Fishing in Four Easy Steps
Luca Esposito, 10, and brother Rocco, 8, both of Guilford, caught these slot-limit mealtime striped bass while trolling in Long Island Sound. Photo (Illustration courtesy of Captain Morgan )
Dr. Richard O’Sullivan of Madison, accompanied by his crew, landed this mahi mahi (top) in Costa Rica and a nice spectacled trout (bottom) on another trip to Sarasota, Florida. Photo (Illustration courtesy of Captain Morgan )
When was the last time you went fishing? Chances are good that you fall into that group of people who stored their gear and didn’t look at it for several years. However, with all the recent talk of good fishing, fresh food, and what can safely be done besides staying inside, it’s no wonder that more people are rethinking their summer pastime and getting back on the water.
It doesn’t matter much whether you wet a line in the sweet water or the briny. Just being out in the brisk air is invigorating. However, before you dust off your gear and head out, there are a few hints to consider.
It all boils down to these four basics: rod, reel, line, and hooks. To avoid surprises, examine the rod for stress cracks and any rusty, grooved, or damaged guides that could compromise a fishing line. Also, make sure that the reel seat (the part that secures the reel) is operable. Next, put the reel through its paces, checking things like the anti-reverse, free spool, drag, missing parts, and level wind (if an option). A good cleaning and lube goes a long way toward easing the operation.
After that, replace the fishing line, including leaders. If it’s old, the monofilament has most likely deteriorated and lost its usefulness. The lines today are much more advanced and will outperform your existing one. Initially, stick with monofilament until you have a reason to switch to the new, super braided ones, where sensitivity and capacity are greatly improved. Finally, ditch the old rusty hooks in favor of new ones, unless your cleaning and sharpening skills are up for the task. Even so, rusty hooks will most likely break under any pressure, perhaps costing you a fish.
There certainly are more things that could be covered. However, adhering to these four simple items will get you on the water and, with a little effort, perhaps help you land a fish—something that you or one of your family members might have not done in a while. Happy fishing!
On the Water
Relief from the near 100-degree heat came as humidity dropped and a bit more rain was squeezed from the sky. Inshore water temperatures wandered in and around the mid-70s (warmer in the tidal rivers) as wind and seas settled into more of an August mode. There were more harbor seals hunting the waters for food and basking in the sun on local rocky outcrops. According to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, observe this protected species from a safe distance of 50 yards and for a maximum of 30 minutes. It’s best not to feed them from your vessel, unless you relish an unrelenting companion.
There have been more sightings of silversides leaping from the water in an attempt to escape small feeding snapper blues. Mid-flood tides, as well as the beginning of the flip, are best for catching, but keep in mind that the limit for bluefish is now three and includes snapper blues. We have seen an uptick of small blues on scattered schools of menhaden with a few encounters of larger fish offshore. Keeping a few spoons and topwater plugs handy is a good idea if and when the moment occurs.
Trolling spoons when fishing the inshore reefs has been the ticket for slot-limit striped bass. The heat slowed down the inshore bite, although dunking chunks in the cooler depths at anchor paid off, as did jigging and three-way drifting. As air and water temperatures rise, the best effort for return is fishing the cooler parts of the day—pre-dawn and post sunset—especially close to shore. Live eels or bucktails are recommended.
Porgy (scup) fever remains intense as more fishers returning from years of absence are rediscovering the fun. Egged on by younger family members, it doesn’t take them long before a few nibbles turn into a good day’s catch. Most rock piles will also produce small black sea bass, but if larger ones more than three pounds are your goal, then hit the deeper water with some rigs, jigs, and squid. In the process of heading out, you might stumble onto some blackfish (tautog) tucked in the rock piles that could ultimately round off a decent day of fishing.
Water temps have warmed, but that hasn’t stopped the sea trout (weakfish) bite. Although we are seeing them inshore, most are now running from Six Mile Reef to Faulkner’s, past The Beacon, and out toward New Haven way. Try a drift in the area of Faulkner’s from south of the KR Bell toward the Goose I Bell. Meanwhile, summer flounder (fluke) have been caught while drifting the Faulkner Island area. However, Six Mile, Long Sand Shoal, and areas from Branford Point to Lighthouse in New Haven are also producing fish. Some good catches have come from depths of 40 to 60 feet.
The normal bottom fish like sea robins, skate, and sand sharks, along with northern kingfish, are continuing to take various baits when fished off the bottom. Working the tidal inlets and estuaries is currently yielding sustainable catches of blue crabs. Dipping the net, working the throws, or dropping traps should be worth the effort.
Heat has hampered river trout fishing, even though limited rainfall has helped the levels and flows. The lakes and ponds have fared much better with the typical habitants like largemouth and smallmouth bass, pickerel, crappie, perch, and sunfish. Check out the catfish in both the rivers and lakes.
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 licenses, 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...