15 September 2016

• CT DEEP Weekly Fishing Report 15 September 2016

• STRIPED BASS fishing will be good to excellent around the full ”harvest” moon. Tis the season for catching some big bass as they feed heavily prior to their migration. Trolling jigs and live lining bunker (Atlantic menhaden) and or an eel on the reefs/shoal areas at dawn and dusk will produce some nice bass (51 inches – 48 pounds, (Long Sand Shoal).

Striper spots include the Watch Hill reefs, 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 (Breakwalls) and the upper reaches.

Also, Charles Island area, lower Housatonic River, buoys 18 and 20 off Stratford Point, Stratford Shoal/Middle Ground, Milford Point, Penfield Reef, around the Norwalk Islands, and Cable and Anchor Reef.

• BLUEFISH fishing is very good. They can be found throughout the sound (find the birds). Large numbers of bluefish can be found in the lower estuaries, rivers and beaches feeding on menhaden/anchovies.

The “Top-water” bite continues to be very good (look for the “blow-ups”. Bluefish fishing spots include the reefs off Watch Hill, the Race, Thames River, Sluiceway, Plum Gut, Pigeon Rip, lower Connecticut River, 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 BLUEFISH fishing is much better in the western sound with fish measuring 6 to 12 inches in length.

• BLACK SEA BASS fishing has been good. You may need to move around from wreck/reef/hump to find good numbers of these tasty bottom fish. The spawn is over and they are feeding heavily on small crabs and squid. Plan a trip on a party/charter boat trip to fish off of Block Island...there are many giant-sized sea bass out there. Eastern Sound (Fishers Island to Block Island and northeast of Montauk) anglers are having better success. For those willing to travel, Block Island Sound is the place to be for humpback sea bass. Closer to home, the rocky reefs from Niantic, to Branford (Falkner Island) have been consistent all season. A reminder to all anglers...if you are fishing in water deeper than 100’, barotrauma can cause released fish to struggle to make it back to the bottom. A descending devise such as the Shelton Fish Descender can help assist the sea bass air bladder to recompress and get safely back down to the depths. See Fishsmart.org for more information.

• FLUKE fishing is a tough go...however those patient anglers who put their time in fishing deep water (90-120 ft) are scoring on large doormat fluke up to 12 pounds. Live lining snapper blues and whole squid in deep water is the preferred method by fluke sharpies.

The usual summer flounder spots include the south shore of Fishers Island (Isabella Beach, Wilderness Point), Napatree Point and along the beach, off the Stonington breakwater, mouth of the Mystic River over to Groton Long Point, Twotree 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 to Darien.

• PORGY fishing is the best it has been in decades. Chumming has been very productive. Good shore fishing areas include; Morningside (Milford), Coast Guard Jetty at Southport Beach, Rick Jetty at Calf Pasture beach, South Benson Fishing Pier, Sherwood Island, Pleasure Beach Fishing Pier, St Mary’s by the Sea, Gulf Beach Pier, Bonds Dock (Stratford) and Stratford wall along with Long Beach (excellent shore spots).

Other shore spots include The Sound School Fishing Pier/Dock, Rocky Neck State Park, Harkness Memorial State Park, Meigs Point, Hammonassett, Sherwood Island State Park and Fort Trumbull State Park. Fish during the high tide at these shore locations. Locate your favorite Enhanced Shore Fishing Opportunities for these hard fighting and excellent eating “Reef Slammers”.

• ATLANTIC BONITO & FALSE ALBACORE fishing is great one day and puzzling the next (where did the go)...you never know with these fast swimming tunas. However, the action in CT is heating up. Big catches of these small tunas have been reported from Bluff Point to Hatchett Reef. Shore anglers are scoring at Ocean Beach, Seaside, Harkness Memorial and Rocky Neck State Park.

These small tunas are also cruising around from Pt. Judith, Watch Hill to Pine Island (including Fishers Island Sound), the Race to Little Gull Island, from Bartlett Reef to Black Point. Dawn and dusk is the best time to fish for these inshore tunas. They feeding heavily of young of the year anchovy. Try casting metal (heavy) lures to feeding fish on the surface. A quiet approach and finding birds (gulls/terns) actively feeding is the keyto a successful trip.

• WEAKFISH fishing is surprisingly good. From the Mystic River to the Thames River has been very productive. Many scup/seabass/fluke anglers are catching them while bottom fishing. Fish up to 26 inches are being reported from West Haven Beaches/Charles Island area to Norwalk. Also, look for weakfish in Guilford/Madison/New Haven Harbor areas.

• HICKORY SHAD fishing is good in the Black Hall River and fair in the Lieutenant River, Housatonic River and the lower Connecticut River (DEEP Marine Headquarters fishing pier). Anglers are still waiting for the fall bite to happen, especially shore anglers. Fishing remains good at Fort Trumbull, Black Hall, Clinton Harbor River systems and the lower Connecticut River (DEEP Marine Headquarters fishing pier). You will also find “schoolie” bass, snappers and hickory shad can all be found schooling together at these locations.

• BLUE CRAB fishing is good in all tidal creeks/bays, especially around pilings in the evening with an incoming tide. Remember, all egg-bearing females must be released without avoidable injury. Minimum carapace length is 5 inches for a hard shell crab. 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.

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

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