Connecticut Fishing Report – October 21, 2021

Excellent striper fishing and good tog fishing in the shallows.

West Marine

Connecticut Fishing Report

Heather, from Blackhawk Sport Fishing told me that they were stuck at the dock for a few days last week but found some solid fishing around Block Island when they were able to get out. Quality sea bass and scup have still been chewing, and each trip is seeing more keeper cod. Even the days that require a bit more work are seeing customers come home with full coolers. Even the very windy days have seen quality results, as they have dialed in plenty of spots that are sheltered. They started up their tautog/bottom combo trips, which are always a great way to fill the coolers with multiple types of filets. They will continue to add these trips to their schedule, and reservations are still required, so be sure to check their website asap!

Andrew, at Fishin’ Factory 3 in Middletown, is seeing the fall season enter full swing, with most of his customers coming through the door and requesting green crabs, tog jigs, and rigs. The fishing has been relatively strong for those getting out, with good reports coming from the shallows, and a few big fish coming from deeper pieces of structure. The season-long tautog tournament at the shop has kicked off, with an 8+ pound fish holding a lead that surely won’t hold up. Make sure you enter before your next tog trip! In other salt/brackish water news, the Connecticut River remains the scene of some excellent striper fishing. Big fish are eager to hit large soft plastics and swimming plugs, along with any live bait offering. Some big bluefish are still in the mix in the same areas, while the snapper bluefish schools continue to invade the coves and tributaries. The false albacore reports improved locally before the blow, with some decent schools showing up on the Eastern Sound reefs, along with big numbers of fish to the west. Some quality sea bass are mixed in with the tog and can still be found on the deeper structure, while scup anglers are still finding great catches from the shore and boat on sandworms.

Mike Roy of Reel Cast Charters told me that the striper fishing has remained steady, as the fish are getting ready to move and showing more aggression. The lower CT River and all of the adjacent reefs are holding some big bass and bluefish, and most of those same reefs are still paved with quality sea bass. The last few days have also continued to see a few more local albies pop up, and there is plenty of small bait to “hopefully” keep them around. Tautog season has started strong, with full boat limits on all trips, and things should only improve as the water temps drop, and there remains no shortage of bomber sea bass to top off the coolers.

Reel Cast Charters Striper
A big sunrise bass on Reel Cast Charters.

Joe, at Diorio Guide Service, reported very steady fishing for striped bass from 24-inches to slot-class, that are more than willing to take any sort of topwater offering. Some bigger fish have also remained in the mix, especially during the low light hours of dawn and dusk. While it’s been far from lock and load, the number of false albacore schools in the Eastern Sound has improved by the day and has been better than it has all season. Tog fishing has been the main show in town, with easy limits of quality fish on most of the reefs and rockpiles from Old Saybrook to Groton.

The beat has rolled on for, Captain Chris Elser, of Elser Guide Service. The winds have been troubling for most of the fall, but whenever he has been able to get out there, he has found steady feeds of false albacore, along with big bass and bluefish on the hunt for bunker. The winds have caused the bait to shift a bit from day to day, but the water temperatures are still unseasonably high, and we have plenty of time for prime fall fishing ahead of us.

Max, at Fisherman’s World in Norwalk, reported that the bass fishing has taken a serious turn for the better over the past week or so. Anglers throwing topwater plugs or running live bunker have found fish from 30-50-pounds from Fairfield to Stratford. The massive schools of bunker have also drawn the attention of the bluefish, as some large schools of gators can be found assaulting the baitfish on most days. The false albacore are still in the area as well, but they seem to have broken off into smaller pods this week. Similar to the Eastern Sound, the tautog fishing has been very strong for anglers out west, almost regardless of fishing depth. Sea bass and scup action has also remained steady, with both species being caught throughout the area, including by anglers dunking crabs for tautog.

Rhode Island Fishing Report

The captains over at The Frances Fleet in Point Judith, have continued to work around the wind and have put together a couple of quality trips on the cod grounds. They are still finding some quality fish, with a few cod coming in well over 20-pounds, while most of the keepers are falling in the mid to upper teen range. Bomber sea bass continue to be easy to find, along with some nice hubcap scup. The fleet will continue to sail daily when the weather allows, and as of right now the weekend doesn’t look too bad, so be sure to check the website for scheduling updates.

Dave, at Ocean State Tackle in Providence, told me that the inshore tautog bite has continued to improve, with strong catches being reported from the shallows and in the deeper water throughout the state. The fish seem to be staged up on all of the hard structure in the area, so it’s a great time to get after the white chins! The inshore striped bass bite has also been solid, with Cesin Curi reporting a consistent bite of 30-pound bass on soft plastics throughout the bay this week. Bonito and false albacore can also still be found on most days, with the best reports coming from the lower bay.

