Bluefish are Inundating Long Island Sound’s Shoreline
Long Island Sound seals are accustomed to catching bluefish, whether fish hooked or otherwise, as captured by angler and photographer Harald Foellmer. (Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan )
Another humpback whale that surfaced in Long Island Sound was caught on camera by an alert angler, writer, and photographer, Yale’s own Tom Migdalski. (Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan )
We’re all aware of how much bait there is schooling in Long Island Sound, as well as the amount of fish and mammals (including man) who are taking advantage of this bounty. Couple that with warmer water temperatures and it’s understandable how both southern and tropical fish drift in with the currents and mix with other species.
Even with that much forage available, competition for it is increasing and we’re seeing sea life feed more aggressively. Nothing can illustrate this more than witnessing a seal snatching a freshly hooked bluefish under the eyes of an unsuspecting fisher—and that happens much more than one expects!
At first, thoughts of a prize fish wander through the mind. It’s the brute strength of what’s pulling line and it’s something much bigger than generally runs in the Sound. It’s an attention getter. Then, a split second before it gets spooled, one realizes that there isn’t enough line left on the spool to recoup. The line separates from the reel and a seal surfaces with what should have been your fish.
So now, fishers have more competition, and it’s not only from other fishers and fish, but also from self-trained harbor seals that learned the difference between an easy meal from an earned one. Incidentally, seals will happily take a herring, striped bass, bluefish, or any other finfish that would be an easy target, including your next meal. It’s all part of the food chain. So, if you’re fishing anywhere near these pinnipeds and, especially if you’re competing in this weekend’s WICC Greatest Bluefish Tournament on Earth, keep a close eye on your catch.
On the Water
Heat returned, along with thunderstorms and more wind, before air temperatures moderated and cooled down to the low 80s. Central Sound water temps remained in the high 70s and were cooler further east. Tides were right for evening fishing, although that was when the winds usually kicked up.
For whatever reason, the Sturgeon Full Moon appeared to energize the fishery in spite of the weather. There were dense schools of small bunker and spearing all along the shoreline and in the bays. This brought runs of harbor bluefish that delighted shore casters, small boaters, and even fishers further out as these feeders wove in and around the Sound. The top water action, at times, was so intense that terminal tackle repeatedly paid the ultimate price.
Even the chunkers and jiggers got into the action, but that was further offshore as blues in the 12- to 15-pound range put up their typical fuss when hooked. Twisting and turning, they are tearing up umbrella rigs and straightening jig hooks. The inordinate amount of bait schools had been keeping these choppers pretty much on a daily schedule, especially during a flood tide. Snapper fishing also saw the expected August bite, yet not to the same extent as larger blues thus far. However, average-size striped bass were caught on both top water plugs and various sub-surface methods. Due to the heat spell, one had to put in time to land a big gal. Night still remained the best time to hook into a bragger, although deep cool pockets worked during the day. Out on the reefs, live eels were definitely the ticket around the full moon and, when worming for bass, more fishers were hooking weakfish. Kimberly, Faulkner’s, Charles, and Hammonasset are a few of the spots that were productive.
Black sea bass, fluke, and blackfish (tautog) all continue to show activity. Sea bass remain a hot prospect throughout the Sound, whereas fluke have been a bit more particular as to tide, time, location, and water clarity. Water temps have risen so that, in many cases, deep water produces better results. In each case, some sort of bait paired with a hook, rig, or jig worked best.
Other bottom fish such as dogfish, sea robins, and kingfish are being caught along the shoreline on various baits. Using just enough weight to keep the bait down or, in some cases, none to let it free-float, are two effective options. Keep a light setup for spotty runs of river hickories and crabbing gear handy to take advantage of this good blue crabbing season.
The heat has put a damper on the fresh water scene, however, largemouth bass fishing has been better than OK using soft plastics. Elsewhere, smallies are biting, pike and carp are OK, and cats are best at night. Trout lakes have been fair and the rivers received a short-lived shot in the arm from the rain for a brief cool-down.
Bluefish Contest Deadline
Registration for the WICC Greatest Bluefish Tournament on Earth and Captain Morgan’s Piggyback end at 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 26. Stop by Captain Morgan’s to register. Fishing begins at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27.
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 the latest gear, 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...