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Guilford’s Erin Hoover had a multiple-specie day on the Sound, including catching this smooth dogfish. (Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan )
Beverly Hoover of Indiana got a taste of Long Island Sound fishing when she landed her first fluke. (Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan )
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This is the time of year when one can ask, ‘What shall we fish for today?’ Normally, that would come across as presumptuous, but now, it’s an honest question that one can get away with. Many different species of fish are arriving in the Sound, with some having already taken up their seasonal residency. Consequently, there are actually choices to consider.
Weather conditions aside, there are numerous types of fish that can be caught at any given tidal range and, with the amount of different kinds of forage available, it makes the choice of what to fish for all the more attainable. By now, most anglers and coastal water-conscious observers realize that water conditions have changed for the better, although water temperatures have risen in the process.
As a result of that rise, we’ve been seeing a movement of fish species from southern Atlantic waters to newer habitats farther north. For example, there has been an influx of black sea bass from the mid-Atlantic to Long Island Sound. There have been more Atlantic menhaden, many of which have even wintered over. Recently, southern red fish found their way up here—probably not for the first time, either. Bottlenose dolphins are frequenting our waters more often, as are scattered schools of Spanish mackerel, grey triggerfish, and certain species of sharks. The list goes on.
As our waters become more energized, healthier, and sustainable, they become more inviting and habitable. Our spawning nursery for lower forms of marine life becomes a haven for various predators up the food chain. That, in turn, offers fishing enthusiasts a wide range of opportunities to observe, study, and catch more fish, even in the midst of these challenging fish management times.
More often, we are talking to anglers who are inquiring about an unfamiliar catch. For the fisher, now would be a good time to consider broadening the tackle box to include various sizes of terminal gear—namely, hook and lure size. Bringing along a light- to medium- and medium- to heavy setup is a good idea, too. Instead of just targeting one fish species, why not try for as many different types in a single trip? Create your own grand slam and a personal log book. One might bounce from spot to spot more often, but it would be a good and worthwhile learning experience, as well as a skill sharpener.
On the Water
The recent heat spell certainly got the air conditioners working overtime. Long Island Sound water temperatures shot up above 70 degrees and dense early morning fog permeated much of the shoreline, but cleared as the sun broke through. There was some breeze, although overall conditions were rather calm and overcast, unless you caught opposing tide and wind.
Striped bass fishing bounced back, with several fish in excess of 40 pounds caught along the shoreline while feeding on live eels and menhaden. Offshore, the reefs were giving up similar fish, but as the sun rose, schoolie size and larger linesiders were more the norm. Faulkner’s north rip and Charles Reef were two of several spots of note as early morning docksiders perked up when word spread of lite popper and jig’n tail action.
Black sea bass catches are still turning heads. The bite continues to be strong throughout the Sound, however, structure and depth are playing a big part in that success. From 15 to 100 feet, sea bass are being caught, with the chances of hooking into a humpback of more than four pounds increasing in deep water. As the porgy bite gets stronger, these scrappers are mixing in with seabass on the inshore reefs and are slurping up worms and squid faster than the black beauties. Slabs are being hooked to 17 inches and are providing excellent fishing.
There has been an uptick in fluke activity. Fish more than 10 pounds are taking drift rigs tipped with squid, sand eels, and spearing. Outside of the Sound, action had relaxed a bit, but that changed recently. Continue to check out the inshore shoals and harbor channels on the flood tide, in addition to Six Mile and Cinder Bottom.
Sand sharks are numerous, skates (including the clearnose) are scouring the bottom, and there are plenty of sea robins to be caught and tasted. Some hickories are in the rivers, good catches of white perch on bite-size baits are happening, and blue crabbing is impressive in most tidal rivers and creeks.
Lo and behold, just as the menhaden were totally stacked and locked in, they began to scatter. It seems as though our friends the humpback whales are back and taking advantage of all the available forage, while practicing their feeding skills. Last year, we lost one to blunt force trauma, most likely from the hull of a large vessel. These are mammals and, for their safety, mariners need to respect the law. There is a 100 foot no head-on approach zone; a 300-foot, 15-minute rule; and a 600-foot, standby zone not to exceed seven knots.
Low water levels are making trout fishing the rivers a challenge. The major ones like the Salmon, Housey, and Farmington have been more productive, especially with big browns. Lake and pond fishing has been best during early morning and evening hours or on overcast days, with fish breaking water for top water baits. Crappie have been suspended and sunfish are the exception with good midday action.
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 clam supplies, 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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