From hook to cook: fish is on the menu
Opportunities to catch fish for the table depend only on your personal tastes. There is great fishing right now for a variety of species.
Fishing from shore has been diffi cult for stripers and fluke, as each species has been moving from shallow warm water into deeper cooler waters. Scup, tautog and bluefish are plentiful, however, and can be found off the docks of Conanicut Marina and off the rocks of Ft. Wetherill, Beavertail and Ft. Getty. Driving to any rocky point between Point Judith’s Harbor of Refuge and Westerly has also been productive for shore-based fishermen.
Striped bass fishing off Block Island has been awesome and is starting to produce big stripers. Capt. Robb Roach took a recent charter there, finding stripers in shallow water on the southeast side. Fishing unweighted eels, his client caught many fish, including a 48-inch bass and a 49-inch bass, each into the 40- pound class.
While bluefish and dogfish are plentiful in deeper waters, the shallows provide non-stop action with few eel-chomping intruders.
Capt. Jay Howell took Jamestown resident Matt Hull to the Fishtails recently, looking for the yellowfi n bite. Trolling just after sun-up, a flat-lined ballyhoo came tight with a yellowfin tuna that tipped the scales at just over 60 pounds. Howell had a couple more good hits on ballyhoo, but the hook didn’t find its mark. Based on radio chatter, Howell did well for the day, as most boats went home empty-handed.
As always, there are no guarantees for a particular day and most reports from the edge are of tough fishing. If you can afford the fuel, the Fishtails to Hydrographer Canyon have been fairly consistent, but getting out there is the only way to see what the day can produce.
Fluke fishing is steadily improving, especially around Block Island. Fishing waters from 40- to 80- feet has been outstanding for big doormats. Try the North rip or Southwest corner with bucktails or fluke rigs tipped with squid.
For many people, fluke are excellent fare and easy to cook. A favorite Roach family recipe takes only 15- minutes to prepare, making it the cook’s favorite as well. This recipe also works well with scup, seabass, striper or any white-fleshed fish:
Baked Ritz Fluke 6 to 8 fluke fillets 1 or 2 packages of Ritz crackers 3/4 to 1 stick of butter
Place dry fluke fillets in a single layer in a glass baking dish, covering the bottom. Crush Ritz crackers (in the original pouch or in a Ziploc bag) into coarse crumbs and spread evenly over fish. In a bowl, microwave the butter until melted and pour evenly over the dish.
Bake in a 400-degree oven until the Ritz crackers are lightly browned or until the fish is cooked through, approximately 12 minutes. Squirt with lemon immediately after removing from the oven. Serve with side dishes of your choice, such as corn, baked sweet potatoes or salad.
“Kettlebottom Outdoor Pursuits” airs four to five times weekly only on Cox Sports. Contribute your fish tales and photos to kettlebottom@ yahoo.com. Visit www.kettlebottom outfitters.com.