It does not get much better than this… this Saturday I covered opening day, the official start of the freshwater and trout fishing season; I dug and ate my first Rhode Island quahogs of the season; and I caught my first striped bass of the season.
The perfect weather Saturday drove anglers to ponds, lakes and rivers throughout Rhode Island for opening day Saturday, April 14. The Rhode Department of Environmental Management (DEM) had set the stage by stocking over 80,000 rainbow and brown trout in over 100 ponds and rivers throughout the State and then mother nature took over providing a sunny, mild day with temperatures that reached into the 70's.
John Wunner of John's Bait & Tackle, North Kingstown said, "Success on opening day is very much related to the weather. If it is a good day people go fishing, if the weather is bad they stay home. But Friday night and Saturday were great, we stayed open all night Friday as we have for the past 32 years and business was good." John's Bait & Tackle is running a week long trout fishing contest for children fourteen years old and younger. "The rules are simple, no entry forms, simply bring your fish here and we weigh it. Next Sunday we will award $40 in a store merchandise credit to the first place winner, $30 to the second place winner and a $20 merchandise credit for third place.", said Wunner.
Opening day is steeped in tradition; the desire for fishing opening day is passed from mothers and fathers to sons and daughters. I met the Doro family at 6:15 a.m. at Willett Avenue Pond in East Providence, RI where three generations of Doro's were fishing. Joe Doro said, "We have been fishing opening day for over 25 years and now my son Michael and his two daughters Michaela and Melanie are fishing the tradition too."
Nick Woodbine of Warwick and his brothers Jacob and Andrew fished opening day at Frenchtown Pond in North Kingstown. Their uncle Chris Choquette of North Kingstown took them fishing, and was very busy keeping all their lines in the water. Every minute or two one would yell, "I got one or I need more bait." As I walked away Chris said, "Nick, that one is too small, put it back in the water."
Harold Felder of Providence and his friend Rocco of East Providence said they had been fishing Willett Avenue Pond, East Providence since sun up and had caught about six fish when I caught up with them. They were using both Power Baits and Thompson lures purchased earlier at Archie's Bait and Tackle in Riverside.
Ken Ferrara of Ray's Bait & Tackle, Warwick said he and his son Kenny had one of the best opening days in a long time. Business was good both Friday night and Saturday. "People were buying everything… licenses, our special trout rigs made in the store, Power Baits, meal worms and all other types of bait." said Ferrara.
Plenty of trout remain in ponds and lakes so keep fishing this spring and summer as crowds won't be around like opening day. Traditionally DEM restocks select ponds and lakes and there should be a lot of good fishing throughout the season.
Congratulations to DEM and their Fish and Wildlife Division for another successful Opening Day. Fresh water fishing licenses and trout stamps are needed to fish in Rhode Island. Visit www.dem.ri.gov or visit participating bait shops and retail outlets for details.
West Bay Anglers host Capt. Dave Monti on April 25
The West Bay Anglers will host Capt. Dave Monti on Wednesday, April 25, 6:00 p.m. at the Warwick FOP Lounge, 95 Tanner Avenue, Warwick, RI. Fluke (or summer flounder) fishing tactics, baits, rigs and fishing locations will be discussed. The presentation will also feature exclusive video interviews with Greg Myerson (striped bass 81.4 pound record holder) and George Poveromo (author and famous TV fishing show host). The event is free to all West Bay Angler members and the general public. Capacity limited to 100 people on fist come, first served basis. Call 401.463.7532 for information.
Commercial striped bass tags and fishing landing permits available in Port of Galilee
Commercial striped bass tags and Rhode Island commercial fishing landing permits are now available at the DEM's Division of Coastal Resources office in the Port of Galilee. State regulations require that no striped bass may be sold unless it has been properly identified with a commercial striped bass tag provided by DEM's Division of Fish and Wildlife. In addition to the Galilee office, the tags will continue to be available at DEM's Marine Fisheries section in Jamestown located at 3 Fort Wetherill Road.
Record tautog caught in Virginia
According to the Eastern Shore News, a 24-pound, 3-ounce tautog, caught on March 25 by Ken Neill III of Seaford, has been certified as the new Virginia state record. Neill's catch surpassed the long standing record of 24 pounds, caught by Gregory Bell in 1987. The Rhode Island State tautog record is 21 pounds, 4 ounces. It was caught off Jamestown in 1954 by C.W. Sunquist of Jamestown, RI. The world record for a tautog is 25 lbs. which was caught off New Jersey in 1998.
Where's the bite
Striped bass fishing continues to build. I caught by first bass of the season in the Green (Potowomut) River this Saturday with a Yo Zuri Crystal Minnow plastic swimming lure drifting up the river on an incoming tide. Craig Castro of Erickson's Bait and Tackle, Warwick, said, "Customers are finding bass at Chepiwonoxet Point in Greenwich Bay." I tried this area Friday and ran into two seals, as well as one off the northern tip of Prudence Island (they always seem to beat me to the good fishing spots). Anglers fishing the East Passage of Narragansett Bay had mixed results, some catching small bass. The West Wall at the Harbor of Refuge in South County is still being productive for school bass but striped bass action from Galilee to Westerly is slow.
Tautog season opened April 15th. Ken Ferrara of Ray's Bait & Tackle, Warwick was selling worms, clams and green crabs to anglers targeting tautog. "In the spring many anglers believe the tautog prefer softer baits… grass shrimp, worms and clams are often used by these anglers. All these baits and the green crabs have been selling well." Ken said customers reported a modest tautog bite at General Rock, North Kingstown and Coddington Cove, Middletown, RI.
Captain Dave Monti has been fishing and shell fishing on Narragansett Bay for over 40 years. He holds a captain's master license, a charter fishing license, and is a member of the Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council. Your fishing photos in JPEG from, stories, comments and questions are welcome… there's more than one way to catch a fish. Visit Captain Dave's No Fluke website at www.noflukefishing.com; his blog at www.noflukefishing.blogspot.com or e-mail him at email@example.com.