Fishing Forecast May July/August New Moon Period 2022
By Dave Anderson
Striped Bass(Open all year, 1 fish between 28 and 35 inches per angler, per day)
After an unseasonably cool spring we have been thrust into the ovens of summer which have been made even worse thanks to the fact that we’ve seen almost no rain. We are enjoying a short rest from the oppressive heat, but the extended forecast promises a return to the inferno and that’s going to have a continued affect on the striped bass fishing. Boat and kayak anglers are experiencing an above average summer around Aquidneck Island, but surfcasters are not having the same kind of luck. TheTube and Worm has been the most effective weapon for striped bass on the reefs around here andFlutter Spoons continue to pull some decent fish as well. Inshore water temps are hanging in the low 70’s right now, which is certainly less-than-hospitable for striped bass, for this reason the fish are hanging deep. On the snottier days anglers may have a shot at some topwater action around breaking reefs at first light, the9-inch Doc is always going to be a good option, along with theShimano Splash Walk. Swimming a fast-moving paddletail soft plastic such as those made byNo Live Bait Needed, will also draw strikes in the roiled waters of a breaking reef.
The one summertime constant in Rhode Island, going back at least 15 years at this point, is the summer stronghold of giant stripers at Block Island. And the summer of 2022 is continuing on in that tradition. Gas prices don’t seem to be having too much of an effect on those afflicted with a trophy striper addiction. Live eels fished deep oncircle hooksare always going to be a favorite method for guys fishing Southwest Ledge, but many anglers have been diversifying their portfolios by sending eel imitations down into the depths and they have been working very well. Things likeRon-Z’s, Hogys and GT Eels. are all getting bit at Block and there doesn’t seem to be too much of a dropoff between fishing the rubbers and the real thing.
Surfcasters aren’t loving the summer of 2022 like the boaters are. Even the guys fishing the deepest moving water have been reporting mediocre results at best. Most of the successes I’m hearing about are the result of grinding it out night after night, when you’re line is always in the water, you have a better chance of hooking up. One positive thing is that there are larger then normal numbers of squid and sand eels around and when surfcasters land on those they are typically finding fish ranging from 20 inches to 25 pounds, it’s been three weeks since I’ve heard of a local surf-caught fish over 30 pounds.Super Strike Darters,Red Fins and riggedSlug-Go’s have been popular baits when the squid are around. When the sand eels are showing it’s been all about small needles like the 1-OunceSuper Strike Needle.Some of the best places to target when the water is so warm like this are places where deep water is forced over and through a shallower rocky point—it gives the fish somewhere to hunt for inshore bait, the current is flushing that bait out and the water is generally a few degrees cooler than the surrounding areas. It’s one of those rare, win-win-win situations.
Predictions: I think we’re going to see things get a little tougher for stripers before they get better, especially for the surf guys. Boaters/yakkers, they can always move deeper or head to Block if they have to, but with a return to 85 to 90 degree temps coming next week, I think this has the potential to be one of the toughest new moons Rhode Island surfcasters will remember. Anything can happen though and you won’t know if you don’t go.
Bluefish(Open all year, 3 fish per angler, per day, no minimum size)
There have been some very good bluefish reports over the past 2 to 3 weeks, and many of them have been coming from hyper-local waters. There were several reports of 8- to 12-pound blues being caught trolling for stripers around Elbow Ledge, Sheep Point, Lands End and Brenton Reef. Those making the ride to Block have been finding them off Southeast Light and at North Rip. The one constant in Rhode Island waters lately seems to be that the blues are averaging on the larger side. We recommend keeping things one the inexpensive side for blues with things likeCotton Cordell Pencil Poppers, Hopkins Lures, Point Jude Sea Scallopsand the 5.5-inch Charter Grade Popperfrom Hogy. And if you’re really smart, you’ll swap out any treble hooks for singleSiwash orZo-Wire Inlines. The shop is also well stocked withSteel Leadersand affordable pliers like theAdmiral andDuffy Tournament models from Danco or you can splurge and get yourself set up withDanco Premios orVan Staal Pliers. There’s no telling how long this will last, so if blues are your thing, your time is now.
Predictions:If the recent spate of desert-like weather and it’s effects on the water temps haven’t forced the blues to move, I can’t see why they won’t stick around for a while. The one thing we all know about blues is that they are insanely aggressive, keep a rod rigged with a flashy tin or splashy topwater in case you run into some titanic teeth.
