The Block Island Times
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Fishing Report: The false albacore are finally in

By Sol Schwartz | Sep 21, 2013
Photo by: Sol Schwartz Bert Zanck caught a 4 1/2 pound bonito using a Deadly Dick lure at the Coast Guard Channel.

Most of the species of fish showing up around Block Island have been a little late this year, so it has been no surprise that we had to wait a little longer for the false albacores to arrive. Most of the reports so far have been from the Coast Guard channel during the day. False albacore (Little Tunny) and bonito are day feeders, meaning they usually show up near the beaches, starting from early morning until about sunset. They both catch about the same way, which is good because you don’t need to change your tackle. The most common lures used are Deadly Dicks, L-Jacks, Swedish Pimples, and smaller Diamond jigs. What’s important is that the lure is small, thin, and shiny.

Also, using light line is crucial because the tuna have amazing eyesight, and will typically not hit anything over a 10-pound test line. Not always, but sometimes, you will know that they are heading into the channel because you’ll see birds circling the school and striking the water.

Sometimes it’s difficult to tell the difference between a bonito and a false albacore, partly because they fight similarly, but also because they look similar. The best way to tell the difference is by looking at the markings on the body. Bonito typically have horizontal or vertical hash marks (stripes), and the albies have very distinct spots under the pectoral fin. Both are very beautiful looking fish, and both will fight extremely hard on the line. One more note, most people do not keep the false albacore — they don’t taste very good — but the Bonito are extremely delicious! Even raw.

As for bottom fishing, the fluke and scup are still plentiful in the Coast Guard Channel, and as of late, more keepers (18 inches for fluke, 10 inches for scup) are being caught. Frozen strips of squid or live minnows are what’s usually used, but you can also use clams if you prefer. We have also gotten some recent reports of striped bass being caught using the same method as you would for fluke or scup. If you don’t want to use bait, small sluggos or stubby needlefish will also do the trick.

Striped bass and bluefish are being caught all over the island at night. Mansion Beach and Ballard’s Beach have been the most popular, but if the weeds aren’t too bad, Dorie’s and Grace’s Coves will also work. More experienced fishermen like to head to Southwest Point and fish near the rock formations, but it’s good to know where you’re casting at night so that you don’t end up losing your lures in the rocks. All these spots have seen good numbers for stripers, but be careful because there are also plenty of bluefish around as well.

On boat, Capt. Eric of the Rooster reported seeing good numbers in fluke on the southeast side of the island in about 30 to 60 feet of water using strips of squid and a fluke rig. Also, eels are being used mostly on the south side of the island for bass, but if the bluefish are in the area, it’s good to switch over to top water lures such as the Lemire Wavejammer.

When the water temperature drops a few more degrees, we’re going to start seeing all those huge stripers that we wait for all season long.

It’s going to be a great fall!

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