2015-07-16 / Nature

Top Water Lures Entice Stripers

ROD & REEL
By Dennis Zambrotta


Adam and Aiden Nelson with their large bass catch. Adam and Aiden Nelson with their large bass catch. The warmth of July waters has amped local fishing activity into summertime mode. Water temperatures around 72 degrees make surf abundantly active with such forage fish as pogies and sand eels. This in turn has drawn in good numbers of predators like striped bass, many of them trophy-worthy. Boat anglers clearly have the mobility advantage of finding these fish as they move around, but surfcasters are also cashing in on good action when the bass come close enough into the surf zone chasing sand eels.

Hot spots the past week include the end of Ledge Road and various locations off Ocean Drive in the Brenton Point Park area. The bass, sometimes mixed with bluefish, are striking one-ounce white bucktail jigs or top water lures during daylight and live eels or swimming lures after dark. Onshore winds, such as Newport's reliable afternoon sea breeze, will generally create some whitewater areas along these rock perches. This in turn, will create the ideal water conditions when striped bass can more readily be fooled into striking. (Caution is advised as many of these rocky areas are extremely slippery, especially where children are involved). Spiked footwear strongly is suggested.


Beth Estrada caught a hefty striper. Beth Estrada caught a hefty striper. Also biting in the local surf are scup (porgy) and black sea bass. These can be taken while using small pieces of squid, clam, or sea worm fished on a common bottom rig. The bag limit for scup is 30 fish per day at least 10 inches in length. The black sea bass limit is one per day, and they must be at least 14 inches long. Striped bass limit is one fish at 28 inches or longer.

Fishing Around

Captain Rob Taylor, owner of Newport Sport Fishing Charters and his boat Reel EZ, have put many of his clients–including Beth Estrada and Adam and Aiden Nelson– into some trophy striped bass action.


Paul Daugherty of Middletown, an experienced fisherman who launches out of Newport, enjoyed a terrific July 11 in local waters. Daugherty landed a 25-inch fluke – his largest fluke ever in two decades of fishing – and a 21-inch black sea bass, among 30 fish he and a friend caught as the season's warmest waters made fishing a joy for local anglers. (Photo by James Merolla) Paul Daugherty of Middletown, an experienced fisherman who launches out of Newport, enjoyed a terrific July 11 in local waters. Daugherty landed a 25-inch fluke – his largest fluke ever in two decades of fishing – and a 21-inch black sea bass, among 30 fish he and a friend caught as the season's warmest waters made fishing a joy for local anglers. (Photo by James Merolla) Using large top water lures and live pogies, in the past two weeks Taylor has guided his clients to some very impressive bass. Captain Eric Thomas of the charter boat Teezer reports that fishing has been nothing short of great. His clients have been catching stripers early in the morning on top water lures, more specifically the Rebel Jumpin’ Minnow and 3D Pencil. Yozuri Crystal and SP minnow lures have been working well, also. There are some bluefish around, up to 12 pounds. The black sea bass fishing has been great also. Thomas uses highlow rigs with small plastic squids tipped with squid strips. He also reports that the striped bass fishing around Block Island has been productive.


Dennis Zambrotta, of Newport, has 40 years of surfcasting experience and has pursued striped bass from Montauk Point Dennis Zambrotta, of Newport, has 40 years of surfcasting experience and has pursued striped bass from Montauk Point I can attest to that, as I took an overnight surfcasting trip there on July 7 and caught numerous striped bass into the 20-pound class. Others fishing with me caught and released both a 40- and a 32-pounder on the east side of the island.

As always, please help keep all local fishing locations free of litter, either by disposing of it in proper receptacles or carrying it back. Don’t forget to purchase your Rhode Island Salt Water Fishing License, which is required for anyone 16 years and older. Cost is $7 per year for Rhode Island residents, $10 per year for non-residents. The most convenient way to purchase a license is at ri.gov/DEM/saltwater/ license.

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