Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Block Run

With a new moon phase, subsiding ocean swell and solid Block Island reports, Derrick and I headed east to the Ocean State on I-95.  We met a good friend and freshly minted boat Captain, Mike Roy, in Narragansett, Rhode Island.  Mike is renting a cottage there for the month of July, down the street from Point Judith Lighthouse and the Port of Galilee.  This is not a 'relaxing on the beach' type of vacation - Mike fishes hard at night and sleeps during the day.  When Derrick and I arrived, his wetsuit was still drying from the previous night of tough surf fishing.  His 21-foot Steigercraft sits on a trailer outside, ready for a Block run at a moment’s notice, and that's exactly what we were there for on this night.  We didn’t waste any time, loaded up the boat and shipped off at high slack tide.

A fly combo amongst the Van Staals for good measure

An off-shore system had churned up big swells for the past few days, and the small craft advisory ended only two hours before launching.  The swell was still there, but nothing in comparison to the day before we were told.  There was a steady 10 knots of SSW wind and small patches of fog, yet it was a beautiful, dark night.  The ride over to the fabled waters surrounding Block Island took one half hour.  We focused on the western and southern sides of the Island, where Mike had marked piles of stripers on his fish-finder earlier in the day.  The plan of attack was two fold: cast artificial lures towards the surf line and drift weightless live eels in deeper water.  We spent more time on the latter since conditions prevented us from getting too close to the Island. 
So many choices, so little time

The fishing was stellar right off the bat.  Mike's electronics were lit up like a Christmas tree in 20 feet of water.  As soon as your line came tight with the eel, the classic bump of a bass could be felt vibrating through the braided line.  Soon there were drags singing and fancy footwork from three happy anglers.  The highlight of the night came early - 60 pounds of striped bass on the boat - a triple hook up of 20-pound class fish.
Sixty pounds of striped bass and a poor excuse for a self-timed shot

We thought it was the start to an epic night, but it was not to be.  We fished an entire tide and unfortunately the action was anticlimactic.  Don't get me wrong - a steady pick of bass was had all night, but the first hour was hot and heavy.  If the body of fish we were into was any larger, it could have been a blockbuster night.  All told, we boated more than 20 stripers between the three of us, with largest in the neighborhood of 26-pounds.  With bass up to 64-pounds taken from this area the same week, we had high hopes for some cows.  That said, we experienced a classic night around Block Island, only witnessing three other boats and a handful of surfcaster's headlamps on shore. 

This bass couldn't resist the eel-skin popper

The ebbing tide died shortly before 4 AM and we opted to start the long trek home instead of tossing top-water plugs at first light.  The swell was long gone by this time, and we had a nice smooth ride back to the mainland.  We thanked Mike for the great night and wished him luck for the remainder of his stay.  There are trophy bass lurking every corner of that Island, and one night soon he just may hook into one.  Derrick and I polished off two Red Bulls during the ride home amongst the morning commuters.  He dropped me off and I grunted thanks like a caveman and slid immediately into bed.  Four short hours later, here I am recapping the Block Run, only wishing to do it all over again.  Tight lines...

High-hook of the night, but relatively small for Block standards

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