Connecticut Fishing Report
Heather, from Blackhawk Sport Fishing reports that the time is now to cash in on some great fall fishing. They saw another week of consistent action, but as has been the case most of the season, the winds are dictating where they fish most days. Their combo trips were spent catching scup, jumbo sea bass, and a few triggerfish, before transitioning to bluefishing. The bluefishing has remained as steady as it has been all year, with plenty of fish and great sizes. Things should only get better as the season progresses, so be sure to check their Facebook page or website for updates, schedules, and reservations.
Andrew, at Fishin Factory 3 in Middletown, told me that the lower Connecticut River and the adjacent reefs have continued their hot streak this week. A push of dirty water down the river has provided a better bite out front than inside, but quality fish are still being taken at both locales. The average size of the bass also seems to be improving, with more 40-inch fish being reported this week on topwater spooks, soft plastics, and live bait around dawn and dusk. You don’t have to leave the river to get your fill, as the snapper bluefish and the last good push of big blue crabs are also being taken in good numbers. The false albacore reports are still on the inconsistent side from day to day, but there seems to have been better numbers over the past week than we’ve had all season. Rhode Island remains your best bet for hardtail action, but the eastern CT reports are slowly improving by the day. Sea bass anglers are finding plenty of keeper fish in anywhere from 30 to 100 feet of water, while scup are still being taken consistently by shore and boat anglers. The early results from the Rhode Island tautog season have been strong, and Andrew will have everything you need for the Connecticut opener on Sunday!
Mike Roy of Reel Cast Charters told me that the striper fishing has been consistent, and has improved even more this week, with a nice slug of fish showing up in his local waters. Mike and the crew have found a steady bass bite on jigs, soft plastics, live bait, and topwater offerings, often times using live bait to get fish to come up and rise for topwater offerings! The gator bluefish haven’t left the area yet either, in fact it’s the opposite, with plenty of choppers hanging out in the area and taking just about anything you’ll throw at them. The black sea bass fishing has remained steady for those looking for meat, and Mike has some openings for the CT tautog season, which is right around the corner. Be sure to contact Mike for a trip ASAP, before it’s too late!
Joe, at Diorio Guide Service, was tangling with some brown sharks when I spoke with him today, which is becoming more of a common occurrence throughout eastern CT this season. It might be a little weird to see fins popping up on the eastern CT reefs, but these monsters are mighty fun to catch. Besides the sharks, the local fishing has been outstanding. Better numbers and bigger fish has been the trend when targeting striped bass and bluefish. The fish are gearing up for their fall run and the feed bag has been on, with big bass and blues taking topwater plugs, soft plastics and live bait offerings in most of their usual haunts. Joe has also found some nice false albacore feeds in local waters, but as mentioned earlier, the bite/locations haven’t remained steady from day to day. Joe is as pumped up as we all are for the opening of blackfish season, and still has some openings for the coming weeks, so be sure to reach out soon!
Captain Chris Elser, of Elser Guide Service, is continuing to battle the winds, but was happy to report that the hardtails have invaded his home waters. The numbers have been good across the Western Sound, and there is finally a bit of consistency from day to day. Striped bass and bluefish of mixed sizes are also everywhere, so there’s no complaints from the anglers out west besides the constant wind breaks that they must take.
Max, at Fisherman’s World in Norwalk, reported that the false albacore have shown up in better numbers across the Western Sound over the past week. There have been a few nice feeds around the islands, and some more consistent action around 28C and on the New York side. If you venture out to 28C, don’t hesitate to drop a diamond jig, as the bite for gator bluefish has also remained excellent out there. Striped bass anglers are still taking advantage of a nighttime chunk bite for bigger bass, but the better action has come on topwaters around the islands, specifically at dawn and dusk. School to slot-class fish have dominated the catch, but some bigger fish have been starting to show up around the islands over the last few days. The sea bass fishing remains steady, and is getting shallower, while the scup bite has shown no signs of quitting just yet. Bottom anglers are surely taking advantage of those bites but are looking forward to the tautog opener. The shop will be fully stocked with all your fall blackfish needs, so be sure to stop in soon.
