20 August 2015

• Connecticut DEEP Marine Fishing Report – 20 August 2015

STRIPED BASS fishing continues to be good in the lower tidal rivers, especially at dawn as these large bass feed on menhaden during low light conditions. Fishing from sundown to sunrise for trophy-sized “cow” stripers is your best bet this time of the year. Casting swimming lures (Gulp), surface poppers, and bouncing jigs off the bottom in the shallows at low light has been productive. Also, live lining bunker (Atlantic menhaden), hickory shad or scup on the reefs has been effective on “cow” bass. Bunker schools are in the major tidal rivers and harbors with stripers following close behind. Look for hovering or diving ospreys which is an indication of bunker schools.

The usual striper spots include the Watch Hill Reefs (20-50ft), Ram Island Reef in Fishers Island Sound, lower Mystic and Thames River, the Race, Sluiceway, Plum Gut, Pigeon Rip, outer Bartlett Reef, Black Point, the “humps’ south of Hatchett Reef, lower Connecticut River, Long Sand Shoal, Cornfield Point, Southwest Reef (outer), Sixmile Reef, Falkner Island area, the reefs off Branford, New Haven Harbor, West Haven (Bradley Point) and the upper reaches, Charles Island area, lower Housatonic River, buoys 18 and 20 off Stratford Point, Stratford Shoal/Middle Ground, Penfield Reef, around the Norwalk Islands, and Cable and Anchor Reef. Please use circle hooks when fishing with bait (prevent gut hooking) and practice catch and release when possible.

BLUEFISH fishing continues to be good in the eastern and central sound (Southwest Reef), slower in thewestern sound. Fish finder rigs baited with fresh bunker chunks has been effective for larger choppers. Bluefish fishing spots include the reefs off Watch Hill, the Race, Thames River, Sluiceway, Plum Gut, Pigeon Rip, lower Connecticut River (CT DEEP headquarters 37 inch 15 lb bluefish from shore), Long Sand Shoal, Sixmile Reef, Falkner Island area, New Haven Harbor and upper reaches, lower Housatonic River, buoys 18 and 20 off Stratford Point, Stratford Shoal/Middleground, Penfield Reef, and Cable and Anchor Reef.

SNAPPER fishing is improving as they get larger and larger as the days go by... Fishing around the top of the flood tide has been better. Snappers are still small for this time of the year (4-6 inches in length). Look for the schools of “peanut” bunker and you will find the snappers.

FLUKE fishing has slowed for keeper-sized fluke, with many large fish migrating south/east towards Montauk. Look for doormat-sized summer flounder in deeper water/channels (50-110ft). Using live snapper blues or peanut bunker for bait is the ticket for catching that trophy doormat! Summer flounder spots include the south shore of Montauk Point, Fishers Island (Isabella Beach, Wilderness Point), Napatree Point and along the beach, off the Stoningtonbreakwater, mouth of the Mystic River over to Groton Long Point, Two Tree Island Channel, Black Point/Niantic Bay including the Bloody Grounds, Sound View Beach, Long Sand Shoal, Falkner Island area, New Haven Harbor, off the mouth of the Housatonic River during the flood tide, and around the Norwalk Islands.

PORGY fishing is the best...they are everywhere and so much fun to catch. These “Reef Slammers” are 14-17 inches (“hubcap size”) in length. Try fishing along fishing piers, any reef or rock pile in the Sound. Seriously, they are everywhere and easy to catch...go out enjoy the fast paced family fun action.

Try the Race/Valiant Rock, Gardners Island, Milford (Charles Island), Montauk and Niantic, Millstone, Two Tree island, (Bartletts and Hatchetts Reef). Porgy fishing has also been reported at these very accessible shore fishing locations: Saint Mary’s by the Sea, Calf Pasture beach, Jennings and Penfield beach, Seaside Park, (Milford), Bradley Point Park (West Haven), New Haven, Harkness State Park, Rocky Neck State Park, Kimberley Reef (Guilford), Meigs Point Hammonassett State Park and Fort Trumbull State Park. Locate your favorite Enhanced Shore Fishing Opportunities for these excellent eating and fun catching “Reef Slammers”. These “Panfish of the Sea” are easily caught on sandworms/cut squid/conch or any other small piece of bait. Contact your local bait and tackleshop for updated fishing information (see page 14 of the 2015 CT Angler’s Guide).

