Nebraska Shoal, RI - The Fisherman

Nebraska Shoal, RI

2017 2 Nebraska Shoal Ri

Coordinates: 41.3501018 x -71.5745035

Located roughly mid-way between Point Judith and Charlestown Breachway off the south shore of Rhode Island, this expansive area and its surrounding bumps and humps are quite popular with local bottom fishermen. Throughout the season most any and all species seen on the inshore grounds off the Rhode Island coast can be caught here including striped bass, bluefish, weakfish, fluke, scup, blackfish, black sea bass, cod, squid, false albacore, bonito and more. Heck, there even used to be some bluefin tuna landed in this area when they were more commonly found inshore in Rhody water. I was surf fishing Green Hill (just west of the shoal) about 14 years ago in November and I witnessed a small pod of giant bluefin crashing a school of herring and bluefish about 1/2-mile off the beach. It looked like someone was launching small cars clear out of the water along the horizon. Had the display not been seen by several other fishermen on the beach that afternoon I might not have believed it myself.

When fluke season is under way, say from about late May through September, you are likely to see a fleet of boats drifting their way up over and across this plateau that rises up to about 25 feet deep from the surrounding waters of 40 to 50 feet deep pretty much every day of the week. It is just as popular with the local private boat fleet as it is party and charter boats. If you have a trailerable boat, it is just a short ride from any of the ramps in the South County Salt Ponds and inside Point Judith. Target the rapid depth changes along the edges of the shoal as the larger fluke are found on these slopes.

While the fishing can be good on this spot itself, it’s in such close proximity to several other good spots that are all worth a check if the fishing isn’t as good as you’d hope for or if there is a little too much boat traffic for your liking. Leaving Point Judith and heading west, the first area that you’ll encounter is off Matunuck Point/Deep Hole. This rocky area holds many of the first stripers of the year and is good for bass throughout the season. Tog can be caught here as well, just be cautious as it can be treacherous if you’re unfamiliar with the structure.

Essentially at the western edge of Nebraska Shoal is Green Hill (mentioned in the opening paragraph). This is one of those spots that used to get a lot of boat and surf pressure “back in the day,” but it’s now more of an afterthought or even an overlooked spot by many. There is a high spot a bit offshore, and the whole area is peppered with rocks. I’ve known of some huge striped bass landed here over the years as well as some good fluke and weakfish. It holds fish at times, but not all the time, so give it a look and move on if you don’t find anyone home.

The final spot in this stretch going west is the water off Charlestown Breachway. It is often used as a marker to begin or end drifts by flukers, and the pond outflow acts as a conveyer belt delivering baitfish to waiting gamefish out front. Fluke, bluefish, weakfish and of course striped bass use this to their advantage and set up at different stages of the tide to feed. With the current flowing well out into Block Island Sound on a dropping tide, the positive effects of this spot can be felt well offshore.



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