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Deeper water will give you a better chance for fluke keepers

Fluke reports from the eastern part of the Sound remain about the same: if you fish large baits in deeper water you have a chance at some keepers or a doormat. If you fish in shallow water along the beach, you'll likely catch a lot of fish but most will be too small to keep.

Some of the better spots for large fluke are the drop off at Black Point, the deep humps off Niantic and possibly the deep holes to the northwest of North Dumpling Island, the latter spot producing for some fluke sharpies best on the flood tide. There are also some deep humps on the south side of Fishers Island that produce big fluke on the last two hours of the ebb tide when it's possible to tend bottom in water 120 feet deep.

Roger at J&B said one of its their customers fished on a Point Judith party boat and landed 10 nice cod, another sign of hope that our summer cod fishing on Cox's ledge may be bouncing back after years of mismanagement. Some of their other customers are trolling deep-diving swimming plugs after dark on 50-65-pound braid and bringing back larger bass.

Blue fishing is OK in The Race, said Roger, but not up to standards of past summers. He fished two days in his own boat, in shallower water close to the beach and landed a few keepers but the ratio of shorts to legal fish was about 15-to-1. There were some nice keepers and jumbo fluke to the southwest of Block Island but toward the end of the week a school of unwanted dogfish covered over the grounds.

Mark at Hillyers Tackle said your best bet for keeper fluke is in 80-100 feet of water off Black Point, using large baits with enough lead to keep them on the bottom. Porgy catches are good on most of the rock piles at the entrance to Niantic Bay but sea bass are hit or miss in the Sound; most caught by accident while trying for fluke or porgies.

Captain Jack at the Fish Connection told me the casting for top water bass and blues is pretty slow right now. They found a few blues at the west part of The Race and then some smaller ones in the Sluiceway plus a few short bass from time to time on the ebb at Race Point but overall fishing could be much better.

Best chance for a keeper fluke is 50-60 feet on the south side of Fishers or down off the Rhode Island beaches. The flood-tide side of the Watch Hill Reefs has some fluke for people that run up into the current then drift back to the hard bottom. With our waters warming, it's not surprising to also hear about small mahi around the Fairway Buoy off Block taking small trolling lures.

Don at King Cove advised the striper fishing on the Watch Hill Reefs is fair on some days, a wasteland on others. If you want to try, get up early and fish from first light to sunrise then switch to another species or save the gas for another trip. Sea bass catches are been good to very good along the hard bottom off the Rhode Island beaches plus some now on rocks and wrecks inside Fishers Island Sound plus others caught by accident while drifting for fluke off Isabella Beach.

Al Golinski found a nice piece of hard bottom off the Rhode Island beaches and caught sea bass to 4 pounds earlier this week in 55 feet of water. He also caught blues to 12 pounds on the bottom rigs in the same spot plus some fluke to 6 pounds drifting around the edges of the hard bottom with small live bait he caught with a cast net in a local river.

One of his charter boat friends spotted an estimated 60-pound mako on the surface off the Pink House, presumably feeding on the blues taking the fluke rigs. As of yesterday water temps in Block Island Sound were around 72 degrees.

Captain Brad Glas of the Hel-Cat reported some slow down during the moon tides toward the end of last week but they were still overall able to find some good action with blues and also some jumbo fluke during the slow down. On the Saturday night trip the blues went wild just before sunset, not an uncommon thing this time of year. Big fish of the week was an 18-pound bass caught by Randy Pena from New York.

Tim Coleman is The Day's saltwater fishing columnist.

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