BI Cod Report for Saturday, 1/22; Sunday Plans
Capt. Joe Huck and the crew of the Helen H were pretty well beat when Joe called around 7 p.m. this evening (Saturday, January 22) to relay a report for the day’s cod catching. Huck noted it was bit snappy when they left the Montauk slip at 3 a.m., the wind still up out of the NW. Good news is that wind from that direction is on their stern for the eastward steam to the grounds south of Block Island, providing a relatively comfortable ride out. Arriving on a fair-sized plot of broken bottom south and east of the Island around 5 a.m., Joe marked some decent shots of bait and scattered fish. With less-than-ideal drift/sea conditions, he elected to set the anchor and deploy a mix of jig/teaser set-ups and bait rigs around the rail, hoping to find some of the larger ten-plus and teen-sized fish that have been moving in lately.
Unfortunately, the pre-dawn bite was dead quiet-nothing really doing. Once the sun crested the eastward horizon, the bite started to take shape, with a slow but steady pick of mixed-size codfish that gained momentum-and size-as the day progressed. During the morning, Huck made several moves looking for the right pile of fish to work on, eventually setting up on a piece around 10 a.m. that immediately began turning out a flurry of nicer-sized stuff, all keepers and many of them from 10 pounds into the teens.
Most of that fast action was on undecorated bait rigs armed with fresh sea clams, though a couple of jig purists swinging 12-ounce Vik-E’s with pink grub teasers (the hot teaser of late) had no trouble keeping their rods bent on quality cod. Incidentally, for bait hooks, Huck recommends nice, sharp octopus-style hooks in the 7/0 to 9/0 size range. Some days, dressing these hooks with smaller grub teasers before threading the clam on can contribute to your success.
All the while, the NW wind was easing off, and sea conditions improved by the hour; by the time Capt. Joe blew three whistles after one p.m. and pointed the bow toward Montauk, seas were approaching mill-pond status. Anglers had enough cod to keep the boys busy on the aft cutting tables most of the way home, and certainly to eat well for a few nights. Plan is to fish again tomorrow (Sunday, January 23), same time, same place: the Helen H will leave the dock at 3 a.m. and return sometime around 3 p.m.
Cold or no, the cod bite south and east of Block Island-most of it to date in pleasantly shallow water (100 to 130 feet)-is wide open for business, and if the pattern holds, you could well be in for better fishing still, more and bigger codfish, as the weeks unfold. Then again, there are no guarantees in fishing, and there’s no telling when Mother Nature might put the Weather Hammer down on the fleet. Bottom line is this: There will be plenty of down-time at some point before spring. There’s no knowing what may yet become of this incredible, close-to-home cod fishery. Get in on it while it’s still lock-and-load.
You can make a reservation by calling 508-790-0660, or, if you’re calling after 10 p.m. or in the wee hours pre-trip, you can get a trip status update from the answering machine, and pay for your rail position when you board. To get directions or other information on the Helen’s full-day Block Island winter cod trips, visit www.icodfish.com.