Connor, at Tall Tailz Charters has once again found some stellar fall fishing this week. The typical October winds have made most days a bit sporty, but they’re still managing to put together some excellent trips. They’ve spent most of their time targeting tautog and/or false albacore, while still finding time to cast at busting stripers in the 25-35-inch range, along with some slammer bluefish. The false albacore have also made a decent come back, with consistent pods of fish all over the area, but it’s still taking a bit of time and effort to hook up. When they find them, the Daiwa Zakana 20–30-gram jig in silver and blue has been a top producer. The tog fishing has continued to improve as the water temperatures have slowly dropped, with plenty of 5-7-pound fish, along with some slammer double digit fish. The magic depth for big fish seems to be 35-feet, but they are finding success across the whole water column.

Jay, at Pamela May Charters in Narragansett, told me that not much has changed, as the fall run remains in full swing. The striped bass have been feeding in full force, as they get ready for their fall migration. The false albacore have thinned out, but are still popping up here and there most days, along with a bonus bonito from time to time. The tautog fishing has been the main draw throughout the Ocean State, and rightfully so, with red hot action in most of their early season spots. Some bonus cod have been in the mix for tautog anglers, along with plenty of big sea bass and scup. The water hasn’t cooled too much just yet, so we should have plenty of time left for excellent multi-species bottom fishing action.

Rick, at Priority Charters in Point Judith, has shifted his attention to tautog fishing this week, and it appears to be the right decision! They’ve found plenty of keeper fish on all their early season rockpiles, with several quality fish in the 7-9-pound range. Short fish aren’t overpowering the bite, but there has been about 2-3 shorts for each keeper, so the action has been top notch! Those 15-inch fish may not be keepers, but they sure put up quite the fight! The sea bass have started to transition to deeper water, but a few nice knothead fish have been coming over the rails while targeting the tog.

Alberto Pina Striper
Alberto Pina holding a fall run striper he caught fishing with a loaded Cotton Cordell Red Fin in Rhode Island.

Nick, at Big Bear Hunting and Fishing reported that anglers have seen some up and down tautog results this week, mainly due to weather conditions. The better weather/anchoring days are still seeing very consistent results, across multiple depth ranges on most of the local hard bottom. Light tackle and fly anglers are still scoring some nice false albacore and striped bass catches around the small bait schools, while freshwater anglers are reporting excellent trout results in most of the recently stocked ponds and rivers. The shop is happy to be hosting their 1st annual “Kick Cancer in the Bass” charity tournament this weekend to raise money for cancer research. It is shaping up to be a great event, so be sure to check with Nick or their Facebook page for more details.

Dustin, at RI Kayak Fishing Adventures, told me that the false albacore haven’t quit just yet. The bite hasn’t been red hot, but there has been enough fish that refuse to leave the area to give his clients a shot before they move out for good. It’s a bit easier to find striped bass, although they are starting to move around quite a bit as they get ready for the migration. Fish to 40-inches and beyond can be found assaulting bait schools on most trips, and they are usually willing to take several different artificial offerings. The tautog fishing has been incredible whenever he has targeted them, and it should only get better as the water temperatures and fishing pressure continue to drop. Freshwater anglers have reported consistent trout catches thanks to the latest round of stocking, and they have also seen an uptick in crappie and largemouth action this week. The temps are slowly starting to drop, but the weather has generally been comfortable, so be sure to lock in a shore or kayak trip with Dustin before it’s too late!

Vee Ounnarath Rhode Island Tautog
Vee Ounnarath with a quality tog while out with Rhode Island Kayak Adventures.

Connecticut Forecast

The only issues with the current fall fishing are ducking the ever-persistent winds and deciding what species you are going to target! It’s a perfect time of year for bottom fishermen, with the tautog being on the feed-in shallow enough water for anyone target them, and the water being warm enough to keep some giant scup and sea bass in the same areas. Big striped bass and bluefish can be found assaulting the bunker schools across Rhode Island and Connecticut, as well as blitzing on smaller bait alongside enough false albacore to keep things interesting. Freshwater action has also been tremendous for trout and is heating up for crappie, bass, and pike, and remains a great outlet for those looking for a quick trip or trying to avoid the high seas. There’s not a better time to be out on the water across southern New England as right now, so take advantage before Old Man Winter takes a hard turn towards our region!

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