Fluke, Stripers, Sea Bass, Blues, Bluefins Hot off BI’s South Side


At the risk of further bludgeoning a very dead personal horse, I can’t help but think that all these weeks of rock-steady fluke and striper fishing over at Block Island have given some of us a false sense of security about how much time we actually have to get in on this world-class fishing. This has been, by unanimous opinion, a very strange year in New England weather, fishing, and oceanography. Water temps have remained quite cool overall—perhaps one reason so many of the fish that slid into Island waters in late June seem not to have moved very far since. The trick with weird seasons like this one is that they have a habit of falling apart earlier than anticipated. Point here is that if you have any thoughts about taking advantage of all this amazing fishing you keep reading about here week after week, you’d be wise to get to it as soon as humanly possible, lest you wait and wind up arriving on these storied grounds just in time for as major slump. It’s not going to get much better than it is right now, so the sooner you get after it, the better.


Mike Wade at Watch Hill Outfitters noted most of his striper-minded guys are still making the runs across to Block Island—both the SE and SW Corners—where they’re finding unprecedented numbers of cow bass from 30 to 40-plus pounds drifting eels, day or night. Because the bluefish have filled in quite a bit over the last week, some folks have been focusing their eeling energies during periods of peak tidal flow, when they can access the bass without picking through tons of choppers. Fluke reports confirm that the Island’s south side remains the place to be as of deadline time, but there have been some keepers and occasional doormats hanging on the broken bottom outside Weekapaug. Misquamicut has been tiled with wallet-sized slabs for the most part. There are scup, loads of them, in all the usual hard-bottom spots around the Reefs, off Naps, and in points east. As for bass on the mainland side, most of the recent scattered catching has been done by those guys who know all the lesser rockpiles off Charlestown. There have been quite a few recent reports of school bluefins crashing in the halfbeaks not far south of Block, and the sharking is still well worth the effort from south of Montauk to south of the Vineyard.


The surf fishing has been relatively slow, with occasional bigger fish taken on night tides by eel- or needlefish-slingers working the southside boulder fields, and from SE Light up toward Old Harbor Point. The West Side—Gracies to Dories, roughly—has turned out keepers and the occasional 20-pounder, with sand eels the dominant forage of late. The big-fish slaughter continues off the SW and SE sides, where clouds of sand eels, squid, and other forage seems to be keeping the big girls concentrated for the taking. More than a few of the old-timers are spooked by alarming parallels between the big years around the beginning of the Moratorium—the years that put Block Island on the map—and the fishing we’re seeing right now. Let’s hope we don’t end up paying a veryu high price for this season’s (almost) unprecedented slaughter. Fluking remains quite good off the south side.


Matt Conti at Snug Harbor called it a status quo week over at the Island, with lots of heavies coming in from the South side between eel-intensive bluefish events. The fluking is still holding together across the pond as well, with most of the better flukemen more than willing to take the longer rides in light of the numbers of quality slabs bunched up all along the south side from roughly 65 feet out. On the school tuna front, the guys working close to the Island have been faring better than guys who’ve ventured farther down. Sharking is still quite productive in all the usual 30-fathom spots between roughly Coxes and the Butterfish Hole, with quite a few 100-plus makos taken over the last couple weeks. The last guys who went outside looking for cod struck out hard—probably, thought Conti, because of the moon tides. There was a confirmed night bite early-week in the Fishtails and West Atlantis. There are numbers of big blackfish in the shallow spots along Narragansett, and sea bass are still just about anywhere you find hard bottom and fluke.


Kenny Landry at Ray’s Bait called it a pretty quiet week for the Bay. “When the water starts getting warmer than the air,” he said, “most of the guys leave the Bay.” Fluking seems to be getting most of the fishing effort of late, especially from the bridges—Newport and Jamestown—southward to around the mouth of the Bay. His guys have had keepers from Fort Adams southward and out between Brenton Reef and roughly Elbow Ledge, as well as in the West Passage from Austin Hollow down to Beavertail. One regular ventured up inside Whale Rock off Narragansett and came up with a good shot of keeper slabs last week—a nice surprise given that few flukemen work in that general area. On the striper front, Block Island is still Ground Zero, though a few local sharpies have been prying large fish off rockpiles along Newport’s oceanfront.


The other Sam at Sam’s Bait and Tackle called it a pretty lean week in terms of earth-shattering new fish news: The Island is still more or less rotten with striped bass from 20 pounds all the way north—albeit now with way more bluefish in the picture than there were two weeks ago. The fluking, locally, has been fair to good, particularly from Fort Adams down past Brenton Reef. Shop regulars, Eric Thomas and his son, had a bang-up day of sea bassing off Sakonnet Point—an area that has not gotten rave reviews in the fluke department in some weeks. There’s a legit night bite going on out in the canyons, and there are loads of school bluefins, some white marlin, and other near-offshore mystery meat chasing halfbeaks from south of Marthas Vineyard to south of Block.