The weather has been pretty good for fishing this week. AJ Coots of Red Top Sporting Goods, Buzzards Bay said, “Saltwater fishing has slowed down quite a bit. Some anglers are targeting mackeral and hold over school striped bass (on the Cape Cod Canal) but most anglers are freshwater fishing for trout. The state of Massachusetts (and Rhode Island) did a great job stocking ponds this fall.”
Coots said, “Most anglers are using minnows with PowerBaits performing well too. Ponds working well for anglers include Long Pond in Plymouth, Peters Pond, Sandwich and Mary’s Pond in Rochester.”
Cod is a good fish to target south of Cape Cod. The cod’s white, delicate meat is hard not to like. Atlantic cod fishing has not been good in the Gulf of Maine for some time now. This year the recreational season opened for two weeks in Massachusetts north of the Cape Cod, Sept. 15 to 30, at one fish/person/day. However, south of Cape Cod and in Rhode Island the minimum size is 21”. The catch limit in this area south of the Cape is ten fish/person/day and the season is open all year.
Capt. Rick Bellavance, president of the Rhode Island Party & Charter Boat Association (RIPCBA), said, “The cod will school in shoal water south of Block Island and offer an awesome opportunity to get out on the water during the winter months.”
Cod rigs and bait
A hook or two, a bank sinker that holds the bottom and sea clams are often used as bait to catch cod. Jigs of various sizes, color and weight depending on conditions are used too. Cod will generally eat anything that is in front of them, they are not picky, but you have to get their attention and jigs usually do a good job of this. A common rig used is a diamond jig with a colored teaser tied about 12 inches above the jig. Sometimes anglers tip the jig and teaser with fresh bait (a piece of sea clam).
State takes more time to analyze public comment on proposed right whale regulations
The State of Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) has extended its deadline to analyze public comments on new fixed gear trap and gillnet regulations that are designed to protect right whales from entanglement. The draft regulations are designed to reduce the risk of endangered right whales becoming entangled in fixed fishing gear and reduce the potential harm posed by fixed fishing gear if a right whale interacts with it.
The new deadline for final regulation recommendations to the Marine Fisheries Advisory Commission (MFAC) has been extended from their Jan. 7 meeting to the Commission’s Jan. 28 meeting. Public comment on proposed fixed gear regulations on season lengths and gear line thickness are being reviewed to protect right whales in Massachusetts State Waters. The extension will provide DMF and the MFAC with sufficient time to review all the comments and for DMF to craft a responsive final regulatory recommendation for the MFAC’s review.
In a press advisory last week the Division of Marine Fisheries said, “New rules will likely go into effect between mid-February and early-March. As a result, only those waters within the Massachusetts Restricted Area will be closed to trap gear fishing on Feb. 1. All other waters under the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth will not be subject to a trap gear closure until a final rule is promulgated.”
To keep stakeholders informed about the rule making process and timeline, DMF will be providing additional advisories this winter. First, prior to the Jan. 28 MFAC business meeting, DMF will provide the Commission with its recommendation; this document will be posted to DMF’s web site and an email advisory will be sent out announcing it availability. Second, following the Jan. 28 MFAC business meeting, DMF will announce to the public what final recommendations the MFAC approved.
Lastly, once final regulations are filed with the Massachusetts Secretary of State, DMF will formally announce the new regulations and a timeline for implementation.
Trout Unlimited in Rhode Island awarded $180,000 grant
Trout Unlimited Chapter #225 in Rhode Island in partnership with the Rhode Island Water Resources Board has been awarded an $180,000 National Fish & Wildlife Foundation Grant to conduct a native brook trout inventory, water temperature study, and a fisheries barrier assessment with the Big River Management Area (BRMA) located in central Rhode Island. Half of the grant will be in matching contributions such as volunteer time donated by Trout Unlimited members and others.
Study information will be used to develop a report which will outline implementation projects and goals to enhance brook trout habitat and protect water quality with the 22 plus miles of mapped streams with the BRMA.
EA Engineering, Science and Technology Inc. PBC has been select to manage the project.
Where’s the bite?
Freshwater fishing in ponds stocked with trout has been very good in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside said, “Customers continue to catch trout at stocked ponds. Willet Avenue Pond, Riverside and Olney Pond in Lincoln, continued to produce for anglers.” For 2021 licensing information and a list of trout stocked ponds in Rhode Island visit http://www.dem.ri.gov/programs/fish-wildlife/freshwater-fisheries; and in Massachusetts visit www.mass.gov/freshwater-fishing-information.
Cod fishing. Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “We did manage some cod, ling, cunner and black sea bass (all returned) this week even with turbid water. We marked a lot more fish than we caught. We would anchor on a good pile of fish but they just had lock jaw. There is a lot more bait showing up on the grounds and it is only a matter of time before they start chewing.” Party boats fishing for cod this winter include the Frances Fleet at www.francesfleet.com, the Seven B’s at www.sevenbs.com, and the Island Current at www.islandcurrent.com.
Dave Monti 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, the American Saltwater Guides Association and the RI Marine Fisheries Council. Forward fishing news and photos to Capt. Dave at email@example.com or visit www.noflukefishing.com.