Anglers are catching great keeper tautog in the Bay and off coastal shores. The fish are biting Asian and green crabs. The fall tautog season is here. Go out and fish. Don't forget to explore and discover your own spots. Tautog are generally anywhere there is structure… rock clusters, jetties, docks, wrecks, humps, etc.
Tautog regulations. In Rhode Island tautog have to be sixteen inches or more. The catch limit for recreational anglers from August 1 to October 14 is three fish/person/day. The limit jumps to six fish/person/day on October 15 through December 15. However, there is a ten fish per boat limit during all periods. The boat limit does not apply to charter and party boats.
Boat placement is important. Use electronics to find structure, estimate wind/drift direction and anchor up current from where you want to fish and drift back to the spot as the anchor is setting. Once in position, fish all sides of the boat casting a bit to cover as much area as you can. If still no bites, let some anchor line out a couple of times to change your position, if still no bites it is time to move the vessel.
The bite. Feel the bite… tap, tap and then get ready for a tug of war. Captain George Cioe said, "I believe with the first tap the tautog is positioning the bait for consumption." So at the second tap I raise the rod up firmly feeling for the weight of the fish (no need to jerk the rod up hard). Once the fish is hooked, keep the rod up and pressure on so the fish is not able to run for cover.
Where to fish, what type of bottom? From shore, look for rocky coastline like Beavertail Point on Jamestown, locations off Newport, Point Judith and off jetties at South County beaches. From a boat, I have had good luck at Plum Point light, rock piles off Narragansett, the jetty at Coddington Cove in Middletown, General Rock in North Kingstown (we found a great tautog bite at General Rock the past two weekends with fish to 21 inches), Hope Island, around Brenton Reef in Newport, Whale Rock, Ohio Ledge in the East Passage, Nebraska Shoals off South Kingstown.
Bait and chumming. Asian and green crabs (with legs taken off and cut in half) are baits of choice. Chumming for tautog will enhance your catch dramatically. Kevin Bettencourt from the East Bay Anglers said, "Chumming is a critical part of tautog fishing. If you want to land numerous tautog you must establish an effective chum line. This can be accomplished with grass shrimp or crushed Asian or green crabs. Don't be afraid to feed them! If you don't, they won't stick around long!"
John Stavrakas of Wakefield, RI lands 221 lbs. Mako shark
John Stavrakas and his Wakefield, RI neighbor John Ott caught a 221 lbs. Mako shark last week. John said, "We set up a chum slick for shark on the warm side of a temperature break at the Suffolk (Wreck) and drifted across the break… We caught two nice blue sharks when Mr. Mako showed up… We didn't realize it was a Mako at first - we thought it was another blue… then he took off. I thought I was going to get spooled… We decided to chase this fish… (after a good fight) we put a flying gaff in him and the harpoon. Dragged his tail through the tuna door and tied him down."
StriperFest 2012 in Falmouth, MA this weekend
On Saturday, September 29th at 1:00 p.m., anglers will gather to celebrate another successful striped bass season at On The Water Magazine and TV's StriperFest. The event will be held at Falmouth Marina Park and include live music by the Deepwater Blues Band, Budweiser beer, tasty Black Dog fare and games and attractions for the whole family. The event celebrates the end of the 2012 Striper Cup, a five-month long fishing tournament that attracted thousands of anglers from New Jersey to Maine to compete for over $150,000 prizes. Bonus Day, Friday, September 28th, noon to 5:00 p.m. with ongoing seminars and demonstrations. Visit www.onyhewater.com.
DEM offers saltwater surf-casting and fly-fishing workshops, programs… even a safari
DEM's Aquatic Resource Education program is offering introduction workshops to saltwater surf-fishing and fly-fishing, a fly-fishing trip via train around Aquidneck Island, and fly-tying workshops. Contact Kimberly Sullivan at 401.539.7333 or firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
"Surf Fishing: The Basics, an introductory course was held Wednesday, September 26.
"Introduction to Saltwater Fly-Fishing" Saturday, September 29, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the US Fish and Wildlife Service's Kettle Pond Visitors Center, Charlestown.
Learn about fly-tying, casting techniques, and knot-tying. $35 per-person.
"Fly-Fishing Express," a fly-fishing safari around Aquidneck Island on the Old Colony Train Saturday, October 27, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Stop at remote public access fishing areas. Learn about the best flies to use and fly- fishing tactics. For advanced beginner, intermediate and advanced fly-fishing anglers. Bring chest waders, other equipment provided, $35 per-person.
"Fall Fly-Tying 2012" sessions held on six Mondays beginning October 22 to December 17 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the North Kingstown Community Center.
Learn beginner and intermediate fly-tying techniques for fresh and saltwater fishing. $5 for each class or $25 for all six sessions.
Where's the bit
Tautog fishing improving. Angler Ken Robinson said, "We double anchored on the (Brenton) Tower hump … all tolled we caught about six tautog, three BSB and a half dozen scup… Oh and of course the striped bass." Ken's fishing partner Paul landed a 42 lbs striped bass that hit a crab while tautog fishing. Max DiStoto caught a 6 lbs. tautog in the Nebraska Shoals area said Al Conti of Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown. John Littlefield of Archie's Bait & Tackle, East Providence said, "Customers are catching small tautog at Conimicut Light, no large ones yet."
Striped bass. Bob Masse limited out on striped bass at Block Island while fishing with friends Saturday. Angler Mike Swain of Coventry said, "We fished the Bay for stripers Friday night and did not have any luck." Al Conti of Snug Harbor Marine, South Kingstown said, "The bass bite slowed this weekend at the Southwest Ledge off Block Island… the fish are there, the divers are getting them… there is just so much food around that you have to be fishing when they're feeding."
Albert and Kevin Bettencourt of East Providence are catching midsized bass at night during tide changes drifting eels.", said John Littlefield of Archie's Bait.
Offshore. Barry Bordner of South Kingstown landed a 300 lbs. bluefin tuna this weekend at the BD Buoy south/southeast of Nantucket said Al Conti of Snug Harbor. Reports of one giant hook-up at the Mud Hole this weekend.
Green bonito and false albacore fishing is excellent all along the RI coast from Westerly to Newport. "Albies (False Albacore) and Green Bonito are all over the place… (anglers) all along the coast are having a blast with them." said Al Conti of Snug Harbor.
Bluefish. "The past couple of days the schools (of bluefish) have been circling the waters just southwest of the "T" wharf (Prudence Island). No frenzies yet but they have been consistently hitting bright plugs and ignoring natural colors." said angler Bill Houle, Jr. of Warwick.
Atlantic menhaden. John Littlefield of Archie's Bait & Tackle said, "There are a million pogies in the Providence River… both small and large ones… a customer said you could have walked across them this weekend, but no fish chasing them."
Scup. Scup bite strong a the East Fishing grounds, Brenton Tower area and in the Bay. Max DiStoto caught a 3½ lbs. scup this weekend at Nebraska Shoals.
Captain Dave Monti has been fishing and shell fishing on Narragansett Bay for over 40 years. He holds a captain's master license, a charter fishing license, and is a member of the Rhode Island Marine Fisheries Council. Your fishing photos in JPEG from, stories, comments and questions are welcome… there's more than one way to catch a fish. Visit Captain Dave's No Fluke website at www.noflukefishing.com; his blog at www.noflukefishing.blogspot.com or email him at email@example.com.