Connecticut and Rhode Island Fishing Report – July 16, 2020

A strong striped bass season persists, with great reports from the west end of Connecticut to Newport, while bottom fishing gets steadier everyday, with great scup action, solid sea bass action and improved fluke action. Offshore reports seem to be getting more consistent, while inshore blue crabbing seems to be hitting its peak.

Diorio’s Guide Service reported great black sea bass fishing this week.

Rhode Island Fishing Report

Captain Frank, of The Frances Fleet in Point Judith, reports that they had another strong week of fishing in Rhode Island. Limits were managed on most of the full boat trips this week, and if not they were usually close. The fluke fishing remains up and down, but when the drift has been solid, they have been able to find some quality fish, with the pool often coming in around 9 or 10 pounds. The half-day trips also remain productive for both fluke and sea bass, with easy limits of big sea bass showing up last week. They will continue to sail daily at 8 am and 1 pm, and reservations can be booked right through the website!

Captain Connor, at Tall Tailz Charters in Newport, told me that the striped bass fishing has remained stellar of Newport. There have been loads of 35-40-inch fish all along the coast, and they have started to see an increased amount of slot fish recently for those looking to keep one. A big mass of gator bluefish have shown up recently, and have been a blast on topwater plugs. Sea bass limits have been plentiful all over the area, and the fluke action has been relatively steady on the deeper water contours.

Captain Kelly, of C-Devil II Sportfishing in Point Judith, told me that the biomass of striped bass residing in Rhode Island waters has been tremendous, with great catches coming from the boat and surf. They have been releasing quite a few fish in the 40-50-pound class and have managed a limit of slot fish on many trips. As always, live eels are a great producer, but fish have been willing to hit jigs as well. The fluke action has picked up around the island this week and is also still decent around the South County beaches. The sea bassing has been great, with easy limits of large fish, and the same can be said for the scup fishing. The offshore bite is still producing some smaller bluefin, along with a strong shark bite just south of Block, which included an awesome 450-pound thresher they landed this week.

A 450-pound thresher decided to come out and play for C-Devil II sportfishing this week.

Connecticut Fishing Report

Andrew, at Fishin Factory III in Middletown, told me that there are still some bass hanging around the huge schools of bunker, and are generally being taken on live bait. The reefs across the western and central sound have filled in with bass in good numbers and decent quality. Fluking remains tough due to the abundance of shorts, but if you work the right structure from Niantic to New London, you can probably find some solid fish. Sea bassing has slowed in Connecticut but has picked up to the east, while scup action has been lights out all over.

Matt, at Black Hall Outfitters, told me that the tropical storms seemed to move fish around a bit, but with some work you should be able to find them easily. The bass are still hitting bunker and live eels consistently and are also taking bucktails and diamond jigs on some deeper structure. School bass and small bluefish are still abundant and are still willing to hit topwaters at false dawn and around dusk. Small pencil poppers, rebel jumpin minnows and 7-inch soft plastics have been getting the job done. Sea bass are still being taken in the eastern sound on Daiwa SK jigs and other similar offerings, while scup action remains strong all over the area. Things are starting to trend in the right direction for fluke anglers, who are reporting more keepers in CT this week on bucktails, glass minnows and M3 spoons. The BHO fluke fest is still being led by a 12.33-pound fish, but you have 2 months left to take over the top spot!

Mike Roy, of Reel Cast Charters, told me that there are still some quality striped bass around, but you have to work a little harder to locate them. Some are hanging in the river around the bunker schools and many have filtered onto the reefs and are moving around. School fish remain abundant and can still be taken on topwaters most mornings or evenings. The sea bass bite is still good in the eastern sound, while hubcap scup are being taken all over the area.

Joe, at Diorio Guide Service, told me that the bass bite has slowed a bit as the fish have spread out onto the reefs. They are still out there, but it takes a bit more traveling/searching to find a school that will bite. He’s spent a good bit of time sea bass and fluke fishing this week with strong results. Easy limits of sea bass remain common, along with some nice keeper fluke in 70-100 feet of water.

Captain Chris, at Elser Guide Service, told me that things have slowed down a little out his way, but the topwater bunker school game is still going strong. The storm set him back a little, with a bunch of chop and stained water, but things are starting to trend in the right direction. A big push of smaller bass and blues have started to appear, which may seem a bit early, but is likely due to the abundance of peanut bunker. Sea bassing has remained steady out west, and they have started to move into shallower water (50-60).

Fisherman’s World in Norwalk, reports that the bass are still hanging around the western sound, but they have gotten a little tougher to locate. The nighttime fresh chunk/live bait game has been best, and it seems the biggest slug of fish has started to move east. Slot fish can still be taken around the islands and big bluefish have moved out to the mid-sound structure. Fluking has been slow, but the die-hard fluke guys are pounding small pieces of structure and finding fish to 8-pounds. Scup action is great on all the reefs, and sea bassing has been solid at most of the usual hotspots.

Mike, at Light Bite Charters, reports that things have remained consistent out his way, with good schoolie bass action around the islands. Larger bass are harder to find, but they are still in the area. Gator bluefish can be found on structure from 40-120 feet, so they remain a solid option. On the calmer days, anglers can often sight fish for small blues and bass, with the best action coming in the general area of the bunker schools.

Fishing Forecast

The tropical storm came through and mixed things up, but certainly didn’t hurt us too much. Striper fishing remains consistent across the board, although warming water temps have pushed them out of the river and shallow water, and into deeper water. Bluefishing remains steadier than the last few years, with mixed sizes of fish being easy to locate. Fluking still requires some work, but the uptick of keepers has been encouraging, while sea bassing has been steady and scup fishing has been outstanding. Regardless of your location you should be able to find some bass and/or blues that are willing to play, and you should be able to fill your cooler with a nice mix of bottom fish. The offshore guys are finding a solid action if you’re into traveling, while the blue crabbing has been outstanding for those staying closer to home.

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