Connecticut Fishing Report
Matt, at Black Hall Outfitters in Westbrook told me that the beat continues across Central/Eastern CT, with the Connecticut River holding big numbers of striped bass. There are still some true giants throughout the lower river, and they are starting to migrate to the adjacent reefs just outside the river. The plentiful bunker schools can often be seen being harassed around dawn and dusk, which is when you may be able to fool a big fish on a topwater offering. The bunker remains easy enough to find that you can net/snag plenty of fresh offerings when the bass start to get finicky. The fish on the nearby reefs are less picky and can be taken on eels, slow pitch jigs, and tube and worm, along with fresh bunker. The larger, more well-known reefs in the sound are starting to put up better numbers of sea bass, and they haven’t been picked over too much yet. The fluking has been tough in the Eastern Sound, but the recent increase in water temperature seems to have kickstarted a decent bite. BHO will be hosting their annual Flukefest from July 14th to the 18th this year, be sure to sign up if you’re going to be out there!
Heather from Black Hawk Sportfishing reported that they had another busy and successful week on the water. The highlight of last week was their Wednesday fluke trip, which saw loads of quality fluke on the boat. The nighttime trips have been epic, with easy limits of slot striped bass, and tons of bigger fish that were released. Their daytime trips are seeing a nice mix of scup and sea bass, which are providing full coolers around the boat. They’re still running two trips on Saturdays and Sundays at 5 AM and 1 PM and are now sailing every weekday. Just be sure to check their website for updates and the exact schedule before you reserve. They are also starting to post their family trips, which are shorter, limited passenger trips that tend to be very popular.
Dan, at Daniel’s Bait, Tackle and Charters in New London, reports that the fishing continues to improve across eastern CT. The bunker has remained thick in the lower CT River, which has kept plenty of large bass around that are willing to hit a fresh offering, or a large topwater plug. The adjacent reefs are also starting to hold some better fish, and the best reports are coming from anglers dunking live eels after dark. Some of the biggest bluefish that we have seen in years are marauding the sound, with good reports from The Race, the area around the mouth of the CT River, and in the lower Housatonic River. With the water temperatures creeping towards 70, shorebound anglers are starting to see better scup catches. The Connecticut tautog opener is July 1st, and Dan will have a load of green crabs for anglers looking to cash in on this under-utilized season.
Joe, at Diorio Guide Service told me that the fishing remained outstanding this past week, with a great combination of numbers and size on the striped bass grounds. Joe managed multiple fish in the 30-40-pound range, with a few pushing the 50-pound mark. Finding fresh bunker has been key, as most fish have come on fresh livelined offerings. The topwater bite has been up and down, due to some heavy current and heavy boat traffic, but you can still find some nice fish on Docs, Dannys, and soft plastics on the right days. The river has been as steady as ever, but the bass are also starting to transition to the reefs, which provides a nice option if you’re trying to avoid some of the boat traffic.
Mike Roy at Reel Cast Charters had another strong week of local fishing. He’s seeing new schools of migratory fish on each trip, and the bite has been strong from inside the river, and outside the river on all the reefs and rips from Clinton to Rhode Island. There are more bluefish around this year than mike can remember, so there is certainly no shortage of action on any give trip. Give Mike a call asap to book a trip while he still has some openings!
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Captain Andy, of Carolyn Ann Sportfishing was happy to report that he is finding some of the strongest striped bass fishing that he has seen in years, in and around The Race. The gator bluefish numbers are also very strong, so most trips are seeing a nice mix of big bass and big blues. The sea bass bite is slowly improving to the east and is excellent around Middle Grounds. The scup fishing is a bit behind last year, but Andy has seen a marked improvement over the past few days, with the increasing water temperatures.
Fisherman’s World in Norwalk reports that the broken record of phenomenal striped bass fishing out west continues, but no one is complaining! Not only is there an abundance of bass, but the size classes have also been very impressive. Anglers catching their personal best bass has been a common theme around the shop, with the best plan of attack being to troll during the day and soak bunker after dark. Mojos, bunker spoons, and flutter spoons remain the best bet in terms of artificials in most of the local hotspots. There are also big schools of big bluefish patrolling the bunker schools and can be caught on a variety of offerings. There also remains a strong presence of weakfish, with several anglers catching them as bycatch when targeting fluke and sea bass. Fluking has been a bit of a grind with the water warming up, but anglers targeting 60+ feet of water are still finding some on Bucktail/Gulp combos. The best bet for local sea bass has also been on deep structure, but the scup fishing has blown wide open with great catches for both shore and boat anglers. Freshwater anglers are reporting good bass catches and the occasional trout at the Saugatuck Reservoir, with the best action being in the morning before the heat of the day sets in.
Rhode Island Fishing Report
The Frances Fleet in Point Judith had a quality weather weekend, which continued into the week. They are starting to see more fluke on both the full and half day trips, including a 10-pound doormat on last Sunday’s trip. Along with the fluke, most anglers are seeing limits of big sea bass. The current new moon cycle should help provide plenty of drift over the holiday weekend, so be sure to book a trip asap!
Connor, at Tall Tailz Charters in Newport has seen more of the same red-hot fishing over the past week. They’re managing steady catches of bass from 20-40-pounds, along with an increased number of slot fish for those looking to fill the cooler. The bay is still producing consistently, but the south facing reefs and rockpiles are producing much better, so it’s easy to get away from the crowds and find some fish. The bottom fishing took a turn for the better this week, with steady catches of sea bass since the opener, along with some better fluke results in 30-50 feet of water. The fishing should only improve from here, especially with the upcoming new moon, get a spot aboard Tall Tailz before it’s too late!
