08 July 2016

• CT DEEP Weekly Fishing Report 07 July 2016

STRIPED BASS fishing remains good coming off the new moon. It is extremely important to find the pods of menhaden (bait) and fish under them (follow the birds). Shore anglers continue to catch bass in the lower tidal rivers, especially in the evening and at night. Western sound (Darien to Milford) catches are also improving daily for anglers using chunk and live bait during the evening/night. Dawn and dusk is prime time for large stripers on the reefs, rip areas and lower coastal tidal rivers. Live lining eels, bunker or hickory shad has been the ticket. There is plenty of bunker throughout LIS including the lower tidal rivers to hold fish.

Striper areas include the Watch Hill reefs, lower Thames River, the Race, Plum Gut, Pigeon Rip, outer Bartlett Reef, Black Point, Hatchett Reef, lower Connecticut River (Great Island), Long Sand Shoal, Cornfield Point, Southwest Reef (outer), Westbrook, Sixmile Reef, Falkner Island area, the reefs off Branford, New Haven Harbor (including Sandy Point), Charles Island area, Housatonic River, buoys 18 and 20 off Stratford Point, Stratford Shoal/Middle Ground, Bridgeport Harbor, Penfield Reef, around the Norwalk Islands, and Cable and Anchor Reef and Connecticut River by the DEEP Marine Headquarters fishing pier.

FLUKE fishing is good in Long Island Sound. Better around Block Island Sound and off Montauk. Mid to western LIS anglers are reporting good numbers of smaller, sub-legal sized fish and a few keepers mixed in, up to 8 pounds. (Darien/Stratford/New Haven/Woodmont area). You got to put your time in and be mobile moving from spot to spot. Fishing deeper tends to improve your chances for a “doormat” fluke. Fluke spots include south shore of Fishers Island (Isabella Beach, Wilderness Point), Watch Hill to Napatree Point, off the Stonington breakwater, mouth of the Mystic River to Groton Long Point, Lower Thames River channel, Gardiners Bay over to Greenport, NY, Twotree Channel, Black Point/Niantic Bay, Long Sand Shoal, Westbrook-Clinton area, Falkner Island area, New Haven Harbor to West Haven, off the mouth of the Housatonic River, Norwalk Islands, and across over to Port Jefferson, NY.

Try drifting with a white or pink Bucktail Jig and attach a Berkely 3”- 4” Gulp Mullet in chartreuse, white or pink color. Fresh squid and or silversides (spearing) have also been producing some nice fluke. Minimum size is 18 inches and the daily creel limit is 5 fish per person.

BLACK SEA BASS fishing continues to be excellent everywhere in Long Island Sound. Fishing over any deep water structure (gnarly bottom preferred) in 30 to 110 ft around slack tide will produce some trophy-sized “humpbacks”. Fish shallower and you will catch some keeper-sized sea bass along with fluke, sea robins and smooth dogfish (aka sandsharks). It’s important to continue to move from structure to structure to find these beautiful and awesome eating fish. Remember, CT black sea bass regulations are as follows...15 inch min. length, 5 fish daily limit from May 1st to December 31st. Berkely Gulp (swimming mullet), on a jig along with squid with a spinner works great for these “Bucketmouths”. Clams and sandworms also work well. New York waters are open now.

PORGY fishing is very good in Long Island Sound. Like sea bass...they are very abundant. Hook up with your local party/charter boat to get into some of the best fishing ever! Porgy fishing has also been reported at these shore fishing locations: Rocky Neck State Park, Harkness Memorial State Park, Meigs Point Hammonassett, Sherwood Island State Park and Fort Trumbull State Park. Locate your favorite Enhanced Shore Fishing Opportunities for these hard fighting and excellent eating “Reef Slammers”. These “panfish of the sea” are easily caught on sandworms/cut squid or any other small piece of bait.

