The largest fish that I have ever hooked—and lost—in the surf took place along this fabled stretch of shoreline.
This stretch of shoreline, spanning roughly three miles from the base of The Stairs under Southeast Light on over to Dickens Point is a surfcaster’s playground and what is generally thought of when dreams of Block Island cows make their way into our collective minds. There is a lengthy string of hot spots here—Great Point, Snake Hole, Barlow’s Point, The Corners, Black Rock and so on—that one could spend many nights working this stretch of shoreline and still not have 1% of it truly figured out.
When I first set foot on the Island this was one of the two areas I simply had to fish—Southwest Point was the other. I read account after account of over-sized striped bass that have been caught here and I knew some had my name on them. Well, I was sadly mistaken as it was not cow-a-plenty and I was forced to work at learning how and when to fish this stretch of shoreline before I would find success. Snake Hole, located below Snake Hole Road (imagine that!?!?), was the first spot I found success. It took me a few tries but once I figured it out, or thought I figured it out, I began scoring fish here with regular frequency. High water, generally the first two hours or so of the drop, have been the best for me. However, some of the larger bass I know about from this spot were landed at low water. Both sides of the bowl, and the bowl itself, should be thoroughly worked over for signs of life. Super Strike needlefish, Red Fins, eels and darters have all produced here for me.
Once the bite dies off at Snake Hole I generally work the rocks to the west with an unloaded Red Fin or floating/slow-sink needlefish and pick up more fish as I go. This stretch is far and away the most productive stretch of water I have found and generally produces at least a few bites. The surf builds quickly here so be careful and watch the wave sets before venturing into the water.
Black Rock, accessed by following Snake Hole Road west to the “parking lots” atop the bluffs, is another one of those old-time hot spots. I can’t help but dream about all the huge striped bass that have been landed here over the years both by surfmen and boat anglers alike. Even a passing glance at this area on a chart or aerial image online and you will spot a great many fishy-looking spots. This is another place where big surf makes for dangerous conditions, but this is also a time when large bass come in tight to the shore to feed. I have done well in here throwing bucktails, but in the old days they slayed bass here on Rebels and eels.
The stretch beyond Black Rock on up towards Southwest point is the least-fished stretch of fishy shoreline on the Island. Most anglers either stop a short distance past Southwest point or never go beyond Black Rock. I have only ventured into this area a few times myself, and I kick myself for not fishing it more often every time I leave the island. The largest fish that I have ever hooked—and lost—in the surf took place out here.