Friday, January 30, 2015

Tackle Shop Owners Send Powerful Conservation Message to RI DEM

Many RI Tackle shop owners, very knowledgeable and well respected members of the RI fishing community, have sent a powerful message to RI DEM regarding striper regs that have not been formalized yet for 2015.  At the center of controversy is a one fish proposal for recreational fishermen and a two fish proposal for charter boat captains. The letter is pasted below:

Dear Director Coit, Senator Sosnowski, and Mr Borden,
Collectively, the recreational fisherman in Rhode Island and the Ocean State’s tackle shop owners and their employees want to urge you not to abandon the original conservation equivalency of >31% that was linked to all of the one fish options that were presented to Rhode Islanders. As shop owners we hear the dialog within the rec community every day and we can assure you the vast majority are frustrated and disheartened to learn you are considering a 27% harvest reduction to benefit one user group. They know Conservation Equivalence is a minimum and Rhode Island is under no obligation to utilize the lower standard.
The citizens spoke emphatically and consistently in favor of a one fish and 30 inch limit with the corresponding greater the 31% mortality reduction. Quite a few more, decidedly shore bound Rhode Islanders, advocated for an even more conservative approach of one fish at 32 inches. The ASMFC Technical Committee is unable to discern the gains in reduced mortality between the 30 inch and 32 inch options desired by Rhode Islanders relative to the 28 inch limit that produces a “greater than 31% reduction”. Please recognize your constituents were forced to settle for the nebulous “greater than 31%” at the outset due to inability of ASMFC to deliver this key piece of data.
The urgency in the uniform voice of recreational anglers for the most conservative approach is fueled as well by the Technical Committee assessment that all of the options presented have roughly a 50% chance of success. It amounts to a coin flip. These are scary odds for the recreational anglers of the Ocean State and even more concerning if your business requires healthy striped bass fishery to survive.
At the ASMFC Planning Meeting the DEM strategy was “one fish and investigate conservation equivalence to get two fish for charter fleet” while not ideal this was an acceptable compromise in that it included a “greater than 31% reduction”.  As shop owners we can sympathize with the Charter Captains concern for their livelihood and the jobs they create as we have employees whose need for jobs is no less important.
If you walk in the waders of the majority of Rhode Island recreational anglers it’s hard not to see the current “2 fish with 27% reduction” proposal by the for hire fleet as anything other than the export of Rhode Island resources against the stated desire of public and to the benefit of a select few and for those who can afford to pay for the best.
We urge you to maintain the >31% harvest reduction your public demanded. If you consider a “two fish” option the recreational anglers of Rhode Island would ask that the Charter Boat Captains and Mates contribute to reducing mortality by not taking their recreational share while on a “for hire” trip. This will help mitigate the negative impacts of the continued harvest of two reproducing females by each of their paying customers.
You have a wonderful opportunity to let Rhode Island again be the state that leads with a creative solution that the serves the citizens, shares the economic impact and most importantly protects this incredible gamefish.
Thank you for your service,
Peter Jenkins – The Saltwater Edge
Mike Wade – Watch Hill Outfitters
Neal Hayes – Quaker Lane Bait and Tackle
Dave Henault – Ocean State Tackle
Greg Bruning – The Tackle Box
Captain Ron Mouchon – Breachway Bait and tackle
Captain Chris Willi – Block Island Fishworks
Mike Cardinal – Cardinal Bait and Tackle
Ray Miclette – Pete’s Bait and Tackle
Robin Nash – Quonny Bait and Tackle

Friday, January 23, 2015

Striper Seminars Coming to Big Shows

In the next month I will be presenting my new seminar, Shore Tactics for Stripers, at two of the biggest outdoor shows in New England.  Here is the schedule and info on the shows:

Sat, Feb.7,  1:00 PM and Sunday, Feb. 8, 11:00 AM- New England Fishing and Outdoor Expo, Holiday Inn, Boxborough, MA.  This is the same show that used to be at the DCU Center in Worcester.  It has now moved to Boxborough, MA. This show is packed with exhibitors and seminars and features everything you might want to do in the outdoors including fishing! The link to the show and all the info you need in here: NE Fishing and Outdoor Expo.

Sat., Feb. 21, Time to be determined (Check website)- Spingfield Sportsmens Show, Big E, Springfield, MA.  This is a massive show also devoted to the outdoors.  It is heavy on fishing as well as hunting and it, too, features a packed seminar schedule.  The link to the website is located at Springfield Sportsmens Show.

