Hot Spot: The Dodge Grounds - The Fisherman

Hot Spot: The Dodge Grounds

Another spot off Block Island to find some cod in the spring which also produces bonito in the summer and early fall.

Around the area of 41-07-34/71-20-39 is a fishing spot that’s referred to as “The Dodge Grounds.” It’s located approximately 15 miles south of Point Judith, and 4 miles east of the East Grounds; it falls essentially on the west bank of the Mud Hole. Water depths for the spot in mention run 120 to 140 feet depending how far east or west you fish. As you begin falling down the slope the depth increase to 160 feet or more. Most of the fishing is done in that 120- to 140-foot range, and tidal flow can be key to the fishing here. You want some tide to be running (not slack), preferably the flood tide which will run to the west.

Late April and May has typically seen a decent cod bite in this area for those putting in an honest effort. Our best success has been to anchor and pick away at a bite of cod as they find our clams and crushed shells. When you shuck your clams, hold onto the shells instead of simply tossing them. When you anchor up you can periodically break some shells and scatter the pieces in the water along the side of the boat. The shells and remaining claim scent act as a chum and help to attract and hold cod in the area. Look around in the following locations to find mister cod: 41-07-34.0/71-20-39.7, 41-07-27.4/71-20-35.2, and 41-07-17.6/71-20-38.7. Keep your sounder on and watch for schools of bait as well. If you find some concentrated bait clouds it might be worth checking out to see if cod are feeding on them.

map
Courtesy of Navionics.

There’s a mussel bed located at 41-07-08.1/71-20-45.4 which tends to attract cod and other bottom fish. Anchoring just up-tide of it might just attract a few fish to your baits. Hi-lo bait rigs baited with clams and a 6- to 8-ounce sinker works just fine. Besides cod, you’re likely to catch some cunner and ocean pout here. Dogfish are known to show in the area from time to time, and it usually means time to move when they arrive in packs. Sometimes the fish can be spread out here and it will take a bit of time to get them coming good to your baits. If you wait it out for a while and don’t get bites then move around.

If none of these positions produce for you, you can also check out around 41-07-09.6/71-20-11.6 and 41-06-59.8/71-19-57.4. Sometimes working your way from up high and down the bank is the ticket.

We’ve had good success with catching bonito along the west bank of the Mud Hole during September, so this could be a good spot to set up for those looking to find a few greenies. Drift or anchor while chumming with butterfish chunks to attract the bonito to you. Let chunks of butterfish, fished on short shank hooks (Mustad 92677-BN or Eagle Claw #L256 in sizes from 2/0 to 4/0) drift back into your slick and wait for a pick up. Allowing the bait to sink at the same rate as the chum is the key. Rather light lines (10- to 20-pound test) are a must as bonito have good vision. This can be a great opportunity to catch these speedsters on light tackle and is a lot of fun.

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