WEAKFISH fishing is good with 20-34 inch size fish being caught in the east and central sound. Central and western sound catches are improving as the population rebounds from low abundance. Many are caught while anglers bottom fish for fluke. Good fishing in Niantic, New Haven Harbor by the breakwaters over to Woodmont/Milford Point and along Stratford shoals to Darien. One of the best eating saltwater fish you will ever catch.

BLUEFISH fishing is very good with more and more bluefish arriving as we speak. They can also be found under the many pods of adult menhaden found throughout the sound. It’s only a matter of time before “alligator” sized blues start to show up. The Race, Plum Gut, many of the major rocky reefs, rips, and shoal areas in LIS will harbor bluefish. Speed squidding diamond jigs, trolling parachute jigs or umbrella rigs, and using fresh bunker or hickory shad chunks on three-way bottom rigs have all been effective. Other bluefish spots include the Sluiceway, Gardiners Bay, Peconic Bays, and the north shore of Long Island along with the Stratford Shoal area. My recommendation is to hook up with a Party or Charter Boat and enjoy some of the best FISHING you will ever experience. Yes, the “Snappers” (juvenile bluefish) have arrived! Harbor Blues (15 - 24 inches) are also very common in lower estuaries.

HICKORY SHAD fishing is ok in the Black Hall River, Lieutenant and Branford River, lower Connecticut River by the DEEP Marine Headquarters fishing pier and in Clinton Harbor. These incredible hard fighting fish are on the move...moving up and down river systems. Connecticut Tarpon (Hickory shad) can be found mixed in with schoolie striped bass and snapper bluefish. Flood or the beginning of the Ebb tide is typically the best time and lure choices are a willow leaf (silver or copper), kastmaster (single hook), small plastic jigs (white, red or chartreuse), and or shad darts in various colors. You will be impressed with these “high flyers”. Its great shore fishing and you get to meet a lot of anglers and trade fishing stories (“secrets”).

STRIPED SEAROBIN fishing is always good in LIS for this “hardhead fish with spines and large pectoral fins”. These beautiful and strange looking fish are now very common especially when bottom fishing at many of Connecticut’s shore fishing sites. With many fish measuring over 20 inches, 3 pounds and “barking up a storm” (grunting noise they make when handling them). They love sandworms, squid and any live or dead bait. They are also very good to eat. Please be careful when handling them...be mindful of their spines located on top of their head and gill cover.

BLACKFISH (tautog) fishing season is open in Connecticut waters. The daily creel limit is 2 fish per person and the minimum size is 16 inches. Tautog love eating crabs...try green, Asian and hermit crabs for bait. Look for tautog in shallow water as they begin spawning over shellfish beds, pilings with mussel beds and rock (reef) piles (5 to 30 ft).

WHITE PERCH fishing remains good. Spend some time relaxing in any coastal estuary with a little piece of bait (shrimp/sandworm), enjoying some jumbo white perch. Wow, they are good eating. Perch are found in estuaries, tidal rivers and coves along the Connecticut shoreline. Productive spots include the Pawcatuck River (Stanton Weir Pit/Point), Mystic River, upper Thames River and Niantic River, lower Connecticut River (DEEP Marine Headquarters fishing pier), Black Hall River, Lieutenant River, North/South Cove and Hamburg Cove. Grass Shrimp and or a small piece of sandworm fished on the bottom are the keys to success.

BLUE CRAB fishing is awesome. Crabs are done molting and have now begun mating, becoming more active in the tidal creeks and rivers. With a little time...you can catch a lot of blue crabs of legal size. Also, please remember it’s mating season for the crabs and release all egg-bearing females (sooks or lemon bellies). There are some large “jimmies” (male crabs) being captured (8.50 inches spike to spike) along with some impressive sooks (females). 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) and a small circular crab trap is the preferred method to capture these tasty crabs.

CTDEEP will post the complete report at this site, eventually: CTDEEP

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URL: http://connecticutsaltwaterfishing.com/

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