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Hot Spots


Napatree Point, or “The Naps” as many refer to it, is one of those perennial fall hot spots for both boat and surf fishermen alike.
By Toby Lapinski
Image courtesy of Navionics

COORDINATES: 41.3169° N, 71.8739° W

Just one quick look at it on a chart or satellite imagery website and anyone with even a trace of striped bass blood running through their veins will immediately recognize its potential. And while Naps produces striped bass from April through December, October and November are when it has the real potential to produce fish the likes of which many only dream about.

Situated at the end of a mile-long stretch of beach, the point ends in a pile of rocks and rubble with current flowing past both sides. On the north you have the Pawcatuck River and Little Narragansett Bay; to the south you have the waters of Block Island Sound and the Watch Hill Reefs. To the west you have mighty Fishers Island. This is sort of like the Bermuda Triangle of awesome fishing spots but in a way that only occasionally takes a boat to its watery grave. That said it also has a long history of tragedy most notably the hurricane of 1938 that washed all of the buildings and their inhabitants into the sea. Still to this day reminder of the storm can be found when household items wash ashore after a big storm.

I have an ongoing love/hate relationship with Naps. On the one hand I look forward to the long, secluded walk to a spot that can and does regularly produce large striped bass. On the other hand there are issues with this spot just like any other hotspot that is worth its weight in blood, sweat and tears. To begin with the mosquitoes around the point on a warm evening are at times unbearable. Sure they seem to be less likely to hang around into the late fall, but head there in the deep of the summer and beware! Next up, part of what makes the spot so often times barren of anglers—the mile-plus walk—is what makes it so difficult to fish. Before you accept making cast one of the night you have to trudge up a sand dune, down a steep embankment and across about a mile of soft sand that just seems to keep going on and on. Once you arrive at the beginning of the point, you must then shimmy over all manner of rocks from bowling balls to car-sized and more. Forget about keeping a fish from this spot unless you are extremely physically fit as the thought of hauling any extra weight back after a night of fishing has resulted in more than a few “personal bests” gaining their freedom when they might have otherwise become dinner.
Okay, okay, enough of the bad, back to the good. Napatree is one of those spots that can be good on just about any stage of the tide. Some anglers prefer the flood, others the ebb and others are just happy to be out on the water. I fall somewhere in between all of those camps as I have done well on a wide variety of tidal stages here. I do prefer a wind at my back regardless of the tide, but I have had some extremely memorable nights with a big surf and wind in my face. So who really knows what is best?

Plug selection for me at the point is pretty basic; I like darters, needlefish and metal lips. But really, where don’t I prefer this selection of lures that produce results most anywhere striped bass and bluefish swim? I have also done well on bucktail jigs and 7-inch Finnish swimmers like the Red Fin and Rebel at times. One word of caution when plugging, beware of lobster pots. I have lost more than my share of lures over the years at this spot when I came in contact with a pot line that I failed to pick out in the dark of the night. Eels are never a bad choice here too, and I know of some guys who only fish eels—live or rigged—when they make the trek to the point. Several 50-pound-plus bass have been taken here over the years on snakes, and so long as the conditions allow for it, you really could get by just fishing them anywhere.

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