Record 21.57 pound tautog caught off Newport

Posted 11/17/21

Paul Newman of New Milford, New Jersey took the Rhode Island State Record for tautog last week with a 33-inch, 21.57-pound tautog caught when fishing on a charter with Capt. Connor MacLeod of …

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Record 21.57 pound tautog caught off Newport


Paul Newman of New Milford, New Jersey took the Rhode Island State Record for tautog last week with a 33-inch, 21.57-pound tautog caught when fishing on a charter with Capt. Connor MacLeod of Newport. 

The Rhode Island record is 21 pounds, 4 ounces established in 1954 by C.W. Sunquist.

In an On-the-Water magazine online article (by Corey Pollnow), Capt. MacLeod related, “Newman dropped the Snafu Rig to the bottom and said he was stuck in the rocks. But then there was movement, signaling a large tog swallowed the white crab and was burying itself in the rocks. Newman slowly cranked down on the reel, getting the stout tautog 20 feet up from the bottom, until it ran back to the rocks like a striped bass. The back and forth battle continued four more times until the gigantic fish reached the surface.”

Congratulations to Paul Newman for a great catch and to Capt. Connor MacLeod of Tall Tailz Charters.

Fishing law needs to be more climate responsive

It’s no secret, climate change impacts of warming water, coastal erosion, habitat degradation, low oxygen and acidification are changing how we fish and how fish should be managed. 

One has to wonder, what happens when the water warms to the point that even the warm water fish that have moved into our area like black sea bass, scup and summer flounder leave to go further north to cooler water. 

Our Federal fishing law in not equipped to handle these impacts. However, the marine fishing law of the nation, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) is being updated. U.S. Representatives Jared Huffman (D-CA) and Ed Case (D-HI) have introduced a bill in Congress to make improvements to the MSA. This bill, the Sustaining America’s Fisheries for the Future Act (H.R. 4690), has important provisions needed to protect and enhance fisheries. The bill is going to hearing this week.

The bill includes important recreational fishing concerns in regard to handling climate impacts, protects the food supply for the fish we catch as well as supports new supplemental catch and effort electronic data for recreational fishing. 

Speak up now in support of the bill by sending an email this to the Water, Oceans and Wildlife Subcommittee of the House Natural Resources Committee. Request that your email or letter become an official part of the hearing being held this week. 

Address it to the Honorable Jared Huffman, Chairman; and the Honorable Cliff Bents, Ranking Member but send to their staff persons Lora Snyder at; and Kiel Weaver at

Where’s the bite?

Striped bass, bluefish and false albacore.

Mike Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters, Westerly, said, “Last week we had a wave of large fish come thought and this week it’s a wave of school size bass. That’s the way it will be until the fall run let’s up. But anglers are catching fish from the breachways, the Watch Hill Light and the beaches.”

Canal Bait & Tackle, Sagamore, reports a good striped bass bite on the Cape Cod Carnal with slot size fish 28 to less than 35 inches being taken on jigs on the east end of the Canal. Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box, Warwick, said, “The striped bass bite in the upper bay has diminished but we still have fish passing through. This weekend a customer caught a 21-inch striped bass.”

“We have had a great run of false albacore last week. They seem to be everywhere mixed in with striped bass and are in the 8-12 pound range. They were in the Block Island Wind Farm area, around the Island and along our coastal shore with anglers hooking up from the beaches too. There were also some very large bluefish being caught on the Southwest Ledge off Block Island as anglers fish for bluefin tuna close the surface,” said Matt Conti of Snug Harbor Marina, South Kingstown.

Tautog and cod fishing.

“Tautog fishing is on fire,” said Mike Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters. “The interesting thing is that shore anglers fishing jetties and rock piles close to shore are doing very well too. They are catching keeper fish every time they go out.”

Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box, said, “The tautog bite in the mid and upper Narragansett Bay has been outstanding. Ohio Ledge, Rocky Point and Conimicut Light are all doing great. In fact we had a customer catch a 21-inch tautog at Conimicut Light last week.”  

Matt Conti of Snug Harbor Marina, said, “The tautog bite is still very good with most boats limiting out. And, off Pt. Judith and Newport anglers are catching a cod or two when fishing the bottom for tautog. The cod bite at Cox Ledge was not good this week primarily due to so many black sea bass. Anglers could not get there bait to the bottom for cod as it was being snatched by large black sea bass.”

Although a record 21.57 pound tautog was caught by Paul Newman of New Jersey last week tautog fishing in rough and turbid water during much of the week was not good out in front of Newport. However, the bite in the Bay with calmer waters produced for anglers.


fishing is pretty much focused on largemouth bass. Customers are using spinner baits and live baits (minnows) to catch fish. In the Warrick area ponds producing for anglers include Gorton’s Pond, Sand Pond and Warrick Lake,” said Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box.

Dave Monti holds a captain’s master license and charter fishing license. He serves on a variety of boards and commissions and has a consulting business focusing on clean oceans, habitat preservation, conservation, renewable energy, and fisheries related issues and clients. Forward fishing news and photos to or visit

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