No Fluke

Tautog slow growers, consider releasing big females


Tautog are slow growers, they can live 35 to 40 years. Dr. David Taylor, professor of marine biology at Roger Williams University, said, “A 19” tautog may very well be nine to ten years old. Also, for any fish population, there’s a benefit to releasing big females. Big old fat fecund (fertile) female fish are the most important in sustaining the population.”

Anglers should consider releasing large females as according to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), that managers tautog coastwide, “studies have shown larger females produce significantly more (and potentially higher quality) eggs than smaller females.” So releasing larger fish (which often tend to be female) makes sense.

Tautog aggregating around structure makes them easy to catch even when we have a low biomass of them in the water. “The easy catchability and slow growth rate make tautog highly susceptible to overfishing and slow to rebuild,” said the ASMFC.

Juvenile tautog are green in color but become darker with age. Fisherman call them ‘blackfish’ due to their dull black, blackish green or blackish blue color.

Anglers also call large male tautog ‘white chinners’ because this coloring pattern is commonly found on large males. So if your larger tautog has a white chin it is likely male, if no white chin consider releasing it as it is likely female.
Trout stocking in Rhode Island

The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) will be stocking ponds and rivers across Rhode Island with trout this week. Some areas that were not stocked with trout in October are able to be stocked due to improved water conditions.

 Waterways that planned to be stocked this week include in Charlestown Kings Factory Bridge, Pawcatuck River; Lower Shannock Brook, Pawcatuck River… in Exeter Barberville Dam (above), Wood River; 165 Check Station, Wood River… in Hopkinton Bradford Fishing Area, Pawcatuck River; Wyoming Pond, Wood River; Hope Valley Fishing Area (Dow Memorial Field), Wood River… in Foster Shippee Sawmill Pond… in Richmond Carolina Trout Pond; Meadowbrook Pond, Wood River; Woodville, Wood River; Cronan Landing, Pawcatuck Rive; Grantville Rt. 95 overpass, Wood River… in Scituate Hope Dam Fishing Area, Upper Pawtuxet River… in Tiverton Stafford Pond.

Hope Valley Fishing Area and Lower Shannock Brook offer universal fishing access for disabled anglers.

For daily updates on stocking locations, follow DEM’s outdoor education page on Facebook:, or call 401/780-0281.
Free Fishinar Series starts next week

There is still time to register for the free Ørsted Fishinar Series on ground fish (summer flounder, cod, tautog and black sea bass) being held Wednesday, November 18, 7:00 p.m. via Zoom.  Panelists include Capt. Chris Willi of Block Island Fish Works, Capt. BJ Silvia of Flippin Out Charters, Portsmouth and RISAA 1st vice president and ground fishing expert in the near offshore, Rich Hittinger of Warwick. The seminar will be live streamed from District Hall Providence in a casual town hall format. Register for free tickets at through the event listing and visit the Eventbrite website page for additional information.
Slow speed zone for right whales extended

NOAA Fisheries announced an extension to the previously triggered voluntary vessel speed restriction zone (Dynamic Management Area or DMA) south of Nantucket for right whales. 

This DMA Slow Speed Zone has been extended through November 15 after an aerial survey team observed an aggregation of right whales South of Nantucket on October 31. Mariners, are advised to go around this areas or go slow (10 knots or less) inside this area where groups of right whales have been sighted. Watch for further right whale survey observations and slow speed zone extensions.

Coordinates of this Slow Speed Zone south of Nantucket are waters bounded by: 41 16 N; 40 32 N; 069 37 W; and 070 28 W.
Where’s the bite?

Tautog fishing remains strong. Capt. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet, said, “Blackfishing is as good as it gets. We are seeing limits or a few shy on every single trip. Pool fish have been very nice fish in the nine to ten pound range. The shorts have thinned out but still plenty to keep the action going all day long.” Angler Walt Galloway of North Kingstown fished the General Rock, North Kingstown area for tautog Friday and said, “We fished the south side of General Rock in about 24 to 26 feet and got 5 keepers. The largest was 20” and 5.1 pounds. My personal best.” John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside, said, “The tautog bite in the upper bay areas is not good. Customers fishing Ohio Ledge and Conimicut Light this weekend had few bites.  However, places like Codington Cove, Middletown (on the outside of the jetty) are producing, but one customer said there had to be 25 boats there this weekend. Areas off Newport at Brenton Reef and the Seal Rock area are still producing well for customers. We have been selling a lot of Banana Jigs. Dark green and white glow jigs are working well for customers.” Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box, Warwick said, “Tautog jigs are working but they are all tipped with a green crab with conventional rigs working too. Jamestown and Newport are good and in the bay we have customers catching keepers off the Rocky Point Fishing Pier in just 12 to 15 feet of water.”
Striped bass fishing in the coves and Bays has been good for school striped bass.  Anglers are catching fish using soft plastics, swimming lures and surface plugs. Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box said, “Customers are catching school bass with an occasional keeper mixed in fishing on the surface or high in the water column pretty bunch like a spring fishery.”

Cod. Frank Blount of the Frances Fleet said, “Cod has been a little slow this last week after the wind. The grey ghosts seemed to push in mid-week and made for some rather annoying anchor sets. The sea bass fishing has been out of this world everywhere we go. Easy boat limits of all big blue heads to 6 pounds. Biggest codfish on the week was just shy of 15 pounds.”

“Freshwater fishing for largemouth, catfish and crappie has been good at Gorton’s Pond in Warwick. Carbuncle Pond, Coventry and all the ponds DEM has been stocking with trout have been good,” said Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box. John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait said, “Customers are catching trout and largemouth at Olney Pond, Lincoln Woods.”

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 or visit and his blog at

Dave Monti

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.