18 May 2018

• CT DEEP Marine Fishing Report – 17 May 2018


STRIPED BASS fishing is improving and the bass are getting larger, much larger, especially during big moon tides. A few have had hitchhikers in the form of sea lice, so you can be sure they are part of the yearly migration - which is good news for those anglers targeting trophy-sized stripers. In the Western Sound you’ll want to dunk fresh Atlantic Menhaden (Bunker) in 50’ plus water depth. Plugging has been especially good along the Norwalk Islands; specifically Cockenoe Island which has produced keepers this week. They are also favoring Yozuri Darts at night, with many reports of 40-lb fish. Schoolie stripers have been venturing out of the rivers and are being caught with Cotton Cordell Pencil Poppers (1-ounce in bone color), Super Strike Poppers, and SP Minnows on the top-water.

One can still catch-n-release plenty of juvenile stripers in the rivers from Greenwich to Stonington - enough to make your arm sore. In the rivers…soft plastics in light colors by boat are working best as well as trolling umbrella rigs…and from shore sand worms seem to be the hot ticket. Check out your local bait and tackleshop for bait. Striped bass are being caught from piers along the Connecticut coast, including the new, fabulously designed, Fort Nathan Hale Pier. In fact, at Fort Nathan anglers are not just catching 38” plus stripers, they’re also catching keeper scup, in ranges of 13” - 16”.

Other striper spots include the Pawcatuck River, Mystic River, Thames River, Niantic River, lower Connecticut River (DEEP Marine Headquarters fishing pier and Dock & Dine), Black Hall River, New Haven Harbor (Nathan Hale Fishing Pier, Sandy Point), the Sound School Fishing Pier, Housatonic River and Norwalk Harbor including the islands. Sand and blood worms have been working the best, especially in turbid waters around the incoming tide. Casting swimming lures, small jigs (Chartreuse
color) with twister tails, soft baits, and Kastmasters, and other metal lures will also work.

SCUP (porgy) fishing is very good by Orient Point and the north shore bays. Much better in Gardiners Bay and the Peconics (Little Peconic Bay is very good). The largest Scup we’ve heard this month was a 19” porgy caught in Peconic Bay, Long Island. In the bay fishers are frequently catching 13” - 17” Scup. If you don’t have a fish-finder, just pull into Peconic Bay and look for 20-25 boats all fishing in a close circle. Scup are so hungry this time of year they are eating almost everything but are especially fond of clams and squid. Time to plan a trip on the many party/charter boats in CT. CT Party Boat Association.

Scup fishing around the Norwalk Islands has also produced fish as large as 17 1/2 inches and 3-lb. (hubcap size). Porgy fishing has also been reported at these shore fishing locations: Fort Nathan Hale Fishing Pier, Rocky Neck State Park, Meigs Point Hammonassett State Park and Fort Trumbull State Park. Locate your favorite Enhanced Shore Fishing Opportunitiesfor these excellent eating “Reef Slammers”. These “panfish of the sea” are easily caught on sandworms/cut squid or any other small piece of bait. Contact your local bait and tackleshop for updated fishing information.

WINTER FLOUNDER are still being caught in sizes up to 3-pounds. Fishing is improving in the Poquonock River, at Bluff Point State Park, Niantic River, The Brothers, Jordan Cove, lower Saugatuck River, Calf Pasture Beach area, Norwalk Islands (Cockonoe) and the channels in Norwalk Harbor.

WHITE PERCH fishing is good in tidal rivers and coves along Connecticut’s shoreline. Perch spots include the Pawcatuck River, Mystic River, Thames River, upper Niantic River, lower Connecticut River (DEEP Marine Headquarters fishing pier), Black Hall River, Lieutenant River, North/South Cove and Hamburg Cove. Shrimp and small worms are the key to success.

SUMMER FLOUNDER (fluke) fishing is good overall and quickly improving. Spearing (silversides) schools have been spotted out in the Sound along with Bunker schools but mostly in the Western Sound. And sand eels have now reached Seaside Park in Bridgeport. So summer flounder (fluke) are being caught along the shoreline from Bluff Point to Fairfield’s Penfield Reef. Try Bucktail Jigs tipped with clam or squid. As squid enter Long Island Sound…fishing will only get better. Mid to western LIS anglers reported fluke from 3 to 7 lbs being common.

Fluke spots include the typical locations: south shore of Fishers Island (Isabella Beach, Wilderness Point), Napatree Point and along the beach, off the Stonington breakwater, mouth of the Mystic River to Groton Long Point, Thames River channel, Two Tree Island Channel, Black Point/Niantic Bay/River, Long Sand Shoal, Westbrook-Clinton area, Falkner Island area, West Haven to Woodmont, New Haven Harbor including by the breakwaters, off the mouth of the Housatonic River, and around the Norwalk Islands.

Since squid are coming in, offering a live one on the bottom (10-40 feet) would be a good move for catching that big slab “doormat” fluke! 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. Minimum size is 19 inches and the daily creel limit is 4 fish per person. Time to get the boat, and fishing gear ready for some phenomenal early season fluke fishing.

WEAKFISH fishing in the Milford area has been very good. The weakfish have arrived - especially at Charles Island, West Haven Sand Bar and Pennfield Reef in Fairfield. Also a school of weakfish was spotted this week at the mouth of Blackrock Harbor. Small lures like Super Spook Lures or Talking Poppers have been effective. Look for these awesome eating fish in Guilford/New Haven Harbor over to the Milford/Stratford area along with the Peconics (NY) and South of Plum Island on sandy bottom.

BLACK SEA BASS fishing opens May 19. Fishing should be awesome for these “bucketmouths”.

BLUEFISH with the new arrival of spearing (silversides), bunker and sand eels, we are hearing our first reports of Bluefish. As you know, Bluefish will devour almost anything. Bluefish are around the Norwalk Islands up to 30” and they are entering Long Island Sound from Block Island Sound as well. Reports are also coming in from Seaside Park and the Milford beaches of meal sized bluefish catches. The Race, Millstone Outflow, Plum Gut and the north side of Long Island including Gardiners Bay and the Peconics are the early season hotspots.

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

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