Locally, Massachusetts and Rhode Island commercial and recreation fishermen continue to be concerned about the lack of habitat and fish studies before development starts in wind farm lease areas.
Orsted, the Danish wind farm developer that bought Rhode Island’s Deepwater Wind, was awarded an 880-megawatt contract for power from the State of New York last week. The win follows one awarded to Orsted last month for a 1,100-megawatt wind farm off the coast of Atlantic City, New Jersey.
New York also made an 816-megawatt contract award last week to Norway’s Equinor for its Empire Wind farm located off New York. The contract awards made last week will provide enough energy to power 1 million New York homes.
Locally, Massachusetts and Rhode Island commercial and recreation fishermen continue to be concerned about the lack of habitat and fish studies before development starts in wind farm lease areas. “Before” studies measure existing conditions so they can be compared with studies conducted during and after construction to see if there are any positive or negative impacts on fish and habitat.
The power for the Orsted New York award will come from the Revolution wind farm at Cox Ledge, a popular recreational fishing spot for cod fish, giant bluefin tuna, a variety of sharks and other pelagic fish. Baitfish such as butterfish, squid, sand eels, hake and mackerel are often found at Cox Ledge.
Due to the rough type of bottom at Cox Ledge, recreational anglers have long voiced their opinion about the importance of rod-and-reel studies in this area before, during and after construction. “It may be too late to conduct proper fish and habitat studies before construction to measure what is there because testing has already started that may be disruptive to conducting ‘before’ studies,” said Richard Hittinger, first vice president of the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association.
The Orsted New York award is likely to translate to 80 additional turbines in the Cox Ledge wind farm lease area. Orsted’s partner for the New York project award is U.S. utility Eversource.
Bonito, false albacore coming
It’s almost August and time to think about bonito and false albacore. Both of these species are hard to catch, but have thrilled local fishermen with their furious runs that strip line from light tackle and give anglers a memorable fight.
Bonito and false albacore are often mixed in with striped bass and bluefish. They can be caught from boat and shore with lures and even on the troll. They generally range in the 2-foot range, weigh 4-5 pounds but have been caught as large as 12-15 pounds.
Atlantic bonito are part of the same mackerel family (Scombridae) as tuna. Their meat has a darkish color and a firm texture, with a moderate fat content. The meat of young or small bonito can be of lighter color, close to that of skipjack tuna. They are often grilled or baked. However, false albacore are usually not eaten.
Local bonito and false albacore expert Susan Lema said: “Use as little hardware as possible. We tie directly to a 25-pound fluorocarbon leader with a uni knot and no swivel. This keeps things simple with no hardware flashing in the water to spook the fish. These fish are ram feeders. They open their mouths and hit the bait at high speed, so things are moving.”
Roger Lema (Susan’s husband and fishing partner) said: “Fish the outgoing tide in front of rivers, coves and ponds as the water and bait have to be moving. When we go out, we have five rods ready to go. Some prepared to cast silver lures like Deadly Dicks and Kastmaster lures. But, we are also ready to troll [at 4 knots] with broken back lures, shallow swimming and deep swimming lures to use depending on where the fish are in the water column.” And one last tip: “You have to anticipate where these speedsters will surface again and be there when they do. So we like to fish the sides of the schools rather than getting out in front of them.”
Ed Parisi, a bonito and false albacore fishing expert from Tsunami Fishing Tackle, said: “Lighten up. Bonito and false albacore are very sensitive to line and tackle in the water. These fish have large eyes, like most species form the tuna family and can see very well. … I use a 15-pound braid with a 10- to 15-pound fluorocarbon leader with direct tie-offs and no swivels.”
Where’s the bite?
Striped bass. John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle in Riverside said: “A customer at Second Beach, Newport, said the striped bass were thick one afternoon in waist-high water at the beach and another customer experienced school bass in just a couple of feet of water off the dock he was fishing in East Providence.” Dave Henault of Ocean State Fishing in Providence, said: “Chris Higgins caught a 46-pound striped bass with eels fishing in the Bay on Archangel Charters with Capt. Mike Littlefield. The bass seemed to have come into the Bay a bit this week.”
Summer flounder (fluke), scup and black sea bass. Capt. Rick Bellavance said, “The large male black sea bass arrived and that fishery is excellent. Fluke is a pick but there are some keepers if you work at it and Wednesday Maridee II Charters landed a 12.6-pound, 31-inch fluke. Scup fishing is fantastic around Block Island.”
Freshwater. Littlefield said: “Turner Reservoir has been good for largemouth bass and we weighed in a 4.5-pound largemouth bass this weekend from an area pond.”
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