No Fluke

Managers hope emergency action will save striped bass

By Capt. Dave Monti
Posted 5/23/23

More striped bass fishing trips are taken by anglers coastwide than any other species.   This highly desirable fish has been overfished for the past few years, and last year, anglers killed …

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No Fluke

Managers hope emergency action will save striped bass

Posted

More striped bass fishing trips are taken by anglers coastwide than any other species.  This highly desirable fish has been overfished for the past few years, and last year, anglers killed twice as many fish than the year before, reducing the probability of success of the stock rebuilding plan to just 15 percent.

The larger than normal striped bass class of 2015 maturing to the slot limit size of 28” to less than 35” led to the higher than normal overfishing.

The species is managed coastwide by the Atlantic Stales Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) and their Striped Bass Management Board, which engaged an

“emergency action” last month.

The emergency action asks that states engage in a new regulation (no later than July 2) of one fish/person/day in the slot size of 28” to less than 31”. Secondly, they engaged in something called Addendum II, which forces the ASMFC to develop a new plan that rebuilds the stock by 2029 before they are fished into extinction.

The ASMFC is holding online public hearings to review their actions and garner angler input on possible rebuilding plan options.  The last of our meetings will be held Wednesday, May 31, from 6 to 8 p.m. 

Register for virtual hearings HERE at https://register.gotowebinar.com/rt/454738649028335194 and use the dropdown menu to select the hearing date you plan to attend to register for a public hearing webinar.

Catch & release tips that save more fish

1. Circle hooks to hook bass in the mouth (not the gut) are now required when fishing with bait.

2. Land fish quickly to minimize stress.

3. Avoid putting fish on deck or rocks and letting it flop around; keep in the water if you can.

4. Wet hands, as dry hands remove fish’s protective slime layer which can lead to infection.

5. Handle fish carefully; do not put fingers into gill cavities or eye sockets.

6. Gently remove the hook to minimize damage.

7. Use lures with single hook, barbless hooks (snap them off), or circle hooks (as noted above).

8. Return fish to water quickly, place fish gently in water in upright horizontal position, move it back and forth in the water to force water across its gills; once revived allow fish to swim away.

Where’s the bite

Striped bass and bluefish: “The East Passage from Sandy Point to Providence Point, Prudence Island was alive with bass down deep in the water column on the channel pad, with Capt. Rene Letourneau finding bass on the surface in Greenwich Bay this week. White and bone colored lures seem to be working well,” said Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence.

“The bass bite has been on at night. My wife Rhonda Swain out-fished me this week and caught her first striped bass, a 20-pound fish, live lining pogies in Bristol Harbor at night,” said striped bass fishing sharpie Mike Swain.

Cape Cod Canal fishing expert and author East End Eddie Doherty, said, “Canal surfcasting continues to be outstanding at all levels of the water column, with an assortment of lures. Bunker, mackerel, squid and silversides are fueling a striped bass revival throughout the Big Ditch. A common refrain by experienced Canal Rats is, ‘This is like the good old days’! Bill ‘On the Grill’ Prodouz of Pocasset had multiple heavy fish, including another 35-pounder, totaling three over 30 pounds for him so far!”

Declan O’Donnell of Breachway Bait & Tackle, Charlestown, said, “Cold nights have made it hard for the worm hatch to happen. Hopefully this makes for a strong but late hatch, with potentially very large fish. Fishing for striped bass has been great some days and slow other days around the Breachway. Morning and evenings have been more productive with a few fish being caught during the day. Bluefish are still around in good numbers hitting a variety of baits from swimming minnows to soft plastics.”

Tautog

Declan O’Donnell of Breachway Bait & Tackle said, “Tautog fishing remains productive, with good catches coming from rocky areas in 20- to 30-feet of water or even shallower. If you’re picking up a lot of shorts, search for a single rock rather than a boulder field.”

Squid and summer flounder

The Francis Fleet Party Boat, Point Judith, said, “We sailed last week with a light crowd who wanted to get in on the early season summer flounder bite. Fishing started off with a good bite until the wind picked up. High hook had a limit, and a few others with three fish with two fluke right around 8 pounds. Squid fishing was good last Wednesday night. The night started off with a ripping tide. Once things eased up, the squid started chewing. The best action of the night was from 9:30 to 11 p.m. Anglers caught half to three-quarters of a bucket.”

On Sunday we caught keeper summer flounder at Warwick Light drifting across the channel. Most hits came drifting up or down the channel bank. Fished until we rescued three boaters who had an engine explosion and fire aboard a 30-foot twin engine cabin cruiser. Hats off to the U.S. Coast Guard, Safe Sea, Warwick Fire Department and other concerned boaters that stood by as we waited for the Coast Guard.

“Squid fishing has been good, with buckets getting filled for dinner and bait. Fluke bite continues to improve ,with most fish coming from 70 to 80 feet of water. They should continue to move into shallower water as the water warms.” said Declan O’Donnell of Breachway Bait & 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 dmontifish@verizon.net or visit www.noflukefishing.com.

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