women includes instruction on fly-tying, fly-casting, and related equipment. Participants also will have a chance to fish in a stocked pond to try out their new skills. All equipment and materials are provided and lunch will be provided.
Program sponsors include Trout Unlimited, the Wood River Fly-Fishing Association, United Fly-Tyers of Rhode Island, and DEM. Space is limited and registration is required, contact Jessica Pena at Jessica.Pena@dem.ri.gov or at 401/539-0019.
Boating week kicks off safe boating campaign
This week was National Safe Boating Week and the official launch of the 2018 North American safe boating campaign. This year-long effort promotes safe and responsible boating and the value of voluntary life jacket wear by recreational boaters through the national theme, Wear It! The campaign reminds boaters of the importance of boating safely, boating sober, knowing navigational rules, and having a proper lookout.
Important life jacket reminders:
• Children under 13 years old must wear an approved life jacket on recreational craft unless they are below deck or in an enclosed cabin.
• Make sure life jackets are U.S. Coast Guard-approved.
• Double-check that your life jacket is appropriate for your favorite water activities. Today, life jackets are stylish, versatile, comfortable, and lightweight. New technology allows many to inflate automatically when immersed in water.
• Take the time to ensure a proper fit. A life jacket that is too large or too small can be hazardous.
• Life jackets meant for adults do not work for children. If you are boating with children, make sure they are wearing properly fitted, child-sized life jackets. Do not buy a life jacket for your child to "grow into."
Where’s the bite?
Striped bass fishing gets better every day with larger and larger fish being caught in the Narragansett and Mt. Hope bays as well as on the Cape Cod Canal. Earlier this week fish to 35” were reported being caught in the East Passage all the way up the Providence River both south and north of Conimicut Light. Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle said employee Kerry Sampson of Warwick boated a 35” striped bass in the East Passage earlier this week using Atlantic menhaden. Anglers are using Atlantic menhaden, chunked and live, surface and swimming lures, and umbrella rigs to catch bass. The good news is the larger striped bass arrived last week and anglers are caching them deploying many different tactics.
Summer flounder (fluke) fishing continues to improve. Last week angler Rich Hittinger said, “We have been finding fluke on the west and south sides of Block Island and off the center wall of the Harbor of Refuge, South Kingstown.” Captain Frank Blount of Frances Fleet said, “The season finally came and we have really dialed in on the fish. After the first trip we had limits (seven fish/person/day) on almost every trip. The quality of the fish is outstanding as well. Most keepers are in the 20-22" range. The biggest fish of the week was a solid 28" fish. Bucktails were the star of the week with the slower drifts.”
Tautog fishing picked up this week with anglers catching their limit on green crabs all the way up the Providence and Seekonk Rivers.
The scup bite is good in the bay, particularly where there is water movement and structure. Shore anglers are catching scup at Colt State Park and Jamestown.
Freshwater fishing continues to be strong for largemouth bass, pike, trout and carp. Those fishing for trout continue to do well in ponds stocked in Rhode Island (visit www.dem.ri.gov ) and Massachusetts (visit www.mass.gov/orgs/division-of-fisheries-and-wildlife). Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence said, “Pike are being caught in the Blackstone River with a good carp bite at the Turner Reservoir and at Roger Williams Park. The largemouth bass fishing is good just about everywhere.”
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.