Block Island Inshore Fishing Tourney a growing success

Fri, 07/29/2022 - 1:30pm

Around the galley, the kitchen table, and occasionally the mahogany bar, are the stories about the one that got away. Often recounted with “a wee bit of Irish” the fish tales are often that, Hemingwayesque tales of epic, deep sea battles at the end of a fishing line that end with only “what ifs.”
But not out here. Instead, the Block Island Inshore Fishing tournament has a catch and release requirement for the stripers and bluefish that send them back to their aquatic home, but with documented photos of their size and weight for the stories that make the sport so much fun.
Over $10,000 in prizes were on the transom Sunday in tournament prize awards. The tourney, inspired by Block Island’s Captain Chris Willi, increasingly attracts anglers and teams from throughout New England for two days of fun and sun chasing striped bass, bluefish, black sea bass and fluke from both the shore and boats, with adult, boat, and youth divisions, and this year a new category, fly fishing, was added.
The event’s flavor is decidedly family-driven with nearly 100 participants, doubling last year’s numbers with a hint of even more to come next year.
Hosted by Block Island Fishworks, and Capt. Nick’s Rock and Roll Bar, the event would not be the success it has grown into without additional sponsors Orsted, Ocean State Bait and Tackle, Saltwater Edge, Snug Harbor Marina, and Watch Hill Outfitters.
The one lesson learned while talking with the competitors afterwards is that no one will tell you where they found success. By tourney rule, the fish had to be caught from shore or in a boat, within a three-mile limit of the island, including the rich fishing grounds of Orsted’s Block Island Wind Farm.
One-hundred percent of the registration fees went to support the Block Island Fire and Rescue Department. Those fees
totaled $2,325 and Capt. Nick’s matched it, presenting a whopping $4,650 to the Fire and Rescue Department, drawing an appreciative murmur and loud applause at the crowded Sunday award ceremony.
First place went to Team “Frayed Knot,” led by Capt. Richard Lipsitz of North Kingstown with a 51-inch striped bass caught by Wendy Northup of Block Island at sunrise.