From tuna to sea bass, and sharks to cod, this area located to the southeast of Block Island produces fish year-round.
The “30 Line” gets its name from local charter operators that would refer to locations based on how far south they were on their Loran- C lines (the one that ran through this area was the 43830 line). It’s synonymous with the area referred to as Sharks Ledge and has been known as a location for giving up codfish. In addition to cod, you can also catch pollock, black sea bass, bluefish, bonito, and even school bluefin tuna at times.
If looking to put some codfish in the box, look around 41-03-14.7/71-25-53.1, 41-04-55.4/71-26-17.4, and 41-04-02.8/71-26-58.8. A few of these spots have rocks or rock piles that will hold cod. My preference is to drift here, if possible, and then anchor up if we find a large enough concentration of fish in one spot. There’s also a lump around 41-05-11.3/71-27-46.6 that often holds a few cod as well and definitely is worth the time to take a look at.
We also used to catch quite a few cod trolling at 41-04-40.6/71-27-18.7. Since then we’ve caught several fish here on bait and jigs while drifting the same numbers.
If hefty sea bass is your game then this is a spot for you, especially late in the season. Look for these fish to readily hit clams, squid, or jigs that are fished on or near the bottom.
During the hay days of pollock fishing that we once had here in southern Rhode Island, the 30 Line was a prime location. Trolling umbrella rigs on downriggers around 41-04-14.8/71-27-43.7 and 41-05-13.3/71-27-27.0 would produce doubles, triples, and even quadruples of 30-pound pollock at times. While I doubt that we’ll ever see this fishery recover to that level again, you may still find a pollock or two here, most likely caught on a jig meant for a cod or bluefish.
September and early October in this area offers a chance at chumming up some bonito. Anchoring in an area with some bait and life, and providing a steady line of butterfish chunks, can get these speedsters attracted to your location. Fishing cut baits in the upper 30 feet of the water column in your slick will reduce the number of bluefish bite-offs and increase your chances at a bonito.
For many summers I would look to catch one of my first bluefin tuna of the season here while trolling in early July. When the bait and whales move in look for bluefin from 50 to 150 pounds to get in on the feed. They’ll often be mixed-in with some bluefish, but if you’re persistent and put your time in you just may be rewarded. Take a peek around 41-05-15/71-25-25 and to the south to see if there’s any life. Likewise, in the past we’ve had some very good days chumming school bluefin here late in the season. The key to this fishery is in getting both the right water temps and the availability of feed when a batch of fish move through.
There’s some good bottom to fish here and you could spend quite a bit of time looking it all over. Hopefully you have a few starting points now that represent some prime sots on the eastern edge of Sharks Ledge.