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Fishing Forecast July Full Moon Period 2023

Fishing Forecast July Full Moon Period 2023

By Dave Anderson


Before we begin I want to offer some insights regarding how and why I break the season down into these moon periods. I look at each period as 15 days which is, roughly, half of a month—it’s the seven days before, the day of the new or full moon and the seven days following. The moons have great influence on the ocean and the fish. The moons drive the tide timings and the strength of the current, they also drive the measurable height of the tide. For nighttime fishing the moon phases dictate how dark the night will be if there is no cloud cover. My own observations over 20-plus years fishing for striped bass from the surf, tell me that there is no denying the fact that these periods of stronger currents are usually the times when bodies of fish make a move, into or out of a bay, from one region to another or even just a few miles down the beach. These 15-day cycles are a manageable chunk of time that I feel we can offer enough insights to help you find the fish you’re looking for.

Striped Bass (Open all year, 1 fish between 28 and less than 31 inches per angler, per day)

The summer transition is now in effect. The bulk of the better striped bass fishing is transitioning to deeper water now, with many of the bigger fish congregating on deep structure in 30 to 50 feet. This is more of a summer pattern and summertime methods are hooking these fish. Many of the biggest fish are being caught on bait right now, live eels and chunked bunker or mackerel are working very well, if you plan to partake in this fishery don’t forget your circle hooksSpro Power Swivels and fluorocarbon leader material! But, this is a transition time, so there have also been some great daytime bites, particularly around the nearshore reefs, like Brenton Reef, where some serious fish have been taken on topwater plugs like the Shimano SplashWalk and other large topwater lures. The likelihood of encountering these daytime hits increases with cloud cover and snotty seas. Nighttime fishers are finding some good ones as well (either locally or out at Block Island) casting or three-waying live eels or fishing with eel-like soft plastics, the GT Eel for example, has been hot.


Surfcasters have really felt the sting of the summer slide with a noticeable drop-off in successful outings. This does not mean that anglers are not hooking up, it just means that the bites have been a little tougher to come by. The good news for local surf rats is that there are lots of fish around and lots of BIG ones, they’re just staying out in deeper water, most of the time. Now would be a good time to start fishing some of your deepest spots and targeting the rougher water nights. Very often it’s a rough, dark night that will call in a few of those giants sulking offshore in for a shallow water hunting session. And with the strong tides of the full moon on the way, that likelihood increases even more. Typical rough water lures will do their usual damage, Super Strike Bottle PlugsNorthBar Bottle DartersSuper Strike Needles, bucktails and (my personal favorite) the SuperSnax on a Zman Jighead, are all must-have items for these times. A newer bait that has been proving it’s worth is the NLBN Paddletail rigged on their awesome jigheadsAnother thing for surfcasters to look for is any spot where there is, even a modest, current increase; these could be major rips or just little rocky corners where the tide speeds up over a shallow hump, these places are always worth a shot and have the power to pull stripers into a ‘target-able’ zone. For these spots Super Strike DartersYo-Zuri Mag DartersHydro Minnows and SP Minnows, along with bucktails and soft plastics will score well.

For both vessel-based and land-based striper anglers, there aren’t just monster bass around, there have been good numbers of 30- to 35-inch fish around as well. Much of the action for these mid-sized bass has been occurring early and late in the day. Topwater action has been good as these fish feed on sand eels, squid and other small baits. Keeping a light rod and a box of smaller offerings is a good idea. Things like GameOn X-WalksYo-Zuri TopKnock PencilsJumpin’ Minnows and Savage Gear Sandeel Pencils will draw lots of attention from these fish, especially when they are actively on the feed. To go deeper, light bucktails, 5-inch NLBN Paddletails and 4- or 6-inch Ron-Z’s will draw strikes as well.


Predictions: Historically these next two weeks are good ones around Aquidneck Island and there have been many years where the two weeks that surrounded the Fourth of July produced lots of big stripers. It looks like we might be in the midst of that right now. It’s definitely favoring the boaters, heavily. But history has also shown that the surfcasters that fish hard at this time are usually rewarded. Looking at what we have in place right now, I think these next two weeks should provide some good striper fishing locally.   


