Connecticut Fishing Report- November 16, 2023

The blackfish bite is excellent, with sea bass, porgies and cod rounding out the catch, and schoolie to slot-size stripers blitz along central and western Sound beaches.

(Photo by Robbie Tartaglia)

Connecticut Fishing Report

Matt, at Black Hall Outfitters in Westbrook told me that the local blackfish bite has been top tier, and he had one of his best days in years this week. He managed around 45 fish and at least a third of them were over keeper size, up to the 7 to 8-pound range. The fish were chewing on both sides of the tide and could be found in 20 to 50 feet of water. Matt also saw school bass blitzing everywhere. These fish are likely putting on the feed bag right before they make their way south or tuck into the tidal creeks and rivers for the winter. Freshwater guys are reporting some solid trout action in the TMAs, which should only improve over the coming weeks. 

Heather from Black Hawk Sportfishing reported some strong fishing over the Veterans Day weekend and into the early part of this week. Friday’s trip saw easy limits of pogies and sea bass coming over the rail. Things slowed down a bit on Saturday, but bounced right back on Sunday, with steady action of pogies and sea bass, along with some bonus cod. Their weekday trips are now combo trips, targeting blackfish, porgies, and sea bass on the same trip, while the weekend trips are dedicated porgy/sea bass trips. Check their website for updates and reservations, and they look forward to seeing everyone soon! 

When I checked in with captain Mike Roy, at Reel Cast Charters, he reported that things are starting to wind down and his charter season will be wrapping up this week. Over the past week they focused on tautog fishing and found steady action on most trips. The action has been best in 30 to 50 feet of water or so, but you need to try and focus on smaller/lesser-known pieces of structure that haven’t been picked clean yet. There are still some quality sea bass in the mix as well, so you should be able to stock the freezers for the winter if you get out there this week! School striped bass fishing has been sporadic, but there should likely be another push of fish coming through with this new moon before they move on for the winter. The tidal rivers and estuaries should also start to load up with holdover bass, and they will be easier to find as they get more concentrated. Captain Mike and his team want to thank all their clients for another great year of fishing, and they look forward to seeing everyone again next year. 

Bobby J’s in Milford reports that things are starting to slow down a bit, but there is still plenty of good fishing to be had in their area. The majority of anglers are still focusing on blackfish, and recent reports have indicated another week of solid action. Keeper fish in the 5 to 6-pound range have been reported with regularity and a good deal of anglers have found some fish just under the 10-pound mark. A few anglers who were out blackfishing have reported seeing some false albacore come through, especially to the west, so you still may have one more shot at some funny fish. There are still some large schools of small stripers feeding on peanut bunker out front, but after this tide cycle we will likely see most of them move out, while the holdover population moves into the rivers to stage up for the winter.  

Captain Chris, at Elser Guide Service told me that there is still some good action of striped bass, with loads of schoolies and some slot to just over slot fish in the mix. There are also still some nice bluefish in the area, but their days are likely numbered after this weekend’s cool down. Word is that there are still a few albies around as well, but like the bluefish, they are likely making their way out. Chris’s saltwater season will end after this weekend, but he’s looking forward to a transition to freshwater for trout, smallmouth, and pike! 

Tyler at Fisherman’s World in Norwalk reports that fishing options have still been plentiful throughout the western sound. Blackfish and striped bass action have been steady, and there are still some big bluefish and false albacore to play with. Striper blitzes were a common sight for anglers working the beaches this week. Most of the fish are schoolies, but there are some slot-sized fish and a handful of larger fish in the mix. These blitzing fish haven’t been picky, with anglers reporting good action on small topwater plugs, epoxy jigs, SP Minnows, darters, and small soft plastics. The albies have thinned out, but there are still some schools in the region, so make sure you still have a hardtail setup rigged and ready. Blackfish have been the target for most of the boats left in the water and the shallow water bite is still going strong. They are seeing quality fish to 9-pounds caught anywhere from 10 to 25 feet. There are huge scup and sea bass mixed in as a welcome bycatch as well. Freshwater anglers dunking shiners at the reservoir are doing a little better with walleye and bass this week. Trout have been a little tougher to find at the reservoir but can occasionally be taken on small tins that imitate alewives on the surface. Reports from the local TMAs have been quiet, but most have been recently stocked and should be fishing well in the coming weeks. 

Connecticut Fishing Forecast

Connecticut anglers have also still been focusing on blackfishing, with temperatures in the sound staying warm enough to keep the bite spread out through a number of depth ranges. Weeding through shorts is still a reality, but over the past few day’s reports have indicated a much-improved keeper to short ratio. There is still no shortage of mixed sized striped bass to play with, but they seem to be moving around quite a bit from day to day. With temperatures dropping again next week, the holdover striped bass should start to get more concentrated and easier to locate in the tidal rivers. False albacore are still showing up, mostly across the Western Sound, so hardtail enthusiasts should look to get out asap before the fat albert lady sings. The same can be said for bluefish, which appear to be making one more push across the Western Sound. Freshwater anglers are reporting an uptick in trout action in the lakes and ponds, along with steady action in the TMAs. Pike, bass, and carp reports are starting to intensify a bit as well and should continue to improve throughout November. 

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