(Above) Three generations of anglers caught this healthy cow bass on a recent trip with Elser Guide Service.
Connecticut Fishing Report
Matt, at Black Hall Outfitters in Westbrook told me that we have hit a bit of a transition period, with water temperatures rising and some of the larger striped bass starting to move out of the river and set up on out front structure. There are still some bass to be had in the river, especially if you can locate the bunker schools which have thinned out, but drifting eels on the inshore reefs are starting to produce better. GT eels fished on a light jighead has also been a strong producer during the dawn/dusk hours. There doesn’t seem to be a big difference between the incoming or the outgoing tide, if you find some moving water, you should be able to find some bass. The shop will be holding their annual Fluke Fest tournament Thursday through Sunday. Besides fluke, there are a number of great multi-species calcuttas and tons of great prizes, so be sure to check with the shop to register and get more info!
Heather from Black Hawk Sportfishing reported another busy week aboard the Black Hawk! This whole week was full of excellent porgy fishing, a good mix of sea bass, and a couple more quality fluke. The After Work special trips continue to be very strong, with huge bluefish and plenty of stripers in the mix. These trips have been so strong lately, that they plan on adding some more to the schedule. The Black Hawk will continue to run family trips that are on the shorter side and geared toward younger anglers, but they are filling up quick, so book ASAP! They will continue to run two trips on Saturday’s and Sunday’s and will keep fishing every weekday. Be sure to check their website for the exact schedule and to book a spot!
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- to 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 reports that the striped bass are starting to transition into their summer patterns, and he is adapting as well. Most trips are still seeing some nice bass in the river, despite the warming water, but a good deal of fish have also started to move out of the river. During any given tide you may find big bass in the river, on any of the Long Island Sound reefs, The Race, or in transition areas just outside the river as they move in and out. Mike is still seeing more bluefish than he has in previous years, and most are in the 8-12-pound range. The black sea bass are also starting to transition to their deeper summer reefs, wrecks, and rockpiles, but they are still chewing good!
Dan, at Dan’s Bait, Tackle, and Charters in New London reports that the fishing has really hit its stride in his neck of the woods since the 4th of July holiday. There is still some strong bass fishing in the rivers, along with tremendous fishing on most of the Eastern Sound reefs. Shorebound anglers have started to catch up to the boat anglers, with reports of big bass for surfcasters working the rocks after dark. Surfcasters are finding good fish on chartreuse and bone surface plugs, live eels, and fresh chunks. The scup fishing has greatly improved in the area for shore and boat anglers. It’s a good time to be a shorebound anglers, with plenty of scup, slot striped bass, and the occasional fluke coming from the points and piers.
Chris, at Elser Guide Service told me that the big bass fishing remains off the charts, with some of the best Western Sound bassing he has ever seen. With the water warming up you really need to fish bait or troll, but time of day doesn’t seem to matter, regardless of the weather. Your best bet is to work the deeper bunker schools or the deeper reefs and rips. Trolling the tube and worm has been successful, and still allows you to use lighter tackle instead of wire. The topwater/light tackle game is tough, but if you work around the bunker schools around dawn or dusk you may get one to eat a plug or a fly. There are also more bluefish in the area than the last few years, with most coming in around 3-6-pounds. As the snapper blues and peanut bunker grow, the topwater bite should start to light up in the next month.
Fisherman’s World in Norwalk reports that the red-hot striped bass fishing in the area has started to slow down/transition, but there are still plenty of fish to be had. The chunk bite has been more sporadic, but a few nice bass were still caught on chunks after dark. The shallow water bite has actually improved over the past week, with good numbers of bass on livelined bunker. The harbor areas are still packed with bunker and most of the schools have some bass and bluefish underneath them. The fluking is still a grind, but a few double-digit fish have hit the scales this week for anglers that are grinding it out. The sea bass fishing is good in deep water, and there are still a few nice weakfish mixed in too. The porgy fishing is lights out from the shore and boat, and they are willing to eat any of the usual baits.
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Connecticut Fishing Forecast
As the summer weather has set in, we are certainly starting to see a transition into the summer fishing patterns, but there is no shortage of great fishing options across Southern New England.
Rhode Island anglers have no shortage of big bass, with the usual summer Block Island bite reportedly being stronger than ever. If you don’t want to travel too far, you shouldn’t have an issue finding some solid bass on the reefs and rips off Newport, and in/around the South County breachways. The best bet for fluke is still to steam out to the island, as the local reports have started to slow, but there is no shortage of sea bass and scup close to home. Offshore reports are starting to pick up quite a bit, as some bluefin are starting to show up relatively close, and some bigger bluefin have invaded the Cape. A good slug of yellowfin has also shown up on the canyons, and there is no shortage of shark activity.
Connecticut waters have no shortage big striped bass, but the fish do appear to be transitioning to their summer haunts on the deeper reefs and rips. The lower CT River is still producing some big fish, so it’s worth a look, but be prepared to go work the adjacent reefs if need be. Local surfcasters are also starting to find better results from Groton to Niantic. Connecticut’s summer tautog season has kicked off and has been fruitful for those that are actually targeting them, while sea bass and scup remain plentiful.