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BOUNCING AROUND THE BLOCK - PART 2

Picking up where we left off with Part 1, this installment of surfcasting stops around Block Island covers the extensive southwest and western sides of the island.
By Toby Lapinski

Block Island's Southwest and West sides are the place of surfcasting legends and folklore. In the heyday of fishing out here back in the 1980s, many hundreds upon hundreds of trophy striped bass were hooked along this stretch of shoreline.

SOUTHWEST POINT
This stretch of shoreline from Southwest point on up to Graces Cove is very near the top of a very short list of hallowed striped bass shoreline in New England. Assuming wind and surf conditions allow for it there is often little reason to go anywhere else on the island. I would be surprised to find out if any single stretch of shoreline on the entire striper coast has given up more fish over 50 pounds than this short, two mile piece of waterfront. Southwest Point itself was the sight of a great many huge striped bass catches in the heyday of Block Island striper fishing, the 1980’s. Literally hundreds of trophy bass were taken here. Any time you can make a cast or two from a spot with that kind of history takes on a special, almost magical feel.

Starting at Southwest Point, which is accessed by a small parking area at the end of Cooneymus Road and walking south along the beach, striped bass can be found behind just about every single rock within casting range of shore. The point itself is somewhat anti-climactic to the casual observer—I was actually a bit disappointed the first time I laid eyes upon it by day. However, the fish-producing potential is there. For whatever reason striped bass congregate here and they do so in great size and numbers at time.

A short distance offshore lies Southwest Ledge, a spot so popular by the boat crowd that at times it looks more like a big-city rush-hour traffic jam full of boats than it does a striper hot spot. Those same oversized striped bass that work the ledge will, at times, ease on over to the point to feed. I have found success here on the lower tidal stages, wading out as far as I dare in my wetsuit, casting Red Fins and needlefish into the roiled surf and running current.

I would be surprised to find out if any single stretch of shoreline on the entire striper coast has given up more fish over 50 pounds than this short, two mile piece of waterfront.
When winds and surf are really screaming, a time when striped bass move in tight to the shore to feed, it is often difficult to stay tight to a plug cast into the melee. This is when either a loaded Super Strike needlefish or loaded Red Fin excels. The Red Fin will actually hold up extremely well under these conditions and has produced fish for me when all other lures failed to hold—saving an otherwise uneventful night. If fish are present here by night do not hesitate to return here by day and try working tins like the Hopkins No-Eql rigged with a tube tail—I know of some impressive scores that have been run up here in just this manner.

THE COVES
Moving north, at the end of Dories Cove Road lies another big-bass spot: Dories Cove. I have not found much success inside the cove itself, but the point to the south is my second-best producer on the island as far as numbers go. Walk south from the access point and the cove sweeps around to an abrupt and obvious point. A small spit of rocks jut out into Block Island Sound at a 45-degree angle and this where you want to set up shop for some casts. These rocks can be accessed by waders but a wetsuit makes it much easier. I time my fishing here with high tide and generally give it an hour before moving on to another spot. A wind from the east or southeast will assist casting distance and has been the ticket to a few nights of 20-plus fish scores for me. Live eels and Super Strike needlefish are my go-to offerings at this spot, but I know a few guys that do well on Rebels and have landed bass over 50 pounds from this area on such lures.


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