06 July 2018

• CT DEEP Marine Fishing Report – 05 July 2018


STRIPED BASS fishing remains good coming off the full moon. Striped bass fishing is on the east side is rock solid at The Race and Plum Gutin 40’ – 60’ of water. The largest bass this week have been reeled in using Bucktails as well as live-lining Atlantic menhaden (bunker) and American eels. Chumming with menhaden strips is expediting the catch. The great majority of big hits has been happening at night and early dawn .

Onthe westside Middleground, Charles Island, Stratford Shoals, Norwalk Islands, the North side of 28-C, 11-B, off Todd’sPoint, Captain’s Island and off Rye, New York’s Playland has been fantastic. Like the east side, the west sidenight bite has been most successful for CT Trophy Fish Award sized bass. From Greenwich to Stonington thereare schoolies, and those juveniles are still slamming soft plastic lures in chartreuse, pink, clear and light gray.But you don’t need a boat to catch a trophy Striper, as many of the CT Enhanced Shore Opportunity sites arecreating big smiles and tired arms.

Specifically, Calf Pasture Beach Pier and sandbar, Fayerweather Island and Seaside Park, Bond’s Dock, Silver Sands Beach, Gulf Beach Pier and Gulf Beach jetty, New Haven’s Fort Nathan Hale Pier and Sandy Point (West Haven Sandbar) have been fantastic. Not to be missed; Avery Point, Fort Trumbull State Pier, CT DEEP Marine Fisheries pier, the old Dock & Dine and Branford Point have been terrific. 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.

Please use circle hooks when fishing with bait (prevent gut hooking) and practice catch & release.

PORGY [Scup] fishing is even hotter than black sea bass this week, with limits (30) being reached rapidly. Scup are gobbling up sand worms, clams and squid on a high-low rig are your winning baits. Scup are attracted to any rock pile or wreck but the hubcap sized CT Trophy Award Program sized fish are waiting for you in deeper waters. CT’s Enhanced Opportunity Shore Fishing sites are housing A lot of scup. Calf Pasture Beach Pier, Saint Mary’s by the Sea, Pleasure Beach Family Pier, the Stratford Wall, Silver Sands State Park, Short Beach and Fort Nathan Hale’s brand new pier have proven quite rewarding.

Also, Fort Trumbull State Park, Avery Point, Branford Point, Walnut Beach, and West Haven Beach piers have been providing fishers with a beautiful dinner this week. By boat Middleground, Six-Mile Reef and Greens Ledge Lighthouse, as well as Rowayton’s Ballast Reef are hot. Back to shore, Greenwich Town Pier (pier is closed but you can catch your limit via parking lot), Cove Island and Cummings Beach Pier are excellent spots this week. Locate your favorite Enhanced Shore Fishing Opportunitiesfor 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. Contact your local bait and tackleshop for updated fishing information. Time to plan a trip on a party/charter boat in CT.

BLUEFISH fishing is very good. Bluefish (Blues) are sporadic and there are more on the western side of Long Island Sound than the east side. Look for the birds, then look for the menhaden school, then cast just outside the school and you may catch an “Alligator-sized”Bluefish. Juvenile bluefish, also known as Harbor Blues and TaylorBlues have been migrating north and are getting hooked at shore spots from Todd’s Point in Greenwich to Sandy Point Audubon Beach. Most are getting hooked with 1/2oz. to 1oz. Castmasters, on hotter DAYS at dawn. My recommendation is to hook up with a Party or Charter Boat and enjoy some of the best FISHING you will ever experience. Harbor Blues (15 - 24 inches) are also very common in lower estuaries. Snappers (juvenile bluefish) have not arrived yet!

BLACK SEA BASS fishing is on fire throughout Long Island Sound. Middleground, #23 and #24 in New York on the west side in 60’ – 100’ of water, Six-Mile Reef, Stratford Shoals Green can “C,” and Norwalk Islands are fulfilling anglers daily limit (5) in short time. Clams and squid strips tipped on a high-low rig are a necessity to catch black sea bass. Sea bass are often schooling with Scup, so if you catch one of the species, you’ll likely catch the other. 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 sand sharks). 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.'

FLUKE [Summer Flounder]fishing is fair in Long Island Sound. Better around Block Island Sound and off Montauk. Not everyone is hitting their daily limit, but there are some real doormats weighing in this Independence Day week. Many are over 24” and we had a 11.6 pounder weighed in this week in Waterford – AND, this big doormat was caught in shallow water. At the Middleground there are a lot of smaller brethren mixed in with some arm benders. The 13.2 pound, 32 inch fluke was also landed with a bucktail in the central sound. Jennings Beach, Cockonoe Island, Six-Mile Reef and Charles Island are good bets this week to haul in keeper 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 some nice fluke. Minimum size is 19 inches and the daily creel limit is 4 fish per person.

STRIPED SEA ROBIN 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.

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.

HOLY MACKEREL! The Mack Attack is on the east side of the sound, half way between Long Island and the Connecticut side. Sabiki Rigs have been excellent attracters.

HICKORY SHAD fishing is ok in the Black Hall River, Four Mile, 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 harbor 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”. It’s great shore fishing and you get to meet a lot of anglers and trade fishing stories (“secrets”).

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. Other prime locations include: pilings with mussel beds and rock (reef) piles (5 to 30 ft).

BLUE CRAB are in the molting phase (sally crab) and becoming more active in the tidal creeks and rivers as the water warms up. There appears to be a lot of smaller crabs out there...a good sign for a great year of crabbing. With a little time...there should be beaucoup blue crabs of legal size to catch. Please release sub-legal crabs with care. 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 (8.0 inches spike to spike) along with some impressive sooks. Remember, all egg bearing females must be released without avoidable injury, and the 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.

WEAKFISH fishing is good with 20-34 inch size fish being caught in the east and central sound. Westernsound 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. Weakfish is fairly good from shore at Eatons Neck, NY and at the Rye, NY Playland Pier. They've salso been reeled in at West Havens Sandy Point and Sandy Point Audubon Society.

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

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