A good spot for spring cod with the potential to pick away at a few fish throughout the season.
It was early May and the morning cod bite at a half dozen spots around the island was non-existent. Deciding to run a little further offshore, we headed to a spot nicknamed “The Gateway.” It’s located about 6 miles south of Block Island and is essentially located at the southern tip of the Mud Hole. There’s some hard bottom here, and it’s been an area that has produced quite a few cod for us through the years. You can find the Gateway location at 41-02-59/71-23-19 on your GPS. A few minutes into our drift and three of our anglers had bent rods with the hope that our luck was changing. Five nice-sized cod made their way to the deck and into the fish box for the ride home. Shortening up our drift around the bite zone produced a couple dozen fish before it was time to head for the barn.
I’ve had the most success here from late April through the month of May with both cod and ling. For those fishing throughout the year, you may find some more fish here in the colder months if there’s some bait present. This would be a prime location for cod to feed upon sand eels, herring, and mackerel.
Begin around 41-02-59.2/71-23-19.2 and slowly widen your search looking for indications of life on your sounder. Even small pieces of structure here will hold some fish, so it pays to have a quality sounder that will give you a good view of the bottom. A split screen with bottom zoom on one side works nicely to give you an exploded view of the bottom as well as to look for bait in the water column.
We’ve also found codfish that were willing to cooperate at 41-03-01.1/71-23-16.3, 41-02-48.7/71-23-25.7, and (41-02-35.3/71-23-23.5. Slightly to the northeast around 41-03-36.3/71-22-58.3, there’s some rough bottom that you’ll mark on your machine. This ground often holds a few fish as well.
My preference for fishing this spot is to drift (versus anchoring), at least until we can narrow down a batch of fish to work. Depending on how much company you have at the spot might determine whether or not drifting is even an option for you. When the fishing is good expect to find several boats trying to get in on it. While I’ve caught on both bait and jigs here, I would say that I’ve done better overall with diamond jigs. Jigs in the 6-, 8- and 10-ounce range are usually necessary if there’s any amount of tide or wind. Fishing them with a Red Gill on a dropper loop about 2 feet up ahead of the jig often produces double-headers of cod. Water depths are from 135 to 155 feet so a rod with a little backbone is necessary to work those jigs.
For anglers fishing the Sharks Ledge area south of Block Island, The Gateway offers a spot with a little deeper water just a small run to the southeast. If you’re striking out on Shark’s Ledge it might just be worth the little extra ride to take a look here. For those fishing offshore, it’s nearby the Gully and the Mud Hole and adding a little bottom fishing to end the day is not out of the way.