2008-07-31 / News

A guided fishing trip reveals secrets of Narragansett Bay

I love to fish. I'm not very good at it because I don't go fishing that often. I've caught a few big fish over the years in fresh and saltwater, mostly by accident.

So, when Capt. Robb Roach of Kettlebottom Outfitters offered to take me fishing I jumped at the opportunity.

We met at the boat at 5 a.m. on a recent gray Saturday morning. Robb, who hosts a popular television outdoor show on NESN, brought along young islander Tommy Munro to serve as first mate. Islander Lance Downing also joined us for the excursion.

We motored north to Wickford in hopes of catching some baitfish. As luck would have it, the bait was not cooperating so we turned south towards Whale Rock. Along the way we spotted several schools of bluefish on the surface. Lance landed a nice blue. I struck out.

At Whale Rock we trolled for stripers with an umbrella rig that was created by Robb. The rig was impressive. Fully extended, it measures about 2 feet by 2 feet and is sweetened on the hook with a strip of squid. I landed a keeper striper. I was surprised at how long it took to reel in the fish.

After that, trolling was unsuccessful and we moved to Brenton Reef. We trolled for striper for a while but the fish were elusive. That's when we switched to fluke. Then everyone on the boat got lucky. We finished off the morning taking turns reeling in fluke and the occasional skate.

Robb is a veteran fisherman, having spent most of his life around the bay. He pays close attention to the ocean's bottom contours and structure. He knows where the fish like to hang out. It certainly makes a difference.

We had an eventful day. Bluefi sh, striper and fluke. Needless to say, dinner that evening at my home featured a main course of fresh local seafood.

— Jeff McDonough

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