03 August 2018

• CT DEEP Marine Fishing Report – 02 August 2018

STRIPED BASS fishing continues to be good throughout the Sound (good numbers of 28-40 inch bass being reported). Fishing is also very good in the lower tidal rivers especially at dawn as these large bass feed on menhaden during low light conditions. Try fishing from sundown to sunrise for trophy-sized “cow” stripers. Coming off the “Thunder Moon”, tidal currents will slow down and ultimately fishing conditions will improve.

Casting swimming lures, surface poppers, and bouncing jigs off the bottom in the shallows at low light has been productive. Also, live lining bunker (Atlantic menhaden), hickory shad or scup on the reefs has been effective on “cow” bass. Bunker (Atlantic menhaden) schools are in the major tidal rivers and harbors with stripers following close behind. Look for hovering or diving ospreys which is an indication of bunker (menhaden) schools.

The usual 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 and the upper reaches, Charles Island area, lower Housatonic River, buoys 18 and 20 off Stratford Point, Stratford Shoal/Middle Ground, Penfield Reef, around the Norwalk Islands, and Cable and Anchor Reef. 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. Qualify

PORGY [Scup] fishing is very good. “Reef Slammers” measuring 14-16 inches (“hubcap size”) in length being reported at fishing piers, reef or rock piles in the Sound (they are everywhere...go out enjoy the fast paced family fun action).

Try Gardners Island, Milford (Charles Island), Montauk and Niantic (Bartletts and Hatchetts Reef). Porgy fishing has also been reported at these very accessible shore fishing locations: Saint Mary’s by the Sea, Calf Pasture beach, Jennings and Penfield beach, Seaside Park, (Milford), Bradley Point Park (West Haven), New Haven, Harkness State Park, Rocky Neck State Park, Kimberley Reef (Guilford), Meigs Point-Hammonasset State Park and Fort Trumbull State Park. These “panfish of the sea” are easily caught on sandworms/cut squid or any other small piece of bait.

BLUEFISH fishing is fair. Fish finder rigs baited with fresh bunker chunks has been effective for larger choppers. Bluefish fishing spots include the reefs off Watch Hill, the Race, Thames River, Sluiceway, Plum Gut, Orient Point, 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 fair to good in the tidal creeks and rivers. Fishing around the top of the flood tide has been better. Most snappers are about 4-6 inches in length. Look for the schools of “peanut” bunker and you will find the snappers. 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” (16 - 22 inches) are also very common along all shore locations. These under sized bluefish provide great sport for shore anglers. Try the lower reaches of tidal rivers and estuaries...you will be glad you did as these predators push the bait up rivers.

BLACK SEA BASS fishing continues to be fantastic in the eastern Sound. Fishing over deep water structure/cobble/gravel in 80 to 120 ft around slack tide will produce some trophy-sized “humpbacks” on baited jigs or gulp. It’s important to continue to move from structure to structure and fish around slack tide (stay close to the bottom) to find these beautiful and awesome eating fish. The Charles Island area along with Stratford Shoal (11B) has been producing. Deeper you fish the bigger the sea bass. Fish shallower and you willcatch some keeper-sized sea bass along with summer flounder, a lot of sea robins and smooth dogfish (aka sandsharks). CT black sea bass regulations are as follows...15 inch min. length, 5 fish daily limit from May19th to December 31st. Berkely Gulp (swimming mullet), on a jig along with squid with a spinner works great for these “Bucketmouths”. Clams and sandworms also work well.

FLUKE [Summer Flounder] fishing has picked up over this past week with doormats weighing 14 lbs being reported. Using live snapper blues for bait is the ticket for catching that trophy doormat! 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, Two Tree 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.

STRIPED SEA ROBIN fishing continues to be good. ‘Poor-Man’s Lobster’ are very common especially when bottom fishing. With fish measuring over 20 inches and “barking up a storm” (grunting noise they make). They love sandworms, squid and any live or dead bait. They are also very good to eat.

WHITE PERCH fishing continues to impress and is typically better with the incoming tide. These perch are found in estuaries (lower rivers), tidal rivers and coves along the Connecticut shoreline. Productive spots include the Pawcatuck River (Stanton Weir Pit/Point), Mystic River, upper Thames River (Norwich Harbor) 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. You can collect grass shrimp with a minnow net along the shoreline where marsh/eel grass is growing or along dock pilings. They love to cling to the grass or dock pilings.

MACKEREL no report.

BLACKFISH (TAUTOG) fishing is really good...give it a try. There are plenty of these “Reef Bullies” around the local reefs and pilings (6 to 45 feet). The daily creel limit is 2 fish per person and the minimum size is 16 inches. Tautog love eating crabs and mussels...try green, Asian and hermit crabs for bait. Look for “Togs” over shellfish beds, pilings with mussel beds and rock (reef) piles. Shore anglers continue to score on large “taug”. Find a rock pile or piling close to casting distance and hang on.

BLUE CRAB fishing is slowly improving in the tidal creeks. Time to get out and try your favorite spot and enjoy the scenery and catch some crabs for dinner (crab cakes/sauce). 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) and a small circular crab trap is the preferred method to capture these tasty crabs.

WEAKFISH fishing has surprised many anglers...good catches of ‘squeteague’ are occurring while anglers bottom fish for fluke and sea bass. Good fishing in Niantic (Black Point), 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.
Read the full report at this link: Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection

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