Connecticut Fishing Report – July 23, 2020

The usual summer striper hotspots are producing right on schedule, while the inshore bite seems to have improved with the new moon. Keeper fluke appear elusive once again, but the scup and sea bass continue to pick up the slack.

Connecticut Fishing Report

Andrew, at Fishin Factory III in Middletown, told me that the vast majority of striped bass anglers are focusing on Block Island, so reports from other locales have been quiet, but some of the sharpies have taken advantage of the new moon and found some nice local bass the last few nights. Fluking seems to have gotten tougher the last few days, with nothing more than shorts, dogfish and sea robins showing up on most of the local hotspots. Sea bassing has slowed down in the central sound but is improving to the east and in Rhode Island waters. Crabbing has been good in the river, and the chub mackerel are starting to make an appearance just as they did last year.
Matt, at Black Hall Outfitters, told me that the striped bass have entered their summer patterns, where anglers are finding them in deeper water during the daytime, but still managing some slobs in shallow water after dark. Live bunker or eels are getting it done night and day, with Gravity Tackle GT Eels coming in as the top artificial producer. An influx of silversides has moved into the area recently and is providing a bit of light tackle and fly action. The sea bass seem to have moved to deeper water, with better fishing out east, while the scup bite remains strong across the board. Fluke fishing has been up and down, with your best bet being to put the time in, fish smaller, less popular pieces of structure and remain willing to move.

Mike Roy, of Rivers End in Old Saybrook, 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. An influx of silversides in the area has resulted in some great school bass and bluefish action on light tackle. The sea bass bite is still good in the eastern sound, while hubcap scup are being taken all over the area.

Heather, from Black Hawk Sportfishing, reports continued excellent scup and sea bass fishing. Numbers have been consistent, and size has been excellent! They’ve been running their After Work Special trips, which have resulted in some great bottom fishing followed by bass and bluefish action. The fishing for all species was stellar, including a monster 16-pound bluefish that took the pool. Anglers are requesting more of these trips and they should accommodate. All trips continue to be reservation only, so be sure to check the website or contact the office.

Joe, at Diorio Guide Service, told me that the few local trips he did this week resulted in a nice push of larger striped bass. There have been some fish both day and night, but the larger fish have been taking eels after dark or right around daybreak. Joe has spent more time this week fluking and sea bassing and has found a solid bite for both species in 100+ feet of water.

Captain Chris Elser
Captain Chris Elser with one of many slob striped bass from LIS this week.

Captain Chris, at Elser Guide Service, told me that smaller bait continues to filter in and he anticipates some excellent topwater action for the next few months. Large striped bass have continued to be the highlight of his trips, either casting topwater Occhis and poppers around the bunker schools or trolling the tube and worm rig. Sea bass action in deep water has slowed down a bit but more fish are moving in on the small bait closer to shore. They managed some nice keeper sea bass as by-catch while casting to shallow water bass and blues this week. For the first time in a while they have been able to pick up quality keeper fluke out west, which is more encouraging than the reports from the rest of the area.

Fisherman’s World in Norwalk, reports that the shop has remained busy and anglers are raving about tremendous scup action all over the area and throughout all depths. Sea bass action is generally moving deeper, 50 + feet, but it has remained steady on most of the common wrecks and pieces of structure. Striper has action has been steady as well, with the nighttime chunk bite producing fish to 45-pounds in areas such as Middle Ground. The area around the islands is producing some solid bass as well on small topwaters and swimming plugs, and there is an abundance of 3-5-pound bluefish in the mix as well. They also reported a strong fluke bite this week, with big numbers of fish from 5-8-pounds, it certainly sounds like the western sound is the place to be for consistent keeper fluke this week!

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Rhode Island Fishing Report

The Frances Fleet in Point Judith, reports that Captain Greg has been on the hunt for sea bass and fluke all week, and results have been excellent. Limits of bomber sea bass to 6-pounds have been showing up on most trips, and a good showing of keeper fluke have been in the mix, including a true standout fish caught by young Bobby, that taped out at nearly 30-inches. Captain Rich has seen an improvement on the full day boat, with a decent showing of fluke to 8-pounds over the past few days and near full boat limits of sea bass on each trip. They will continue to sail daily if the weather allows, and spots are filling quick, so be sure to book a reservation asap!

France Fleet
Bobby with a stud fluke from the France Fleet this week.

Captain Connor, at Tall Tailz Charters in Newport, chimed in with another strong report today. He told me that striped bass fishing hasn’t slowed down a bit, there are plenty of slot fish for those looking to take some meat home, and they have also seen an increase of larger fish in the 30-40-pound range. Live bait has remained a top producer, but the tube and worm on the troll has been producing as well. There are still some true gator blues mixed in, although they’ve thinned out a bit. Fluking remains tricky on the usual haunts, due to an abundance of shorts, you’re best bet is to work smaller pieces of structure and use tight drifts when you find some keepers. The nearshore shark fishing has been great with loads of blues and makos within 10-20 miles.

Bill Devine
Bill Devine landed this big bluefish this week at Block Island.

Just when Captain Kelly, of C-Devil II Sportfishing, thought it couldn’t get much better, the striper grounds grew even more productive. Slot fish became easier to come by over the past few days, and they are still releasing dozens of 30-50-pound fish to every keeper. The bass of all sizes continue to eat everything they throw at them: live bait, jigs, trolling…it hasn’t really mattered. The fluke fishing around the island picked up a bit, with some nice fish to 10-pounds in 60-70 feet of water. The sea bass bite is as reliable as ever, with fish as big as 8-pounds showing up this week! Scup and bluefish are also plentiful, and the green bonito have shown up in decent numbers along the beaches. A couple of offshore trips this week didn’t produce the target species, but the shark bite has been strong. August is now booked solid, but they have a few dates in September and are starting to book for fall tautog trips.

Want to get in on the bite? Find an OTW-approved Charter Fishing Captain for Rhode Island.

Connecticut Fishing Forecast

The summer heat is here but the doldrums are not. Strong striped bass persists in the usual hotspots (Block, Fishers etc.), but the local fishing in both Rhode Island and Connecticut seems to have improved once again. The sea bass seem to have moved around a bit, but if you’re willing to move with them, limits are easy to find. Fluke action has stalled a bit out east, but seems to have woke up out west, while scup fishing is tremendous across the board. The tuna bite has slowed a bit in the local offshore game, but the strong shark fishing helps to ensure some good action on most trips.

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