-- PJ
Fishing Reports up to and including Saturday, July 13, 2013
Location: Block Island, Narragansett Bay, Newport
Captain Ray Stachelek

Excessive prolong heat wave, humidity, rain, foggy, windy, high wave surges, we had it all during this long holiday vacation week. Fourth of July on Thursday made it seem like a four day weekend. Lots of activity on the water, beaches packed, boat ramps busy, plenty of pleasure boaters enjoying the fun N sun. Finding a prime fishing spot in solitude was darn near impossible. The only chance for any privacy maybe that of night fishing, but Block Islandís Southwest Ledge looked like an airport runway most nights. Night bass fishermen using eels have been doing well. Forty pounders are common place. No problem limiting out.

Where are the sand eels? The masses seem to have disappeared. Even the bluefish looked lean, with nothing being cough up during the heat of the battle. Three pound bluefish reign supreme in close to shore and on structure around the island. There has been lots of random casting and prospecting for very few fish. What gives? Bluefish have always been a bail-out species when striper fishing got slow. Surface water temperatures around the island are 70 degrees, while the surface water in the bay is registering an astounding 76 degrees.

Captainís Log:

Tom Killmurray decided to spend Fourth of July afternoon on Narragansett Bay indoctrinating his three young sons on some seamanship and exposing them to the marine environment of Narragansett Bay. We launched out of Wickford with this motley crew of young pirates bent on catching a few bluefish. Our heading was Half Way Rock. The plan was to troll up a one or two bluefish, get tight and let the kids have fun. All three took turns manning the rods. Quickly they learned how to flip the bail, pay line, and count the colors on the lead core line. We trolled around the area for over an hour without any luck till one rod went off causing a mass hysteria. Could it be? Nope! Just a bottom snag but it had everyone excited and running around crazy.

The boys enjoyed the ride home as the wind picked up causing three foot waves to slap across the broadside beam creating salt spray across their faces. We didnít catch any fish, but being on a boat, in the bay left the boys with a new appreciation of the environment. Afterwards the three boys cooled off with a swim at the boat ramp before the ride home. Next stop outdoor cookout and fireworks. Iím sure the boys slept well. It was nice to see young boys interact with nature with a fishing rod in hand instead of some electronic gadget.

The Killmurray Family enjoying an afternoon on the bay

Hunter Bedard (yes! a womanís name) surprised her boyfriend Tom with a fly fishing trip to Block Island as a recent birthday present. Tom just got into fly fishing and was so excited today going out to the fishing grounds on a quest to land his first fish with the long wand.

We first worked on a few mechanics to help Tom along to try to lengthen his cast. Timing and proper loading are the two variables beginners usually have difficulty with. After a short time, he was able to get the fly out an appreciable distance, long enough to solicit some attention.

After several boat movements we finally found some holding fish with their noses up current in some twelve feet of water. Tom was all excited as he could see stripers swimming directly under the bow in the clear water. Cast after cast Tom had stripers follow his fly to the boat, only to have them turn away at the last minute. Tom kept his focus and enthusiasm during the ordeal. We finally see his line get tight as the fly line was running thru his fingers. Yes!... We have love! Only to find itís a quick release, another way of saying, ďdropped fish.Ē This happens on three successive occasions. Now Iím ready to ask, ďDid you bring any bananas on boardĒ an old nautical superstition? On the fourth time he scores, plays the fish masterfully, brings it to the boat, catches his first fish and itís a bluefish. Tom has been bitten by the bug. Iím sure with his determination more success is on the way. Itís a learning curve that every novice goes through.

Hunter with a nice Block Island schoolie

Tomís first fish on a fly rod, a feisty Block Island blue

Mike Klinger and his family were up vacationing at their parentís summer home in Narragansett during the holiday week catching up with mom and dad. Mike doesnít have the fishing expertise like his dad, but that doesnít take away his enthusiasm when it comes to wetting a line. Mike chose to lob some plugs, while his dad tossed a few flies. The water at the Block was gin clear, surface conditions calm, very little weed, but no signs of sand eels. We knew nothing was going to be easy seeing no birds searching and blank screens. Today meant a lot of moving around, take a dozen cast here. Nothing! Move to a different contour, vary the depths. All we had to show was no bass and maybe eight small bluefish.

The fog began to roll in late morning, became denser as time passed. We decided to finish the trip at the mainland. Heading home, we caught a break seeing a few seagulls working over bait. The rip had six foot swells in close frequency agitated by whirlpool current meant for some precarious drifts. But this is where the stripers were active feeding in the froth. Mike finally gets tight to a good fish on a long distance cast. Nothing happens in this tug of war for the next ten minutes. Itís a stalemate and the seasoned striper uses the currents to her advantage. Finally the boat drifts enough to breaks free of the pulling current. Mike begins to make progress. Within minutes sheís close to the boat. Mike was a tired guy, but he wasnít going to complain. We finish on a good note.

Mike Klinger had the fight of his life battling the currents and this great fish.

Joe Herbert was back in town again anxious to get out and catch a few stripers. We tossed around the idea going to Block Island, but the weather forecast called for thunder and lighting. Rather than fish the open ocean eighteen miles out, we decided it was more prudent to be closer to land. So we set our GPS to Newport and the reefs this foggy morning. Turns out it was a perfect float plan. Within a few cast, Joe was tight to a four pound striper in the breaking surf. He managed to take five bass from the first hole. We maybe had a dozen stripers for the day, dodging rain drops and fog most of the morning. Newport seems to have more bait right now than any other place. On the plus side we caught nothing but striper. Mr. Blue Demon didnít get to take any of our flies today.

Our warmish thoughts go out to Captain Rene Letourneau from On the Rocks Charters who had hand surgery on Wednesday. Every bass we caught that day off Newport was dedicated to him. We hope heís quickly on the mend and back on the water quickly.

Captain Ray