BLACK SEA BASS fishing continues to be fantastic...throughout the Sound. The hot spots continues to be The Race during slack tide/Lower Thames River Reefs/Goshen Reef/Falkner Island/Guilford/Branford Beacon/Southwest Reef/Middle Ground/Stratford Shoal. Fishing over deep water structure/cobble/gravel in 90 to 130 ft around slack tide will produce some trophy-sized “humpbacks on baited jigs or gulp. It’s important to continue to move from structure to structure and fish around slack tide (stay close to the bottom) to find these beautiful and awesome eating fish. Remember, CT Black Sea Bass regulations are as follows...14 inch min. length, 3 fish daily limit from June 1st to August 31 and a five fish daily limit from September 1 to December 31st. Berkely Gulp swimming mullet (green or white) on a spro jig and squid with a spinner above works great for these tasty “Bucketmouths”.

ATLANTIC BONITO and LITTLE TUNNY fishing has begun to heat up in the sound. A large 30 inch Atlantic Bonito (10 pounds) was recently caught at six mile reef (Clinton). These small tunas are cruising around from Watch Hill to Pine Island (including Fishers Island Sound), the Race to Little Gull Island, from Bartlett Reef to Black Point and west to New Haven. Dawn is the best time to fish for these inshore tunas. Try casting metal (heavy) lures to feeding fish on the surface. A quiet approach and finding birds (gulls/terns) actively feeding is the key to a successful trip.

BLACKFISH fishing is getting better. Remember, the season closes on September 1 (re-opens October 10th). Look for these “Reef Bullies” around your favorite local reef and or pilings (8 to 35 feet). The daily creel limit is 2 fish per person and the minimum size is 16 inches. Tautog love eating crabs and mussels...try green, Asian and hermit crabs for bait. Look for “Togs” over shellfish beds, pilings with mussel beds and rock (reef) piles.

STRIPED SEAROBIN fishing continues to be steady for this “hardhead fish with spines and large pectoral fins”. Also, called “Poor-Man’s Lobster”, these fish are very common especially when bottom fishing. With fish measuring over 23 inches and “barking up a storm” (grunting noise they make). They love sandworms, squid and any live or dead bait. They are also very good to eat.

HICKORY SHAD fishing is slowly improving. Try the Black Hall River, lower Connecticut River by the DEEP Marine Headquarters fishing pier, Baldwin State Boat Launch, Clinton Harbor, lower Housatonic River and Fort Trumbull. These ”CT Tarpon” providing outstanding/fun shore fishing for anglers. Tie on a silver willowleaf lure or a small charteuse jig (add a 14-20 inch leader) with a slip sinker above the swivel along with light tackle (6lb test main line). Cast to current breaks/channels and retrieve the lure and hold on/have fun...

WHITE PERCH fishing is a good alternative when shore fishing for bass/blues or hickory shad. These tasty perch are found in estuaries (lower rivers), tidal rivers and coves along the Connecticut shoreline. Productive spots include the Pawcatuck River (Stanton Weir Pit/Point), upper Mystic River, upper Thames River (Norwich Harbor) and Niantic River, lower Connecticut River (DEEP Marine Headquarters fishing pier), Black Hall River, Lieutenant River, North/South Cove, Hamburg Cove and Housatonic River. Grass shrimp and or a small piece of sandworm fished on the bottom are the keys to success. You can collect grass shrimp with a minnow net along the shoreline where marsh/eel grass is growing or along dock pilings. They love to cling to the grass or dock pilings...just scoop them up and put them on a small hook.

BLUE CRAB fishing is slow for keepers. It’s continues to be a slow year. Remember...all egg bearing females must be released with unavoidable harm. Minimum carapace length is 5 inches for a hard shell crab. Please contact your local bait and tackle shop for most updated information (local hot spots), legal crab traps and bait to use for your fun-filled crabbing. Legal gear types include: scoop (dip) net, hand line, star crab trap, circular (topless) trap not exceeding 26 inches in diameter. Maryland Style Crab traps are prohibited. Chicken with the skin on it (along with a long handle net) is the preferred method to capture these tasty crabs.

Read the full article at this link: Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection

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