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January 19, 2018  |  

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1

Tom Tang of Guilford lands this 28-inch weakfish—his career best salty to date.

Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan

Tom Tang of Guilford lands this 28-inch weakfish—his career best salty to date. (Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan )

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TJ Katz of Madison hits this lunker bucketmouth personal best on a Texas-rigged worm. Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan

TJ Katz of Madison hits this lunker bucketmouth personal best on a Texas-rigged worm. (Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan )

Fishing Up a Storm

Published Sep 13, 2017 • Last Updated 11:32 pm, September 19, 2017

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It’s been one heck of a week along the Atlantic coast with one weather event being unleashed after another. The domino effect, regardless of how slight, does have an impact on the fisheries and, unless fish sought refuge in a zone of protection, they were probably as perplexed as the weather forecasters. The deeper one goes, the less of an impact is felt down below compared to disturbances on the surface.

However, when depths shallow out in the surf, the turbulence created can be devastating. Swimmers can be swept under by rip tides, and fish can be beached or their gills smothered by sand. The upside is that waters become energized and an array of food gets caught up in the turmoil. It is precisely this occurrence that can generate a feeding frenzy, especially just prior or slightly after a drop in barometric pressure.

Striped bass can readily tolerate such conditions to a point and will generally gorge themselves until conditions deteriorate or the food supply diminishes. Bluefish create their own feeding environment, while weakfish, on the other hand, shy away from difficult conditions altogether, frequently feeding offshore. For the last few seasons, weakies have had better than average spring and fall runs and have mixed in with both bass and blues.

Our inshore waters of Long Island Sound have recently been in the low 70s, which is a lot cooler than what hurricanes thrive on. That drop in water temperature not only kicked off the run of fish, but also may play into what turns out to be a less than dramatic storm season, and certainly less sensational than what’s been transpiring with our southern friends. For anyone looking for some good fall fishing, take note that we are on the cusp of it. So, gear up and head out. There is plenty of superb fishing ahead!

On the Water

The fall run is underway with the added bonus of the Harvest moon and a drop in air temperatures. Mornings dipped into the 50s, while the days topped off in the low 70s. Typically, winds kicked up and, with the threat of Hurricane Irma churning up the waters, fishers took advantage of any opportunity offered. Long Island Sound inshore water temps held to the low 70s, prompting an solid increase in fish activity and a peek into what fall may hold.

Tidal rivers saw runs of hickory shad, an influx of schools of menhaden, and a moderate increase in blue crab catches. Chopper blues were more prevalent on many of the local reefs throughout the Sound, feeding primarily on bunker, squid, and shad, while the snappers continued to grow. Flood tides were the best for these little tough guys as they chomped on spearing, snapper rigs, and lures.

Hefty bluefish in excess of 17 pounds were caught from the Race to Six Mile, through to Faulkner’s, past The Beacon, and into New Haven. Diamond jigs, umbrella rigs, spoons, and chunks have all been working, including topwater poppers when encountering blitzes. Beefed up leaders are a must, as well as stout sharp hooks. Good fishing has been experienced in the lower tidal rivers when schools of menhaden bunched up.

We have experienced some sizable weakies while fishing for blues and stripers. Most of these fish have been hooked near the bottom while drifting or trolling bite-size baits and rigs with similarly sized lures dressed with squid. The striped bass night bite has come to life. Live eels, bucktails, and plugs have caught fish in excess of 35 pounds with some topping 40. Smaller fish have been a bit more active during the day, but early mornings have seen the better bite. Searching out rocky structure on either side of the top or bottom of the tide has been paying off.

It looks like we are seeing the start of what could be some good, but inconsistent albie and bonito activity. Numerous runs have been intercepted by fishers throughout the Sound from Tuna Alley to New Haven and beyond. Pay particular attention to rip lines, especially in the early morning and as sundown nears. Light gear, fast swimming metals, and even faster stripping of flies, along with plenty of line is recommended. Lead the school and, if you think your retrieve is fast enough, speed it up!

Fluke is on through Thursday, Sept. 21 and the action is probably as good as it’s going to get. Although many doormats were caught in deep water with whole baits, larger fluke have been feeding closer inshore and creeping into tidal rivers. Black sea bass fishery continues to produce an array of fish with four-plus pounders still coming from deeper waters. Squid continues to top the bait list. Add scup to the bottom fishery and you’ve rounded off the popular bottom fish category until ‘tog season opens on Tuesday, Oct. 10. Porgy fishing is strong with dinner-plate size fish caught from the reefs almost being the norm. Northern kingfish, sea robins, and a variety of coastal sharks are still cruising the shoreline.

Fall trout stocking is underway with 5,800 fish already hitting the rivers. Largemouth bass fishing is quite good, river smallies are biting, carp and cats are very active, pike need a push, pickerel are smashing lures, and panfish are hot. Now is the time to be out there!

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...

Tight Lines,

Captain Morgan

captainmorgan.fish@sbcglobal.net

captainmorgan-fish.blogspot.com

twitter @captmorgan_usa

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