Rhode Island Fishing Report – September 16, 2021

Nice topwater feeds of bonito and albies, sea bass to 5 pounds, and another amazing week of tuna action.

West Marine

Rhode Island Fishing Report

Captain Greg, of The Frances Fleet in Point Judith was happy to get on the water a few times this week and did a few scouting/fishing trips for cod. They moved from rockpile to rockpile and found a good showing of cod on just about every spot. They’ve also been finding a full boat limit of sea bass to 5-pounds on nearly every trip, along with some nice scup, so things are looking up for the fall fishery! The biggest cod have been in the low teen range, and the sizes seem to improve daily, so be sure to book a reservation on their website asap!

Dave, at Ocean State Tackle in Providence, told me that a nice push of keeper striped bass has moved into the lower reaches of the Providence River, and are still willing to eat soft plastics, topwater offerings, and live pogies. False albacore and bonito are still around, but a combination of low numbers and some dirty water due to the winds, have caused the pods to be scattered and picky. When anglers have located the hardtails, they have been feeding on peanut bunker, so small soft plastics and epoxy jigs have been productive. The bottom fishing hasn’t been affected much by the winds for anglers that have put some time in. The tautog bite continues to improve throughout the bay and across the South County rockpiles. Black sea bass are still eating bucktails and jigs throughout the state, while dinner plate scup can be taken on most of the hard bottom on worms, clams, squid, and jigs.

Jay, at Pamela May Charters in Narragansett, told me that not much has changed since last week. When the wind has allowed, they have been able to find some nice topwater feeds of bonito and false albacore mixed in with slot striped bass. Block Island is still producing some bigger bass in the mornings and sea bass are rounding out the catch for those looking to fill the coolers throughout the state. Offshore anglers are still reporting a good yellowfin bite on the troll, and Mahi under the high-flyers.

Cheri, at C-Devil II Sportfishing, told me it’s been another amazing week in the year of the tuna! The fleet continues to find them closer to shore than they have in years and managed a 553-pound giant this week! The yellowfin bite has also remained consistent out by the shipping lanes. Inshore fishing has also remained steady, with some nice stripers coming on the jig, an abundance of sea bass, and an increase in quality tautog. Be sure to check their live booking calendar on the website to secure a fall trip before it’s too late!

Owen Hale Yellowfin Tuna
Owen Hale of Lynard Skynyrd fame with a nice yellowfin he took aboard C-Devil II Charters.

Rick, at Priority Charters in Narragansett, has had to deal with some rough weather over the past week, as the fall winds seem to have arrived early. The few days that they made it out, they made the most of it, with some strong striped bass fishing at Block and great bottom fishing throughout the area. The sea bass and scup have remained consistent as ever, and while Rick didn’t get a chance to target cod, word is that they’re starting to show up in better numbers. As mentioned earlier, the giant bluefin bite is still on, and the fish remain just a few miles of Point Judith. They’re feeding voraciously on the bunker schools that are in the area and providing a nice opportunity for those in smaller boats; while those making the trip out to the shipping lanes are finding some nice yellowfin on the troll, and mahi on spinning gear.

Dustin, at Rhode Island Kayak Fishing Adventures, told me that there has been no shortage of bluefish and striped bass blitzes in the area lately, although the false albacore continue to move around quite a bit, so it’s hard to pinpoint the bite from day to day. The tautog fishing has continued to follow the trend of better fishing each week, with each trip seeing more keepers coming aboard. Keeper scup and sea bass also remain easy to find and continue to help fill the coolers. Freshwater fishing also seems to be hitting its early fall stride, with better largemouth and crappie action over the past week. It certainly doesn’t feel like it this week, but as the temperatures continue to drop, we should start to see a better trout bite as well. Dustin still has a few openings for kayak or shore trips, so be sure to book before it’s too late!

Dustin Stevens Striper
Dustin of RI Kayak Fishing Adventures with another nice kayak striper.

