RI Fishing Report: 8/14/2015

Bizzaro August Squid Run Lights Up in Jamestown

“This has been a very strange year….Even the crustiest old salts who are most set in their ways have been scratching their heads and trying to figure out how any of what’s going on relates to what they’ve seen or caught for so many seasons…”
Sam Toland, Sam’s Bait and Tackle, Middletown, RI

Watch Hill Outfitters said there was some activity on a mix of school bass and bluefish in the 8- to 12-pound range in various spots along the line, notably Sugar Reef, Quonny, and Weekapaug in no particular order. Christian from the shop had a first-cast keeper bass plugging at Fire District Beach Thursday evening, then a good load of blues in the aforementioned size range. Scup are big and scattered around most of the shoal-water hard bottom between, say, Charlestown and Watch Hill. There were a couple of bonito reports from the Weekapaug area on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning.

Capt. Chris Willi at Block Island Fishworks reported he had a slow and very long day on Thursday, doing most of the catching for four total trips on a late-afternoon trip, during which he and customers picked away at mostly smaller bass (schoolies up to around 30 inches) working tight to the shoreline all around the Island—North Light, Clay Head, Old Harbor Point, and the Thumb (Finger), among other places. The weed has thinned out a bit along the south side, opening up some areas that were unfishable to some fluke and bass work the last couple of days. There are still some quality slabs out in the deep water well outside SE Light, but that action seems to have tapered off at least a bit since the last report. Bluefish are still around in somewhat diminished numbers, and guys have been catching big squid around the docks inside New Harbor at night. Sea bass are still big and they’re all over the place.

Kenny Landry at Ray’s Bait up in Apponaug Cove, Warwick, said it was a pretty slow week, all things considered. There are still fluke—shorts, keepers, and the occasional welcome mat—around both bridges and some of the fishable lanes of broken to cobble bottom around the mouth of the Bay. Blues were on the prowl in Greenwich Bay out to Warwick Light most evenings earlier in the week, where guys trolling the usual array of plugs, umbrellas, etc. picked away at choppers in the 4- to 6-pound range. Bass fishing has been quite good for the guys who know how to play the drift conditions and the high-percentage tide windows, particularly after sundown. Some 40s and probably a 50 or three came out of the SW Corner area over the last 7 days.

Sam’s in Middletown noted the fluke specialists have spent most of this season trying to unlearn much of what historical precedent has taught them about timing relative to fish arrivals, movements, feeding patterns and departures. Early, the fishing in places that ought to have been season’s-best was almost a total non-event—little fish scattered, the big ones bunched up on little micro bottom structures. Now—the last week or so—fishing’s been good to lights-out, depending on angler experience/technique, and conditions. Sam Toland—shop namesake Sam—put in a good offshore run Thursday into Friday morning, came in with a good load of yellows from not too far away, around the Fishtails, where he pretty well tuned cookie-cutter 60- to 70-pounders drifting and chunking overnight in the deep water; he was headed for the barn, boxes full, by 3 a.m. On the striper front, this week was slower than last, with more smaller fish, roughly 22 to 28 inches, along the Newport oceanfront and mixed with blues on most of the local reefs and rockpiles. A huge surprise last weekend was a mini squid run—a run run—with enough squid stacked @#$-deep off the docks at Fort Wetherill in Jamestown (and presumably some other nearby places) that guys on the spot were able to fill five-gallon buckets with big tubes we seldom see inside in the first half of August. Scup are big and plentiful on most hard pieces, there are big bunker in all kinds of places, including Newport Harbor at odd intervals. Some of the surf sharpies with sweetheart access deals to places the public cannot fish have been sticking 30-pound bass in the deep night. The bonito have popped up anywhere from Castle Hill all the way eastward past Sakonnet the last couple of days, but not yet in any huge numbers of concentrations in any one area; you can probably assume that fishery will start to take shape over the next week or so.