Yes there are fishing spots on the East Side, from River Road, around India Point, and over to the fishing deck below the hurricane barrier. I keep up with this by following Dave Henault, owner of Ocean State Tackle, on social media. I don’t fish but his Facebook page is full of happy smiling people who do — as well as Dave’s recommendations for bait, lures, and public access fishing spots — and it really helps to balance out the other news. Plus, Dave knows a lot about Asian cuisine, having traveled to Southeast Asia extensively, and he often posts about his meals purchased from local restaurants.
We first wrote about Dave in 2015 at the opening of trout season, and, because he is so much fun, it’s been every year since. And I am happy to report that his yellow lab Sukha, now age 10, is still greeting everybody with a wag.
What got my attention this year were two fishing spots included in a list he posted: York Pond and Hockey Pond on River Road. I thought I should investigate . . . as a public service. I stopped by Ocean State Tackle yesterday where Dave was holding court out on the sidewalk with Sukha.
PDD: What exactly does one catch in York Pond (photo here)?
DH: Mostly the smaller fish like pumpkinseeds, bass, or blue gill.
PDD: And should these be thrown back?
DH: I don’t think anyone should eat fish out of those ponds. These are not big fishing spots, but people can take their kids there.
If you are thinking you want to get started with a child, Dave can get you set up with the gear and a tutorial on how and where to get started. (I once overheard an exchange just like this in the store and he is an excellent and patient instructor.)
More well known is the spacious fishing pier at India Point with its view of the bay (below). Further along India Street and heading up into the Providence River there is the fishing deck just below the hurricane barrier. People are not supposed to be cleaning fish in these public areas, but that last spot gets pretty pretty ripe in the summer. So clearly they are catching fish.
PDD: What do people catch near the hurricane barrier?
DH: Tautog and striped bass.
PPD: Stripers in the upper bay?
DH: I’ve seen them all the way up into Pawtucket. They are chasing menhaden and herring up the river.
And finally, how is Dave conducting business during the covid restrictions? He takes the protocols (and good health in general) quite seriously. Weather permitting, he has been sitting out on the sidewalk, greeting customers and assessing their needs. Most people can be taken care of at the bait window, but if a customer wants to make an equipment purchase inside, that can be handled as well. You may want to call ahead.
Ocean State Tackle, 430 Branch Avenue, (directions), 401.749.3474
Those Qr codes lead to his social media feeds, but there is also a link for purchasing your fishing license if you need onet. Dave is usually on the other side of the window looking out. And he needs one dollar bills.