Tautog bite increases as catch limit goes up
The tautog bite was very good this week. Anglers caught their limit, both from shore and boats. The good news is that the catch limit increased this week, just in time for the enhanced bite.
The minimum size in Rhode Island is 16” with a catch limit that increased October 15 (to December 31) to five fish/person/day. However, there is a ten fish per vessel maximum which does not apply to party and charter boats.
Tautog fishing is much like a tug of war. Once you hook one the battle is on to keep it from going into structure. Many bottom hook-ups that occur when fishing for tautog are caused by a fish that takes the angler’s bait into the rocks before they know it.
I offered some tautog tips last month. Here’s the scoop on where to find tautog. From shore look for rocky coastline like Beavertail Point on Jamestown, locations off Newport and off breakwater jetties and rock walls along the southern coastal shore. From a boat I have had good luck at Plum Point lighthouse next to the Jamestown Bridge, the rock jetty at Coddington Cove in Portsmouth, off Hope Island, General Rock in North Kingstown, around Brenton Reef and Seal Ledge off Newport, off Narragansett at rock clusters or the bolder field off Scarborough, Whale Rock, Ohio Ledge in the East Passage and any other place there is structure, debris, rock clusters, wrecks, etc. It’s good to find your own spots as popular ones often get overfished.
This week we experienced a good tautog bite in the bay and along the coastal shore. Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box, Warwick said, “Tautog fishing in the Bay was on fire this week. Anglers did well at Rocky Point with spear fishermen there bringing up some very large fish too.” I had luck a couple of days at General Rock, North Kingstown but Saturday I fished there with Kevin Fetzer of East Greenwich and it was a very slow pick.
Manny Macedo of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren said, “The tautog bite from shore at Colt State Park, Fogland, Fog Island and Fort Adams has been very, very good. Both Asia and green crabs are working well for anglers.
Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence said, “The tautog bite is good all the way up the Providence River with smaller fish being caught north of the bridges and larger fish to 22” being caught south off the bridges a Whale Rock, Agawam Cliffs, Narragansett, and out in front off Newport.”
Now is the time to get out and try your luck tautog fishing as the weather is still fairly mild.
Where’s the bite?
Striped bass and bluefish. Striped bass fishing has been good along the coastal shore and in the bay with the Block Island bite being spotty. Macedo said, “Last week a customer caught a 30 inch bass under the bike path bridge on the Warren River. The bass and bluefish are in the East Passage in Providence with Atlantic menhaden (pogies) all the way up to Pawtucket.” Henault said, “Customers are catching school bass with keepers and bluefish mixed in the upper Bay at Conimicut Point, Goddard Park, Sandy Point as well as along the coastal shore at Charlestown Beach.” Giddings said “The bluefish and striped bass bite is good in the Bay with some nice fishing happening off the west wall of the Harbor of Refuge.” The striped bass bite at the Cape Cod Canal is still good reports Henault. Canal striped bass expert and author Ed Doherty of Mattapoisett said, “The bite was good this week with fish taken on the east tide when fish were leaving Buzzards Bay at first light. The turn east this morning coincided with first light that welcomed a huge school swimming at every level of the water column.”
False albacore bite has been very finicky; however, the fish are in the bay off Newport and the Sakonnet as well as along the southern coastal shore. Henault said, “The false albacore have been a bit illusive but they are in the East Passage of the Bay and South of Prudence Island.” I continue to see small schools of them when tautog fishing in the West Passage. They surface briefly and then are gone. Macedo of Lucky Bait said, “We are finding that the epoxy jigs work well in the Sakonnet area but the silver lures like Deadly dicks and Kastmaster lures are not working here. However, the silver lures seem to be working off Newport.”
“Freshwater fishing for bass has been good. Much of the action is taking place in the mid to lower portion of the water column. Not a lot of people targeting trout this past week even though ponds have been restocked,” said Giddings. Henault said, “Anglers targeting trout are finding Power Baits are working well at newly stocked trout as that is the type of good they are used to when in the hatchery.”
Captain Dave Monti has been fishing and shellfishing for over 40 years. He holds a captain’s master license and a charter fishing license. He is a RISAA board member, a member of the RI Party & Charter Boat Association and a member of the RI Marine Fisheries Council. Contact or forward fishing news and photos to Capt. Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at www.noflukefishing.com.