Hope to see many of my followers at these shows!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Once Again, a Move to Freshwater

This largemouth
was jigged up
With saltwater fishing for winter holdovers so poor this year, I have, once again, turned my attention to freshwater.   I have been fishing both open water currents (rivers) for carp and ice fishing for multiple species on ponds and lakes.
This 8 lb. mirror carp was caught on Jan.1 when the temp.
was just 20 degrees.  It won the biggest mirror
carp award  in the nationwide FFF tournament on
New Year's Day.
I had my best December of carp fishing ever in the month's record warm weather, catching close to 100 carp up to 20 lbs. in just the month of December.  I continued to fish for them into early Jan. and landed a few before the hard freeze.  If you want to know about catching carp in the winter months, check out my blog at RI Carp Fishing.
In the last week I have been hitting a number of frozen freshwater ponds and catching good numbers of bluegills, bass and crappie.  I move around a lot and just jig.  My hot ticket is a small gold Kastmaster spiced with a meal worm. It is deadly on multiple species of fish.
With declining numbers of stripers, I predict that more and more saltwater fishermen will turn their attention to freshwater in the next couple of years.  It is already happening with a lot of fishermen.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

First Time Ever....A Blank for December

For the first time in decades, I have blanked in the month of December.  In past years, I had caught holdover stripers in the upper Bay along with migrating fish along the oceanfront in December.  Even back in the days when there weren't supposed to be many fish around I was catching in December.  But, not this year.
I have gotten out about a dozen times in December focusing my attention on the Upper Bay where I was hoping the fishing would improve. But, I was not able to land a single fish in December.  Heck, I didn't even see anyone else land a fish.
Bottom line....the fish are not around. Some will point to the weather, the lack of bait, the fact that the fish seem to be in different spots, etc, but the bottom line is that the number of stripers is way down. We saw the proof of that in some poor summer fishing along the RI mainland shore, inconsistent fishing in the fall, and now the poor winter fishing.
I see little reason to think the winter fishing will dramatically improve in the coming weeks and months. I only hope I am wrong.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Youth Writing Contest Sponsored by Outdoor Writers

Does anyone out there know of a student who loves the outdoors and is a good writer?  The New England Outdoor Writers' Association (NEOWA) of which I am a member is sponsoring a Youth Writing Contest (junior high and senior high categories) that focuses on anything outdoor related.  I'm sure many who go to this blog could write about such topics as their largest striped bass you've caught, the greatest blitz you have ever seen, a great day of fishing, the biggest fish of any other species you have caught, a kayaking or boating adventure, or just any nature topic of your choice.  It could be fiction or non-fiction.  The New England overall winner last year wrote a non-fiction hunting story about shooting his first deer.
Ideally, we would like to see schools enter and teachers surpervise this contest. That is one category of the contest.  However, I have sent the rules out to every public school superintendent in the state of RI  for two years now, and sadly, I have not received a single entry from any school. We can also go the "at large" route where any kid can enter the contest and submit his own entry.  The at large winner will receive a cash prize of $125 and be entered into the New England Contest where the winning cash prize is $150.  The two big winners will get $275 in cash prizes, and their entries will be published in a magazine.
So, anyone know of a good student who could write a great outdoor related story?  If you do send him or her the link below that gives all the rules and regulations along with where to send their entry.  I hope some kids choose to enter. I would love to see the big winner come from RI!
Link to contest: NEOWA Youth Writing Contest, 2015

Monday, December 22, 2014

Winter Fishing....So Far, So Poor

Many of my followers know that I spend a lot of time fishing for stripers in the wintertime.  In the last twenty years I have caught tons of wintering over stripers, mostly from the Providence River.  This place has long been well known as THE winter place to wet a line if you wanted to catch a striper in the cold winter months of December, January or February here in RI. Not that long ago I was catching over a THOUSAND stripers a winter in this location. And, there were good numbers of keepers to boot. It was that good.
So far this December I have not been able to catch a single striper.  I have tried all tides, fished mornings, afternoons, and nighttime.  I've fished cold days, warm days, stormy days and real nice weather.  And, I have not caught a single fish.  I've gotten out at least three to four times a week and still have come up empty.  The number of fishermen who are trying has greatly diminished due to the absence of any fish, and I have not seen anyone else catch a fish in December.  Sadly, it is that poor.
This should not come as a big surprise.  We know the population of stripers is way down. The upper Bay fishing was off in the summer and fall.  Less fish then would mean less fish in the winter.  The sudden severe cold and partial icing of the river around Thanksgiving seemed to send any fish (stripers, pogies and peanut bunker) packing and there has been nothing since then.  Even the seals that were around back in November seem to be gone.
So, will this be the year of no winter fish in the Providence River?  I just don't know. I've seen big lulls and inconsistent fishing in the past, even in very good years.  In the past the fish moved in and out of the river. Maybe they are out in the Bay and will move back into the river.
In past years December has proved to be the best month of winter fishing. It's not a good sign that nothing has happened this month. I hope it turns around because I am in for a long winter if it doesn't.