Fall fishing is fast, furious and fun
Recent cool nights have required jackets to be taken out of storage and are causing trees to begin the color change that marks the coming of New England fall.
Though summer is fading, island fishermen have a lot to look forward to in the coming months. As waters cool, many fish return to shallows and feed aggressively, allowing us to celebrate the annual fall run.
Bonito and False Albacore offer one of the best fights that a light tackle fisherman can expect to win. Each is a little Tuna with strong swimming abilities. They take only small lures on light line, due to good eyesight and a diet of small baitfish. Schools have been popping up everywhere, from Westport, Mass. to Westerly.
My buddy, known as “Louie the Fish,” came from Hawaii to visit me last week for a few days of fishing. Launching in Galilee just after sunrise on Monday, we went off the center wall. Casting fly rods at breaking fish, we were each able to land a False Albacore after hard battles.
Based on our report, Capt. Jay Howell and Jes Santos repeated our success the next morning, also landing one each on three quarter-ounce “deadly dicks” tied directly to 10-pound test. They then switched to six-inch slug-gos fished tight to the rocks to land several small Striped Bass.
Stripers are moving into the shallows, allowing shore and upper-Bay fishermen the opportunity to catch them on poppers, swimming plugs, jerkbaits and on the fly. Robb Roach took friend Dennis Angelone of North Situate off the east wall of Point Judith, hoping for False Albacore and Bonito on the fly. Instead, Striped Bass were thick, and pounced on the fly on every cast.
Large Stripers are off Block Island and south shore reefs, being caught on eels or trolled lures. Estuary fishermen are beginning to see Stripers coming into the salt ponds from Point Judith to Westerly, and expect to have a great fall, sight fishing with light tackle or fly rod.
Bottom fishermen are experiencing a great Black Seabass and Scup bite. Scup are now closed to recreational fishing, however, and must be released. Try jigs, or bait such as Squid or Green Crabs on a high-low rig to bring home the Seabass.
Tautog – or Blackfish – are another tasty possibility during the fall. They are found on rocky structure, and primarily eat mussels, barnacles and crabs. Bottom fishermen are catching them on green crabs, fished on a high-low rig. If you’re feeling adventurous, spearfishing can be outstanding and is perfect for beginners.
Offshore has been hit or miss, though there are some Yellowfin, Bluefin, Mahi Mahi and plenty of Sharks around. With the fall run beginning, however, you will save time, money and fuel staying inshore, where you can have phenomenal fishing without leaving sight of land.
Kettlebottom Outdoor Pursuits airs four to five times weekly on Cox Sports. Submit your fish tales and photos to kettlebottom@ yahoo.com. Visit www. kettlebottom-outfitters.com.