This time of year, I fish where there is water flow in deeper, cooler water. The Cape Cod Canal and bridges in Rhode Island, such as the Mt. Hope, Newport and Jamestown bridges, are all good fishing spots. Another option for the dog days of summer is poking out into the ocean a bit to fish where the water is cooler, deeper and movement is greater.
This Sunday, the surface water temperature on Narragansett and Buzzards Bays was about 75 degrees, and the water temperature at Narragansett Pier was 73 degrees, with an average July temperature being 67.6 degrees. And this week, anglers reported the surface temperature at Cox Ledge (more than 20 miles offshore) was 76 degrees and 78 degrees at the Dump fishing grounds offshore.
Bait fish leave the area along with fish we like to catch and eat when there is low oxygen (due to poor flushing of coves) and extreme heat. They leave the area for cooler, deeper water that is well-oxygenated. Fish such as black sea bass, scup, summer founder, even bluefish and striped bass may be hard to find in Bays and estuaries.
So, how do you catch fish when it seems like there are no fish to be found? As a charter captain, I have often had to find fish for customers, family and friends even though the water was warm.
The key to fishing the dog days of summer is water movement. The bay water is hot, so you have to fish an area that gets flushed often and has structure or edges where water movement is brisk and often deep. This includes structure such as channel pads, under or near bridges, rock clusters, jetties, outcrops, points or peninsulas on land and wrecks.
The shipping channel in the East Passage of the Narragansett Bay from the southern tip of Prudence Island to Providence serves as a “fish highway,” flushing that side of the Bay, bringing bait and fish into the Bay. Places such as Warwick Neck; Providence Point, Sandy Point and the T-Wharf on Prudence Island; Poppasquash Point, Bristol; and Sally’s Rock, Greenwich Cove; as well as Quonset Point, North Kingstown all serve as natural structure that can whip water around them along with bait fish and the fish we like to catch. The Jamestown, Mt. Hope and Newport Bridges serve as manmade fish magnets, funneling water, bait and fish. And, talk about water movement, the Cape Cod Canal pushes water, bait and fish, at high velocity, often up to 5 knots.
So, when the water is warm, you have to take advantage of structure and fish where the fish are.