Fishing Charlestown, Rhode Island
October 18, 2010
Most anglers who launch from Ninigret Pond head through the breachway to fish the South County beaches, Montauk, Watch Hill, or Block Island (only 10 miles south). However, the hunt 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, and are ideal for fishing in a kayak.
Sansoucy prefers to throw flies for flats stripers. 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 bass, as will quarter-ounce jigs adorned with a curl-tail grub and bumped over the bottom.
Large bluefish also enter the pond shallows each spring, and will smash poppers and stickbaits. Later in the season, smaller blues move inside the pond, where they linger through early 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 and big blues can do well in the early season and fall by wire-lining tubes and jigs in 20 to 30 feet of water off Green Hill. Tube-and-worm combos work well over areas of bottom vegetation, wrecks and rocks, while parachute jigs and bunker spoons often take fish over sandy areas when schools of squid and herring are thick.
Many Charlestown-based anglers head for nearby Block Island, which produces big bass throughout the season. Perennial Block hot spots include North Reef and Southwest Reef, but virtually any rocky area around the island can hold fish.
Fluke are another 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 edges of 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-October is the best time to encounter surface blitzes of alibis and bones in this area, although action can be hit-or-miss. Top lures include Zoom Flukes, epoxy jigs, Maria jigs, Deadly Dicks, and small flies such as Bonito Bunnies, Skok Mushies, Clousers, Deceivers, epoxy-bodied flies, and white Gurglers. Again, the best strategy is to match the hatch.
Scup and sea bass are plentiful over inshore structure and areas of hard bottom in the spring and from 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 (blackfish) provide some terrific bottom fishing and good eating when they move in close to shore in the late spring and again from mid-fall through the end of the year. ‘Tog can be taken over any rockpile or wreck along the beaches, with green crabs and conch being top baits.
- Capt. Ryan Sansoucy, Hush Fishing Charters (860-458-9361)
- Capt. Jim Barr, Skinny Water Charters (401-465-8751)
- ThomCat Charters (401-828-9424)
- Capt. Sheriff’s Fishing Charters (401-450-2549)
Bait & Tackle
- Breachway Bait & Tackle (401-364-6407)