Dustin, at Rhode Island Kayak Fishing Adventures told me the striped bass and bluefishing remains hot, and it’s a perfect time to get out and get a kayak or shore personal best. The usual go-to artificials, along with live bait are producing bass from 20-inches to 40-pounds, with plenty of slot fish in the mix. Bluefish are everywhere and are willing to tear up just about any offering you throw at them. Black sea bass limits are getting easier to obtain as the water temperatures have started to creep up. The fluke action has been a little tougher, but those who have some time and patience are being rewarded. Similar to the sea bass, the fluke bite should continue to improve as the water warms up. There is no shortage of freshwater action, with solid largemouth catches throughout the state. Dustin’s schedule is filling up quicky, so be sure to check out www.rikfa.com to book a shore or kayak trip ASAP.
Cheri, at C-Devil II Sportfishing reports that not much has changed this week in terms of the strong striped bass bite. Fish in the 40-50-pound range are still relatively common, along with easy limits of slot fish. Bluefish are still plentiful and remain on the large side, with a few weighing in close to the 20-pound mark. The one change that Cheri mentioned this week, was strong uptick in the size and quantity of fluke. The fluke seem to be settling in well around the island, and the C-Devil is taking advantage. The charter sea bass season is open, they are abundant, and they also aren’t too picky about the bait. Be sure to check their live booking calendar while there are still some openings.
Jay, at Pamela May Charters is starting to transition outside the bay and out front around Newport for their fly anglers, but they are still finding no shortage of bass throughout the area. A good mass of stripers can be found feeding on sand eels on topwater, while most of the bigger bass are found on the deeper reefs and rips using eels or fresh chunks. Block Island is also lock and load for stripers, with insane numbers of bass that can be found feeding all over the water column. The sea bass action has been strong off Point Judith, with easy limits of knot heads, while your best bet for fluke is to steam out to Block. There have been more fluke showing up around the south shore over the past few days in 40-50 feet of water. You have to weed through plenty of shorts, but at least the numbers are starting to improve locally. The sand eels are thick all around the island, which should help set up a bluefin bite soon. Jay hasn’t been offshore just yet, but there’s word of small mako, some threshers, and plenty of blue sharks.
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Rick, at Priority Charters has been off the water this week but told me that the fishing was very strong last weekend. They found loads of striped bass around Block Island, along with some monster bluefish. Some poor drift conditions resulted in tough fluking last weekend, but word is that it improved over the past few days. The sea bass action has been red hot at the island and has improved on most of the deeper structure closer to home. Reports from the tuna grounds have been quiet, but the sharking is very good. Makos, threshers, browns, and blues of mixed sizes were all reported last weekend.
Dave at Ocean State Tackle in Providence has been happy to report that things have continued to go strong in his neck of the woods, with the red-hot bass bite showing no signs of slowing. There continues to be quality bass in the Seekonk and Providence Rivers, while anglers fishing out front are reporting big bass from South County to Block Island. Bluefish also remain scattered throughout the area, and you’ll likely run into them just about anywhere if you’re out there enough. The black sea bass action has improved locally and is hot at Block Island, while the scup fishing has continued to improve, with fish as far north as Providence. The tuna bite has been quiet in Rhode Island so far, but the sharking improved quite a bit over the past week. Dave will be open at 5 AM on the weekdays, 430 AM on the weekends, and will be closing at 7 PM each night.
Captain Rob, at Newport Sportfishing Charters has continued pound large striped bass throughout the area this week, with no shortage of fish over the 40-pound mark. Whether you stay close to home in the Bay, head out to Block Island, or hit some of the structure in between, you are likely to find some hungry bass that are willing to play. Gator bluefish also remain scattered throughout the area as well, so there’s certainly no shortage of action out there. Rob made his first offshore trip of the year and found some sharks, but the amount of sand eels and whales out there are a good sign for the tuna bite in the coming weeks.
Connecticut Fishing Forecast
Whether it’s increased regulation of bass, regulation of menhaden, or just good luck, the striped bass resurgence across Southern New England has been an incredible and welcomed sight. Rhode Island anglers have no shortage of big bass, with great reports from the bay, the South County reefs, along with a huge biomass around Block Island. If you’re heading to Block Island, bring your fluking gear, as the island has now become the safest bet to find a cooler full of doormats. Encouraging fluke reports have finally started to come in from the South County beaches, and we should see an increase in action in those areas as the water continues to warm. The sea bassing has found some consistency in the usual Rhode Island hotspots, along with the scup bite, which is starting to hit its summer stride.
Connecticut waters also have no shortage of big striped bass, with great reports coming from literally the western border of the state to the eastern border of the state. The lower CT River and its adjacent reefs are as safe a bet as any, but excellent reports are also coming from the Norwalk area, Milford area, and The Race. Fluking has been a bit tougher in CT, but anglers that put some time in are finding some keepers on deep structure, and there is no shortage of sea bass and scup to help fill the coolers. Connecticut’s summer tautog season also kicks off tomorrow and can be a great way to find some fish close to home for those that try it.
Offshore reports are full of solid shark reports, along with most reporting that the signs of tuna are out there, so it should only be a matter of time before the bluefin reports start to roll in.