Basic information on fishing Rhode Island's marine waters from shore
Fishing By Season
Are you planning a trip to Rhode Island this summer? If this is the case then Rhode Island waters have much to offer the novice or experienced angler. It is a well known fact the Rhode Island waters offer some of the best sport fishing experiences in the Northeast. Every year anglers from all over the country head to Rhode Island coastlines in pursuit of Striped Bass, Bluefish and many other popular sports fish species. Depending upon what month you plan on traveling to Rhode Island will determine what species of fish you may want to pursue. The following details what species of fish you may want to target in Rhode Island waters during your next vacation.
Fishing Rhode Island Waters in June
If you are planning on coming to the ocean state in June you will find that the angling action is just starting to get heated up. Striped bass will begin migrating up Narragansett bay at that time of the year. In general I have found that when the water temperature reaches 52 degrees Fahrenheit the schoolie Stripers begin to arrive. They can be found in a variety of areas early in the season. Generally by June they can be found in almost all areas of Narragansett Bay. To name a few specific areas produce well are the "West Wall" which is east of East Matunuck State Beach, East Greenwich Cove, Sabin Point and Bold Point Park. As for tackle, early in the season when the schoolie stripers are still around soft plastic lures seem to work the best. Also the classic "Tube and Worm" method yields good results at just about any time of the season. Surf casting or trolling in 5 to 15 feet of water are popular techniques used by the local anglers which generally allows anglers to catch their quota which is one (1) striped bass per angler per day.
Later in June the bluefish will begin their seasonal migration into Narragansett Bay. When the water temperature reaches 58 degrees they are prevalent in a variety of areas. The larger blitz's generally do not happen until July, but on certain days you can see birds working the water in June, which could be a mix of bluefish and stripers. In later June I switch to harder plugs like "Broken Back Rebels" or "Rapala" plugs as the bluefish's sharp teeth will bite right through a soft plastic lure. When I start to notice my plastic lure's tail being chopped off I know that the blues have arrived and it is time to switch to harder plugs. Trolling and casting are two popular methods of catching Blues.
Fishing Rhode Island Waters in July
Fishing in Rhode Island waters definitely gets interesting in July. By this time their are a variety of species to fish for including, bluefish, striped bass, scup and flounder. By July the water temperatures are generally around 60 degrees, so it makes the air temperatures on early morning or late evening trips much more enjoyable.
Early morning Bluefish frenzies or "Blitzes" are common as the sun rises. Seek out working birds. They can be found in just about any region of the bay at this point, but some popular locations are Barrington Beach, East Greenwich Cove and areas all around Prudence Island. A good tip is to find the bait fish as the blues will not be far behind.
There is always much debate and talk about the Striped Bass populations after the bluefish arrive. However, local anglers catch them all through the summer, but tend to do better in the early morning or late night hours. By July switch over to the "Tube and Worm" rig or start live lining bait. Abandon using the soft plastic lures at this point as you would just be throwing away your money as the bluefish will just slice it up.
Flounder and Fluke fishing around the southern part of the state starts picking up in July. Most anglers catch them by boat, by drifting over them with fluke Jigs baited with Either Squid or small minnows. On most days you can find the flounder by just finding the swarms of boats drifting over sandy bottom.
Fishing Rhode Island Waters in August
If fishing starts to heat up in July, by August the fishing fun is white hot. Late evenings or early mornings on Narragansett Bay can produce some of the best fishing experiences an angler can ask for. On warm summer nights, with a purple sunset anglers can experience bluefish blitzes stretching the size of football fields. The water comes alive with life and it is one of nature's wonders. At times you won't even know where to throw your plug because there are fish jumping all around you. Every year the fish populations vary, but in August and September the blues are normally in the bay very heavy. Larger striped bass can also be caught if you can get your bait to the bottom fast enough. Just be careful things can get a little crazy if your find yourself in the middle of a bluefish blitz, I know of many anglers getting a little too excited and ending up with a hook in a finger or a nasty bite by one of these aggressive game fish.
By August start using the larger plugs that you have in your box as you will have better chances landing a larger bluefish. The smaller ones are fun to catch, but if you lock into a 10lb bluefish you will have quite the fishing fight ahead of you. You may have to ask a buddy to lend you a hand as they have a reputation of tiring out even the most seasoned fisherman.
Fishing Rhode Island Waters in the Fall
The bite definitely does not slow down by September in Rhode Island. Bluefish and bass may start to begin their migration south, but our waters generally are visited from all of the blues and stripers that have started their migrations further north. Fishing the south coast in September and October produces good results. Places like Charlestown, Point Judith, Matunuck and WeekaPaug allow anglers to catch the stripers and bluefish migrating south along the shoreline. Some of the largest fish have been landed around this time of the season after having all summer to feed and grow. Places further north into Narragansett bay also produce good results for blues, bass and scup at this time.
Tautog can be caught once again in Rhode Island waters in September, October and November, depending upon the water temperatures. Locations south of the Jamestown bridge produce well at first, but they can be caught as far north as Prudence Island.
So all this being said if you are looking for a great fishing experience or just visiting Rhode Island for other reasons and wanted to do a little fishing, we would highly recommend dropping a line as to not miss out on an exciting fishing opportunity.
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