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Article Published October 14, 2016

Registration Deadline for Blackfish Tourney is Friday, Oct. 14

For the last 27 years, the Eddie Beauvais Blackfish Tournament has become a focal point whenever it’s time to fish for fall blackfish (tautog). This year marks the 28th consecutive year that ‘tog pullers join in on one of the longest-running, most-recognized tournaments on the shoreline. It’s been a long time since a local group of vets had the idea of holding a tourney, with the proceeds going toward a supply of blankets for our troops. Times may have changed, but the enjoyment of catching ‘togs has not.

From its meager beginnings, this tournament has developed into a classic, full-blown banquet with a myriad of comfort food dishes and all the fixings from appetizers to desserts. There are prizes, trophies, T-shirts, a slew of raffle prizes, and a few surprises included in the $40 registration. There’s also an optional cash Calcutta offered. The combined weight of one’s two heaviest fish determines the winners and there’s even a prize for the smallest legal ‘tog caught. The tourney runs from Saturday, Oct. 15 through Saturday, Oct. 22 with the banquet held at Guilford’s VFW. Register there or at Captain Morgan’s by calling 203-245-8665.

So if you’ve waited long enough to catch some ‘togs and feel the battle these bulldogs offer as you attempt to pull them from their haunts, then you just might want to consider hopping on board. Anyone can win! We even started the tourney a week later to give the water a chance to cool down a bit. For those already on board, good luck in your quest for the high hook and the bragging rights that go with it.

On the Water

It was another great week of fishing as the fall run is underway. Typical for October, we are seeing weather and sea conditions putting the brakes on some outings, but overall, north winds are opening up opportunities along the immediate shoreline. Water temperatures are 69 degrees and edging downward, while baitfish have been stacking up in the harbors and tidal rivers.

Balls of Atlantic menhaden (including some hickories) have been so thick that “one was able to walk across them,” as described by a fisher. Fortunately, air temps have been cooling down, avoiding any massive kills due to oxygen depletion. As expected, however, these dense schools of bait come with bluefish chopping their way through them. Sizes of these blues range anywhere from harbor size to 15 pounds and more.

This action is being experienced pretty much throughout the Sound. Even during the rough stretches when waves rocked and pounded hulls, the blues were right in the middle of it all, hitting ‘brella rigs and jerked bucktails. On calmer days, chunks, live bait, and flies have all been taking more than their share of fish. From the Race to Faulkner’s past New Haven and farther west, bluefish are not disappointing anglers during this fantastic year.

Recently, the striped bass bite has really cranked up. Inshore, it’s been hot top water action with plugs and intermediate flies. Chunks are working for the shore long-casters, while the early risers and night owls have been doing well on live baits, bucktails, and jigs on the reefs where migrating linesiders more than 40 pounds are passing. The Race, Six Mile, Long Sand, Hatchett’s, Hammonasset, Southwest, Charles, and Faulkner’s have been producing good fish, including the occasional weakie when trolling or drifting bite-size baits. However, more and more seals are giving anglers fits and are scoring a free meal.

Bonito and albies are onto rain baits as they continue to zip through the Sound and school up along many of the rip lines. Black sea bass are still going strong with humpbacks being hooked in deep water, but scattered. The fall porgy bite is in full rage with, again, more slabs being caught offshore. However, shoreline rocky structures are producing quality fish. The blackfish fall season opened on Oct. 10 to less-than-optimum water temperatures, meaning that ‘tog fishing ought to improve as temps continue to drop and we head into tournament.

Trout and broodstock salmon stocking is continuing slowly on a case-by-case basis; we need more rain. As temperatures decrease and water levels increase, more fish will be stocked. In the meantime, some trout parks like Chatfield Hollow received fish, plus main trout rivers are seeing decent browns caught. Largemouths border good catches, smallies good to great, pike just so-so, crappie are good, walleye fair, and panfish excellent.

Note: Email us pics of your catches to share with our USA and international fishing friends who keep up with the latest fishing news and frequent social media.

For all things fishy including reel repairs, swing by the shop (203-245-8665) open seven days located at 21 Boston Post Road, Madison. Until next time from your Connecticut shoreline’s full-service fishing outfitter, where we don’t make the fisherman, we make the fisherman better...

Tight Lines,

Captain Morgan

twitter @captmorgan_usa