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06/26/2023 01:15 PM

Do You Remember Catching Your First Fish?

Evelyn Boyce (6) of Guilford and her first catch on Long Island Sound was assisted by her Uncle Mark and returned to the water to swim again. Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan
Pete Ginda (11), splitting his time between Guilford and Brooklyn, fished Lake Quonnipaug where he proudly landed and released his first fish. Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan
Steven Shellnutt of Killingworth nailed this pair of doormat fluke that took bucktail jigs and Gulp in around 50 feet of water. Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan

It is a delicate balance protecting the young of year class of fish so that our young of year generation reaps the results of that effort. Most will agree that these past few years have seen a surge in young striped bass appearances and impressive catches of stripers in the upper class of fish.

Nature gave us a run of good fish, and we eventually capitalized on it by updating protective management measures utilizing a multi-point approach. Granted, not all credit goes to management protocols. There is an element of oversight that Mother Nature has bestowed on our fishery and all that relates to it.

Collectively, these efforts combine to make for a greatly improved recreational fishery, many more successful fishing trips, and fond memories. Just listen to the enthusiasm and comments coming from our younger generation. The mere fact that there is more verbal interaction between youngsters regarding their fishing exploits and their eagerness to learn further about fishing is evidence enough.

It is most apparent when one notices repeated verbal communication and quite a bit less texting going on both by the water and during outdoor gatherings. Of course, when in the shop, shoring up meeting times, locations, as well as bait and tackle choices, is understandable and more to the point. As this season continues to unfold, sparking interest and stimulating the gray matter is a good thing that, in turn, helps build character and make better fishers.

Season after season, there are future generations of anglers introduced to fishing. They are nurtured by their elders, who pass on generations of knowledge. In turn, the cycle continues as newcomers mature and bring other generations into the fold. This tradition has been going on for centuries, and there is no indication that that cycle will cease anytime soon, provided fish have a habitat in which to live. Catastrophic events aside, life always has a way of evolving.

On The Water

High pressure in northern New England remained before slowly moving offshore. High pressure then shifted farther east into the Atlantic as a southeastern low began drifting north. The system tracked into the Midwest, stalling near the region, creating unsettled weather before moderating into 70- to 80-degree temperatures and sunny to partly sunny days. Long Island Sound water temperatures remained in the low 60s and gradually climbed as winds remained variable and seas ranged from choppy to relatively calm.

Weakfish catches along the shoreline took a hike during the new moon phase, especially around flood tide. Sizes and quantities were a pleasant surprise as some weakies ranged from 28-30,” taking baits and artificials intended for striped bass. These shore-caught fish put up a fuss and fired up drags as they took line in shallow water, compared to depths found by offshore reefs.

Bluefish activity varied as they chased schools of menhaden that formed in tidal rivers and stretched to the reefs, shoals, and rip lines. Large choppers broke through The Race on the east and Hell’s Gate on the west as scattered schools of harbor blues were hooked near shore. Chunkers hooked up on the reefs and rips while trollers ripped through schools while drift jigging and trolling spoons. Shore casting varied as surfers threw plugs and tins.

Weather and water temperature play a part in striped bass hookups, and the heated bite of the last several weeks eased as stripers settled down. Both shore, shoal, and reef activity still remains good, but the fiery action simmered down as linesiders spread out. Working the slot is a little more challenging as more fish over/under the slot are being caught and released. Live eels have been productive, as well as chunks, plugs, and jigs. Bass will be bass, and if it’s running, they will eat it — including a realistic imitation.

The bottom fishery is really cranking up! Short fluke are outnumbering keepers by 18:1, but mini-doormats and larger are being caught with squid, bucktails, and various rigs — some deep, others making their way inshore. Winter flounder can be caught in channels and bays, but blackback catches vary. Black sea bass are hitting squid and jigs. Hit the 40 to 60 foot depths having some sort of structure for knotheads — otherwise, undersized fish will most likely pluck your hooks clean.

Note: Connecticut sea bass waters closed on 6/24 and re-opens on 7/8. New York waters opened on 6/23 to three fish at 16.5”.

Shore porgies are biting along jetties, rock piles, humps, etc. Squid, clams, seaworms, etc., are the baits of choice, including scented artificial strips. There are plenty of striped sea robins, along with intermittent activity by northern kingfish and toadfish. Skate are biting and smooth dogfish are chowing down on chunks of bait with 40”+ ones, giving fishers quite a fight. Do not be surprised if a sand tiger or sandbar shark picks up your bait twisting, running, and peeling off line while hooked up.

Hazards, vegetation, and a few insects aside, fishing inland waters remains active and quite productive as many anglers will attest. Just about now, all lake and pond species are feeding throughout the water column, including the basses where their early morning and late day bites have been producing quality fish. Pickerel continue to remain aggressive, catfish are being attracted by scented baits, and panfish are liking worms and small surface lures. Trout are taking natural/scented baits, spinners, swimmers, and flies but remain selective.

Fly Fishing Clinic: Now accepting reservations for July. An outstanding opportunity for the experienced or intermediate fly fisher! Booking inland and marine fly fishing lessons for 2023 with World Fisher, certified master fly fishing casting instructor and fishing lodge director, along with striped bass enthusiast and specialist. From trout, salmon, steelhead, and sea-run browns to striped bass, bonefish, permit, and tarpon, etc., techniques learned and honed will improve your fishing.

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, flies/fly fishing, rods/reels, clam/crabbing supplies, fishing trips, licenses/permits, and much more, 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 and Authorized Penn Premium Dealer, where we don’t make the fisherman, we make the fisherman better.

Tight Lines,

Captain Morgan

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