By Katy Killilea
When expert fisher-friends invited us to join them at one of their hot family fishing spots this weekend, we were ready. We had just acquired fine rods and reels from a tag sale, the sun was shining, and we had half a box of peanut butter crackers already tucked into our beach bag–we were ready to go! And so we went on our way, for the very first time, to fish at Sabin Point Park in East Providence.
The kids’ ages were (a strapping, fearless) three years to (a patient, nurturing) seven-and-a-half, and casting off the tiny beach at Sabin Point suited them perfectly. The bait was clams. The expert family provided this bait, as well as hooks and bobbins. There were a few brief, harrowing moments when the inexperienced children waggled their rods and hooks a little too close to their mom’s face. Many lines got tangled in many Crocs. But the good times far outweighed the bad. And we didn’t even catch a fish!
The children stood so patiently in the water, casting over and over and reeling in seaweed. The knowledgeable parents instructed the rest of us on the art of casting, maintaining a line-unsnagging posture, and everything else we needed to know. Sabin Point is a beautiful part of Rhode Island. We spent most of our time on the beach fishing, but there is also a playground with tons of swings, little slides, and even those low basketball hoops with real backboards that are so hard to find. Ducks and minnows were easy to spot, as were jolly men smoking cigars. Lovely sea glass as well as ordinary sharp shards of glass are plentiful (so use caution where you walk or sit) . There are big rocks perfect for balancing and clambering and there’s even a two-hundred-meter track paved for tricycle and beginning bicycle riders.
Overcome with hunger for fish after two hours spent fishing at the beach, our group headed to Blount’s Clam Shack on Water Street in Warren. The Clam Shack is open for the 2008 season and is as brilliant as last year with a new trailer that serves Wildberry Frozen Yogurt and Gelato. On a sunny day, there is no better place to be. Many diners arrive by boat, so there is plenty to watch on the water. The sun feels more intensely bright there–the crushed white shell ground cover and the proximity to water are unbearable without sunglasses– so every table has an umbrella, and there are big white tents set up for extra shade.
Lunch at Blount’s is so good–the fried-yet-high-quality kind of good. Fish sandwiches ($8 with french fries) are big enough to share. Kid’s meals, such as fish and chips, hot dog, or grilled cheese ($6) include a small bottle of water and fresh fruit or fries. Individual crab cakes ($3.50) are crispy and yummy, accompanied by a sauce that was both delicious and mysterious and may have been orange mayonnaise. Other than the great food and an awesome location, Blount’s is pretty spartan: drinks are provided by vending machines, and the hand-washing facilities are a container of Purell nailed to a post.
After lunch, we tried the new Wildberry Frozen Yogurt and Gelato. Choose between soft, tangy yogurt in two flavors: plain or wildberry. Add whatever topping you like: mangoes, almonds, granola, gummy worms. Delicious! The small size ($2.50 plus 65 cents per topping) is indeed small, which is all you could possibly want after lunch at Blount’s. Gelato in twelve or so flavors is also available if you prefer butterfat in your frozen treats. This is a very welcome addition to the clam shack lot–now you can go for a small, cool treat and enjoy the view, even when you don’t want a big piece of fried fish.
Details about getting a fishing license:
Jason McNamee at the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) tells us:
Currently there is no license required for salt-water fishing like Sabin Point mentioned above in RI (Although this is subject to change in 2009). Fresh-water fishing does require a license but not until your kids are over fourteen. Fresh-water licenses can be purchased at almost any bait and tackle shop in the state.
Regulations and an application for fishing licenses available at the DEM website.
“Free Fishing Days” = no license needed anywhere in Rhode Island on June 7 and 8, 2008.
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Photo Credit: Katy Killilea