Mass. warns about an early aggregation of right whales


The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries is alerting all mariners in Cape Cod Bay about the risk of vessel collision with a large aggregation of North Atlantic right whales recently observed in Cape Cod Bay. 

On Jan. 18, the Center for Coastal Studies aerial survey team documented at least 27 right whales in lower and eastern Cape Cod Bay, which were surface and subsurface feeding. A surface feeding aggregation of this size is typical in the spring but less commonly observed in the winter months. Due to the early presence, behavior and size of the aggregation, DMF is urging mariners to use extreme caution when transiting Cape Cod Bay. 

Although right whales will likely switch to feeding on zooplankton species closer to the seafloor, the current feeding behavior at the surface warrants vigilance from mariners.  

For the safety of both mariners and whales, vessel operators in this area are strongly urged to proceed with caution, reduce speed (less than 10 knots), and post lookouts to avoid colliding with these highly endangered whales.


Fishing show gearing up

The New England Saltwater Fishing Show will be held March 10 to 12 at the Rhode Island Convention Center. The show is  the largest saltwater fishing show of its type in the Northeast, featuring tackle, rods, reels, lures, electronics, charter guides, boats, motors, accessories, clothes and much more.

“At press time we are about two months out and have over 75 percent of the booths sold, about 275 of them. Our large spaces for boats and large displays against the back wall of the exhibition hall were taken, so we expanded things a bit. Boat manufactures such as Everglades (shown by Oyster Harbor Marine) and a host of others will be on display at the Show,” said Greg Vespe of Tiverton, who is executive director of the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (Show sponsors).

“We still have booths available. Many of our exhibitors are offering exclusive Show Specials, so anglers should take advantage of these specials.”

“We are keying in on ‘How to’ seminars focusing on strategies and tactics to target species we as anglers love to catch, eat or release — striped bass, summer flounder, tautog and a host of others. We have a special focus on species that are in abundance in our area due to warming water. Seminars and gear on how to target black sea bass and new abundant species like mackerel, false albacore, and bluefin tuna that are closer to shore,” said Vespe.

Visit or RISAA’s Facebook page for show hours and updates on seminar topics and speakers as the schedule gets fleshed out.


Capt. Jack Sprengel — Making sense of fishing rods

The Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association will hold a seminar on ‘Making sense of fishing rods’ on Monday, Jan. 30, at 7 p.m. featuring Capt. Jack Sprengel of East Coast Charters.

This seminar will help “crack the code” when it comes to understanding and choosing a fishing rod that has the performance characteristics best suited for each angler’s skill level and fishing style. Terms like forgiveness, parabolic action, varying speed classifications, ratings and composite characteristics will be deciphered at this seminar.

This is an in-person seminar at the West Warwick Elks Lodge, 60 Clyde St., West Warwick, R.I. Food will be available at 5:30 p.m. as in the past. Guests are welcome with a $10 donation to the RISAA scholarship fund; RISAA members attend free. For information contact Greg Vespe at 401/826-2121.


Where’s the bite

Saltwater and freshwater licenses. Anglers are reminded to renew their licenses for salt and fresh water for 2023. Saltwater licenses renew annually on Jan. 1 in coastal states, and most coastal states have license reciprocity.  For example, if you have a Rhode Island license you can fish in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Maine. For fresh water licensing information and a list of trout stocked ponds in Rhode Island visit; and in Massachusetts visit .

Cod, tautog and black sea bass.  Tautog and black sea bass seasons have ended. However, cod fishing south of Cape Cod is still open. Party boats fishing for cod this winter include the Frances Fleet at  and the Island Current at .  Rates vary but are about $135 per adult for a full day of fishing, call to check schedules and make a reservation.


Dave Monti holds a captain’s master license and charter fishing license. Forward fishing news and photos to or visit

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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.