Top shellfishers share tips


Barry Fuller and Roger Tellier shared their shellfishing knowledge this week at a RI Saltwater Anglers Associaton seminar with over 100 interested fishermen in attendance. The two have been shellfishing recreationally for over 60 years, with Roger Tellier serving on the Shellfish Advisory Committee of the RI Marine Fisheries Council for several years.

All shellfish caught in the Narragansett Bay, Mt. Hope Bay, rivers and estuaries were touched upon but the focus of the night were quahogs.

Here are some highlights of the meeting:

Quahogs can live 400 to 500 years and it takes 2 ½ to 3 years for a quahog to grow to legal size (over 1 inch in diameter).

The tools of the sport often include rakes, nylon bags, baskets, rubber tubes as well as tools to make it you more comfortable like rubber gloves and need pads for kneeling down in low water close to shore.

Use a rake that fits you and your needs. Many are angled on the stick to lay flat on bottom. Rakes have different lengths and different style basket all of which require you to turn the rake upward to hold your catch the basket as you bring it up.

Quohogs of different size appear at different depths. Bigger quahogs in deeper water and smaller ones closer to shore is often the cast but not necessarily true at each location. You have to get to know the characteristics of your fishing spots.

 Massachusetts to hold hearing on new tautog regulations

The Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) of the State of Massachusetts is taking public comment and holding a virtual public hearing on a series of proposed regulatory amendments affecting commercial and recreational fisheries. Full text of the regulations may be found on DMF’s website along with additional relevant background information.

One of the proposals is about recreational tautog. Modeled after Rhode Island’s new tautog regulation the proposal reads:  Recreational Tautog Slot Limit and Trophy Fish. Adopt a 21-inch maximum size limit for the recreational tautog fishery—making a 16 to 21-inch slot limit—with an allowance for an angler to retain one trophy fish exceeding the 21-inch limit per calendar day. This proposal matches a rule enacted in Rhode Island for 2022 and would ensure Massachusetts and Rhode Island consistently manage their recreational fisheries across jurisdictions, as recommended in the interstate plan.

DMF will host a virtual public hearing on November 1, 2022 at 6:00 take comment on the above described draft regulation as well as others. Register for the hearing at:

Where’s the bite?

Striped bass, bluefish and false albacore. “The striped bass bite in Narragansett Bay has been strong. Before these storms earlier anglers were hooking up with slot size fish (28 to <35 inches) all over the Bay,” said Tom Giddings of the Tackle Box, Warwick. 

Declan O’Donnell of Breachway Bait & Tackle, Charlestown said, “The breachway fished well this past week even through the worst of the storm. When it was too rough out at the end people were catching on jigs back in the channel. Mostly striped bass with the occasionally shad and bluefish mixed in.

There have also been some snapper blues in the breachway and salt pond chasing schools of peanut bunker.” 

East End Eddie Doherty, expert Cape Cod Canal angler and author said, “Last week the west end of the canal had large striped bass waiting in the hole under the railroad bridge to ambush disoriented baitfish flowing by in the fierce current. Several fish including a 49-inch striped bass were taken with soft plastic jigs.”

Fluke, black sea bass and scup. Bob Bove of Warwick and his grandson Steve caught scup to 15 inches when tautog fishing in the General Rock area this weekend. Steven said, “The scup kept biting, one after another when using squid for bait.” 

Giddings of the Tackle Box, said, “Customers have been catching their limit of scup in just a couple of hours of fishing, and they are large scup too.” So scup continues to be good particularly in areas with structure and water movement i.e. ledges, bridge abutments, jetties, etc. However, the fluke bite is nearly nonexistent with anglers finding difficult to catch large size back sea bass keepers in the Bay and along the coast.”

Tautog fishing picked up at the end of last week with the bite on in all the usual places still in fairly low water. I fished at General Rock area Friday in 17 feet of water with a charter and we caught three keepers with a one to three ratio, three keepers to every nine tautog caught. ‘The tautog bite came on strong at the end of last week with customers catching nice keeper size fish at India Point Park, Conimicut Light, off Tiverton and in North Kingstown. The keeper to short ratio was pretty good too.” 

There are new regulations for tautog fishing this year initiated by RISSA with the aim of preserving large females with great spawning potential. Anglers are allowed just one trophy fish, 21 inches or larger, the minimum size is still 16 inches and a ten fish boat limit applies for private recreational vessels. The spring season ran from April 1 to May 31 allowing for three fish/person/day, the season reopened August 1 to October 14 with a three fish/person/day limit and the limit then jumps to five fish from October 15 to December 31.

Freshwater fishing is improving. Jeff Sullivan of Lucky Bait & Tackle, Warren said, “The largemouth bass bite has been outstanding in area ponds and lakes. Once I had them dialed in at my favorite pond I went back to the same place two or three times last week and the bite was still on.”

Giddings of the Tackle Box said, “The largemouth and perch bite has been very good.  We went catfishing last week and they were hammering our bait.  Areas producing for customers include Warwick Lake and Gorton’s Pond in Warwick.”

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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