Block Island Cod Report and Weekend Plans (Jan. 21, 2011)
Capt. Joe Huck, spending a blustery day ashore in Montauk Friday, was upbeat about the continued quality of the cod catching south and east of Block Island. He and the Helen H crew have managed to eek five days out of a weather-intensive fishing calendar over the last two weeks, the most recent outing on Thursday, January 20 also the boat’s best to date. General trend-with exceptions-has been a pretty fast pick of generally smaller cod in full early-morning darkness. Huck noted the ratio of shorts to keepers in this early morning chew has been around 5 to 1-though the patterns are subject to change at any point. When conditions have allowed it, drifting and jigging the open bottom from first light into the afternoon has yielded all the keeper cod the guys on deck want. On the tougher wind/sea days, Huck’s been anchoring up on hard pieces of real estate and breaking out the bait rigs and fresh clams. Those scenarios have been producing the bigger fish, including multiple specimens into the teens and low 20s.
At anchor or in drift mode, one thing has become clear about the south-of-the-Island cod situation: there are numerous shots of fish chasing abundant herring, and location-which pile of fish they set up on-dictates the size of the fish crossing the rails. For the most part, the catch has been comprised of 22-plus-inch smalls and market fish in the 6- to 8-pound range, with sporadic shots of larger fish some drifts.
For jigs, recent conditions have dictated slightly larger slabs, diamonds, Vik-e’s or Norwegians in the 10- to 16-ounce range. Teaser color preferences vary from day to day, though larger pink grub-style rigs seems to have the most universal appeal.
Capt. Joe has been glad to see a good showing of familiar faces-lots of his New York, New Jersey and Connecticut regulars, along with a few New England loyalists making the Montauk pilgrimage to hang with the old crew. No one’s been griping about the quality of the fishing to date, and the crew’s been impressed by a sort of unspoken conservation ethic about this precious resource, both among the fleet and the anglers at the rails. The grounds haven’t seen the fleet in force too many days, and crowds have been light on all but the clearest, mildest Saturdays.
Plans are to sail tomorrow (Saturday) and Sunday, as weather looks to be reasonable in the sea-conditions department. Air temps may prove a bit nippy. Then again, it is January-the core of the darkest months-and the fact that there are abundant cod in the fore is grounds for celebration no matter what the thermometer reads.
Best bet is to call the office for a weather check and to make an advance reservation: 508-790-0660. To allow for last-minute weather wrangling, they’ve extended office hours until 10 p.m., though the answering machine will provide vital details about the next day’s trip status beyond civilized hours. Sailing time remains at 3 a.m.; trips generally hit the dock around 3 p.m. Per-angler cost of these full-day Block Island cod trips is $120. You can access directions and other logistical trip info at www.icodfish.com.