Rhode Island Fishing Report
The captains over at The Frances Fleet in Point Judith, had a solid week on the cod/sea bass grounds, and were able to put together a stellar 3-day trip on the tuna grounds. The local cod grounds are seeing a relatively steady bite of cod to 20-pounds, along with plenty of bomber sea bass to 5-pounds. 20-pound cod have been a bit of a rarity, but 8-12-pound fish are common, and the pool fish have usually been at least 15-pounds. Captain Greg was able to put together a 3-day tuna trip on some new grounds after hearing a few strong reports, and they were rewarded. The first day saw over two dozen tuna on the troll, while the second day was slower until all hell broke loose at night. They boated 35 yellowfin in less than 2 hours and broke off more than they landed. Most of the fish that were landed were in the 30-50-pound range, with a few coming in the 60-75-pound class. The ended the trips with many personal limits, and nearly obtained a boat limit. They will continue to sail daily for cod/sea bass, and will hopefully add more tuna trips, so be sure to check the website for scheduling and reservations!
Dave, at Ocean State Tackle in Providence, told me that the bass/bonito/false albacore can still be found blitzing on most days, for those putting a bit of time in. They’re not always in the same place day to day, but you can usually find them if you cover some ground. Tautog anglers are starting to put in some time as the fish are moving onto the shallow rockpiles across the state. The lower bay is still very consistent, while most of the usual South County shore and boat haunts are starting to produce when the weather allows. Some large schools of scup are still in shallow water, while the sea bass are starting to transition to shallower water, so coolers are getting filled. Snapper bluefish have also invaded the area and are providing some great light tackle action in the rivers and bays. Freshwater anglers are also reporting strong catches of trout at Lincoln Woods, and many of the other recently stocked bodies of water.
Connor, at Tall Tailz Charters told me that the fall fishing is red hot in his home waters. The albies haven’t quite made a huge return, but it seems they are trying to, with some excellent blitzes popping up and getting better over the past few days. The bass bite has slowed a bit, but they are still managing fish from 20-30-pounds locally, and fish to 50-pounds around the island on live bait. They have spent a lot of time tautog fishing before the crowds show up and have had excellent results with easy limits and fish to 10+ pounds.
Jay, at Pamela May Charters in Narragansett, has continued to find some nice false albacore blitzes across Rhode Island, although things are changing from day to day. If the albies aren’t cooperating, you should still find plenty of action, including mackerel, small bonito, and stripers to 30-inches or so. The bay has also been alive with life, including copious amounts of bass and bluefish, along with some solid schools of false albacore and bonito. Bottom anglers can still count on sea bass all over the hard bottom, while those starting to target tautog are finding great results as well.
Dustin, at Rhode Island Kayak Fishing Adventures has been keeping his clients rigged and ready for false albacore and bonito this week, as they’ve made another push, and tend to at least make a quick appearance on most trips. Striped bass and bluefish have hit their mid-fall patterns and are aggressively feeding on peanut bunker. Most saltwater trips have seen plenty of bass and bluefish, along with some bonus albies and bonito. The saltwater trips are also seeing plenty of plenty of sea bass, and a daily uptick in tautog activity as the water cools. Freshwater trips have been consistent, with some nice largemouth moving into the shallows to feed before it gets too cold, and trout anglers cashing in on the recent fall stockings. Dustin still has some available dates for both shore and kayak trips, so book soon before the fall run passes us bye!
The beat rolls on; many possible fishing days are being sacrificed due to the fall winds, but those fall winds also seem to have assisted in pushing even more bait in and getting the fall run going. There is not much on the negative end of things to talk about this week besides the wind, as some bigger striped bass and bluefish continue to show, and the false albacore have hit a point of semi-consistency that we haven’t seen yet this year. You shouldn’t have much trouble finding blitzing bass, bluefish, and/or hardtails this week. If bigger bass is more of your style, look to throw some live bait or large topwater offerings in the usual pre-migration haunts. Sea bass and scup are dominating the catch for CT bottom fishermen, and by the end of the weekend, we should be seeing some nice tautog reports flowing in, just as we are in Rhode Island right now.