Karina Gonzalez (left) of Middletown with the keeper fluke she caught during the West Bay Anglers take-a-kid fishing trip last summer. Seven B's mate Julia Clarke (right) of Narragansett helps her with her catch.
"It's all about the kids" said Pam Tameo, president of the West Bay Anglers, at the last of eighteen lobster raffle fundraisers that took place this Saturday at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #7 in Warwick, RI. "Some of the children we take fishing through our Rhode Island Take- a-Kid Fishing program have never even seen the ocean before, never mind going out on a boat to fish." The group has been raising money to take children fishing for fourteen years. And this Saturday, the West Bay Anglers presented checks totaling $17,000. Tameo said, "We are very happy, this is what we use to raise prior to the recession." Half of the money raised, $8,500, was presented to The Impossible Dream non-profit headquartered in Warwick and the second half went to the West Bay Anglers' Take- a-Kid Fishing program.
The Lobster Raffles occur for eighteen Saturdays in a row during the fall and winter months and the prizes are unusual. Yes there are lobsters… not ordinary lobsters.. but large lobsters ranging from six to fourteen pounds. They have a raffle table with small appliances like toasters and George Forman Grilles, a meat table with hams and roasts of all types, a miscellaneous table, the final raffle table had a large Sony flat screen TV, a GPS system, a $100 gift card, cash and much more.
Fortunately there are volunteers like those from the West Bay Anglers and Captains like Russ Benn of the Seven B's Party Fishing Boat that take the children fishing for eight consecutive Tuesdays in the Summer. This summer, I fished with Pam Tameo aboard the Seven B's with a group of 30 children. Pam said, "The Seven B's really came through with burger lunches for the children and a discounted price that made these take-a-kid fishing days possible this past summer. Without their participation we would end up taking far fewer children fishing. Jeanne Benn (Captain Benn's wife) does a great job handling logistics for the Seven B's and their crew, particularly the mates, do a great job helping the children fish."
Ten volunteers from the West Bay Anglers sell raffle tickets and work at the Saturday raffles, while three work in the kitchen at the FOP Lodge. It is a great fishing community event and achievement. Pam Tameo closed the event Saturday and said, "Thank you for all your support, some of you are even out of work and managed to come this year, this is a great achievement. You will make a lot of children happy this summer."
What impact will warm water have on spring fishing and hypoxia?
Readers continue to be curious about what impact this warm weather will have on fishing and hypoxia (low oxygen) in the Bay. Earlier this winter we had reports of bait… menhaden and herring as well as fish… striped bass and blue fin tuna in and around Narragansett Bay. Reports were verified by anglers and Rhode Island DEM reporting more menhaden in survey work. And this year, anglers have caught more striped bass than usual in the upper Bay.
Dr. Chris Deacutis, chief scientist for the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program and professor at the URI Graduate School of Ocianography said "We might be having a warm winter but Europe is experiencing a very cold winter. The jet stream is running above us bringing down warm weather whereas Europe is having a very cold winter and the jet stream is running below them."
So this may explain why our water is a couple of degrees warmer than usual in the Bay and ocean and therefore why it is holding an unusual amount of bait fish and fish in our waters for this time of year.
I asked, "This warm water will likely have an impact on hypoxia and fish kills this spring and summer, right?" Actually no, it will likely have no effect. Dr. Deacutis said, "This warm water should have no influence on spring and summer hypoxia. What really impacts us is wet weather, a lot of rain in June, July and August. This brings more nutrients from runoff and treatment plants into the Bay, more fresh water too that stratifies the water column and there is less oxygen mixing and therefore more hypoxia (lack of oxygen)."
Dr. Candace Oviatt, professor of oceanography at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography, spends a lot of her time studying water temperature, oxygen in the Bay and algae blooms. Dr. Oviatt said, "This winter we had no bloom in the upper bay, a small one in the mid-bay area and no bloom in the lower Bay. With colder water in the winter food falls to the bottom and feeds creatures on the bottom." This is good for shellfish and bottom feeders like flounder (fluke) and any other species that feeds off sea life on the bottom. Dr. Oviatt said, "Nitrates from the rivers should take care of upper bay and mid bay, it is the lower bay that may suffer this spring with less food." This is all very interesting. One wonders if there is a chance that certain types of bottom fishing might be better (more than usual) in the upper and mid bay this summer compared to the lower bay.
I asked Dr. Oviatt if she felt that the presence of the menhaden and other bait fish in the Bay was a positive sign for a good spring and summer fishing season. She said, "You know the bait can leave the Bay just as fast as it came into the Bay." Oh well, so much for predicting a positive fishing season. We will just have to wait and see how the fishing is.
Hummingbird Electronics and Minn Kota Motor workshop
Learn more about electronics and electric motors at Wood Boat & Motor, Warwick, RI, Saturday, March 24 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Regional representatives from Minn Kota Trolling Motors and Hummingbird Electronics will be available to answer questions. New Talon Shallow Water Anchor systems will on display too. Call Debbie Wood for a reservation at 401-739-4040.
Where's the bite?
Cod fishing has been mixed. Some days good, some days not so good. Angler Jeff Barker said he and a group of fishermen from the West Bay Anglers went cod fishing last week and did not do so well, only three or four keeper cod were landed. However, the next day anglers fishing on the Seven B's landed over fifty fish. Francis Fleet vessels reported this weekend that "The cod were not at all easy to catch today as the bite was incredibly soft and the cod seemed to show a distinct preference for the bait to be hard on the bottom almost with a bit of slack in the line... for the past two days very few cod were taken on the metal with bait far out producing for the fish managed."
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 firstname.lastname@example.org .