The Block Island Inshore Fishing Tournament made a powerful return this weekend. Capt. Chris Willi of Block Island Fish Works, Tournament host, said, “We are proud to bring this tournament back, we had great weather Saturday and most were able to fish Sunday morning too. We had good Island participation and a strong presence from anglers who live on the mainland too with about seventy boat and shore anglers participating.”
To encourage mainland participation, the tournament had four co-sponsor tackle shops including Ocean State Tackle, Providence; The Saltwater Edge, Middletown; Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown; and Watch Hill Outfitters, Westerly. Over $10,000 in prize money, tackle shop gift cards and tournament swag were awarded at the Tournament which was sponsored by Ørsted and the Block Island Wind Farm.
At the awards ceremony held Sunday, 2 p.m. at Capt. Nick’s Rock & Roll Bar, Block Island, Willi said, “Thanks to the Ørsted sponsorship the tournament was able to donate 100 percent of Tournament entry fees and a matching donation from Block Island Fishworks to the Block Island Fire & Rescue Department.”
Ross Pearsall, Fisheries Stakeholder Relations Manager for Ørsted, said, "Sponsoring the Tournament allowed Ørsted to demonstrate our ongoing support of the recreational fishing on and off Island. We thank Capt. Chris Willi of Block Island Fishworks for continuing to hold the Tournament as it celebrates the Island's relationship to fishing and offshore wind. We are happy that our sponsorship has helped the Tournament make a donation to such a cornerstone of the community, the Block Island Volunteer Fire & Rescue Department."
Beth Rousseau, Keisha Brown and Greta Hines of the Fire & Rescue Department were present at the event to receive a $3,250 donation check form Block Island Fishworks.
“The fishing was very good with some striped bass, bluefish, fluke and black sea bass edging out other fish by just a half inch” said Capt. Willi.
First place team honors went to Richard Lipsitz of North Kingstown and his team ‘Frayed Knot’, the team scored most points in the overall Tournament taking a second and fourth place in the bluefish category, fist in the striped bass category with 47.5 inch fish, and a third place black sea bass.”
Richard Lipsitz said, “The Tournament was great and all had a lot of fun. If we knew about the Tournament earlier we would have stayed on Island, or maybe I need to buy a larger boat.”
Boat division first place fluke went to the ‘Fluke It’ team with a 21.75 inch fish and first place black sea bass to team ‘Outer Limit’ with a 20” fish. The boat bluefish division was taken by team ‘Hook’m’. Team member John O’Keefe of Jamestown caught a gator size bluefish that was 35 inches to take first place (the Rhode Island record is 39”).
The shore division had great representation for Block Island and mainland anglers. Shore angler Max Eicoff of Block Island said, “We fished all night and worked pretty hard at it.” Eicoff took first place bluefish from shore with a 25” fish and second place striped bass with a 31” fish. First place striped bass shore division went to Sam Hughes with a 35” fish.
There were two youth (under 13 years old) division winners in the black sea bass (Hines) and bluefish (Willi) boat divisions. Both are Block Island youth.
A special tournament photo division had three prizes including the most scenic, best team photo and best fish photo all had to be taken in the wind farm area with the windfarm in the background. The most scenic and best team photos were won by Matt Haczynski of team ‘Fluke It’ and the best fish photo was taken by Jim Stevens of team ‘Hook’m’.
Willi said, “This was a length only Tournament. When registering online participants downloaded our Tournament app developed by Taylor Ingraham of Tightlined Slam on their smartphone. When they wanted to make a Tournament entry they took a photo of their catch up against the Tournament supplied ruler and send their entry into the Tournament electronically encouraging catch & release.”
A complete list of winners will be posted online at https://www.sandypointco.com/bi-inshore-tourney.
Striped bass studies aim to enhance fishery
The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) is conducting a study on striped bass release mortality that aims to supply fishery managers with good data so that they can implement rules that will maintain a robust and sustainable striped bass population. The study is using acoustic tags with accelerometers.
Michael Armstrong, PhD, Assistant Director of DMF said, “A vast array of acoustic receivers all along the Northeast U.S. can detect the acoustic signal from a tagged bass and record not only it’s location but also deduce if the fish is dead or alive by detecting tailbeats recorded by the accelerometer. Through these studies we hope to re-evaluate and validate (or change) the currently used 9 percent release mortality.”
Where’s the bite?
“The bluefin tuna bite is still very good. This week a customer caught a 40 pound fish jigging. The bite this week was south of the Gully,” said Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence. Social media reports a continued strong bluefin bite south of Block Island.
Striped bass and bluefish. Early last week the water in Narragansett Bay was a bit dirty from all the rain. But from Barrington Beach this weekend anglers caught some nice keeper striped bass (28” to less than 35”) and a lot of school bass,” said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside.” We came into a school of striped bass off Narragansett Beach feeding on the surface but could not hook up. Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, said, “There are still keeper striped bass being caught in the Providence River and customers caught striped bass on the surface off Newport this weekend.” Capt. Chris Willi of Block Island Fishworks reported clean water at Block Island. “We have had little rain so the water is clear here. The bite around Block Island has been outstanding.”
Bonito and mackerel. “Bonito and cub maceral bite was good along the coastal shore this weekend,” said Henault of Ocean State. We caught a mackerel off Narragansett Saturday when fluke fishing.
Scup fishing remains good at Colt State Park, Ohio Ledge, Hope Island and off the western side of Jamestown John Littlefield of Archie’s said, “This weekend the scup bite at Sabin Point and Kettle Point was good with angler catching 10 or 12 nice keepers.”
Freshwater largemouth bass fishing is still good with and anglers using minnows and soft plastics to catch them.” said Henault of Ocean State Tackle.
Dave Monti holds a captain’s master license and charter fishing license. He serves on a variety of boards and commissions and has a consulting business focusing on clean oceans, habitat preservation, conservation, renewable energy, and fisheries related issues and clients. Forward fishing news and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.noflukefishing.com.