Fishing Newport, Rhode Island
June 7, 2010
Perched at the entrance to Narragansett Bay and offering quick access to the waters of Block Island Sound, Rhode Island Sound, and Buzzards Bay, Newport is an ideal jumping-off spot for anglers looking for fast action with both inshore and offshore species.
Striped bass typically kick off the hit parade in May, when schoolies move into Narragansett Bay to feast on herring, squid, and silversides. Larger bass follow later in the month. The biggest bass—some weighing 40 pounds—feed primarily on herring, menhaden, and squid, while the schoolies target smaller baitfish, such as silversides and grass shrimp, inside the rivers. If you’re looking for fast action with school bass, try a Storm Wildeye Shad or small, white Slug-Go rigged on a 1⁄4- or 3⁄8-ounce jighead and fish it on light spinning gear around rocky structure, inlets, pilings, or river bends.
Striper fishing remains solid well into June and even July, especially if there are schools of bunker (menhaden) inside the bay. During summer and early fall, dependable action can often be found in the cooler water around the mouth of the bay. In famous spots like Beavertail Point, Brenton Reef, and Sakonnet Point, success often depends on fishing deep baits (eels, live bunker, and chunks) or trolling with wire line. Many Newport anglers also make the run to Block Island or Cuttyhunk, as both places are relative close and hold big stripers throughout summer.
Closer to Newport, wire-line trolling with tube-and-worm combos around Brenton Reef, Sakonnet Point, and Beavertail Point can yield big fish throughout the season. Many anglers also do well around the various deep reefs and ledges of Rhode Island Sound using live eels and bunker chunks.
Bluefish are another inshore favorite. Fish in the two- to six-pound class arrive in late May, chasing squid, peanut bunker, silversides—and anything else that swims. You can draw ferocious strikes on surface plugs, such as Cordell Pencil Poppers, Rapala Jumpin’ Minnows, or Zara Spooks. Inner-bay bluefish hot spots, especially if there’s an abundance of small baitfish, include Greenwich Bay, the Sakonnet River, Hog Island, Barrington Beach, Bristol Harbor, Ohio Ledge and Rose Island. Fishing can be tough in midsummer, but trolling deep-diving swimming plugs around the various reefs, humps, and points in Rhode Island Sound is a good way to score with blues when surface action slows inside the bay.
Summer also brings great bottom fishing for fluke, scup, and sea bass. All three species will readily attack squid strips fished on the drift. Look for fluke to hold along the deep channel edges just south of the Newport Bridge, as well as in 20 to 40 feet of water off First Beach, Second Beach, and Easton Beach. The grassy edge of Potters Cove off Jamestown is another proven fluke spot. If gunning for a trophy, try the edges of Elbow Ledge, the deep trough off Beavertail’s Austin Hollow, or fish the 40- to 50-foot zone along Ocean Drive, from Brenton Point to Lands End.
Late summer typically sees the inshore arrival of false albacore, bonito, and skipjack from Beavertail Point to Sakonnet. These speedy and elusive fish can pop up anywhere, but usually feed near prominent structure points with good current flow. Sakonnet Point, Brenton Reef, and Beavertail are reliable spots start a search.
October and November bring great action with tautog over the reefs, wrecks, break walls, pilings, and boulders along the ocean side and well up inside the bay. ‘Tog weigh anywhere from two to 20 pounds, and can be taken on green and Asian crabs. The prime depth varies according to water temperature, but you can usually find good fishing in 10 to 20 feet of water by late October.
Bait & Tackle
- Saltwater Edge (401) 842-0062: Top-notch tackle shop. Can also arrange guided trips.