And just like that, there’s talk of a thirty pound striped bass off Narragansett Beach. The snow shovel is still on the front step, daffodils have started lifting their heads and we are seeing our first few lice covered schoolies on the beach but a thirty? In a rainy April with still-chilly sea waters resisting mid-fifties? I don’t know. Story telling season has barely opened and now truths are already being stretched to an early limit. It could be true, possibly, maybe but then again, the regular pros are finding all sorts of fish so, maybe.
Waters are indeed warming but not enough to bring in the squid just yet. Plus you know squid aren’t here yet because Greg Vespe has been out trout fishing. He and Captain Eric Thomas motored a tin boat through a windy Stafford Pond to catch up a shared limit of rainbows and browns by trolling spoons. Maybe we all know wind pushes bait and predators around but only a few know enough to get out in a gale and catch a mess. Cheers Greg and Eric.
Some are worried about long-made plans to go here or there this summer since everything we knew is imploding but Bob Buscher planned well in advance and will be taking some well-deserved time off from his many jobs to fish the largemouth spawn. That’s good and local planning right there because the spawn is a big deal. Bass feed heartily as they prepare to find perfect places to raise their babies. It’s all about water temperatures and with a mild winter in our rear view mirrors, we’re quickly approaching the 55 to 65F fresh water range that largemouth seek. The wise will be searching for those tell-tale shallow diggings where females have pushed aside soft gravels and small stones to make a safe place for their young to hide, rest and learn to feed. Bass are aggressive as they defend their young of year, which makes for great sport on our end and since largemouth fishermen generally don’t keep what they catch, bass are released to fight another day.
Jason Anctil has moved off his big bass boat for now and into a kayak in search of those spawning bass. That’s good news for outdoor columns a little hungry for new stories but it’s bad news for largemouth bass that have been out his reach. Depending on your perspective, that may be good or bad news for the bass tourney circuit if he gets in on the competitive course. Jason is an ace, always remains, “one bite away,” and he could tip the winning scales of the RI Kayak Bassin’ group’s Open Water Tourney.
Speaking of, RJ Alves has advised kayak fishermen and women to abide by social distancing rules and only fish in ponds with legal access if you’re fishing their Royal Waters Tourney. You need to make sure of your access because since most people are home with their computers, yes, R.J. and Ryan Bessell are checking. Their summer schedule remains in limbo, like most things on our calendars but they are still fishing hard through the state in single numbers. The State has cancelled all tournament permits until at least May 4. There’s hope they members can pick up the season soon but there don’t seem to be any guarantees with this Covid-19 business. You can guarantee that Dean Anthony Powers wants that first place seat pretty badly. He moved into third place, right behind Greg Krasnowiecki but odds are good Dean will move up again this week. Good luck to all of you.
Dave Jacob has been handling separation from the day job by spending as much time on the water as possible. He has a unique social media presence which seems to post right about the time you’re pulling your hair out because you can’t get anywhere fun then Dave shows up with a five pound largemouth caught on a lousy, rainy day and a giant smile. He’s having huge success with Strike King Kevin Van Dam shallow square bill crankbaits and while the Yankee’s hat is something we need to work on, Dave is pure gold during these quarantine days.
When the shutdowns were looming and we were starting to realize how crippling this pandemic might be to local businesses like tackle stores and custom rod builders, not to mention to legions of fishermen and women who rely on them, two of the best collaborated to save both. Ralph Craft of Crafty One Customs in Portsmouth and Peter Jenkins of The Saltwater Edge in Middletown joined forces to offer discounts to their internet shoppers and a really unique scratch ticket/giveaway offer to their respective customers. We’re hearing some speculation about what life might look like after the virus is contained and maybe these two have laid some groundwork. Two competitors in a small state decided to work together instead of fighting for whatever customers were brave enough to gear up for fishing. They created scratch ticket incentive with an assortment of instant prizes and top tier gear, like Shimano reels and Van Staal reels. Visit those two shops to support the economy and maybe win an incentive to keep your dollars local. And then go fishing for that thirty. That would really be something.
Todd Corayer is a lifelong fisherman and occasional hunter whose writing relies on hardscrabble notes, sarcasm and other people’s honest fish stories while seeing words as puzzle pieces that occasionally all fit together perfectly, which is pure magic.