Submitted photo

West Warwick’s Steve Brustein shows the 22-inch tautog he caught Sunday two miles southeast of Brenton Reef in Newport.

The tautog bite continued to be very strong this week, with shore anglers along the coast and up into Narragansett Bay, all the way to India Point Park in Providence catching their limit of five fish/person/day with the minimum size for tautog being 16 inches.

“Before the bad weather, the tautog bite on the canal and in local waters was very good, with anglers reaching their limit,” Bruce Miller of Canal Bait & Tackle in Sagamore said.

“The tautog bite in Narraganset Bay all the way up to India Point Park, and where the sunken Russian sub was, has been fantastic,” John Lavallee of Continental Bait & Tackle in Cranston said. “All the way down the bay to Ft. Getty, Jamestown and from shore at Castle Hill, Newport has been great too. The limit switched to five fish last week and the fishing just got better.”

Here are some of the best areas to fish for tautog.

The best places to fish for tautog are areas with structure. Here’s what the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association had to say on their website (www.risaa.org) about where to fish.

Rocky Areas: Tautog feed on crabs, mollusks and crustaceans that hide in rocks. Find a rocky beach, an area where rock ledge meets the ocean, or even a jetty that extends out into the water. Look for a spot where there is a deep pool of water next to a cluster of rocks. Tautog will cruise that rock formation looking for a meal.

Popular Spots: Conimicut Point in Warwick, Sally Rock at Goddard State Park, Colt State Park in Bristol, Beavertail State Park in Jamestown, Fort Wetherill in Jamestown, Fort Adams and Ocean Drive in Newport, Stone Bridge in Tiverton, Sakonnet Point in Little Compton, Black Point in Narragansett, Camp Cronin Fishing Area in Narragansett, the cliffs at Newton and Hazard Avenue in Narragansett, the West Wall jetty in Jerusalem, the Charlestown Breachway in Charlestown, and Watch Hill Lighthouse in Westerly.

On my boat we have also found tautog on the rocks around Hope Island, General Rock in North Kingstown, the boulder field off Scarborough Beach and Whale Rock, Narragansett as well as around Plum Island Light, and several ledge areas off Beavertail, Jamestown and Newport.

Artificial reef built at Sabin Point

This week, an artificial reef made of concrete reef balls was scheduled to be installed at Sabin Point in East Providence by the Nature Conservancy of Rhode Island. Reefs form new habitat for all types of sea life … including mussels and small fish that attract larger fish. That’s why fishing is generally good around reefs, jetties, bridge abutments, rock piles, etc.

So the idea with this artificial reef, the first of its kind in Rhode Island, is to attract or grow fish in a highly accessible area for fishermen.

The Nature Conservancy is partnering with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association to build the project.

For additional information, visit The Nature Conservancy at www.nature.org/en-us/about-us/where-we-work/united-states/rhode-island .

North Atlantic right whales added to ‘Species in the Spotlight’ Last week, NOAA Fisheries announced the availability of the latest comprehensive report on Recovering Threatened and Endangered Species FY 2017-2018. NOAA is beginning to see the success of its efforts, with a number of species recently found to be recovered, but more work needs to be done.

All the species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) are valuable and vulnerable. The “Species in the Spotlight” initiative, which was introduced in 2015, has started to bear fruit.

In this year’s report, NOAA added the North Atlantic Right Whale to the Species in the Spotlight. The species is extremely endangered, and fisheries’ gear entanglements and vessel strikes are among the leading causes of mortalities in both the U.S. and Canada. Contact Kristin Brown at NOAA with questions at 301.427.8030.

Where’s the bite?

Tautog fishing: Limit increased from three to five fish on Oct. 15 Many Macedo of Lucky Bait & Tackle in Warren said, “Anglers have focused their attention on tautog fishing, and it has been fantastic, with customers limiting out. The bite seems to be good just about everywhere … at the Sakonnet River, around Gall River and off Newport.” We fished off Newport last week and limited out with fish to 25 inches. All 15 keepers were nice-sized and caught in about three hours. This past weekend after the storm, the tautog bite continued off Newport, with three anglers on board catching 15 nice keepers to 22 inches in about 3.5 hours of fishing. The most successful rig, once the water got flowing, was a single hook on a dropper loop about three inches above the singer but dangling down about four or five inches below the sinter so it lays flat on the bottom or gets kicked up a bit by the current. During slack tide, we had success with tautog gigs. Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “Black fishing started last week and it was as good as it gets. We saw full boat limits on Tuesday and Wednesday. Saturday was just a few fish shy for a great group of anglers. Biggest fish on the week was right at 11 pounds.”

Striped bass, bluefish: Bruce Miller of Canal Bait & Tackle said, “Fishing is fair on the canal, however, we did have a 38-inch fish caught this week.” John Lavallee of Continental Bait said, “For the past three or four weeks, school bass from 22 to 26 inches, with striped bass mixed in, have been caught in the upper bay at Edgewood and the Pawtuxet Village area. Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow and other swimming lures are working well for anglers.” The bite off East Providence and Barrington has been good too. The striped bass bite off Block Island has been spotty, however; large bluefish have been caught, and now most vessels are starting to focus on tautog.

Freshwater bite for largemouth bass has been good, with anglers targeting trout with success at stocked ponds. For stocking updates, follow DEM’s outdoor education page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RIFishwildlife/ . John Lavallee of Continental Bait & Tackle said, “Anglers are catching trout at stocked ponds in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. One customer caught a 21-inch rainbow trout at Meadowbrook Point in Cranston last week. The RI DEM has done a great job stocking ponds.”

Dave Monti 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, the American Saltwater Guides Association and the RI Marine Fisheries Council. Forward fishing news and photos to Capt. Dave at dmontifish@verizon.net or visit www.noflukefishing.com and his blog at www.noflukefishing.blogspot.com.

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