Block Island Striper Fishing

Maybe your Best Shot at a Big Flyrod Striper from Shore?

Many articles have been written about the best places to find big striped bass and how to catch them. Authors have a way of expanding upon the things you're already pretty familiar with including tackle, timing and tactics, but few want to tell you about the "odds" of actually catching a 20 lb + fish, especially on a fly from shore. I'll tell you the odds are "small" unless luck is with you; you know something about where the fish are and when to fish for them. That's what this article is about, knowing one place, Block Island, where the window of opportunity isn't so small that you can't go there and have a better than even chance of catching lots of good fish and maybe even that elusive 20 pounder on a fly.

Rhode Island has lots of sandy beaches and rocks, but with a much smaller tide than points north, averaging around 3 to 4 feet, not as much structure develops on the beaches. A lot of fishing is done from rocks, often 20 feet or so ABOVE the surf! Yes, you can fly fish these cliffs, primarily by timing your casts so your fly gets dragged out by the wash like a helpless baitfish or Crustacean. It can be deadly! Be careful too as fisherman sometimes literally die. Cliffs are dangerous, and think about how you might safely land that cow you hook.

People talk about Cape Cod and its myriad of big stripers… and rightfully so. It has a larger striped bass population than just about anywhere on earth. The Cape has beautiful beaches and, of course, Monomoy, a famous area renowned for it flats fishing. However, Cape Cod is a big area covering 413 square miles and extending some 65 miles in length. So how do you fish an area that big? You get a guide. It's probably the best decision you could make, if you're new to any area. If you're new to fly fishing for striped bass, it's probably the only realistic choice.
Block  Island Striper October
However if you're reading this article, you're probably more "seasoned" than most and can work things out on your own. You already know the Cape is a wonderful place to fish, but chances are you're are looking for a "manageable" place to fish that won't take you the rest of your life and a small fortune to figure out. It can't be over run with fisherman and traffic jams and more importantly it must be "fishable" in a variety of conditions. After all, we have a limited amount of time to do what we love to do most and our opportunities don't always coincide with the new moon or the best tides. If you're on the same page I am, boy, do I have a place for you…..Block Island.

Let's look where Block Island is located first. If you had to put a tiny little island that is only nine miles long in one of the main transition routes for striped bass, you could go farther and do worse than Block. We all know Montauk, Long Island and its reputation for lots of fish. Well, Montauk and the south fork of Long Island point right at Block Island which is only fourteen miles away. The fish that pass Montauk in the spring and fall are naturally in line with passing Block Island as well. It's a natural feeding ground for stripers, especially on the south side of the island, but there are ten "choice spots" around the island that make it what it is, the best place to fish for big stripers that I have found.

The mere fact that your fishing an island solves some basic problems all fly fisherman face: weather and too many people. First, picture yourself along any northeastern coast fly fishing for striped bass. The wind is blowing hard from the south; from the east; or from the north. Your usual seventy or eighty foot cast just turned into thirty feet. Big flies are out of the question. Your kayak, if you have one, is sitting on top of the car with no hope of being used. Even the semi-protected bays at places like Watch Hill, RI have white capes. You're toast. Might as well look for a good place to have some good New England clam chowder and think about going home.

Now, put yourself on Block Island. If it's bad on one side, you can move from spot to spot around the island and by degree, you can position yourself in places that allow you to cast; take advantage of some higher surf or great flats; and catch fish. Block is almost like an insurance policy against all but the worst weather. If you're fishing there, there's almost always a place to hide.

Next, is competition for the water. The thing to remember is there is no bridge to Block Island. To get there you must have your own sea worthy boat; fly in; or take the ferry like most people do. Block is 13 miles off the coast of Rhode Island and Block Island Sound can "get your attention" when the wind is blowing. In addition, Block is not a "cheap" place to go. Two people taking the ferry with a car will cost you $150.00 round trip. Food and lodging is not cheap on the island, but can easily be cut down to size with a little imagination and some research. Also, keep in mind the seasons. The best fishing is before and after the summer crowds. The middle of May through the end of June and then from Labor Day to until you can't stand the cold any more. Those are the times I go. Keep in mind that June brings the thunder storms and October brings the nor'easters. So, kayakers beware. I've been caught in both and neither is much fun. However, it comes with the territory. If you have to go during summer months, the crowds will make you wonder why you came. At this time of year, all the fishing is "night fishing" for the most part, which you will grow to appreciate once you've seen a dawn on Block Island, but the daylight hours are owned by the "crazies." There are so many tourists doing nutty things, it's hard to believe. So timing is important. Knowing when to go can solve a lot of problems and maximize your fishing.

So where should you/can you fish on Block Island. Where is a good shot at a big fly fishing striper, or maybe a good clam spot for a new fishing? Check out:

Block Island Fishing Spots for 10 great places to fish on Block Island.

Thanks to Dave Beasley for another great article!

Here is more information on Block Island on Wikipedia, and for an up to date mapping of the places listed, go to Google and type in the name of the location and Block Island, RI.
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