Monday, October 9, 2017

Learn from tautog experts

 Carole Prisco of Warwick caught these keeper tautog in upper Narragansett Bay Monday.
Capt. Joe Bleczinski, who caught this 18.9 pound tautog off Narragansett in 2015 said, “I knew it was a big fish when the boat stared to move sideways.”  He will be a RISAA tautog panelist on Sept. 25th.
 Kyle Dawson of Wakefield took first place in the 2nd Annual Snug Harbor Billy Carr Midnight Madness Striper Tournament this weekend with this 49.88 pound striped bass. 
Mike Gallanti with a false albacore he caught this week on the West Wall of the Harbor of Refuge, South Kingstown.

Learn from tautog experts

“In the fall you can fish for striped bass, tuna, bonito and false albacore, black sea bass, scup, cod, tautog and more.  Fall is arguably the greatest time of year to fish.” said Capt. Rick Bellavance, president of the Rhode Island Party & Charter Boat Association (RIPCBA).

With the summer flounder season winding down anglers are starting to focus their attention on tautog. If you ever wanted to fish for tautog, now is the time to learn and fish for them.  The bite is on with anglers catching keeper sized fish in our Bays and along the coastal shore.  And, starting October 15th the limit jumps from three fish to six fish/angler/day with a ten fish per boat maximum (does not apply to charter or party boats).

Here are two great ways to learn how to tautog fish.    Attend a ‘Tautog Experts’ seminar at the West Warwick Elks held by RI Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) Monday, September 25, 7:00 p.m. or visit the RI Party & Charter Boat Association website at for a list of charter and party boats with boat photos and rates that can take you on a learn how to tautog fishing charter. 
On September 25 join Travis Barao, a RISAA board member who has fished for tautog in the Fall River, Newport and Sakonnet River areas; Capt. Joseph Bleczinski who caught a 16 pound tautog at Whale Rock, Narragansett two years ago; and Richard Reich noted shore and boat angler (Richard took 2nd place shore division in the Snug Harbor Billy Carr Midnight Madness Striper Tournament last week, see below story). Learn tautog tips, tactics, gear, rigs, baits and where to fish for them during this panel style seminar. Visit for details.

Non-member admission is a $10 donation to the RISAA Scholarship Fund, RISAA members attend free. Dinner served at 5:30 p.m. provided by the Elks for a separate fee.  The presentation starts at 7:00 p.m.

Snug Harbor tournament big success

Kyle Dawson of Wakefield took first place in the 2nd Annual Snug Harbor Billy Carr Midnight Madness Striper Tournament this weekend with a 49.88 pound striped bass.   Scott Carleston of Warren took second place with at 42.58 pound fish and Howard Eman of Narragansett took third place with a 40.9 pound fish.

Elisa Cahill of Snug Harbor Marina said, ”We had a 10% increase in anglers this year and will donate over $4,000 to the Point Judith Fisherman’s Foundation in the name of Billy Carr. We had 20 surf and 52 boat anglers participate.”

First place in the surf division went to Ron Rego of Providence with a 27.9 pound fish, and second place went to Rich Reich with a 26.02 pound fish.  Brett Carr (Billy Carr’s nephew) won the Junior Division with a 27.44 pound striped bass.  Visit for details.

Where’s the bite

Freshwater fishing. “The bass bite at Brickyard Pond in Barrington has been pretty good.  I had two Dads come back for more shiners as they fished with their sons and ran out.  Night crawlers are selling fairly well too.” said Manny Macedo of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren.

Tautog fishing is just starting to get active.  Anglers fishing last week were catching keepers but they were small. Carole Prisco of Warwick caught two nice keeper tautog when fishing with her husband Charlie this past Monday on a rock pile in the upper Bay.  Mike Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters, Westerly said, “Tautog are in shallow water areas but most keepers caught are on the small side.  We have not had a lot of anglers targeting tautog yet.” Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick said, “Customers were catching fish off Brenton Reef Newport and around Hope Island in the Bay but they were all just over size 16”.”  Manny Macedo of Lucky bait said, “Customers are catching tautog at Colt State Park and in Tiverton but they are barely keepers.”

Striped bass and bluefish.  I fished southeast of Beavertail Light Sunday and there was about a half square mile of bluefish feeding on sand eels.  The fish finder would light up with school of bait from surface to bottom.  The black sea bass and scup bite was excellent there as well.  Did not have a chance to see if there were striped bass under the bluefish.  Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait said, “The Bay is loaded with bluefish with schools popping up everywhere.”  Manny Macedo of Lucky Bait said “One of our customers landed a 32” striped bass a Popasquash Point, Bristol last week.  So the bass are starting to pop up again, some fish are being caught off Newport too.”  Mike Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters said, “The bass bite at Block Island has been good with fish still feeding mackerel.  Fishing is better closer to shore in places like Black Rock.”

Summer flounder (fluke), black sea bass and scup.  Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “Due to big seas we were only able to get out Monday and Saturday last week.  Monday did produce some nice fish both fluke and black sea bass with a behemoth 13 pound fluke caught by a customer from CT. That fish is one of the biggest of the year. Top fish caught Saturday was around ten pounds. Some scup, an occasional cod fish and or ocean perch were mixed in.”  The black sea bass bite was consistent Sunday and Tuesday off Beavertail. Sunday I caught about 20 fish in two hours, 25% of them were keepers with the largest fish topping out at 22 inches.  Large scup to 16” caught on the drift there as well.  The action was much the same on Tuesday when we fished about a mile southeast of Beavertail. Manny Macedo of Lucky Bait said, “Large scup are being caught from the Warren River to Popasquash Point, Bristol.  Customer said the largest ones were a black color which is a bit unusual.”

From the shore.  Mike Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters said, “The striped bass bite with blue fish mixed in has been very good from the shore for the past two weeks.  Quonnie, Weekapaug and East Beach have all been very good with fish averaging about 36” and blue fish in the two to ten pound range.  We also have a good scup and tautog bite from Watch Hill Light and from the breachways.”

False albacore are out in front along the coast.  Dave Henault of Ocean State Tackle, Providence said, “False albacore are west wall and all along the coast to Little Compton and Westport.”