When I was a kid, I caught a flatfish so big at Nanaquaket Bridge that my grandfather who had joined me there had to help me keep other anglers out of my newly designated “honey hole” of a spot. Growing up in Tiverton, Nanaquaket Bridge gave us kids the opportunity to catch adult-sized fish.
Fishing from Stafford pond or the shore was fun (and we did plenty of it) but “Nanaquaket” offered potential that made the trip on my Schwinn Stingray (with the drag slick) or my Dad’s 10-speed well worth it. I tied my rod to the bike with the reel under the seat and the tip pointing out a few feet like a fighter jet. The tackle box got tied across the handlebars. On the way from North Tiverton to the Bridge I’d stop at Bridge Bait under the Sakonnet River Bridge and get a brown box of sea worms and maybe a flatfish rig.
Later in my teen years I’d drive the distance, parking my Chevy Impala by the bridge. The tackle box got a bit bigger and the pole selection increased with the trunk size of that Impala. The parking area at Nanaquaket was many times full and even on slow rainy days had a few dedicated anglers hoping to get lucky with a good Tautog or flatfish. Most were kids like me, Portuguese immigrants, or even families. We loved to fish. I didn’t realize at the time that RI was unique in making sure its residents could enjoy The Ocean State’s namesake resource.
I took the public access points for granted, but I now realize they defined my experience of growing up in Rhode Island. I got to live a seaside childhood despite having only a bay view! I know I’m not the only one. As my kids get older and I fantasize how they or their kids may enjoy the same experience, I hope that Tiverton preserves access to the shore for residents of normal means. I’ve been in many areas where exceptional means, real estate desires, and development plans start to rule shore access providing no opportunity for kids to grow up like I did. Tiverton is a classic bayside Rhode Island town that is truly unique. I hope everyone realizes the role that Tiverton’s water and beach access plays in the town’s bayside character and opportunities for families. I certainly benefited!
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