Fishers Gear Up as Memorial Day Approaches
Congratulations to Stefan Wexell of Clinton for clinching the title at the 15th annual Codi and Bubba Memorial Trout Contest with this 15.25-inch, 1.47-pound rainbow trout. (Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan )
Marisa Ferraiolo of North Branford hooked into this hefty 6.98-pound largemouth bass while fishing a soft plastic worm. (Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan )
Dr. Martin Carney of New Haven fly fished the Hammonasset River using nymphs when he landed this nice rainbow trout. (Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan )
It was one of those outstanding weather weekends where fishers broke out of their homes. The shoreline waters drew folks looking to catch not only the salty air, but also a few fish. For those who hadn’t wet a line so far this season, generally, they were not disappointed. Action centered around the striped bass caught with bait and artificial lures, although a surprising tap by a small bluefish woke up a few casters.
There was an uptick of porgy (scup) interest that brought out the family as Memorial Day approached. However, because of the time of year, there was more anticipation than actual catches. Still, social distancing was mostly observed, even though there was a temptation to mosey over to someone else’s spot that was producing fish. A bit frustrating, but understandable.
So, yes, absent the number of vessels typically on the water this time of year, there is still heightened anticipation of what this fishing season will offer. We all know that the marine fishery will develop as various species migrate into the Sound. In these challenging times, we also are aware of the limitations that traveling on the water to different destinations can bring. Therefore, fishing more in local waters, or at least within a range that a tankful of fuel can accommodate, is probably the smart thing to do. Remember the thirds rule? One third outbound. One third for the return. One third reserved for emergency.
In keeping with the recommended guidelines in light of COVID-19, the 15th annual Codi and Bubba Memorial Trout Contest was pushed back three times until it finally went off on May 16. The day turned out to be a comfortable bluebird weather day, following a rain and cold front event that passed us by.
Weather conditions seemed to briefly effect the morning and afternoon trout bite as calls came in inquiring about any weigh-ins. Most callers were still working on their first catch. Others made mention of small fish that had been caught and released, but they were still trying for a winner.
Ultimately, the winner logged in his fish at 4:49 p.m., just before the 5 o’clock weigh-in deadline. Stefan Wexell of Clinton caught the winning dark rainbow trout that was 15.25 inches and weighed 1.47 pounds. During registration, it was mentioned that over the years, fish weighing less a pound or exceeding 12 pounds have won, and that it is best to not assume, but rather weigh your best fish of the day. One never knows. Congratulations on your win, Stefan!
On the Water
Chilly weather suddenly broke into a seasonably springtime event, right on time for the weekend. The previously unsettled pattern seemed to return, but not before folks were out fishing in Long Island Sound, where inshore the warmer temperatures bounced around the low 50s. Changeable seas and wind direction kept fishers guessing, with some able to dodge the impact by fishing inshore, while others hugged the docks.
Striped bass catches improved again as schoolies nailed various artificials and natural baits including anything from soft or hard swimmers to sea worms and chunked fish. It is time for flipping or drifting live eels in the lower tidal rivers and inshore reefs, seeing as how they have been quite productive. Topwater action has kept light gear enthusiasts busy using poppers and floating swimmers, while fly fishers have been scoring with deceivers, Clousers, and even a few bonefish flies. Now would be the time to fish the early morning and evening tides.
Porgy pounders are starting to fish for these family-friendly saltwater panfish. Look for them on the reefs and rock piles and tempt them with sea worms, squid, and clams. A few small blues are showing up and some winter flounder catches continue in the channels and bays. For something a little more aggressive, consider playing the tides for a limited number of small bluefish and check out the tidal rivers for those blue crabs with an attitude.
Trout fishing is the cornerstone of inland fishing as far as the consistency of catches go. Many rivers and streams are producing quality rainbows, browns, brookies, and some tigers on a variety of different presentations. Bead head nymphs remain a strong option, along with varying sizes of streamers. As the weather broke, hatches emerged where dry flies became popular. Spin casters and trollers are scoring in the deeper parts of lakes and ponds using spoons and inline spinners. Others are trying their hand at the typical float and worm combo.
There has been heightened largemouth bass action in the local farm ponds and lakes. Soft plastics, scented baits, spinner baits, frogs, and natural baits are leading the way. But do not rule out the trusty old live worm! Smallmouths are taking crawfish imitations and other soft plastics, territorial pickerel are being most aggressive, and there are plenty of black crappie, perch, sunfish, spawning carp, and catfish taking baits and small jigs.
On this Memorial Day, let us remember all of our men and women who give the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the United States military.
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 permits, 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...