2015-08-06 / Nature

August Newport Fishing Forecast

By Dennis Zambrotta

John Migliori with a striper caught off of Ocean Drive. John Migliori with a striper caught off of Ocean Drive. August is that time of summer that often brings with it a slowing down of recreational fishing that many refer to as the “summer doldrums.” Ocean water temperatures are the highest of the season, which supposedly makes such local gamefish as striped bass and bluefish lethargic. But I think it’s the fishermen who lose their energy. Have you ever attempted to hike the Cliff Walk in a pair of chest waders on a 90-degree day? I think you’ll understand my point. It’s for this reason that nighttime surfcasting becomes very popular in midsummer. Fishing at night is much more comfortable for the fisherman, and the gamefish tend to make forays into the shallow coastal water after darkness sets in. This is the time of year to cast live eels into the surf and maybe hook the largest striper of the year. All you need is a stout 8-10 foot surf rod and matching reel loaded with 20-40 pound test line. Tie on a 24-inch-long section of 50-pound leader with a 6/0 or 7/0 Gamakatsu Live Bait hook (model 18417). Attach a live eel onto the hook, cast it out and reel it in very slowly– much as you would using a lure. The strike from a striped bass can range from a jolt to the subtlest of tugs, so pay close attention. Make sure to have your drag set properly, as the bass may range from two pounds to more than 50. My personal best live eel catch from the Cliff Walk is 53 pounds, and was taken in August some years ago, so they are out there. Other popular areas to fish after dark are Brenton Point Park in Newport and Sachuest Point in Middletown. Be aware you’ll need to purchase a nighttime fishing permit to park legally at Sachuest Point after hours.

Fishing Around

Captain Eric Thomas of the charter boat Teezer reports local fishing has been great. Stripers and monster bluefish are hitting topwater lures around Brenton Reef, Seal Rock, Elbow Ledge, Cormorant Rock, and East and West Island over at Sakonnet. All the major points and reefs are holding fish. His main lures are topwater plugs such as the Hydro Pencil, Jumpin Minnow, and Needlefish. Yozuri Crystal Minnows have also been effective. Those fishermen trolling a tube and worm combination are scoring big striped bass in deeper water around the deeper reefs. The black sea bass are so plentiful that it is making the fluke fishing difficult. Thomas says he can't drop a jig down on a reef and not catch a sea bass. There is a ton of bait around. Earlier in the month it was sand eels and now it is peanut bunker. Surfcaster John Migliori has been taking striped bass up to keeper size (28 inches) while using squid as bait off of Ocean Drive. My last two local surfcasting trips to the Cliff Walk produced a halfdozen bass to 15 pounds, all released alive. This action came using live eels.

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