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EAST BEACH, CHARLESTOWN, RI

East Beach is a blanket term that is generally used to include the shoreline from Quonochontaug (Quonny) Breachway to Charlestown Breachway, roughly a 4.5-mile stretch of fishy shoreline.
By Toby Lapinski
EAST BEACH, CHARLESTOWN, RI

I walked outside to get a little fresh air and to check on the progress of the fried turkey that was bubbling away in its peanut oil bath. As I began putting the elbow-long cooking gloves onto my hands, my cell phone rang. On the other end was my good friend, let’s just call him Ed, and he was heading to South County, Rhode Island that evening to get in on the hot bite of striped bass and bluefish that he had heard of from several contacts down the shore. He asked if I wanted to join him but unfortunately I had to pass as I had plans all day and night with family. It was, after all, Thanksgiving Day.

Well, as one might expect, Ed drove to the beach that night and absolutely crushed the fish. He was into bass to 36 pounds and bluefish to 18 pounds from his first cast until he was simply too cold and too tired to fish any more. He found fish hammering sea herring at every stop from Weekapaug to Green Hill, but most of the action he found that night took place along East Beach.

East Beach is a blanket term that is generally used to include the shoreline from Quonochontaug (Quonny) Breachway to Charlestown Breachway, roughly a 4.5-mile stretch of fishy shoreline. Access to the beach is made at the end of East Beach Road. Along this stretch of Rhody beachfront you will find both rocky and sandy sections. This entire stretch of shoreline can be accessed on foot or with an over-sand vehicle (vehicles are prohibited on the beach from April 1 to September 15 and driving is restricted to the sand trails during this time), and I highly recommend the latter if you plan to fish it regularly or if you want to be able to more-easily cover some shoreline. From the State of Rhode Island Division of Parks and Recreation: “Vehicles driving on barrier beaches, as well as camping vehicles require Barrier Beach Passes. For more information on the registration and use of 4x4 vehicles on a beach, please contact the Burlingame State Campground at 401-322-8910.”

Fish can be caught anywhere along this stretch of beach, and both by throwing plugs and soaking bait. While reading the sandy beach here is not generally as easy to do as it is along a big-water beach like can be found on the Cape or the south side of Long Island, structure will give itself away and this is where you want to concentrate your efforts. The area to the west closer to Quonny is much rockier while the area basically from Fresh Pond Rocks (in front of Highland Road) all the way to Charlestown is primarily sand. At times you might find some boulders pop up or some larger pebbles expose themselves after a storm.

When fish are actively running the beach, as often happens in the late fall, daytime fishing can be very productive. Early in the fall expect to see mullet, silversides and peanut bunker the primary baitfish. Target your efforts in the rut—where the waves crash below the waterline—as well as the corners where sand and rocks meet. Also be sure to fish any spots where the beach is cut out at a steep angle as this is a sure sign of deep water close to shore.

As the season progresses and we approach the end of November, cross your fingers that sea herring will move into the beaches as this can fuel some downright awesome fishing, as occurred in the opening paragraphs. At times this stretch of shoreline also hosts large schools of migrating adult bunker and hickory shad, and both have a way of attracting oversize gamefish tight to shore.

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