The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries is moving forward to implement emergency regulations to complement recently enacted federal recreational fishing limits for Gulf of Maine cod and haddock and Georges Bank/Southern New England cod.
The new federal limits were enacted on Aug. 14 and amended state limits were in effect as of Friday.
Gulf of Maine Cod and Haddock Recreational Management Measures for the 2023 fishing year are one cod/person/day with a 22-inch minimum size until Oct. 31. Haddock private angler regulations are ten fish/person/day with a 17-inch minimum size; and a 15 fish/person/day limit with an 18-inch minimum size for the For Hire industry. The open season for haddock goes until Feb. 28, 2024
Georges Bank Recreational Management Measures for cod (south of Cape Cod, including waters off Rhode Island) for the 2023 fishing year are five cod/person/day with a minimum size of 23 inches. The season lasts until April 30, 2024.
Five tips on how to catch bonito, false albacore
We have had a good run of bonito and false albacore this week, so now is the time to try to catch these speedsters as they thrill anglers with furious runs striping line from light tackle for a memorable catch.
Many times, false albacore and bonito are mixed in with striped bass and bluefish. They can be caught from boat and shore with lures and even on the troll. They generally are about two feet in length and weigh four to five pounds, but have been caught as large as 12 to 15 pounds.
Atlantic bonito are part of the same mackerel family (Scombridae) as tuna. Their meat has a darkish color and a firm texture, with a moderate fat content. They are often grilled or baked. A rhyme that helps we identify bonito from false albacore is ‘Bonito have teeth and are good to eat’. False albacore are usually not eaten.
Here are five tips on how to catch them:
Keep it simple. “Use as little hardware has possible,” said Local bonito and false albacore expert Susan Lema. “Tie directly to a 25-pound fluorocarbon leader with a uni knot and no swivel. This keeps things simple with no hardware flashing in the water to spook the fish.”
Find them at outflows. Susan’s husband, Roger, said, “Fish the outgoing tide in front of rivers, coves and ponds as the water and bait have to be moving.”
Lighten up. “These fish have large eyes and rely on their sight a lot when feeding so the more you have in the water in terms of line, leader thickness and swivels, the greater the chances are that these fish are going to see it and not bite,” said Ed Parisi, a false albacore expert. “I use a 15-pound braid with a 10- to 15-pound fluorocarbon.”
Be prepared to mix it up. “We have five rods ready to go,” Roger Lema said. “Some prepared to cast silver lures like Deadly Dicks and Kastmaster lures. But, we are also ready to troll (at four knots) with broken back lures, shallow swimming and deep swimming lures to use depending on where the fish are in the water column.” Epoxy jigs, metal jigs, and Albi Snax work well too.
Anticipate where the fish are. “Anticipate where these speedsters will surface again and be there when they do,” Roger said. “Fish the sides of the schools rather than getting out in front of them.”
Where’s the bite?
Striped bass, bluefish, false albacore and bonito: This week, the bluefish were being caught throughout Narragansett Bay with the hot spot being between Gould Island north of the Newport Bridge to Hope Island and Prudence Island. Angler Max O’Connell of Cranston said, “We caught about a dozen school striped bass and monster bluefish off the southern tip of Prudence Island trolling tube and worm Saturday.” Tom Olson of Ponaug Bait & Tackle, Warwick, said, “The bluefish bite has been outstanding in Greenwich Bay and in Apponaug Cove, Warwick. Fish are hitting all types of swimming lures.” “The false albacore bite has been good from outside of the Breachway down to Point Judith. Dozens of schools of mackerel, peanut bunker and rain bait. Epoxy and metal jigs rigged with a teaser seem to be producing bites. As well as Albie Snax and small swimbaits. Bonito are still being caught too.” said Declan O’Donnell of Breachway Bait & Tackle, Charlestown. East End Eddie Doherty, expert Cape Cod Canal angler and author, said, “Fourteen-year-old Matt Sadr is having a great first year fishing the Canal. The polite young man is extremely grateful that his mother provides his transportation to the Big Ditch. Matt was jigging the west tide around supper time when the dinner bell rang for some bass. He held on tight and reeled in a 32-pound striper that had swallowed his blue FishLab, and the very next day, around the same place, same time, Matt guided a 36-pounder to the rocks with the same lure.”
“Tautog fishing is fairly slow in the Bay and rivers around dock piles but fish are being caught off Newport,” said Jay Marshall of Sam’s Bait. “Tautog fishing seems to be heating up a bit with fish to around 7 pounds caught this week along local reefs,” said O’Donnell.
Black sea bass, scup and summer flounder: “Scup fishing is good throughout the Bay with a fairly strong black sea bass bite in the lower bay,” said Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence. “Not many fluke being caught in the Bay.”
Tuna and mahi fishing: “There are giants being caught off Narragansett. Fish in the 700-pound range are common with anglers who have never fishing for bluefin or yellow fin school tuna buying gear and catching fish,” Henault said. “Offshore, the tuna bite south of Block Island continues to produce well for yellowfin and bluefin. Fish are being caught on the troll, jigging, and chunking with quite a few mahi around the high-flyers and debris,” O’Donnell said. “More tuna were seen off Charlestown/Green Hill with giants being caught off Pt. Judith to Beavertail.”
“Freshwater fishing for largemouth bass remains good with many anglers using shiners,” Henault said. “Ponds producing for include Olney Pond at Lincoln Woods and Stump Pond, Smithfield.”
Dave Monti holds a captain’s master license and charter fishing license. He serves on a variety of boards and commissions and has a consulting business focusing on clean oceans, habitat preservation, conservation, renewable energy, and fisheries related issues and clients. Forward fishing news and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit noflukefishing.com.