Rhode Island Fishing Newsletters > Giant Tautog caught this week
Giant Tautog caught this week

Oct 2, 2013

Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Giant tautog caught this week
It was a chilly fall morning requiring jackets. The sun rose Sunday and things started to warm up at Hope Island off the northern tip of Jamestown in the West Passage of Narragansett Bay. Anglers Scott Kiefer of Exeter, RI and his fishing partner Angelo Manni anchored and sent their chum pot down.
“We started to land fish right away. The tide was ripping. Conditions were right.” said Scott Kiefer. Then Scott got a huge hit on the green crab he was using for bait. “This fish didn’t go down heading for structure like most tautog. It ran, very much like a striped bass. It went behind the boat. Under the boat and when I finally brought it up Angelo looked it in the eye and it ran again.” said Kiefer. It took Scott with Angelo’s help on the net about six minutes to land the tautog.

The fish was sixteen (16) pounds, and about 30” long. This is a huge tautog. A ten pound fish is considered a prize and a fish of a lifetime for many. The Rhode Island record for tautog is 21 pounds, 4 ounces, established in 1954. Ken Landry of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick weighed the fish in and said, “I have never seen a tautog this big up close… they caught some nice six and seven pound fish too but I couldn’t take my eyes off this big one.”

Tautog tips from the experts

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.” Once the fish is hooked, keep the rod up and pressure on so the fish is not able to run for cover. Captain Rich Hittinger, RISAA vice president and a long time angler out of Point Judith said, “If you get two bites with no hook-up your bait is gone. Reel in and re-bait.”
Where to fish for tautog. From shore, look for rocky coastline like Beavertail Point on Jamestown, locations off Newport, the rocky shore line off Point Judith and off jetties along the southern coastal shore. Docks, piers, bridges are good structure too. From a boat, I have had good luck at Conimicut Light, Plum Point light house next to the Jamestown Bridge, the jetty at Coddington Cove in Portsmouth, off Hope Island, around Brenton Reef and Seal Ledge in Newport, Whale Rock, Ohio Ledge in the East Passage, General Rock in North Kingstown and any other places there is structure, debris, rock clusters, wrecks, etc. Another key factor is water movement, so a couple of hours before or after high or low tide is good.

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/green crabs. Don't be afraid to feed them! If you don't, they won't stick around long!” Captain Robb Roach of Kettlebottom Outfitters from Jamestown said chumming is very important… “I chum with crushed mussels or crushed periwinkles.”

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