Good fishing is good eating
A good stretch of warm weather seemed to get things moving a little on the fishing front, especially from the surf. Despite heavy South West wind, which made the conditions a bit tough, the few anglers who battled the heavy blow were rewarded with a pick of schoolies up to 26 inches, and reports of a couple keepers to 12 pounds landed, and released. There was a heavy push of bluefish that invaded the Coast Guard channel mid-week and thankfully saved some fishing vacations for a number of anglers visiting the Island.
Bluefish should stick around in good numbers and are most readily caught when the tide is running hardest at dawn or dusk. Anglers employing the use of teasers in front of their primary lures are agitating the blues into striking with the ferocity they are known for. The Block Island bluefish are quite good to eat when fresh, just be sure to bleed and gut the fish right out of the water, and fillet and chill the meat immediately. When cooked the same day it’s a fantastic tasting fish and even better when put in a smoker.
Charter boat season is upon us and there are several reputable operations on island. Fishing is one of the best activities for visiting families and friends. Charter boats generally run from $400-$550 per boat for a half day, which is four hours. Some can take up to six passengers which is the maximum.
When booking a charter boat there are a few things to remember and questions to ask as each captain may have different policies. Most importantly is safety, each charter boat should be equipped with the proper safety equipment and have all permits and licenses. Kids 12 and under must wear lifejackets, there is no exception. It is a good idea to see if the charter boat has the comfortable ‘vest style’ life jackets to use while fishing (in addition to the ones required by the Coast Guard). If not, bring one along for your kids. Electronics, like VHF radio’s and radar, are also important for safety, as is consideration of weather conditions. Be sure to get the weather cancellation policy from your captain when booking your trip.
Hiring a charter boat is all about having fun and enjoying being out on the water fishing. Remember that it’s called fishing (not catching). Several factors need to fall into place to be successful, and sometimes (although rarely), the fish won’t bite. But that shouldn’t keep anyone from having fun and learning something while out there.
Good captains and mates will show you how to fish and why they do certain things. And when you do catch fish — it’s all the better! Some Boats have different catch policies, and virtually all Block Island charter boats don’t condone keeping more than is needed — regardless of bag limits. Indiscriminate killing of the resource does nothing for the future of the resource.
Virtually everything in Block Island waters makes great eating — scup, sea bass, tautog, fluke, striped bass, tuna, and mahi. Your fish should be filleted and bagged up by the captain or mate at the end of the trip. Gratuities are customary, whether it’s a one or two man operation.
Remember to wear sunscreen and layers of clothing. The weather on the water can be much different than on land. Sneakers or soft soled shoes are best and don’t forget your camera. Feel free to bring you own snacks and beverages, but most boats have water for customers.
Now go catch 'em up with a Block Island charter boat!
Reputable Block Island charter boat services;
- Block Island Fishworks, Capt. Christopher Willi – Light tackle, fly fishing, Stripers, blues, seabass, fluke. 1-6 people. Kayak and beach fishing trips. 401-742-3992
- Fish The World, Capt. Chris Hobe – Casting, trolling, live eel fishing. 1-4 people. 401-829-7074
- G. Willie Makit, Capt. Bill Gould – Longest running operation on Island. Bass and bluefish. Trolling expert. Up to 6 people. 401-466-5151
- Hula Charters, Capt. Matt King – Big bass specialist, fluke & seabass. 1-4 people. Offers “night trophy bass eel trips”. 401-263-3474
- Pale Horse, Capt. John Hunniwell – Great family bottom fishing, fluke, scup, and seabass. 802-379-0336
- Rooster, Capt. Eric Gustafson – Trolling, bottom fishing, bass, bluefish, fluke. 401-439-5386
- Sakarak Fishing, Capt. Mitch Chagnon – Trolling and bottom fishing. Stripers, blues, fluke. 401-486-3476