Light-Tackle Trick for Block Island Stripers

Once the water temperature around Block Island climbs above 70 degrees, midday striper action wanes in the shallower areas. However, light-tackle action can still be had in deeper spots, such as Southwest Ledge and the West Ground.

In the latter, Capt. Chris Willi of Block Island Fishworks drifts in 30 to 80 feet of water using soft-plastics rigged on 1 ½-ounce jigs. With these light jigs, Willi casts well ahead of the drift so that the jig will reach bottom by the time the boat is directly over it. As the boat approaches the jig, Willi hops it over the bottom with short lifts of the rod, reeling in slack as needed.

For gear, Willi prefers spinning gear. He uses a Penn Battle II reel filled with 20- to 30-pound braid and a three- to four-foot wind-on leader. The rod is a 7’ 2” Shimano Terez rated for 20- to 50-pound test or a 7- to 7 ½-foot medium-heavy Tica.

Top lures include the Cape Cod Sand Eel, Slug-Go’s and Hogies trimmed to match the size of the sand eels that happen to be in the area.

Willi adds that the clear water surrounding Block Island often demands the use of light leaders. In other words, if you start getting refusals on 20-pound fluorocarbon, try scaling down to 12- or 15-pound test.

For late-breaking fishing information on Block Island, drop by Block Island Fishworks or give them a call at (401) 466-5392. As mentioned, Willi and his staff can arrange for half-day and full-day fishing charters, as well as action-packed variety trips for the whole family. — Tom Richardson