Connecticut Fishing Report

Heather, from Black Hawk Sportfishing reported that things have continued to go strong on the local grounds, whenever the wind settles enough to let them get out there. Limits of sea bass have been happening on nearly every trip, and the bonus porgy season is now open, so the coolers will be filling up! The Friday night After Work Special was sensational, with huge bluefish coming over the rails all night long. It’s shaping up to be a great fall, so be sure to book a trip on their website asap!

Andrew, at Fishin Factory 3 in Middletown, told me that the albie fishing has slowed quite a bit close to home. The combination of dirty water and wind seems to have sent them to the east, as reports from Fishers and Watch Hill are quiet. It’s still early enough that we can get a nice push in the sound, so fingers are crossed. Back in the sound, anglers are reporting increased bluefish action, from snappers to 10-pound plus fish. School bass are plentiful as well and can often be found blitzing anywhere from Niantic to Groton. The beaches and points to the east of the CT River have been holding some bigger bass for anglers slinging eels in low light conditions. Bottom fishermen are reporting steady sea bass action on the deep structure from Niantic to New London.

Mike Roy of Reel Cast Charters told me that some massive schools of peanut bunker are driving some great topwater and light tackle blitzes. All the local reefs are holding good numbers of bass, bluefish, and sea bass. The false albacore bite hasn’t been consistent from day to day, but Mike has been finding a few in the mix locally. Mike still has some openings in October for the primetime fall run, so be sure to contact him before it’s too late.

Mike Roy False Albacore
Mike Roy of Reel Cast Charters found a few local albies last week.

Joe, at Diorio Guide Service had another strong week of fall fishing. The striped bass action has been very consistent, as the fish have settled into their usual fall hunting grounds. The false albacore bite has been tricky, with some strong feeds one day and absolutely nothing the next day. When the albies have been around, they have been willing to hit Joe Baggs resin jigs. The bluefish seem to have come back with a vengeance, and some epic topwater blitzes can be found on most days.

Captain Chris Elser told me that he continues to find Spanish Mackerel, along with topwater bass and bluefish, when the weather allows. The recent winds have made things a bit more difficult, but there is so much peanut bunker, there is always a good shot that you’ll see some topwater activity. The bass and bluefish are starting to set up on the deeper reefs and rips and will continue to do-so as the water cools. Let’s hope we can get a reprieve from the wind and dirty water, so we can cash in on even more topwater action before it’s too late.

Max, at Fisherman’s World in Norwalk has been hearing some albie reports from all around the area, with the best reports coming from the New York side around Mt. Sinai and Crane’s Neck. There have been a few showing up on the CT side, but they’re sporadic and hard to pinpoint from day to day. Spanish Mackerel have been a bit easier to find, with some decent reports around the Housatonic and Penfield. Big bluefish have been on their fall feed, with fish to 15-pounds taking diamond jigs around 28C. The local reefs are also producing some big blues on topwater plugs and fresh bunker. Snapper bluefish have filled into the local estuaries, and there have been some quality striped bass feeding on them during the low light hours. Larger bass are still being taken at dawn and after dark in the usual late-season haunts. Bottom fishermen are still finding good sea bass on the deep-water structure, while the scup actions remains red hot all over the Western Sound.

Rhode Island Forecast

This year’s fall run seems to have shown up early and remains consistent, and it appeared that the false albacore season were going to do the same after their early arrival. That has proved to not be the case, as a combination of small schools and tough weather has made the albie action sporadic and unpredictable from day to day. On the bright side, there are still hardtails being caught, and we still have plenty of time for more fish to filter in. We also have an abundance of striped bass and bluefish to provide some great fall action in the meantime. Mixed sizes of bass and bluefish can be found blitzing throughout the area, while larger fish are starting to settle into their fall haunts and are feeding well. Those looking to fill the cooler in Rhode Island have no shortage of options, with good reports of sea bass, scup, tautog, and cod this week. Connecticut anglers can still rely on a consistent sea bass and scup bite, as they wait for the fall tautog season next month. Snapper bluefish and blue crabs have really started to fill into the estuaries and are providing a great option for anglers looking to fish closer to home. Offshore anglers should continue to try and cash in on the local bluefin bite, and there should be no shortage of yellowfin and mahi out by the shipping lanes for those who make the run.

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