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Jay Levett of North Branford experienced over-the-top striper action using live eels on his river trip. This one measured 47.5 inches. (Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan )
Madison’s Sean Callinan had a great striped bass fly fishing trip. (Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan )
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As the weather struggles to moderate from springtime conditions to summer, much of the fishery in Long Island Sound appears to follow suit. Keeping up with when and where fish feed, coupled with how weather conditions affect those actions, is the challenge. It’s obvious to those who are often on the water that, recently, plenty of forage has been available. However, that doesn’t mean the food chain is always in motion.
Sea and weather conditions, along with water temperatures, are key in determining whether fish will feed or hunker down. Remember, fish aren’t necessarily influenced by fancy words on a menu like us. They do, like us, show up when hungry at a place where there’s food to eat and select a spot that’s comfortable. Unlike us, though, fish will feed to replace spent energy and, generally, not waste it by chasing down an overrated tidbit.
When water conditions kick up more intensely than just moving forage around, fish invariably seek shelter. They could venture into deeper water or seek the lee side of structure. When temperatures get too warm, they seek cooler water, which may slow down digestion. When that happens, they begin to feed again as things return to normal. At that time, forage may have scattered and, thus, the search for food repeats itself.
Luck aside, successful fishers take into account the many variables that affect fish behavior. Many times, hearsay, as opposed to common sense, dictates when and where to fish. On a given day, fishing an inshore evening tide might prove best. On another, fishing down deep and in cooler water may tempt a really big one. Experience is the key.
Fish need forage to sustain. Man, in many cases, needs fish to sustain. Take a lesson from those who fish to survive. It’s rare when their hooks or nets come up empty. It’s also rare for them to fish where there’s none to be caught. Somehow, they will find those fins. Knowledge and the ability to convert it into success makes for a better fisher and a more-productive fishing trip. Remember, as time and tides change, what may have been successful one day may not prove so successful the next.
On the Water
After several wind-blown days originating from coastal storms, calm finally prevailed, only to yield to small craft warnings as the weekend ended. Mornings were brisk with air temperatures dipping into the 40s. Thereafter, temps moderated in the 70s before a few thunderstorms hit and winds picked up again. Surface water temps fluctuated from the high 50s to the low 60s. These factors created choppy conditions on the Sound that probably affected fishers more than fish.
The strongest bite was striped bass. A run of fish that turned the corner last week penetrated central Sound and continued west. Linesiders to 50-plus inches sought forage in the lower tidal rivers, many reefs, and into the main harbors, with some finding their way into the minor rivers, although generally smaller in size. Along with their normal migration to the north, it was the availability of food that enhanced their aggressive feeding.
As fish moved from The Race and through Six Mile, Faulkner’s Island became a hotbed of activity. However, numbers of fish in the 40-pound class were also hooked at Southwest and the S’s. The new moon certainly affected the bite and live eels produced some of the best catches, while the availability of menhaden and squid only added to the menu. For the most part, action was sub-surface, but there were periods when surface hookups on soft plastics and plugs occurred. Trolling and drifting the rips with time-tested ‘brellas, bunker spoons, or bucktails didn’t disappoint, either. Fishing the incoming outproduced the outgoing tides.
The black sea bass bite maintains its hold on fishers. Deep water still holds the larger fish, but one is working harder to locate and catch those over four pounds. New York still remains closed until Friday, July 15, so know the dividing line. As the summer fishery in the Sound develops, the reefs and shoals are gathering more bottom feeders. Porgy (scup) catches are increasing with squid and sea worm-baited rigs being the most-effective presentations. Drifting for fluke during the flood is producing more fish, although the ratio of shorts to keepers is starting to become more pronounced. Drifting squid, fish fillets, and strips, as well as scented artificials have been producing some doormats in deep water. Try Six Mile, Long Sand Shoal, Guilford Harbor area, and by the New Haven breakwalls for starters. On slow days, try dead sticking!
Harbor blues are becoming more prevalent as they dig into schools of bunker and scatter them in the process. Catches from shore are increasing in number and boaters are running into more of them on the popular reefs. Most recent catches have been made while chunking.
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 permits, 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...
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