Bluefish (Open all year, 3 fish per angler, per day, no minimum size)

There are good numbers of 10-plus pound bluefish around right now. They’re not so abundant that you can expect to find them every day, but someone seems to find them every day. These fish have been roaming local waters and have been found from the north end of Jamestown, down to Beavertail, all across the southern end of the island, out at far as 3 miles and up into the lower Sakonnet River. Catching these fish has not been tough when you find them, they’re doing what bluefish do and crushing anything that moves. At times, there have been stripers mixed in with them as well. We recommend keeping things one the inexpensive side for blues with things like Cotton Cordell Pencil Poppers, Hopkins Luresand the 5.5-inch Charter Grade Popper from Hogy. And if you’re really smart, you’ll swap out any treble hooks for single Siwash or Zo-Wire Inlines. The shop is also well stocked with Steel Leaders and affordable pliers like the Admiral and Lunar-1 models from Danco or you can splurge and get yourself set up with Danco Premios.

Predictions: The song remains the same. There are enough blues around to keep things interesting but not so many that they’re becoming a nuisance for anglers looking for other species. I would say that’s very likely to stay that way. If you really want to get on some blues, try North Rip out at Block and fish diamond jigs.   


Fluke (Open May 3 to December 31, 4 fish per angler, per day at a minimum size of 18 inches)

Well, fluking has gotten a little better since our last report. The fishing off of South County has gotten better, thanks to a new wave of squid. We’ve also heard good reports of fluke around the Newport Bridge and especially around the Jamestown Bridge. But there have been sporadic positive reports from all over the area, some productive spots include, around the Center Wall at Point Jude, around Kettlebottom Rock and south of Elbow Ledge. I feel it’s important to add that these areas are producing some fluke, but many of the anglers we’ve spoken to are still saying the fishing is still a grind and well below what it was like even five years ago. Bucktails tipped with Gulp or natural baits are always going to be the number one lure for fluke.

Predictions: I don’t foresee fluking getting a lot better than what we’re seeing right now. I also don’t see it dropping off much for at least a few weeks so fluke are a viable target right now but finding keepers is tough and finding a limit is even tougher. My advice is to fish area that see less pressure and be prepared to switch gears to another species if the bite is slow.


Black Sea Bass (Current season: May 22 to August 31, 2 fish at 16.5 inches or greater)

Sea bass fishing has come a long way since our last report. For a long time the best fishing was confined to Buzzards Bay and the rest of the world was picking up the scraps. But over the last two weeks things have really started to come to life. We’ve seen lots of action from Sakonnet to Beavertail to Point Jude and a strong increase in the ratio of keepers to shorts. Average keepers are around 2 pounds but there have been enough 4s and a few 5s to keep anglers on their toes. Those fishing in 40 to 65 feet seem to be doing the most damage. The local area is loaded with ledges so I’m not even going to get into naming spots, just open up your Navionics App and pick a few clumps and ledges, odds are you will find the fish and you will probably also find some big scup. A popular bait that’s been taking the sea bass world by storm is the Nomad Squidtrex, so you might want to give that a try. And with the abundance of sand eels in the area, it might be wise to fish slender jigs like Exo Jigs, or Daiwa Zakana Jigs.  But don’t sleep on larger offerings like the smaller Shimano Shimmerfall Jigs or a bucktail tipped with Gulp.

Predictions: Even in spite of the meager two-fish limit, I think sea bass (along with scup) will be the fallback fish of the summer. Their abundance, aggression and willingness to eat a variety of lures and baits make them a great target for all and, since they are heralded for their flavor, they are the easiest fish to catch that makes the best meal. I see no nothing but good things coming for sea bass fishermen over these next two weeks. (A little side note, if you should find yourself fishing South County, make sure you don’t drift over into Connecticut waters between now and July 8th, because sea bass season is closed there.)

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