Turning a Nibble Into a Bite
Tina Rubino of East Haven hooked into this 31-inch striped bass slot keeper while fishing live eels. (Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan )
Can anyone name the masked Madison resident who landed this 7-pound, 24-inch fluke while fishing the Sound? (Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan )
Proud dad and fly fisher Matthew Simoni of North Branford shares a special moment with 10-month old daughter Natalia Brooke after catching her first trout—a wild brown. (Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan )
There isn’t much you can say when someone’s time- and date-stamped photo contradicts that person’s corresponding report. This happens more often than you might think. Admittedly, there is a bit of fishing luck involved, even though I tend to feel that has more to do with timing than anything else.
If we start with the premise that there are fish in a body of water, then it boils down to how they can be caught. In the Sound, this is determined by the species, forage, tide, and current. If your terminal gear isn’t near the part of the water column where food (and perhaps structure) enhances the bottom habitat, the results can be dismal.
When fishing depths, for example, from 100 feet dropping to a 15- to 20-foot shoal, you must consider wind speed and direction, as well as current. On any given day, four- to eight-ounce bucktail jigs could be effective. However, when tide against wind is the combination, letting it pay out and then slowly reeling in may be the best option, with a lighter one proving more successful.
Conversely, a heavier one would be more effective in a stiffer current, allowing it to actually reach bottom during the drift. Whether three-waying or running a bucktail jig with a teaser near the bottom for summer flounder (fluke), size makes a big difference, as do the other elements affecting your drift.
Fishers always inquire about color, primarily when referring to black sea bass and fluke. One day, pink is it. Another day it may be white or chartreuse or green or any combination of two. Colors change with depth, unless we are dealing with a true fluorescence. A lot of things affect the bite, so don’t be too quick to suggest a particular color to use. After all, when you walk into a restaurant or go by a bakery first thing in the morning, what gets your attention first? Often, it is the olfactory senses that kick in before sight registers and, before you know it, the salivary glands are awakened.
On the Water
Long Island Sound inshore water temperatures remain in the low 60s as the Sound teeters with foggy conditions, periods of gusty winds, and fluctuating tides. A mix of humid days and damp conditions were broken up by cold fronts that ultimately gave way to warmer conditions and more rain. Meanwhile, fishers hit the waters on both fronts, taking advantage of some really good fishing.
Black sea bass haven’t let up, and their seasonal bite is consistently producing catches worthy of comment. Deep-water fishers are readily out-fishing their counterparts when it comes to hefty humpbacks. It’s location and presentation that generally determine the best results. Good catches are being made both with and without a strip of bait. If black sea bass is on the menu, then break out those hi-lo rigs for the best results.
Even though shorts outnumber keepers—and certainly doormats did again this week—catches are up both on the Connecticut and New York sides of the Sound. Warmer water temperatures and easier drifts made for some much better fluking. Bucktails and teasers, along with bottom drift rigs and squid (whole or cut), attracted some nice fish. The shoals and reefs that support long drifts and uneven bottoms have been likely spots to try, but expect undersized fish in the process. Being in touch with the bottom is key since many fluke are missed when terminal tackle is fished too high.
Usually by now, most striped bass have left the key tidal rivers and are headed elsewhere, while an influx of new fish filter into the lower stretches. However, lately there has been good action in many of the tidal rivers, where fishers are connecting with light gear. Topwater lures, shallow running soft plastics, and sinking flies have bent more than one rod. A few of these fish have made the slot, but chances are better out on the reefs when drifting or trolling bait and lures.
Porgy (scup) pounders are seeing their efforts pay off as more of these saltwater panfish pile up on the reefs. Catches of scup from shore are also up, as are hookups with sea robins, sand sharks, a few northern kingfish, and northern puffers. Incidentally, blue crabbers are starting to see their catches go up and include some nice jimmies.
Lately, targeting sea trout (weakfish) was a hit-or-miss proposition, although catches of quality fish have been ongoing. From Six Mile to Faulkner’s Island by the West Haven sandbar and into some of the tidal rivers, these fish have been active. While you may catch a 16-inch keeper in one of the rivers, most of those hooked are considerably smaller and should be released. Bite-sized baits fished low are keys to success. Small harbor blues continue to be caught with lures and chunk baits, sometimes running above the weakies and along the rip lines. They may be small, but their teeth will be remembered.
With another cold front having come through, trout fishing should see another uptick, despite the fact that water levels and flows are down. Lake and pond fishing has had very good results with the basses, perch, pickerel, crappie, and catfish taking live baits and artificials.
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 reel repairs, swing by the shop (203-245-8665) open seven days located 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...