22 September 2016

• CT DEEP Weekly Fishing Report 22 September 2016

• STRIPED BASS fishing continues to be good to excellent. Tis the season for catching some big bass as they feed heavily prior to their migration. Trolling jigs (Chartreuse) with a yellow pork rind and live lining bunker (Atlantic menhaden) and or an eel on the reefs/shoal areas at dawn and dusk will produce some nice bass (58 inches – 53 pounds, (Crane Reef). 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 bite is insane as one charter boat captain put it. 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.

Also, lower Housatonic River, buoys 18 and 20 off Stratford Point, Stratford Shoal/Middleground, Penfield Reef, Norwalk Islands and Cable and Anchor Reef.

• SNAPPER BLUEFISH fishing is much better in the western sound with fish measuring 8 to 12 inches in length.

• ATLANTIC BONITO & FALSE ALBACORE fishing is great one day and puzzling the next. They are fast movers and moving to different locations is important. However, the action in CT is heating up and many fish have moved into the western Sound. Big catches of these small tunas have been reported from Pine Island, Bluff Point, Groton Long Point to Norwalk/Darien. 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 Bluff Point (including Fishers Island Sound), the Race to Little Gulls Island, from Bartlett Reef to Black Point. Dawn and dusk is the best time to fish for these inshore tunas.

They are feeding heavily of young of the year transparent anchovy. Try casting metal (heavy) lures (Swedish pimple and Epoxy jigs) to feeding fish on the surface. A quiet approach and finding birds (gulls/terns) actively feeding is the key to a successful trip. Jigging for them also works when they are close to the bottom.

• BLACK SEA BASS fishing has been good, with plenty of large ”humpbacks” being caught. You may need to move around from wreck/reef/hump to find good numbers of these tasty bottom fish. 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.

• PORGY fishing is the best it has been in decades. Chumming has been very productive. Good shore fishing areas include; Morningside, and Woodmont (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, Charles island 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”.

• WEAKFISH fishing is still surprisingly good. Mystic River to the Thames River has been very productive. Falkner Island area is producing some “tide runners”. 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, Norwalk River and fair in the Lieutenant River, Housatonic River, Norwalk Harbor 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 be found schooling together at these locations.

• BLUE CRAB fishing is slowing down a little in all tidal creeks/bays. Many of the large “jimmies” are still up river. Crabs are still around the pilings in the evening, especially 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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