Fourth of July Makes for Good Fishing Stories
Drew Dupre of Lyme does double duty by catching and releasing this prize northern pike and then hooking into this lunker bass shortly thereafter. Photo (Illustration courtesy of Captain Morgan )
A good day of black sea bass fishing was had by Madison Longobardi of East Haven, Bryan Battone of North Haven, and Tiffany Depalma of East Haven as they each limited out. (Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan )
Jonathan Slane, 9, and Joseph Slane, 13, of Killington paired up at Millers Pond to land these nice sunfish and largemouth bass. Photo (Illustration courtesy of Captain Morgan )
What better way to celebrate Fourth of July weekend than to have your own outdoor barbecue with freshly caught food and a small group of family and friends? Secured from the waters of Long Island Sound or its bays, a plethora of fish, both indigenous and migratory, is available to anyone who wishes to ply his or her skill.
Whether hauling a couple of traps for a few lobsters, scratching the bottom of a bay for fresh clams, culling some oysters, or reeling up fish for the grill, it all becomes worth the effort once the eating starts. There are no expiration dates to deal with, surprises, or long lines—just good, home-cooked food passed seamlessly from nature to your palate.
There may be a few stories that garner attention of how a fish was caught or the close call that the novice lobsterer had with an outstretched lobster claw. However, there probably wasn’t much commentary regarding the catching of clams other than, perhaps, a close call with a slightly aggressive blue crab after it was disturbed by your foot.
Nevertheless, the way that your appetizers and meals got from point A to point B makes for an interesting conversation. It puts a perspective on the local food supply and uplifts hopes of the unskilled hook and liner to the point of, “Maybe I can catch a fish, too.” That sure beats walking down an aisle, piling items in a carriage, after squinting to read the tiny print on the label.
Sooner or later, those mobile devices are turned on and the task of locating a specific photo begins. Scroll after scroll, the elusive pic is not found. When it finally pops into view, the conversation goes well down the road to where it really doesn’t matter anymore. However, this doesn’t stop the story from continuing about how that dinner was caught. After all, what’s a little intermission among friends?
One thing leads to another and the gathering is once again engrossed in conversation. With just a few sparklers in sight and some intermittent bangs in the distance, the reality set in on why this Fourth of July was different from all the rest. That opened the door for more conversation that continued through sunset and well into the night.
On the Water
The week was peppered with spot random thunderstorms before breaking in favor of a pleasant Fourth of July weekend. Air temperatures were in the 80s and water temps registered in the low 70s, depending on which part of Long Island Sound was tested. Seas were rather mild as winds generally remained on the light side, giving fishers a wide swath for areas in which to wet a line.
The striped bass bite continued to be impressive, not only in key lower tidal rivers, but also out on the reefs, where linesiders in excess of 40 inches were caught and released. Successful tactics ranged from casting live eels to drifting bucktails and trolling umbrella rigs. Under the recent full moon phase, fish were typically caught after sunset and around dawn, very often in depths less than 10 feet or while working offshore reefs and rip lines.
Bluefish are scattered with the best clue being working gulls. Fish remain small with a few larger ones sneaking in, but not like in the past, especially for this time of year. Mainly chunk baits and topwater plugs are scoring with trollers picking up some while running the reefs. Sea trout (weakfish) continue to be caught both from shore and offshore (mostly less than 16 inches), although several approaching 20 inches and better were hooked while fishing with stripped squid.
Porgy (scup) fever remains hot as porgy pounders regularly hit the popular shore spots, offshore reefs, and rock piles. These scrappers are hitting worms, squid, and clams, and are giving a fun squabble on light gear. Some of these fish are of vintage hubcap size and are good eating. In the process, chances are good that a sea robin, skate, hefty sand shark, or even a northern kingfish or pufferfish will take the bait.
Black sea bass continue to be readily caught on baited hi-lo rigs, even though the bite slowed a bit. Still, the deeper, the bigger, as in recent weeks, there have been more undersized fish found in shallower water. Similarly, summer flounder (fluke) are following the same pattern, despite the fact that more keeper-sized fish are showing up near many tidal rivers. Inshore shoals are seeing more shorts, while reefs like Six Mile and other spots reaching depths of 40 to 65 feet are giving up small doormats that have been taking large baits.
It had been a spell since a bragging-size northern pike was caught. That ended this past week when one in excess of three feet was caught and released in one of the state’s more popular northern pike ponds, Pachaug, in Griswold. Returning it unharmed was the first priority of 6-foot, 3-inch skilled angler Drew Dupre of Lyme after it was caught in 18 inches of water. Indicative of the freshwater activity, both largemouth and smallmouth catches are up again, along with most lake and pond species. Recent rain has helped with river levels and flows. Trout catches remain challenging, but should improve.
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 flies, 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...