15 July 2016

• CT DEEP Weekly Fishing Report 14 July 2016

STRIPED BASS fishing is improving around the “thunder” full moon. The bass have set up on reefs, in typical fashion for this time of the year. The striped bass fishery shows no signs of slowing down this year. Western sound anglers are scoring on many 30 - 40 pound bass from Greenwich to Woodmont. 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 to land a “cow” bass.

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. Try night fishing at the DEEP Marine Headquarters fishing pier.

FLUKE fishing is a slow go for keepers in Long Island Sound. Better off heading to the south side of Fishers Island, Block Island Sound and or 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 4 pounds. (Norwalk/Darien/Stratford/New Haven/Woodmont area). You got to put your time in and be mobile moving from spot to spot. It’s time to start fishing deeper 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. Minimum size is 18 inches and the daily creel limit is 5 fish per person.

BLACK SEA BASS fishing is showing signs of slowing down as the larger fish head off into deeper water after the spawn. Fishing over any deep water structure (gnarly bottom preferred) in 100/ 125 to 150 feet around slack tide will produce some trophy-sized “humpbacks”. Stratford Shoal (11B). Fish shallower and you will catch some keeper-sized sea bass along with fluke, a lot of sea robins and smooth (aka sandsharks). CT black sea bass regulations are as follows...15 inch min. length, 5 fish daily limit from May 1st to December 31st. Berkeley Gulp (swimming mullet), on a jig along with squid with a spinner works great for these “Bucketmouths”. Clams and sandworms also work well.

PORGY fishing is very good in Long Island Sound and shows no signs of quitting. Hens and Chicken Reef has been red hot for scup. Porgy have also been reported at a number of shore fishing locations including 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 has slowed down with a few large “squeteague” being caught this past week. Many are caught while anglers bottom fish for fluke or sea bass. 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 and it’s also the state fish of Delaware.

BLUEFISH fishing is improving quickly with the typical size and quantities you usually find during the summer. They can also be found under the many pods of adult menhaden found throughout the sound. The time is now to plan a “deep sea” fishing trip with a party charter boat and fish for those “alligator” sized blues. The Race, Plum Gut, many of the major rocky reefs, rips, and shoal areas in LIS are the best bets at this time. 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. There is no harder fighting fish in the sea. “Snappers” (juvenile bluefish) and “Harbor Blues” (15 - 24 inches at Fort Trumbull) are also very common along all shore locations and fun to fish for. Try lower reaches of tidal rivers and estuaries.

HICKORY SHAD fishing is slow...shore anglers are saying...where did they go? It’s ok in the Black Hall River, Lieutenant and Branford River, lower Connecticut River by the DEEP Marine Headquarters fishing pier and in Clinton Harbor. 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”.

STRIPED SEAROBIN fishing is amazingly very good throughout LIS for this “hardhead fish with spines and large pectoral fins”. Boat or shore anglers can enjoy some fine “robin” fishing. 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 good, especially for shore anglers...as the “taugs” feed in shallow water after the spawn. 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 finish spawning over shellfish beds, pilings with mussel beds and rock (reef) piles (5 to 30 ft).

WHITE PERCH fishing remains really good for patient anglers. Spend some time relaxing in any coastal estuary with a little piece of bait (shrimp/sandworm) on a small hook, 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 improving after the first shed. Crabs are now mating, becoming more active and feeding heavily in the tidal creeks and rivers. With little time...you can catch a lot of blue crabs of all sizes. Also, please remember it’s mating season for the crabs and release all egg-bearing females (sooks or lemon bellies). Note: If you release the female...more males will venture into the area and improve your overall crab catches. There are some large “jimmies” (male crabs) being captured (8.75 inches spike to spike) along with some impressive sooks (females up to 7 inches carapace width). Remember...all egg bearing females must be released without avoidable injury. Minimum carapace length is 5 inches for a hard shell crab.

Blue crab fishermen please release all diamondback terrapins’ caught in your traps. The turtles must be released without avoidable injury. These turtles are also feeding and laying eggs along CT’s coast. 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. Blue Crab Fact Sheet. Angler’s please also note: It’s illegal to snag blue crabs.

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

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URL: http://connecticutsaltwaterfishing.com/

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