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THE BLOCK ISLAND WIND FARM, RI

Love it or hate it, the horizon off the southeast corner of Block Island is now dotted with a string of wind farm turbines.
By Toby Lapinski
THE BLOCK ISLAND WIND FARM, RI

Becoming fully commercially operational in December 2016, these five large structures will provide electricity to parts of Rhode Island including Block Island and the mainland. Deepwater Wind was the first offshore wind farm in the United States, but they have plans to build similar projects off New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maryland and New Jersey. (For a look at these projects and more, be sure to check out the March issue of The Fisherman for a feature article by Capt. Mike Pierdinock.)

In the Gulf of Mexico, it is pretty common for some fantastic fishing to take place around large structures like oil rigs. When the Block Island Wind Farm was first proposed, local anglers had high hopes that the structures would provide similar angling benefit, so long as they would be allowed to fish near them. Well, right from the beginning of construction, anglers noticed that they were doing quite well on cod in the area, and last summer the Wind Farm was a blossoming fluke hot spot with many anglers stopping on their way back from Coxes or the Dump to top off a cooler of cod or tuna with some hefty doormats.

Located just inside the 3-mile line off the Southeast corner of Block Island, the structures supporting the turbines provide a current break, hiding place for all manner of baitfish and forage and serve as a simple and repeatable reference point for boaters to set up a drift. Their inclusion in state waters also means that they are open to target of all the same inshore species you might find off the mainland of Rhody.

Back on January 1, Fisherman subscriber Vinny Deledda set out to this area for cod. Much to his surprise he caught (and released) what was quite likely the first fluke of the 2017 calendar year along with a handful of fresh codfish. Sea bass can be had here throughout the season, but it is fluke that have really hit the fishing reports with great frequency from this area.

There have always been fish of all species to be caught in this area from stripers to scup, but by having a large structure to aid anglers in setting their sights and drifts has been a bonus and a magnet.

It could be just as much about the added structure here as the "follow the fleet" mentality that affects so many anglers, but either way the area is worth a look.

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