Fluke(Open May 3 to December 31, 4 fish per angler, per day at a minimum size of 18 inches)
For what seems like – at least – the fifth year in a row, the fluke reports have been pretty anemic. Locally there are some fish being taken east of Elbow Ledge and on some of the sand/rock transitions west of Brenton Reef in 60-plus feet of water. You might also find some fish in the 70-plus depths west of Sea Ledge, but the results in these areas are far from a guarantee. The most consistent results are coming from the East Grounds and the Windmills at Block. Spro Prime and Fusion Bucktails tipped withGulp Saltwater Grubs , Z-Man Doormatadors or natural baits are always going to be the number one lure for fluke.
Predictions:It’s hard to see a scenario where the fluke fishing gets better, at least until cooling waters and migrating baitfish move them around a bit. So I expect the fluke fishing to remain tough for through the next moon.
Black Sea Bass(Current season: May 22 to August 31, 2 fish at 16 inches or greater)
Sea bass anglers have been weathering the summer heat by moving deeper. Most of the guys I’ve spoken with say to start in 70 feet and head deeper from there. You can look at your Navionics App and find plenty of places that fit the bill for fishing in 70-plus feet just a short steam from the ramp at Fort Adams and you’ll find the fish south of Land’s End, south and west of Brenton, all along the depth transitions outside of Jamestown and beyond. One place that has been especially productive for sea biscuits is running those depth along the south shore of Block Island and, of course, the windmills. The methods for catching sea bass have come a long way in the last decade, it used to be all conventional rod, bait rigs, slimy squid fingers and baiting and waiting. But now at least 50% of the people fishing for them are fishing artificials on light to medium spinning tackle and anglers across the Northeast have gained a newfound respect for these stunning bottom dwellers. The most popular ways to get them are throwing metal jigs likeShimano Butterfly Jigs, Daiwa Zakana Jigs,and Game On Exo Jigs.But they can be caught on bucktails like the Spro Prime and Fusion Bucktails tipped with Gulp Saltwater Grubs or Swimming Mullet.Slow Pitch jigging has found a willing partner in the sea bass as well, stop by the shop to get the lowdown on getting set up for slow pitch.
Predicitons:Sea bass fishing has been our most reliable summer fishery for a while now, and 2022 is holding true to that claim. The sea bass fishing should remain ‘status quo’ for the next couple weeks or so, before it starts to get better and better as we draw closer and closer to the fall.
Exotics/Tropical Visitors(check the DEM website for species specific regulations)
We are standing right on the edge of the beginning of the exotic species season, with local waters nearing their peak temperatures, we will see many new visitors to our local waters. There have already been reports of small jacks, triggerfish and banded rudderfish at places like the West Wall and Newport’s ocean-facing rocky shores. Chub mackerel have been around for over a week now too and more are showing up daily. These portly cousins of the Atlantic mackerel will eat a variety of small tins like the smallestHogy Heavy, 3/4-ounce and Game On Exo Jigsalong with just about any small fly. Another visitor that seems to be showing in greater numbers every year is the cobia, there was one caught in Mount Hope Bay just over a week ago and there have been several reports of cobia in eastern Long Island Sound. Most cobia fishermen will tell you to shadow bunker pods and fish live bait, but you can catch them on large soft plastics like14-inch Hogy’s, 8-inch Ron-Z’sor 9-inch Slug-Go’s, typically fished on jigheadsof 2 ounces or less. There have already been reports of bonito showing at Block Island, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, and rumors of a flare up of bones off Point Judith, so those fish are around and will be growing in numbers throughout the month. Albies typically show in Rhody sometime between August 25 and September 3, so we have a little time to wait on that front, but that time will pass quickly. The best word to describe life in a tackle shop when the first reports of albies hit social media is ‘HYSTERIA’ so do yourself a favor and stock up on yourAlbie Snax, Exo Jigs, Hogy Epoxy Jigs, 4-inch Ron-Z’s and whatever other albie lures you like now, before things get crazy around here.
Predictions:The bones will probably be pretty scattered throughout most of August unless we get lucky and they pile up somewhere like they did in Westport back in 2019. Cobia will be a rare find, but people will catch them and there’s always a chance that they will be on the larger side. Remember former SWE employee Matt Perry stuck the RI State Record in early August of 2020 not too far off Newport. Chub macks will be increasing in numbers all month and will be targetable whenever they can be found.