Protect You and Your Catch in the Summer Heat
The Ford brothers—Brooks, 5, and Holden, 8—of Killingworth pair up with grandad on Lake St. Clair in Michigan to celebrate their catches of sheephead and smallmouth bass. Photo (Illustration courtesy of Captain Morgan )
Jason Dombrowski of Clinton had a memorable day of striped bass fishing when out on Block Island waters. (Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan )
Jacob (right), 11, of Guilford reeled in this outstanding Connecticut River striped bass as Dave Levett (left) proudly looks on in support of his accomplishment. Photo (Illustration courtesy of Captain Morgan )
Long Island Sound and its tributaries afford fantastic opportunities to fish, clam, and crab. August is traditionally is a hot month as water temperatures rise and continue to stay warm through September. This invites people from many different places to visit the shoreline in order to enjoy its valuable resources.
Our waters offer a full array of exciting recreational activities and, in the heat of the moment, cautions are sometimes put aside. This is the season where most are cognizant of what is important in these challenging times. However, some may not be totally aware of the importance of properly caring for our catch of the day.
For example, to minimize exposure to disease-causing bacteria (such as vibrio) from freshly caught shellfish, it’s important to keep your catch submerged in the water while clamming. Furthermore, it’s advisable to keep it shaded until it can be refrigerated or placed on ice. Remember, summertime heat can greatly increase temperatures in a closed vehicle, so keep that in mind when storing. Consuming raw or undercooked shellfish can also can increase exposure to this bacteria, especially to individuals who are immunocompromised.
Similar cautions should be taken when blue crabbing. Keeping your catch shaded and as cool as possible is recommended. Icing the crabs down until they are ready to be dressed is also suggested. Doing so will help to maintain freshness and allow for easier handling, while also avoiding those infamous claws.
Another thing one should keep in mind when fishing from a vessel, any vessel, is bacteria growth. Fish and bait boxes, whether built-in or brought on board, can easily harbor various types of bacteria from the variety of things stored. These vessels will inherently bake in the sun when moored, causing storage units to possibly experience cross-contamination due to assorted contents. Keeping them clean and being mindful of what items were stored and when will go a long way toward promoting a healthy environment, as well as minimizing bringing home any unwelcome tag-alongs.
On the Water
The heat wave persisted following the thrashing of Tropical Storm Isaias that was unleashed on New England the previous week. Inshore Long Island Sound water temperatures danced around the 75- to 78-degree mark as humidity ran rampant during Shark Week. At the same time, the Sound settled down after it seemingly had enough. Southerly winds were light for the most part, but did bring in the warm air that left folks feeling wilted and still without power.
This was the week that probably saw more people venturing outdoors looking to take a break from the monotony. Fishers, crabbers, and clammers were out, along with cyclists riding the blacktop. With all of the churning, tides brought in more baitfish that generated quite a bit of feeding. Nevertheless, there were times that frustrated fishers when they cast to those visible schools and came up short.
Inshore summer flounder (fluke) catches were up, especially during incoming tides and in the vicinity of tidal rivers. Shorts continued to outnumber keepers out by the shoals and reefs, but fluke rigs and bucktails trimmed with squid managed to pull in dinner for many. Still, doormats continued to be elusive.
The blackfish (tautog) bite marched on as meal-size ‘togs managed to be caught in among the rocks and bottom structure. Average-size black sea bass began to be picked up closer to shore. There were fewer of them, but worth the effort. Porgy (scup), on the other hand, continues to be a hot fishery. Action by inshore jetties and rock piles (and just about any structure in the Sound) are holding these saltwater panfish. Large sand sharks, northern kingfish, sea robins, and skate have been an easy target when bottom fishing. Worms to clams to chunk baits have all been successful as these species show little preference and big appetites.
The new moon saw better striped bass action as linesiders took live eels, menhaden, plugs, soft plastics, and chunks. Worms also played a part when casting. Drifting, trolling, and jigging caught slot-limit stripers offshore, but you had to work for a keeper. Out on Block Island and the island chain, the tune was much different as sizes dwarfed the slot limit and were released.
When trolling the rips, a few more sea trout (weakfish) were caught and mixed in with periodic schools of bluefish. Most of the blues hooked were small, although a couple had shoulders, especially when fishing offshore. So far, a good August bluefish run has not materialized and appears to be justifying the tightening of regulations. Snappers are being caught during flood tides, but again, the numbers are not appearing as of yet. On the upside, blue crabbing is hot and turning into a rather good season.
When taking a look at inland fishing, people hitting the lakes and ponds are finding that fishing for bass has been quite productive, primarily during early and late hours of the day. Generally, all other summertime species, like panfish, have been active and worth a family trip. As we continue to need rain, river fishing for trout remains challenging, even though catching is attainable. It is the deep holes and cooler riffles that are the most productive.
Note: Email us pics of your catches to share with our USA and international fishing friends who keep up with the latest fishing news and frequent social media.
For all things fishy including crabbing supplies, swing by the shop (203-245-8665) open seven days at 21 Boston Post Road, Madison. Until next time, from your Connecticut shoreline’s full-service fishing outfitter, where we don’t make the fisherman, we make the fisherman better...