September 12, 2016 — Fish Update, Rhode Island, Weather
The storm is over. The seas are settling down. Ever wonder what impact storms have on fishing?
A storm like the one we recently had can change fishing a lot. Some species may leave the area totally. Yet others species just won’t bite. They may not bite because the water is dirty with sand and mud that either irritates the gills of fish so they stop moving around and feeding or they simply cannot see your bait in murky, cloudy water.
But there is hope. Storms also create opportunities with reefs, clam and mussel beds that get torn up with broken shells providing a feeding ground for many of the fish we target. Additionally, a good storm this time of year often provides a cleansing and a wakeup call to anglers suggesting that it is time to target fall species like tautog, migrating striped bass, surface feeding bluefish and false albacore.
“The water is like dirt.” said Matt Conti of Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown. “A stormy week like we just had can convince a species that it is time to move. Like summer flounder. Last week, right up until Sunday, we had a commercial rod & reel fisherman bring in 20 pounds of fluke. So they were still here. But very possibly with a storm like this, with water this dirty we won’t find them again. We might get a few stragglers as the fluke move out to deeper water. At the lower part of the Bay for example or it may come back for a while off shore. We will have to wait and see.”
There have been an abundance of school size striped bass in covers and ponds. Wickford Cove and other ponds and coves around the state are holding Atlantic menhaden and a lot of smaller bait that the school bass are feeding on. Matt Conti said, “Salt Pond is loaded with school bass. This is a place and species you can target when the weather is bad out in front or offshore.”
Neil Hayes of Quaker Lane Bait & Tackle, North Kingstown, said, “Customers have been catching cod fish just south of the windmill area.” So the hope is that fall cod fishing will develop like last year… a good bite at the East Fishing Grounds and around Block Island and waters close to shore, like the waters off Newport that produced good cod fishing last year.
Another good thing about storms is that they create new fish habitats with a new food supply of insects, shrimp, shell fish and small fish that arrive with the water. These flooded areas and water adjacent to them can become good fishing areas as the water starts to recede. Fishing is good at inlets and outflow too because water levels are high due to rain, abnormally high tides and heavy surf. Once water rushes out of rivers, bays, and inlets, bait that may have sought refuge up inlets gets tossed around as they leave for open water where larger fish are waiting.
Good fishing as the weather clears.