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‘The fishing line was 200 feet up in the air!’

Eric Duda of Tiverton, RI took Friday off to fish. “We fished most of the day and gave up on tautog fishing at 3 pm and headed back up the Sakonnet River. Duda said, “Didn’t see any surface action anywhere so we decided to troll for false albacore. Just as I was going to call it a day, I heard from the back of the boat the clicker going off.”

“I turned around and grabbed the rod to reel and noticed the line was not in back of the boat anymore and now about 200 feet up in the air! Bird! Gave it a small pull to see if it would free the bird but nope, and the bird landed on the water,” said Duda. “It was a HUGE osprey! Five-foot wing span. Lure was stuck on her foot. Luckily, we were able to flip it over and we netted it, and I was able to unhook it. Talons on it, I’m sure could do some serious damage! Flipped it out of the net and it took off, and it was fine!”

Birds are often fooled (just as we hope fish are) of thinking the bait or lure we are trolling or casting is an easy meal. They swoop down and snag the bait often getting hooked. When casting into a school of fish on the surface chances of hooking a bird feeding on surface bait increases dramatically. Cast to the side of the feeding birds to avoid hooking one.

Nice job keeping your cool Eric and successfully releasing the osprey.

Giant bluefin tuna close to shore

Climate change impacts on fish species create winners and losers in the fishing world.

One major climate related impact we have experienced in Rhode Island and Massachusetts for the past three years is an excellent inshore tuna bite. The bait or forage tuna like to eat ie mackerel, herring, Atlantic menhaden, squid, bluefish, butterfish, false albacore and a host of others have been in our area in great abundance due in part to warming water. So the bluefin and yellowfin tuna are here dining on these robust bait profiles along with large pods (hundreds) of porpoise and dolphin.

Last week the giant bluefin tuna bite was strong and close to shore. So good we have reached our monthly limit both for commercial and recreational giant bluefin tuna (fish > 72 inches) and the fishery is closed for the month.

About 30 bluefin giants were caught on Sunday, Sept. 11 off Scarborough Beach, Narragansett.

Monday of last week, Jeff Sullivan, an associate at Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren, RI fished for giant bluefin off the Sakonnet River with fishing partners and friend Capt. Rob Taylor of Newport Sportfishing Charters. The foursome caught a 600-pound, 100-inch giant bluefin tuna less than five miles off the Sakonnet River. Many other giant bluefin were caught in State waters less than three miles off Newport.

Anglers fishing for bluefin tuna need a federal Highly Migratory Species (HMS) permit and are required to report their catches. Bluefin tuna fishing is highly regulated. Regulations often change to prevent overfishing so anglers are urged to check regulations before fishing trips. For information visit https://hmspermits.noaa.gov.

Where’s the bite?

Striped bass and bluefish. Matt Conti of Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown, said, “The fall migration has started with small fish arriving off Narragansett. Large schools of fish just under slot size (28 to < 35 inches) were off the beaches.”

Declan Thomas O’Donnell of Breachway Bait & Tackle, Charlestown said, “The salt pond and Breachway continuing to produce some nice sized fish. Surfcasters have been doing well on Yo-Zuri Mag-Darters and Super Strike Bullets. Fishing live eels in the pond has been producing bass up to around 15 pounds.”

Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence said, “There is so much bait in the water that the false albacore is all the way up the East Passage to Barrington, East Providence and Cranston along with bluefish and striped bass feeding on the surface. Sometimes they are mixed in so it is a matter of seeing them on the surface. We also have an abundance of squid to 25 inches being caught off Newport that is attracting fish.”

Fluke, black sea bass and scup. Summer flounder continue to be caught but it is a slow pick. Scup fishing continues to be good particularly in areas with structure and water movement ie ledges, bridge abutments, jetties, etc. We caught large scup to 15 inches when tautog fishing off Newport. “Most anglers are targeting albies so the bottom fishing has taken a back seat,” said Henault.

Tautog fishing is starting to come alive as anglers begin targeting them. We had a slow pick in deeper water off Newport this weekend, all small fish. Neil Hayes of Quaker Lane Bait & Tackle said, “We are selling a lot of crabs, anglers are fishing for tautog but the bite is not good. We have had few reports of keeper fish being caught.” “Those who have been targeting tautog are doing well with fish in relatively shallow water right now,” said O’Donnell of Breachway Bait & Tackle. Conti of Snug Harbor said, “The tautog are still sallow… in 20 feet of water, however, with storms this week things might change forcing them a little deeper.”

False albacore and prickly pear. Giant bluefin tuna fishing for both recreational and commercial license holders is now closed for the month. Neil Hayes of Quaker Lane Bait & Tackle, said, “False albacore fishing had been very good. Many of our customers are hooking up with them. The schools of false albacore are so large we screened an online video of giant bluefin feeding on schools of false albacore “False albacore have been pretty thick out at the Gully crashing tuna rigs so you know the beaches and inland fishing for them will be good. This weekend the Gully bite for yellowfin slowed as the water cooled with some fish, smaller ones, being caught 8 to 10 miles south of the Gully,” said Conti.

Freshwater fishing is improving as the water is cooling a bit. “The water has been warm so freshwater fishing has not been good in our area. Things will pick up as the water cools.” said Hayes of Quaker Lane Bait & Tackle.” Henault said, “The water is cooling so the large-mouth bite is improving. Trout fishing will kick in after fall/winter stockings.”


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@verison.net or visit www.noflukefishing.com.

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