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No Fluke
DEM looking ‘Lean’
Captain Dave Monti
Photo by G. Cioe
All smiles: Michael Denblaker (11 years old) in center with friends and family after landing a 48" striped bass at the Southwest Ledge, Block Island.

Hat's off to Janet Coit, director of the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and her staff. She instituted a "Lean" initiative in her department and we are starting to see the benefits with proposals and programs that are streamlining the way her Department does business. The DEM Marine Fisheries Division's Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council (RIMFC) was selected for one of the first five department "Lean" initiatives. The RIMFC with DEM staff examines the status of fish stocks, gathers input from fishermen and industry leaders, proposes specie management plans and makes commercial and recreational fishing regulation recommendations to DEM's director.

The aim of the "Lean" initiative is to examine the way a process works… step by step… and then with user and employee input, look for ways to improve and enhance the process becoming more effective and/or cost efficient. Mark Gibson, deputy chief of Marine Fisheries said, "We wanted to select a process that was difficult and try to improve it." The RIMFC and its' various specie advisory panels, along with general public hearings were reviewed and studied by DEM staff members and "Lean" consultants.

The end result was a proposal put before the RIMFC in July to explore a new way for obtaining industry and public input on proposed fishing regulations. The initiative would combine what would occur on two or three different evening advisory panel meetings into one workshop… cover multiple species on one night and then immediately follow it with a public comment hearing. Jason McNamee, marine biologist for the Marine Fisheries Division, said, "We hope to enhance attendance by having fishermen and industry participants attend one meeting rather than two or three. The proposed format would provide participants with more timely information just before the general hearing with an extended comment period running beyond the public hearing." So the net result would be a better decision making process that enhances participation and reduces the time industry participants and DEM staff spends on meetings (allowing DEM staffers more time to address other important fisheries management issues and give fishermen more time to fish).

The proposal was well received by Council members and the plan is to examine a fleshed out trial meeting proposal at their next meeting the first week of September. This initiative has the potential of enhancing participation and saving fishermen, industry leaders and government (DEM) hundreds hours of time throughout the course of a single year.

Where's the bite

Shore fishing. Phil Matteson of Breachway Bait & Tackle, Charlestown, RI said, "Fishing off the Breachway has been good with bass and blues coming though a couple of times a day. Mostly school bass are being caught with keepers mixed in. Fish range from 15" to 35" with anglers using baits like Slug-Gos (that mimic eels) and bucktail jigs that they bounce off the bottom. At night anglers are using mostly eels and they are catching bass in the 20 to 22 pound range. On the beaches bluefish have moved in from Watch Hill to the Matunuck area." John Littlefield of Archie's Bait & Tackle, Riverside, RI said, "Fishing at Sabin Point (East Providence) has been very good with as many as 50 to 60 anglers fishing for scup and Tommy cod at peak hours. Bluefish have started to move into the area which has anglers concerned… when bluefish arrive the scup tend to leave. At night anglers are targeting striped bass landing school bass from Beach Road near the Carousel with keeper size bass (28" or more) mixed in." Fishing from Colt State Park, Bristol for scup continues to be good too.

Striped bass fishing in the Ninigret pond is OK for small stripers with Snappa blues, which are good as fluke bait, being cauth on supper light tackle." Fishing on the reefs along the cost is yielding striped bass in the 15 to 20 pound range with Block Island anglers catching fish in the 30 and 40 pound range." said Phil Matteson of Breachway Bait & Tackle. George Allen of Portsmouth said. The fish at Block Island have been large this year and either you are on them or not. Bristol anglers Frank Correia, Bryan Hennessey, Dennis Leonti, Paul Ferreira and Chris Correia landed bass to 40 pounds last week with a trip to Block Island. Eleven year old angler Michael Denblaker from New Jersey landed his largest fish ever on Block Island last week… a 48", 38 pound striped bass at the Southwest Ledge using eels when fishing with family and friends. Mixed reports about the bass bite off Newport. So it seems things are hit or miss there too. Angler George Allen of Portsmouth, RI said, "Last week the bass bite off Newport on reefs was very strong with fish in the 50 pound range being taken drifting eels, with menhaden chunks and trolling tube and worm."

Summer flounder (fluke) fishing is still good. Angler Mike Swain of Coventry landed fluke to 28" off Newport… "The big one (close to ten pounds) was almost prehistoric in appearance." said Swain. "Fluke fishing is happening in about 45 to 50 feet of water along the southern coastal shores with the keeper ratio not nearly as good as it was, about one keeper in every ten fish caught." said Phil Matteson of Breachway Bait. "Fluke fishing out in front of Warwick Neck near the Seminary and off Barrington Beach between the Beach and channel has been OK. Anglers are catching a lot of fish, with a few keeper fluke mixed in. Fishing in the Newport Bridge and Goat Island area has been hit or miss. Two customers fished the area and boated twenty seven fish with fourteen keepers. The next day they went back and the fish were not there." said John Littlefield or Archie's Bait & Tackle. Summer flounder minimum size is 18" with an eight fish/angler/day limit.

Tautog season opened and will run until October 18 with a three fish/angler/day limit. The limit will jumps to six fish/angler/day from October 19 until December 15. Minimum size is 16". A ten fish per boat limit apples to all periods (party and charter boats excluded). No reports of anglers targeting tautog at this time.

Captain Dave Monti has been fishing and shell fishing for over 40 years. He holds a captain's master license and a charter fishing license. Visit Captain Dave's No Fluke website at www.noflukefishing.

com or e-mail him with your fishing news and photos at dmontifish@verizon.net.


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