Lots of blue fish in local waters this week

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Anglers have recently been treated to an abundance of blue fish of all sizes. Bluefish are a great fight for anglers, and if treated properly after catching them, they make a good dinner dish.

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Coastal regulation for blue fish is three fish / person / day. (This also applies to skipjack, which are immature blue fish.) The limit of three fish was imposed because the 2021 stock assessment conducted by NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center indicated that blue fish were overexploited. , but that there was no overfishing in 2019. The updated stock assessment data incorporated up to 2019.

This week we caught fish in schools from 18 inches to 30 inches. One has to wonder if this is a sign that the stock is rebounding. Most blue fish have been caught on the surface during blitz, or binge eating, when fish grow and trap bait near shore or on the surface where the bait has nowhere to go.

The fish were found in the mid-to-lower portion of the east and west passages of Narragansett Bay, north and south of Gould and Hope Islands, off Quonset, Jamestown and many other places.

All the fish hunted for good sized peanut sausages (immature Atlantic Menhaden). They spat them out when they were brought on deck. Blue fish eat 2.5 times their weight every day, so it seems like they never stop feeding.

Angler Bruce Kaercher, once from Rhode Island, now living in Arkansas, caught bluefish during a surface feeding frenzy.  Blue fish are more abundant in the bay than in recent years.

The lures of choice were small, shiny lures that mimic this bait and flash in the water. Decoys such as Kastmaster, Deadly Dick, and Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnows worked well.

Here are some tips for fishing for blue fish blitz:

Use wire guides when fishing for blues to avoid cuts.

Be careful – they have sharp teeth that can take your finger off.

My personal favorite for targeting bluefish is the lightweight gear. I usually have three St. Croix Mojo light / medium and heavy inshore fishing rods ready, paired with Shimano Stella 4000 reels. The spools are wound with 20 pound braids and wire guides. (Twenty pound fluorocarbon headlines for false albacore, bonito, and sea bass, as these platforms are also used to target these species.)

Work the edges of schools when they surface; don’t drive through a school or just above or you will scare them and they will fall.

Be respectful of others by making room for them when working a school of fish on the surface.

Be careful; try not to get too carried away by the excitement. I find that no more than two or even three experienced anglers can cast at the same time. This is to prevent the cast fisherman from catching others.

Take care of the fish once on board; it is difficult to unhook a fish, clean up what it spits, and wash away the blood while others are fishing.

Keep the fish caught and cleaned in a solution of ice and salt water in a cooler for the remainder of your trip.

Where’s the bite?

Striped bass, blue fish and false albacore. During a charter last Sunday, we encountered 14 bluefish with striped bass mixed in on the surface. The area between Quonset, Hope Island and Jamestown has exploded with the largest schools of blue fish we’ve seen in the bay in some time. We had similar results in the Eastern Passage on Monday, just north of Gould Island. Jeff Smith reports on the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association blog: “Hunted albies from Beavertail to Scarborough on Sunday. We headed back to Narragansett Bay and when the tide finally started to move we had fish boils west of Whale Rock. It was mostly blues with a few stripers mixed in. A few albies schools too, but they weren’t there for a long time. I managed to reach an albie, but I lost him on the boat. Going up the west passage and around 10:30 am the water in front of Quonset started to boil with tons of birds and surface action all around. Turns out it’s mostly blues with some bass. The biggest blues I’ve seen in the bay in quite some time. We were throwing a few caps and I caught almost everything on a green epoxy jig. “East End” Eddie Doherty reported: “Most little stripers grab the abundant bait in the Cape Cod Canal. I was lucky enough to trick a 42 inch ebb with a white Hurley Canal Killer just past the slack near the Bourne Bridge A delicious black bass snapped for the same build as it stood on the plateau near the edge of the rip-rap rock bank.

Red flounder, black sea bass, cod and scup. The fluke and black bass bites off Newport and the Beavertail-Jamestown area were good last week if you could fish in rough sea conditions. Paul Boutiette, who fished at Cox Ledge, reports on the Saltwater Anglers Association blog: “We caught fish every time we went to Cox Ledge. We ended up filling the cooler to the brim with six cod and 6 [black sea bass] ice. The cod was 21 inches incremented to 27 inches and the BSB was legal for jumbo. Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle in Warwick said: “Patrons catch black bass and moats off the northern tip of Prudence Island, Patience Island and Warwick Neck.”

Dave Monti holds a captain’s license and a charter fishing license. He sits on various boards and commissions and owns a consulting firm that focuses on ocean cleanliness, habitat preservation, conservation, renewable energy, and fisheries issues and clients. Send fishing news and photos to [email protected] or visit www.noflukefishing.com.


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