Fluke are readily available to anglers launching from Ninigret Pond. Photo by Tom Richardson

Many boaters who keep their boats in one of the 3 marina’s located on Ninigret Pond or launch from the state ramp or 3 private ramps head through the breachway to fish the South County beaches, Watch Hill or Block Island (only 10 miles south). However, heading for greener pastures isn’t always necessary, as the pond itself offer excellent fishing, particularly for striped bass in the early summer and fall. Local guide Ryan Sansoucy of Hush Fishing Charters uses his 18-foot Hewes flats skiff to access the shallow mud and sand flats of the pond, where he often finds stripers up to 25 pounds as they grub for bottom-dwelling crabs and worms. These flats are easily visible on a satellite map of the area.

Fluke are a popular species among local fishermen, and Block Island Sound produces plenty of flatfish all through the summer.

Sansoucy prefers to throw flies at these fish. Crab patterns, Clouser Minnows, grass-shrimp patterns and small epoxy-bodied flies all work. Much depends on the available forage, of course. Soft-plastic jerkbaits like the Slug-Go and Fin-S-Fish, fished unweighted on a worm hook, will also take flats bass, as will 1/4-ounce jigs adorned with a curl-tail grub and bumped over the bottom.

Small blues also move inside the pond, especially in late summer and fall. These fish usually aren’t huge, but you can catch them on topwaters plugs and flies on the edges of the flats.

As mentioned, the “outside” waters beyond the breachway are filled with fishing opportunities. Anglers looking for keeper bass can do well in the early season and fall by trolling in 20 to 30 feet of water off Green Hill and other structure with wire line. Tube-and-worm combos work well over areas of bottom vegetation or wrecks and rocks, while parachute jigs are tops in sandy areas when schools of squid and herring are thick.

Many Charlestown-based anglers head for Block Island, which produces big bass throughout the season. Block hot spots include North Reef and Southwest Reef, but virtually any rocky area around the island can hold fish.

November is when sea herring often move in close to the South County beaches, and this can produce some of the best fishing of the year for big stripers and blues. You can find the fish near the surface at dawn, but you’ll usually need to rely on your depthsounder and go deep during the day. When the herring are in, slow-trolled bunker spoons often work well. Deep-jigging with diamond jigs is also productive.

Fluke are a popular species among local fishermen, and Block Island Sound produces plenty of flatfish through the summer. Hot spots include Nebraska Shoal and Green Hill, but some anglers do well right along the beaches if bait is plentiful close to shore. The local wrecks and the nearby Harbor of Refuge breakwalls hold some big fluke, too, but you’ll have to put your time in to score. Try a small bluefish or other live bait when targeting doormats.

Action with false albacore, bass, bonito and blues can often be found just outside the breachway, especially on a dropping tide. Late August through mid-November is the best time to encounter surface blitzes in this area, although action can be hit-or-miss.

If nothing is doing near the inlet in the fall, cruise the beaches looking for bird activity to give away the location of bait pods and predators. Quonny Breachway to the west and the West Wall of the Harbor of Refuge to the east are always worth checking out.

Scup and seabass are plentiful over inshore structure in the spring and mid- to late fall. All you need are some strips of squid fished on a high-low rig or jigged on a small bucktail and you should be able to score over any type of hard bottom or wreck. In midsummer, you’ll find better bottom fishing in deeper water, including the East and West Grounds off Block Island.

Last but not least, tautog provide some terrific bottom fishing and good eating when they move in close to shore in the late spring and mid- to late fall. ‘Tog can be taken over any rockpile or wreck along the beaches, with green crabs and conch being top baits.

Charters

Bait & Tackle

  • Breachway Bait & Tackle (401-364-6407)

State License Requirements and Catch & Size Limits:

State of Rhode Island Requirements