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Over my 25 plus years on the ocean, I have experienced significant changes impacting the southern New England fishing front. Due to climate change, overfishing, ocean acidification, and below average spawning, there has been an effect on the fishing. For example, where April and May used to be the best months for catching cod, they are now lower producing months. The striped bass that used to be here in abundance by May 20th are now arriving by early June in drastically reduced numbers. The port of Galilee was coined the “Tuna Capital of the World” back in the 60’s through 80’s hasn’t seen any significant tuna fishing within 35 miles of land over the past 15 years. All of which leads me to believe that we have to be more conservation minded when enjoying this sport. That includes only taking the amount of fish you really can consume and release the rest. To do my part, I elected to practice a “No Kill” policy on all sharks. I hope other captains will join me to rebuild the declining worldwide shark population.
Speaking of effects on fish, I am hopeful that the installation of the five giant wind turbines three miles south of Block Island will attract more fish to the area. While targeting fluke in this area last season, I would have to say that the fishing was good. As for the shark fishing within 35 miles from land, fishing was respectable. With 12 offshore trips completed we caught, tagged and released 35 blue sharks, 8 mako, and 2 hammerheads. Due to the fact that most of our tuna fishing took place within 35 miles of land I would grade our results with a C-. On the plus side, we did experience an improvement in cod fishing during the months of July, August and September. General size ran between 3 and 5 lbs. to warrant a few more trips to Coxes Ledge this coming summer and fall. Check my website for the dates reserved for cod fishing.
With the arrival of September and October many of our charter groups chose to catch striped bass and bluefish in the morning hours and then finish the day catching porgies and sea bass. . Toward mid October, the blackfish began their fall bite. The action continued through early December with many groups filling their quota of 6 fish per person. Toward the end of November into early December, most groups caught a nice mix of cod and blackfish. After December 15th, we directed all of our effort on cod fish at Cox’s Ledge. Most anglers caught 3 to 4 keeper cod that were between 3 lbs and 5 lbs. If any single anglers want to fish during September through December please call me and I will put together a group of mixed anglers. 60% of my fall groups are made up by individuals who can’t form their own private group.
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