Rhode Island Fishing Report – September 23, 2021

Scup and black sea bass limits have remained easy to obtain, while tautog fishing has continued to improve by the day.

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Rhode Island Fishing Report

The captains over at, the The Frances Fleet in Point Judith, reported a strong week on the cod grounds, despite some wind and non-ideal conditions most days. Most trips have seen a nice showing of bigger cod, along with sea bass limits to 5-pounds. There has also been enough scup in the mix to keep coolers full for everyone. The sportier days are still seeing a good turn-out, while the calmer days are translating into working some new grounds and finding some quality cod to 12-pounds. The office is fully stocked with all the gear you may need, and they will continue to sail daily unless the weather takes a serious turn for the worse. Be sure to book a trip while the going is still top-notch!

Dave, at Ocean State Tackle in Providence, told me that the usual fall patterns are underway to an extent. The yearly push of striped bass into the Providence River has kicked into gear, with bass of mixed sizes being taken on peanut bunker imitators up in the river and throughout the bay. Unfortunately, what hasn’t kicked into gear is the fall hardtail run, but there is still a nice mix of false albacore and bonito for anglers who have been cashing in on the weather windows. The slower hardtail trips have been salvaged by some continued excellent bottom fishing. Scup and black sea bass limits have remained easy to obtain, while tautog fishing has continued to improve by the day!

When I talked to Nick, at Big Bear Hunting and Fishing, he was just getting back from a successful trip up north for salmon but said there was still plenty of great local fishing opportunities. The Rhode Island tautog bite has been tremendous, with some nice fish setting up on the reefs and rockpiles across multiple depths. Green crabs remain in high demand, and they have them, but they urge customers to call ahead and place crab orders ahead of time. Freshwater anglers are reporting several big pike catches at Waterman’s this week, along with a few nice ones coming from Echo Lake. The local trout stocking should begin soon, and the shop is fully stocked with plenty of ultralight and fly gear.

Connor, at Tall Tailz Charters has been trying to switch over to fall tautog fishing, but the big bass bite just won’t quit! They’ve been seeing big schools of 30-40-inch bass crushing bait on top, along with some big bass on the troll and jig. The false albacore and bonito bite has slowed down following a strong start, but a few more pods seem to be showing up each day, although they remain scattered. The few tautog trips that they’ve made have been outstanding, with plenty of quality fish around. They’ve been getting easy limits and releasing many of the bigger girls. The heart of the fall season is just about here, so be sure to check with Connor for a trip asap!

Big Tautog Ocean State Tackle
A big fall tog!

Jay, at Pamela May Charters in Narragansett, has also been at the mercy of the rough weather this month. The topwater feeds on peanut bunker have spread out and are starting to transition to the bays and salt ponds. The false albacore and bonito are sparse and scattered, so your best bet is to hang around the usual haunts until they pop up. In the meantime, you can still scoop up plenty of sea bass on tins and jigs intended for the funny fish. Some big bluefish are showing up most days, but it’s hard to figure out where they will be from day to day. The best big bass bite is still off Block Island, but with all the bait in the area, we should see a nice push of local bass and bluefish before this fall run is over.

Rick, at Priority Charters in Narragansett has had to deal with another week of tough weather, so he didn’t have much new to report, but he did mention that there have been plenty of fishing opportunities when the weather has allowed. Regardless of weather, the bottom fishing for scup, sea bass, and cod has been steady; with some limits of the first two species and cod to 15-pounds. Striped bass and bluefish can still be found blitzing most days, while the same can’t be said for the false albacore, which have been around one day, then gone the next. The bluefin reports have quieted this week, mainly due to weather, as there is enough bait around to keep them around for at least a few more weeks.

Connecticut Fishing Report

Heather, from Black Hawk Sportfishing reported another week of great fishing! The results on both the bluefish trips and bottom fishing trips were strong, with big bluefish, jumbo sea bass, hubcap scup, and a few nice cod. They’ve had some wind to contend with on most days, but they’ve fished some secondary locations and were able to fill the coolers with some quality fish. The bluefish/bottom fishing combination trips have become pretty popular, so they’ve added a few trips to the schedule (9/28 & 9/30). Book your trips now, before it’s too late! As always, the schedule can be viewed, and tickets can be purchased through their website.

Andrew, at Fishin Factory 3 in Middletown, told me that striped bass anglers were reporting good action around the mouth of the Connecticut River prior to the blow this week. There were big girls in the mix, so it appears these fish are getting ready to feed on the bunker that starts dropping out of the river over the next month. As has been the case for most of the last two months, you can find smaller bass and bluefish blitzing from Niantic Bay to Groton on most days. For false albacore you need to be looking to Rhode Island, or maybe Fisher’s, with most anglers reporting sparse pods and hoping for a better push. Sea bass and scup action has remained steady, along with snapper fishing and blue crabbing in the river and its estuaries. 

Mike Roy of Reel Cast Charters told me that some massive schools of peanut bunker and a nice push of bay anchovies 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. Contact Mike to try and squeeze in a primetime fall run trip before it’s too late!

Joe, at Diorio Guide Service had another strong week of fall fishing whenever the weather has allowed them to get out. The false albacore fishing started off hot but has tailed off with the winds over the past few days. The weather seems to be settling for the weekend, so there’s still plenty of time for another nice push of hardtails. The striped bass action has been very consistent, as the fish have settled into their usual fall hunting grounds, and are taking topwater plugs, live bunker, and eels. The bluefish seem to have come back with a vengeance, and some epic topwater blitzes can be found on most days.

Striped Bass Joe Diorio Guide Service
Photo Credit: Joe Diorio Guide Service

Max, at Fisherman’s World in Norwalk reported that some albies had shown up locally before the wind last week. The schools remain sporadic, but if they start to fill in a bit better, we should still be able to salvage a solid season. While they may pop up just about anywhere, some of the usual haunts such as Middleground, Crane’s, and around Westport seem to be the most consistent. The bluefish bite has been as strong as ever, with gators taking diamond jigs and topwaters around 28B, 11C, and Middleground. The striped bass fishing has picked up around the islands and beaches, with fish of mixed sizes feeding on peanuts and/or snappers. Bottom fishermen are still finding a couple nice fluke here and there, mainly around the snapper schools, while sea bass fishing has remained red hot on the deep-water wrecks and reefs. Scup fishing is also lights out on all the local hard bottom, especially for those chumming with clams. Freshwater anglers are starting to find some big yellow perch at the Saugatuck Reservoir, along with a strong bass bite, and the occasional quality walleye.

Rhode Island Forecast 

The recent winds seem to be a bit more October-like than September, but it looks like we may get a bit or a reprieve this weekend. The false albacore bite was starting to show signs of promise before the winds, and we’re all hoping that October will be more fruitful than September for the hardtails. We still 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 black 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 have also fallen victim to the recent weather but there has been no shortage of yellowfin and Mahi out by the shipping lanes for those who make the run.

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