No Fluke

Still time to celebrate the quahog

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I like nothing better than to dig a few quahogs and make my two favorite quahog dishes. First, fresh clams casino with parsley, Ritz Crackers and bacon…or sometimes we just put the quahogs on the grill to open them up and add hot sauce and lemon to taste. This really gets our taste buds going and sets the table for the entree… linguini with quahogs. This is a light delicate dish with fresh parsley, white wine, garlic, lemon and plenty of littleneck quahogs. (Send me an email for this recipe.)

We celebrate the quahog in our home. And this week, you can too during Quahog Week which ends April 1. During Quahog Week participating restaurants and markets are featuring quahog-inspired menu items and deals, and partners are holding special events.

Quahog Week highlights the importance of Rhode Island’s wild harvest shellfish to the state’s history, traditions, and economy. For information visit www.seafoodri.com.

Hang on tight when fishing a worm hatch

“The water is exploding!”

“Did you see that swirl?”

“I’ve got one!”

This is what you often hear when fishing a cinder worm hatch for striped bass. Cinder worms are small spawning worms, almost tadpole-like in their movements. They have a wormlike body up top with a tail that wags through the water propelling them in an erratic fashion at fast speeds in circles through the water.

Striped bass (bluefish too) key in on the spawning worms (often in May and June) and feed actively on the surface, close enough to the shore to be well in range of anglers fly fishing or casting with spinning reels. They are also fished from boats on saltwater ponds, coves and in saltwater estuaries of all types.

"Cinder worms are a polychaete (many legs) in the Nereis genus which also includes the sand worm and the common clam worm," said Capt. John McMurray, noted charter captain from New York and fishing author. Like all Nereis worms, cinder worms are mud burrowers. They swim to the surface to release their sperm and eggs in frenzy. So the “hatch” is actually a spawning event rather than a “hatching” event.

There are a number of factors that experts claim contribute to stimulating the hatch…light from a full moon or from docks and buildings, water and bottom sediment temperatures warming, extreme moon low tides that heat the bottom, tide and currant, etc. all come into play.

Cinder worm workshop

If you want to learn how to fly fish a worm hatch you are in luck. The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in partnership with RI Department of Environmental Management (DEM), will hold its annual Cinder Worm Workshop at the beginning of May. It will include two weekday evening classes in fly tying instruction and one weekend evening of fly fishing. The program is free to registrants.

Dave Pollock, fly fishing expert and one of the program organizers said, “During last year’s fishing day I had the pleasure of watching a woman, relatively new to fly fishing, land her first striper, a very nice sized school bass, on a fly she had tied herself at the program four days previously.”

“We would like to have everyone attend both workshops, but you also have the option to pick just one,” said Pollock. Introduction to practical rigging and casting instruction will be covered for those that need additional assistance. Fly fishers will then fish the coves of the Grassy Point area of Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge. Pollack said, “We don’t guarantee the weather or the fish, but past experiences have shown that this is prime time for the worm mating season.”

The program is open to any adult or accompanied child over the age of 10, regardless of skill level. There is a 40 person maximum so register early. Instruction and guidance will be provided by some of the area’s most proficient and knowledgeable worm fishermen. Also this year is the opportunity for kayak fishing, limited to experienced kayakers who have their own vessel. Proper safety equipment is required plus lights for navigation.

All fly tying materials will be provided. Participants are encouraged to bring their own tools and equipment, but all necessary fly tying tools and equipment will be loaned to registrants upon request. Saltwater fly fishing equipment, including rods, reel, lines and leaders, will be loaned to registrants who do not have their own gear and tackle but participants must bring their own waders.

The Fly Tying classes will be held Tuesday, May 1 and May 8, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the Kettle Pond Visitor Center, Charlestown. The Fly Fishing portion of the program will take place Saturday, May 19, from 4 p.m. until dark at Ninigret National Wildlife Refuge, Charlestown.

Capt. Ray Stachelek and Dave Pollack, fly fishing experts and USFWS volunteers will facilitate the program. For information or to register contact Scott Travers at scott.travers@dem.ri.gov.

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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