If you plan to fish from a boat, you’ll find this alluring


01:00 AM EST on Sunday, March 1, 2009


By Tom Meade

Journal Staff Writer


If you want to catch more fish from a kayak, canoe or rowboat, get the current issue of On The Water magazine with a story by Bob Oberg, and look for the release of a new book, Paddling Connecticut and Rhode Island, by Jim Cole.

Cole, a longtime member of the Rhode Island Canoe and Kayak Association and a paddling instructor, has written a wonderful guide to addling Connecticut and Rhode Island waters, to be published this spring by Falcon Guides, a division of Morris Book Publishing.

The book contains finely detailed descriptions of 18 trips in Connecticut and 13 in Rhode Island. The Charlestown author divides them by watersheds.

If you’re an angler, you will appreciate the seven trips in the Connecticut River watershed, especially the four near the mouth of the Connecticut.

The waters that flow into Long Island Sound hold a tremendous variety of fish, including white perch, which are about to arrive this month; American shad and striped bass, due in April, and largemouth bass, present throughout the year. With all the food in the water, coves on the river also attract ospreys, eagles and other animals.

In his description of Whalebone Cove, Cole writes, “On one trip I observed an immature bald eagle and a fisher facing off in the marsh. The eagle finally noticed us and flew off, and the fisher took off running. Wild rice grows throughout this cove. Red-winged blackbirds, as well as many other species of birds, land on the tall rice stalks to grab a meal.”

I grew up near the Connecticut River, but never knew there was wild rice there –– until I read an advance copy of Cole’s book.

Cole has completed several trips at each of the places he describes in the book. He is able to describe seasonal changes in current, boat traffic and other conditions that could be troublesome. On one stretch of the lower Connecticut, for example, he advises paddlers to stay in shallow water during the summer to avoid wakes from large powerboats.

He also includes advice on places to camp, side trips, fishing and hiking opportunities, and more.

Paddling Connecticut and Rhode Island is going to be a valuable book. It’s due this spring.

Kayak stripers

This month’s issue of On The Water magazine has a terrific story by Bob Oberg about fishing tube-and-worm rigs from a kayak. The story is loaded with details about techniques, tackle, and tips for catching more stripers on the Bay.

“Over the past few years, I have developed a systematic approach to tube-and-worm fishing from a kayak,” Oberg writes. “Looking back at my logs, I’ve gone from catching just one legal-sized striper in my first season to catching 259 stripers in 51 trips last year, including 80 keepers.”

Oberg is a modest and generous man. He acknowledges others for sharing information that helped him become a more effective saltwater angler. And he shares a great deal about all that he has learned –– from rigging to fighting a fish from a kayak.

On The Water’s March issue is available at many tackle shops. Subscriptions are available online at www.onthewater.com. Every issue contains valuable information, especially in monthly columns by Dave “Pops” Masch.

All you need is one article such as “Kayak Tubing” to make the price of a subscription a valuable investment.

Gear tax helps

Two members of Rhode Island congressional delegation, Sen. Jack Reed and Rep. James Langevin, both Democrats, have issued news releases crowing about $6 million that Rhode Island will receive for fish and wildlife restoration programs.

The releases imply that our members of Congress were responsible for the largesse.

From Reed’s release: “’This critical funding will help sustain Rhode Island’s fish and wildlife populations and enhance the state’s ability to ensure that outdoor recreational opportunities remain available,’ said Reed, a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Related Agencies, which oversees spending on these federal grant programs. ‘This funding will help bolster the local economy and protect Rhode Island’s natural resources for future generations to enjoy.’”

Reed’s release even included a quote from Michael Sullivan, director of the state’s Department of Environmental Management:

“Rhode Island continues to benefit from active engagement of Senator Reed and our federal delegation seeing that these funds come to Rhode Island. It is particularly important in these challenging fiscal times to have these resources available for our continued efforts at preserving and enhancing our fish, wildlife and land protection programs.”

Here’s the real skinny: Every state, territory and the District of Columbia annually receives money, administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It comes from federal excise taxes and import duties included in the price of fishing tackle, hunting gear, and motor-boat fuel that sports enthusiasts buy.

The tax and the restoration payments have been around for a long time.

The Wildlife Restoration apportionment for 2009 totals nearly $336 million, with more than $64.7 million marked for hunter education and firearm and archery-range programs. The Sport Fish Restoration apportionment for 2009 totals more than $404 million.

“State fish and wildlife agencies are proud to be funded by the hunting, fishing and boating community through this American system of conservation funding, which has been a successful model for many years,” said Rex Amack, president of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and director of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. “This year’s record Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration apportionment is vital in order for state agencies to continue their work to sustain healthy fish and wildlife populations and provide opportunities for all to connect with nature.”