Tag : tautog

Diving the East Matunuck Breakwater

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A feeding frenzy showing bay anchovies being ambushed underwater by cigar minnows and a fish-eye view of the perils baitfish face when schooling up against a breakwater.  Striped bass, triggerfish, stingray, tautog, black sea bass, rudderfish are also highlighted in order to provide fishermen with a highly detailed anglers-eye view of bait.


a large school of bay anchovies

Bay anchovies packed like sardines in a can


This dive on the last day of July was simply extraordinary.  I entered the water at the base of the breakwater near East Matunuck state beach and proceeded to dive the entire length of the wall, up and back.  Along the way I stopped to film the “trials of life” that the hapless bay anchovies were experiencing.  

I hope the video gives you a feel for what it must be like to be under constant attack from all sides.  The cigar minnows are not a common sight in our waters and a lot of bathers have no idea that giant stingrays weighing several hundred pounds could be cruising right off the beach.  

Each year more and more triggerfish show up and the same can be said for jacks and banded rudderfish.  The tautog were along the bottom where the sand reaches the stone wall, while the bass cruised  the mid-water zone looking for a quick meal.  I saw flounder, lots of sea bass, cunners, snapper blues, baby peanut bunker, silversides, scup, and a host of other marine life.  It was a fantastic dive, in so much as there was always something going on; it’s always nice to see a healthy ocean with lots of biodiversity.  

“The Underwater World of Rhode Island Game Fish”

Free Seminar

striped bass lurking in the waves

Striped Bass Lurking in the Waves

Wednesday, July 25 at 6:30 p.m.

North Kingstown Free Library, 100 Boone St.

Underwater photographer and videographer Mike Laptew will present a high definition, multi-media presentation highlighting the saltwater game fish of Rhode Island, as well as techniques for catching them. Laptew has been diving the Ocean State for over 50 years and his unique, fish-eye perspective seminars have delighted audiences for over two decades. The show will feature breathtaking close-ups of striped bass, bluefish, tautog, fluke, false albacore, and many different species of bait fish. This is a presentation the whole family will enjoy.

Free, but space is limited. Please reserve your seat by contacting Tracy Kennedy at
(401) 874-6800 or e-mailing tkennedy@gso.uri.edu.

This lecture is part of the annual Community Lecture Series sponsored by Rhode Island Sea Grant, the URI Nutrition and Food Sciences Program, the URI College of the Environment and Life Sciences, and the R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council. This lecture is also sponsored by the North Kingstown Free Library.