A strong striped bass season persists with great reports from the west end of Connecticut to Newport. Bottom fishing gets steadier every day with great scup action, solid sea bass action, and improved fluke fishing.
Rhode Island Fishing Report
Captain Connor at Tall Tailz Charters in Newport told me that the striped bass fishing has remained stellar off Newport. There have been loads of 35- to 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- to 50-pound class and have managed a limit of slot fish on many trips. The fish have been spread out so you can avoid the crowded hot spots and still find plenty of quality fish. As always, live eels are a great producer, but fish have been willing to hit jigs as well. The best fluke action has been coming from the area of the South County beaches, but the sea bass bite around Block Island is making up for a lack of fluke out that way. They have been able to get easy limits of large sea bass, along with some hubcap scup.
Captain Greg of the Frances Fleet in Narragansett reported a decent day Wednesday with an easy sea bass limit to 5 pounds and fluke to 8 pounds. Half-day trips are putting the hurting on sea bass all day long.
Mike at Watch Hill Outfitters in Westerly in Westerly reported that the fluke fishing has remained steady off the Westerly beaches, with a few anglers reporting limit catches this week. The number of shorts is still significant, but some larger keepers are showing up. Striped bass reports remain best around Block Island, but the local reefs and Fishers are producing good numbers as well.
Dave at Ocean State Tackle in Providence told me that while it is far from lights out, there are more bonito reports coming in each day. It appears we are on our way to another strong (and early) bone season. Scup fishing has been great throughout the state for boat and shore anglers, with some nice limits coming in Thursday from Colt State Park. The summer largemouth bass bite has also picked up for anglers flipping senkos, topwater frogs, and live shiners.
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Connecticut Fishing Report
Heather from the Black Hawk Sportfishing office reports that it was another excellent week of fishing. The porgy bite continues to be red hot, with near daily limits of jumbo scup. The sea bass bite remains solid and is improving every trip- most days, they’re loading plenty of nice knotheads into the coolers. They will be running night bass trips this week, so stay tuned for reports. All trips continue to be by reservation only, so be sure to grab your tickets as soon as you see the date you’d like posted.
Andrew at Fishin Fishin Factory III in Middletown told me that the fluking has been up and down, but those putting some time in are finding a decent pick of solid keeper fish. Shorts are still greatly outnumbering keepers, but more quality fish seem to be showing up each day, including a few around the double-digit mark. Block is starting to get overrun with dogfish, and with solid reports from Misquamicut and Charlestown, you probably don’t have to make the run. Sea bass action is great at the island, and at most of the Rhode Island and eastern sound rockpiles. Scup action has also been steady across the state for both shore and boat anglers. The lower Connecticut River is still producing some solid stripers, especially on the flood tide, but the majority of the bass anglers are starting to target the eastern sound reefs and Fishers after dark for better bass.
Matt at Black Hall Outfitters told me that school striped bass are still plentiful throughout eastern CT, and there has also been a strong push of larger bass through the central and eastern sound. Bigger bass have been coming of most of the smaller reefs, and have been taking bunker, eels and GT eels. The bluefish are still very plentiful, which is a double-edged sword. If you’re targeting them on swimming plugs and topwaters it could be a ton of fun but be careful when you’re throwing expensive soft plastics for bass. The fluke bite is heating up; short fish are still prevalent but there have been more quality keepers in the mix of late. Chartreuse bucktails tipped with Gulp and rigged M3 spoons have been getting the job done. Sea bass and scup action has been tremendous throughout the state, and the CT summer tautog season has produced some limits for those that are targeting them.
Mike Roy of Reel Cast Charters told me that striped bass fishing is still going strong, but the fish have become a bit more finicky, so live bait is starting to outfish plugs. Topwater action is still solid at certain points, but there are plenty of fish to be had whether it’s topwaters or live bunker. The bigger blues have spread out, but there still seems to be some large concentrations of smaller blues on the inshore reefs. The sea bass have also spread out throughout the eastern sound and are starting to pop up and multiple different locales, making a limit easier to obtain. Be sure to check in with Mike for a trip, he still has openings in August and through the fall.
Captain TJ, of Rock and Roll Charters, told me that the striper bite has been rock solid this week. He’s had big numbers and varying sizes of fish, including some slot fish and some trophy class fish. Another nice push of bluefish has moved in as well and are helping to keep the action almost non-stop. Fluke action has been on the slower side, sea bass keepers require a little work, but they are available for the taking, while scup action has been tremendous.
Captain Chris, at Elser Guide Service, told me that he had continued strong action of bass chasing bunker schools between Milford and Fairfield Thursday morning. There have been plenty of big bluefish in the mix as well, with some eclipsing the 10-pound mark. The bulk of the stripers have been large, falling between 25 to 35 pounds, and they have willingly hit live bunker or 10-inch Occhis. The sea bass fishing has also remained consistent in 70-80 feet of water. Some larger schools of peanut bunker have started to show up in the sound, which is a great sign for an upcoming (potentially early) albie and bonito season.
Fisherman’s World in Norwalk reported that bass fishing is still strong in western Long Island Sound. Bunker have moved inshore and big bass in the 30- to 40-pound class have been taken in close around the Norwalk Islands this week on chunks and eels. When the bunker are showing, there have been some good shots of fish taking topwater plugs, but at night it’s been eels. There are also fish out at Middle Ground and behind Charles Island. Blues are moving inshore too. Sea bass fishing is still really good on deep structure off of 28C or 32A. Fluke is slow, but porgies are red hot everywhere.
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Rhode Island Fishing Forecast
It’s too early to tell if the new striped bass regulations will truly help stocks, but it certainly appears that there is a nice biomass of fish in most of their usual summer haunts. Block Island is full of fish, which has been the norm for July, but Newport, Fishers, and the reefs throughout Long Island Sound all seem to be holding good numbers of quality fish. There should be a solid bass bite before this storm makes it way through, and the storm appears to be short-lived, so this weekend should be far from a wash-out. Bluefish of mixed sizes seem more plentiful than in years past, while the groundfishing seems to be hitting its stride. Scup action is tremendous, sea bass action has been strong in most locations, and while fluke fishing could get frustrating with all the short fish, there seems to be more quality keepers being weighed in daily. Bonito sightings are becoming more plentiful as well, so be sure to keep the light tackle gear ready!