How’s this Grouper. Angler and RISAA member Ken Robinson of Smithfield, with the 20-plus pound Gag Grouper he caught in Florida earlier this month. Gap Groper season had ended so the fish was released.
Wondering what to get your favorite angler for the holidays? Here are some holiday gift ideas. Gift certificates at your local bait & tackle shop, Benny’s and stores like Dick’s Sporting Goods are always good, too.
1. Fishing lures $3 to $20. I’d like to mention three types ... surface lures (often referred to as poppers) that stay on top of the water, splashing; second, swimming lures that swim through the water; and third, soft plastic baits of all types ... all three are used for fresh and saltwater fishing.
2. Saltwater Sportsman Magazine, $30 for an annual subscription of 10 issues. My favorite saltwater fishing magazine of all time. Features many how-to articles, regular features on fishing gear, tackle and fishing tactics. Visit www.saltwatersportsman.com to purchase a gift subscription.
3. United Fly Tyers of Rhode Island (UFTRI) annual membership dues, $30. If you know a fly fisherman, fresh or salt water, they will appreciate this gift. Members meet in workshop form and learn how to tie one of five to six different flies each month. Beginners welcome. Meetings are held the first Wednesday of every month at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Warwick. Visit www.uftri.org.
4. "The Striped Bass 60++ Pound Club," about $30 for the hardcover; and $20 for the paperback by Tony Checko at www.barnesandnoble.com. Both this book and the author’s version published in 2008 focus on striped bass of 60 pounds or more. The book includes the story of Peter Vican and his first record Rhode Island striped bass of 76 pounds, 14 ounces.
5. Fish scales to weigh an angler’s catch, $10 to $50. Combination fish gripper/scale is about $50. Conventional scales range from $10 to $25, and digital fish scales about $50. You can purchase them at Benny’s, West Marine, Dick’s Sporting Goods and local bait & tackle shops.
6. Membership in the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA), $50. This non-profit organization is created by and for recreational saltwater anglers and holds monthly seminars and education programs on fishing techniques and how to improve catches. The Association supports marine conservation and fisheries resource management. Visit online at www.risaa.org.
7. Saltwater Sportsman’s national fishing seminar, $55. This year there are two New England seminars, the first at Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut on Jan. 7 and the second in Portland, Maine on March 10. The Saturday sessions are held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cost for six hours of fishing instruction by national and local captains and guides is $55. This includes the seminar, a year subscription or extension to Salt Water Sportsman magazine, plus a goodie bag, door prizes and more. Registration at www.nationalseminarseries.com.
8. “Shallow Water Striper University” seminar, $89, Feb. 18 and 19 at the Sheraton Airport Inn, Warwick. This is the third year for this highly informative seminar produced by Captain Jim White. I attended the past two years and it was great. This year I will be one of many presenters. The seminar focuses on how to find and catch striped bass with local experts as speakers. Visit www.shallowwaterstripers.com for information or call Captain Jim White at 401-578-9043.
9. Museum quality striped bass photo prints by noted sport fishing photographer Jim Levison. These beautiful fall run photos taken off of Montauk can be seen on Jim’s website at www.jimlevisonphoto.com (click Montauk). Prints are available from 11 inches by 14 inches to 2 feet by 4 feet. Prints start at $99 for an unframed 11-inch by 14-inch to a glossy finish print ($299 framed).
10. General fishing or learn how to fish charters, $350 to $650 (depending on number of people, species targeted, boat size) for a half day. Hire a charter to help teach someone how to fish or to take the experienced anglers fishing. Visit www.rifishing.com, the Rhode Island Party & Charter Boat Association website for a list of qualified charter captain members.
Where’s the bite
Tautog. John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside, R.I. said, “Tautog anglers were out in force this weekend as the weather improved with most fish being caught in the lower Bay, off Newport, Middletown and Jamestown.”
Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence, said, “Tautog bite has been good off Narragansett where several customers caught nice keepers this week.”
Striped bass bite in the later part of last week slowed after the storm Wednesday. Earlier in the week (and month) shore anglers experienced the best bass fishing yet this year.
Although fishing has slowed, Dave Pickering noted on his blog Friday, “On a positive, note, though, I did see [Friday] a lot of gannets hitting the water way out, meaning big bait is still around. However, are the big fish [bass and blues] still around?” is the question.
John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle said, “Some customers have been hitting bass in the Warren River. Last week a 37-inch, 19-pound fish was caught in heavy currant using eels.”
Cod fishing is good. No huge fish being taken but anglers are catching keepers.
Ken Booth, a recreational and commercial rod and reel fisherman, said, “The East fishing grounds [east of Block Island] and Cox’s Ledge are holding keeper cod. The fish are not big but there are keepers out there.”
Lucas Salem had a great fishing outing for cod (and other bottom species) on Snappa Charters Captained by Charlie Donilon out of Galilee, R.I. Lucas said, “Captain Donilon decided to take us to the East Fishing grounds off Block Island to mix things up. Took an hour to get there [from Newport where they tautog fished], but it was well worth it. Seas were building three to five feet by the time we got there but once the anchor was set, it was easy fishing from there ... Cod, sea bass, scup/porgy, bluefish, baby Pollock and a few dog fish were all hitting our lines. The biggest cod was around 11 pounds. Biggest sea bass was around five pounds, biggest scup was three pounds. What a great day. It was great to get a mixed bag of fish. They are definitely out there, you just have to find the good weather and go. If you want a great time, a good captain and a great boat, fish with Capt. Charlie Donilon ... his website is www.snappacharters.com.”
Bluefish. Paul Smith reports that on Thanksgiving Day the bluefish were thick from Green Hill to Charlestown. Paul reports on the RISAA blog, “Along with the blues, an army of gannets accompanied them ... wall to wall fish ... These fish were nice sized, too ... 30-plus inches and fat. Not pudgy, fat. They were pigging out on herring and mackerel.”
Captain Robb Roach of Kettlebottom Outfitters said, “We had some great late season action in Mackerel Cove [Jamestown]; found the lee of the wind!” Rob captured the action on a webisode video that can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OoRCGbDgJ78.
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 form, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.