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The first in a two-part, shore-bound tour of fabled Block Island and all its fishy structure and hot spots.
By Toby Lapinski

Regardless of where you consider your home waters, Block Island is a must-fish for every striped bass aficionado. It produces for both shore and boat fishermen alike, but today we’ll take a tour around some of the island’s fabled surfcasting spots.

On paper, this spot looks like a hot spot to the tenth degree. On either side of the spit you have depths in excess of 50 feet and your cast can land in 15 to 20 feet of water. On top of the point the waves are often awash and a strong current sweeps bait past on both sides of the tide. This can, however, be a very dangerous spot and from what I have been told has accounted for more surfcasters meeting their untimely demise than anywhere else on the Island.

I do not fish out here very often, despite the spot almost always looking fishy, as it lacks what I come to Block Island to fish: rocky bars and bowls. That does not mean that it does not warrant some time. Every time I have made the ride out in my 4X4 I have found fish, often times when the rest of the Island has failed to show any sort of a sign of life. While many anglers immediately steam for the point, my success has been found a little way back, working the trough in tight to the shore where striped bass and bluefish pin baitfish.

Moving east from the North Rip, just past Cow Cove, the large, sweeping point known as Grove Point is one of those often overlooked spots on the island by many of today’s casters. Generally a high water location, a northwest wind traditionally produces best here although I have taken fish under varied wind conditions. As the tide drops out a wetsuit opens up many casting perches that are otherwise in inaccessible by wader-clad anglers.

Grove Point is one of those often overlooked spots on the island by many of today's casters.
With the aid of a wetsuit and some daytime scouting there are an innumerable amount of swimable, fishy rocks all along this stretch on down to Mansion Beach. The water in close is relatively shallow, but just beyond an average cast the bottom drops off sharply to reach depths of 60-plus feet. The bar right at Grove Point is a good spot, day or night, just as a northwest wind starts to roll in as it pushes bait down from the North Rip.

This is another one of those spots that is often overlooked yet has coughed up many large bass over the years including a few north of 60 pounds! This is generally a sandy beach until you reach the southern end towards the Poop Chute, but the very existence of the remnants of a bass stand should be reason enough to spend at least a little time here. It is easily accessed either from Ballard’s to the north, or the overlook to the south, and is an easy spot to drop in for a few casts as you tour the Island. The water is pretty shallow so shallow-running plugs are preferred, as are eels—you can’t really go wrong with them anywhere stripers are known to swim.

Moving south from Ballard’s past the Poop Chute, the first prominent point is known as Old Harbor Point. A great many large striped bass have been taken from this area south, on past Southeast Lighthouse to The Stairs. Higher water stages favor the bowls along this stretch of shoreline, while the lower stages are prime to wade or swim out to those distant rocks. Old-time sharpies prefer the low incoming here but I have found success on all tide stages. Once out on the rocky points it is possible to drop your eel or needlefish into depths of 15 to 20-plus feet of water. Even at low water, be sure to fish your way out onto your intended casting perch as bass will often sneak right in tight in search of crabs, lobsters and baitfish as they get pinned into shore.

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