Rhode Island Fishing Report- May 18, 2023

Forty-pound stripers are being caught out front, the weakfish bite remains strong amid tons of bluefish, and tautog fishing is productive on the tail end of the season.

Rhode Island Fishing Report

The Frances Fleet in Point Judith had a much better weekend targeting squid, with most anglers getting at least a half bucket. There have been loads of squid crashing bait balls, so this week should likely be another strong one. The fleet has also gotten out after the early season fluke bite, and results have been better each day. They had a good pick of keeper fluke over the weekend, and saw even better results on Monday’s trip. They had a strong pick of quality fluke all morning until the wind picked up, with many anglers coming home with limits of fish to 8-pounds. The fishing should only get better as more fish and more bait move into the area, so be sure to book a trip soon! 

A solid pair of nice Frances Fleet fluke.

Dave, at Ocean State Tackle in Providence, reports that anglers have no shortage of late Spring fishing opportunities in his neck of the woods. Bottom fishermen are finding steady tautog action, with the best action coming from the mid-Bay. The tautog are spread out across multiple depths and are hitting jigs and rigs. Scup action has been good in the lower Bay and mid-Bay as far north as Bristol Harbor. The scup can be had on a number of offerings including clam tongues, sea worms and squid. Striped bass fishing has been good for anglers throughout the area, specifically around the plentiful bait schools. If you can find the bait, you can usually find the bass. Working the current edges around Prudence Island and in Bristol is a good start. A few anglers have found some weakfish as well at Sandy Point and Conimicut Point. Freshwater anglers are reporting a solid pike and largemouth bite on live shiners. Dave is now open everyday from 430 AM to 7 PM!

Eric, at The Saltwater Edge in Newport, told me that the excellent fishing has continued in Rhode Island. Whether you are fishing from a boat, shore, or surf you are bound to find some nice bass. If you are fishing from a boat, it’s another season of the spoon. Anglers are having success with both letting them flutter or speed-jigging them through the water column. Another great boat and kayak target these days is weakfish. It has been a slow but quickly heating-up season here in Rhode Island. Look for point of land with mud flats extending out from them and try jigging some pink offerings. As always, this time of year, if your lure disappears after a tug, it’s time to throw on a bit guard or metal leader, the big blues are hungry. From the surf, some much larger fish are starting to be reported. We’ve had some cold nights this week, but the fishing looks like it hasn’t cooled down at all. Black needles, bottle darters, and Cotton Cordell Red Fins have been finding the most fish. Tautog fishing is going great and the trophy fish limit here seems to be working as everyone is getting some great fish.  The Saltwater Edge is also celebrating their 30th anniversary this weekend, so swing by the shop and say hello!

Ralph, at Crafty One Customs reports that the striped bass fishing inside the bay remains very consistent, with plenty of bass willing to hit a number of different offerings. Topwaters, spoons, various soft plastics and bait have all been getting the job done. Tautog fishing continues to improve every day, especially the warmer days, and some better fish were reported this past week from around the islands. The squid reports aren’t completely lock and load, but anglers are still catching on the right tides. The shop is fully stocked for the upcoming season, and they are open 7 days a week, so be sure to check in! 

Captain Rob Taylor of Newport Sportfishing Charters reported a great striped bass bite across the state. He said the bass are everywhere, and if you can find the bait, you’re sure to find some fresh stripers with them.

Captain Rob Taylor and a happy charter customer getting psyched over a quality striper.

Jay, at Pamela May Charters has still been spending most of his time targeting holdovers and some small migratory stripers in the tributaries and salt ponds. The ponds had some worm hatches this week, which has helped out with the light tackle action. There have been some good weakfish and bluefish reports recently, so Jay plans to spend some time targeting them soon. He plans to start hitting the Bay for tautog this week and may also add some evening squid trips, so be sure to check in to book a late spring trip! 

Dustin, at RI Kayak Fishing Adventures, told me that the late spring action is still heating up for him. Tautog fishing is very good right now, so this is a great opportunity to take advantage before the season closes at the end of the month. Striped bass action is hot as well, as there is plenty of bait around to keep them interested. Gator bluefish are around and have provided a fun and steady bite. The weakfish bite hasn’t disappointed so far this spring, with some very nice fish being caught somewhat regularly. Squid fishing hasn’t been lights out but some days are providing full buckets to those putting their time in. Fluke action has started to pick up out by the island, so we should start to see some inshore reports soon. The sea bass opener is right around the corner, so those reports should start to trickle in as well. Freshwater anglers found some really big largemouth this week, along with steady pike and panfish action. Go to rikfa.com to book your kayak and/or shore trip today! 

Rhode Island Kayak Fishing Adventures client Jeff Wise holds up a stud weakfish. (@rikayakfishingadventures)

Rhode Island Fishing Forecast

Rhode Island saltwater fishing is at peak consistency for Spring, with plentiful options throughout the state. Striped bass have been the main show in town, with a nice mix of fresh and holdover bass, including a few larger specimens pushing the 40-pound mark. The Bay has put up some of the most consistent action, and they are starting to get dialed into the plentiful bunker schools in the area. Bluefish reports have become consistent as well, while recent weakfish reports are pointing toward another strong season. Tautog reports have improved since last week and it’s worth getting out soon before the spring season wraps up. Some very nice scup are mixed in with the tautog and provide strong action for both shore and boat anglers. Fluke reports have improved greatly out by the island, so we should be seeing them inshore very soon. The sea bass season opens up on the 22nd and will provide another quality option. Squid action isn’t quite lock and load, but reports have been improving greatly from day to day, so we should have a solid week of filling buckets ahead of us. Freshwater anglers have no shortage of opportunities, with strong reports for pre-spawn largemouth, crappie, pike, carp, and trout. 

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