Connecticut Fishing Report- September 14, 2023

Albies arrive in the Long Island Sound, trophy stripers hit live baits around local reefs, and sea bass, fluke and porgies keep bottom fishermen busy.

Connecticut Fishing Report

Matt, at Black Hall Outfitters in Westbrook told me that the fall run continued to fire up this week, with more birds and more blitzing fish on small bait. There are peanut bunker, silversides, and juvenile butterfish throughout the Eastern Sound fueling some epic false albacore blitzes. Albies have been caught on most of the usual rips and reefs throughout the sound, although they’re moving quite a bit from day to day.  If you put some time in and/or cover some ground, you should find some hardtails. If you strike out on the hardtails, you should still be able to find plenty of blitzing striped bass that are willing to play. There are still plenty of big bunker schools around that are fueling some blitzes of bigger fish. Big bass are also being taken on GT’s, big topwater plugs, and big spoons. Bluefish of all sizes are also still plentiful, with blitzes of big fish throughout the Sound, and great snapper action in the tributaries. Fluke fishing has slowed down, but sea bass action picked up in slightly shallower water, say 40-50 feet. Scup fishing is as strong as ever, so there’s plenty of bottom fishing to hold down the fort until the full fall blitzes take off.  

Matt Stone from Black Hall Outfitters jigged up this lesser amberjack from the kayak while searching for albies earlier this week. (@sunrisekayakfishing)

Heather from Black Hawk Sportfishing reported that they had a great week of fall-like fishing, despite temperatures which felt more like summer. There have been loads of porgies around the boat and a nice mix of sea bass as well. Their After Work Special trip last Friday was another success, with giant blues coming over the rails once again. They also had a beautiful night for their sunset cruise fundraiser on Saturday night. Their September trips are posted on their website, and the October trips will be on there soon, so grab your tickets soon for some excellent fall fishing.  

The Sanzones with a pair of nice sea bass on a recent trip aboard The Blackhawk.

When I checked in with Captain Mike Roy, at Reel Cast Charters, he told me that they’ve seen an increase in fall run surface activity, with some big schools of albies, bass, and bluefish feeding on top. There is an abundance of small bait on all the reefs, so these feeds should continue to intensify. It’s a great time to target striped bass, with big stripers hitting live baits on the reefs and mixed sizes of bass taking soft plastics and tins. The black sea bass fishing has also been good, with better numbers of keeper fish recently. Things are shaping up for another great fall run, and they still have some openings, so be sure to book a trip before it’s too late! 

Dan, at Daniel’s Bait, Tackle & Charters in New London told me that Eastern Sound anglers are reporting semi-consistent fishing for false albacore and bonito over the past week. Epoxy jigs in green and pink have been getting the job done, along with the usual soft plastics. Striped bass anglers are still finding big bass on the reefs and rips, with live bait being the best bet, while shore bound anglers are cashing in around dusk on live eels and big plugs. Sea bass and fluke are making some late season appearances on soft plastics and jigs fished in 40 to 60 feet of water, and big bluefish are still hitting diamond jigs in the same depth range. Shore anglers are still scoring great scup catches, and that should continue for a few more weeks.  

Captain Chris, at Elser Guide Service told me albies have arrived in the western sound in catchable numbers, although the big push hasn’t come just yet. There are also some very small bonito, around 15-inches, and plenty of Spanish Mackerel. All of these fish are chasing small peanut bunker, so there’s no shortage of light tackle options. There are still plenty of quality striped bass and bluefish close to shore, and on the deep-water rips. The fish close to shore will hit light tackle offerings, while the fish on the reefs are taking a trolled tube, diamond jig, or large soft plastics like the Duratech Eel.  

Joe, at Diorio Guide Service, has continued to find a nice mix of stripers and bluefish, along with slowly improving false albacore and bonito action. Striped bass and bluefish action has been great, whether it’s fishing locally around New London or out around Block Island. The rocky points and reefs are holding loads of bait, and thus are holding plenty of stripers. Most of the bass are coming on live eels or the Joe Baggs Patriot Fish, but they are also starting to get some better fish rising on topwater plugs. Each trip this week has seen better numbers of false albacore, and the latest swell should help to push them even closer to home. It’s shaping up to be a killer fall run once again and Joe still has some dates available. Be sure to reach out before it’s too late.  

Jesse, at Fisherman’s World in Norwalk reported that the warm weather kept reports a bit quieter this week, but those who went out were finding similar results to last week. The big news this week was the arrival of false albacore in Long Island Sound. It seems that some of the schools covered a lot of ground as the week went on and they were spotted at Middle Ground and west of Westport late in the week and into the weekend. The funny fish will certainly keep plenty of anglers busy as long as they stick around. There are tons of peanut bunker and silversides in the region and that should help the cause. Another reliable bite is coming from big bluefish. They can be found on the deep-water structure on diamond jigs, and occasionally on the surface chasing peanuts. There are still some nice bass in the mix, but for the most part the striped bass bite has slowed. There are loads of small sea bass on most of the local structure, while the deeper water around 11B and 28C have had a better keeper to short ratio. Porgy fishing is as strong as ever, with large fish on just about every rockpile. 

Join OTW in Falmouth, MA on Saturday, 9/23 for our annual StriperFest! Live music, free boat rides with Yamaha, hourly prizes and more! Click here for event details.

Connecticut Fishing Forecast

Connecticut anglers caught the hardtail fever this week, with large, aggressive feeds popping off throughout the Sound this week. The fish are filtering in, so each day is different, but if you put some time in and cover some ground you should be rewarded. The giant schools of small bait continue to grow, so these blitzes should get easier to find as more fish settle in. In the meantime, there should be no shortage of striped bass to play with. Big bass are continuing to get more active and can often be fooled on a topwater plug. They are also still prevalent on the reefs; so, you should be able to find them one way or the other. Big bluefish are also still around in good numbers, with the best reports coming from The Race/Plum Gut area to the east, and on the deepwater reefs in the Western Sound. Fluke fishing has ticked down, as that season comes to an end, but the sea bassing has picked up and the scup fishing remains as reliable as ever. The tidal estuaries are as clean as they’ve been all year and are producing strong blue crab and snapper bluefish catches.  

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