New tautog regulations

Posted 10/25/22

We have new 2023 tautog regulations for Massachusetts now being proposed that spin-off what Rhode Island enacted in 2022. The big question is will Massachusetts enact new regulations to sustain and …

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New tautog regulations


We have new 2023 tautog regulations for Massachusetts now being proposed that spin-off what Rhode Island enacted in 2022. The big question is will Massachusetts enact new regulations to sustain and enhance the fishery? 

The aim of the “trophy” fish regulation for tautog is to preserve large female fish that have great spawning potential.  Under new regulations, anglers are allowed to take just one ‘trophy” fish larger than 21 inches, and their remaining four fish in a slot limit of 16 to 21 inches.

We checked in with Greg Vespe of Tiverton, Executive Director, of the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association, as to how he and members believe the new tautog regulations have worked in Rhode Island.

“I think the new more conservative tautog regulations in Rhode Island are working well. We have had a positive response from members,” said Vespe. “It’s refreshing to see Massachusetts take steps to join RI in being proactive in protecting these slow growing fish that are quickly becoming the backbone of the New England fall fishery. With no change to the bag limit and everyone still allowed to catch a trophy and set their own, club or state record it’s hard to find a negative with this change. It’s responsible management at its best.”

The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) is taking public comment and holding a virtual public hearing that will address recreational tautog. Full text of the regulations may be found on DMF’s website .

DMF will host the virtual public hearing on Nov. 1, 2022 at 6 p.m. to take comment on draft regulations. Register for the hearing at:

Wahoo largest ever for Rhode Island

Last week Maridee Sport Fishing charters, Pt. Judith, RI caught a 91-pound Wahoo off Rhode Island. This wahoo could be an unofficial new state of Rhode Island record. “At 72 inches the wahoo was a monster,” said Capt. AJ Dangelo who gaffed the fish and brought it aboard.

“The fish weighed 91 pounds after being gutted, but unfortunately we did not weigh it on an official scale. However, we did retrieve a $50 plug the fish had taken moments earlier from one of our other lines.” said Capt. Andy Dangelo (AJ’s father). “We were trolling at the Fishtails (at Block Canyon about 67 miles south of Montauk) in warm water and caught 27 mahi and this monster wahoo.”

Wahoo are a tropical and subtropical fish here in our offshore waters more often due to climate change and warming water. Wahoo are not noted on the official Rhode Island State Records website page.  However, they are given official recognition on the State’s notable catches page. The largest Rhode Island Wahoo was an 80-pound fish caught in August, 2002 by E. Ouellette of Somerset, MA.  According to the International Game Fish Association (IGFA), the world record wahoo is 184 pounds caught 2005 in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Congratulations to Captains AJ and Andy Dangelo, this is a great fish!  Visit the Maridee Facebook page at for two short videos with AJ boating the fish, and a second retrieving his lure.

Where’s the bite?

Striped bass, bluefish and false albacore. “The striped bass fishing is great but anglers are having to mix it up as we have so much bait, both Atlantic menhaden and maceral, in the water that there is plenty for stripers to eat. Anglers are fishing Storm shads and white lures of various types to distinguish their baits,” said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside.

Tom Giddings of the Tackle box, Warwick, said, “Slot stripers (28 to < 35 inches) and larger are being caught in the upper bay and in coves such as Warwick Cove Pawtuxet Cover, and the Providence River.” East End Eddie Doherty, expert Canal angler and author said, “Fall fishing continues to be fantastic in the Canal. Josh Douglas of Woonsocket, RI caught a half dozen high end slots on a white FishLab during an early morning east tide at Pip’s Rip. Kenny Nevins from Sagamore Beach had a nice two day run bringing 26 fish to the rocks at pole 80 and Pip’s Rip.”

Declan O’Donnell of Breachway Bait & Tackle, Charlestown, RI said, “Shore anglers were finding bass and blues from the surf and the rocks. Albies continue to pop up but are starting to be inconsistent. Most shore anglers are having success at the west and east walls (at the Harbor of Refuge).”

Black sea bass and scup. “The scup bite is still OK at Colt State Park and other places where there is water movement and structure,”  said John Littlefield of Archie’s.  Catching keeper black sea bass in the Bay and along the costal shore is still difficult.

Tautog. “Fishing for Tautog has been great as long as the ocean cooperates. The fish have been relatively shallow, from 15-25 feet of water. Anglers are catching fish on both rigs and jigs,” said Declan O’Donnell of Breachway Bait & Tackle. “Tautog fishing exploded this week in the mid and upper Bay with anglers catching nice keepers in the 19 and 20-inch range at Conimicut Light and at the Rocky Point Fishing Pier.  The tog bite is still very good out in front and in the lower Bay at Hope Island and just north of the Jamestown Bridge,” said Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box.

“Freshwater anglers are now catching fish on the bottom and on the surface including largemouth bass, pickerel, pike and last week we had a 13 pound and a 14.6 pound catfish caught at places Lakee Tiogue, Coventry and Turner Reservoir that startles East Providence and Seekonk.” 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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