Sunday, November 29, 2020

Sports

Summer Fishing Heats Up

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Enthusiastic fisherman Brady Grossman, 7, of Allentown, Pennsylvania landed this fine 22-inch weakfish while visiting Uncle Keyen Farrell of Guilford. Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan

Enthusiastic fisherman Brady Grossman, 7, of Allentown, Pennsylvania landed this fine 22-inch weakfish while visiting Uncle Keyen Farrell of Guilford. (Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan )

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Nothing but a good time fishing for this family trio: dad Ernest Perez (left) with sons Eli (top right), 11, and Tyler (bottom right), 14, all from Guilford. Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan

Nothing but a good time fishing for this family trio: dad Ernest Perez (left) with sons Eli (top right), 11, and Tyler (bottom right), 14, all from Guilford. (Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan )

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This 8.4-pound, 24-inch brown trout, a prize for sure, was caught by Stefan Wexel of Clinton while fishing the Salmon River. Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan

This 8.4-pound, 24-inch brown trout, a prize for sure, was caught by Stefan Wexel of Clinton while fishing the Salmon River. (Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan )

Suddenly, summer heat draped the area. We knew it was coming, considering the shortfall of rain and subsequent small drenches that played into the season’s theme. Foggy mornings were burned off as the sun rose higher in the sky. Tidal rivers that ran deep into the estuaries warmed as paired blue crabs caressed both the pilings and each other.

We began seeing different fish species find their comfort zone as they either congregated in deep, cooler water or wallowed in the shallows. The ones that did came in close to shore to feed on whatever followed the twists and bends of the river after the sun dipped into the horizon. Additional morsels of food that were washed from the marshes were also slurped up by small bass ahead of, perhaps, a larger one waiting for the tide to drop even further.

Action in many of the lower tidal rivers had been good. Now, as more baitfish filtered into the Sound and ultimately found their way to inshore waters, predator fish (like striped bass) began staging and foraging closer to those rivers. Fishers who know about that phenomenon took a similar approach and, with the aid of their headlamps, rigged up and let loose a cast in the direction of a splash.

As these waters emptied into the Sound, there could be a sea trout (weakfish), summer flounder (fluke), or even a tormenting blue. Streaming downriver, a blend of recently hatched crabs, worms, and even micro-crustaceans (including grass shrimp) were ultimately inhaled, some even with a fisher’s hook embedded. For the small blues, it was the bunker that brought them in, often creating a noticeable frenzy.

As we get deeper into summer, patterns will change. Fish will feed during the cooler parts of the day, unless we are referring to porgy (scup), for example, in which case a tidal difference will have more of an impact. Or maybe during Shark Week, when the shallows warm up, some toothy critters will be brought in closer to shore. Then, inshore fishers might have a tussle on their hands with a Squalus or something larger that honed in on a chunk of bait set out by a junior shark hunter.

We are getting into an interesting time of year, where many different species abound and fishers of all ages are creating new memories. Certainly, this season will be remembered best for its challenges. So, enjoy the fresh air and the briny spray while you take someone fishing.

On the Water

A break from the heat and humidity, even for one day, was a welcome change before heading into the weekend. The summer weather of fog, heat, heavy air, and scattered thunderstorms began wearing thin. At times, wavering sea and wind conditions put a stranglehold on fishing, but nevertheless, when the breaks came, fishers were out in force.

There were more weakfish caught along the shoreline as fishers were targeting other species. Since these fish will take baits that other fish relish, they will often be caught as an unexpected bycatch. Sometimes, drifting a sandworm (or imitation), a piece of bait, or tube will get their attention. Recently, these fish were caught from shore points, out by the reefs, and even in a few of the lower tidal rivers when least expected. Since the sides of their mouths are soft, they are known for spitting a hook during the fight when given slack. Watch out for their front teeth, even though they easily loosen.

Scup continue their seasonal bite from almost any reef or rock pile that pops up throughout the Sound. These saltwater panfish are aggressive eaters, lunging at anything that resembles food. Natural baits and artificials can catch these scrappers, although a little movement during your presentation helps. Light gear is preferable even when fishing the deep reefs, even though heavier weights require a stouter rod with a sensitive tip.

Lately, the striped bass action picked back up as the new moon approached. Jigging larger grub-type baits while fishing inshore depths to 40 feet has been productive with slot limit fish; shallower water has seen more of the schoolie class of fish. Three-waying or jigging bucktails with trailers has produced some decent fish, while slow trolling TW’s along inshore structural dropoffs has had its moments. With the recent heat spell, fishing the deeper structure, where the water was cooler and more oxygenated, paid off big time and especially for the clunkers. Keep a few of topwater poppers and swimmers handy for those early morning and late-night trips. Live eels have been a top bait.

Fishers are meeting up with small bluefish and few more sizable ones when Atlantic menhaden or hickory shad are nearby. Topwater action is intermittent, while chunking and trolling spoons has been a bit more reliable when live bait is at a premium. Flukers are still looking for those not-too-distant honey holes where the doormats are hiding. Shorts continue to be more prominent along the inshore shoals as fish in the 19- to 21-inch range are periodically hooked. Fish to eight pounds have been caught in 40- to 65-foot depths and deeper using mostly larger baits. Try a drift from Faulkner’s to Hammonasset using one of the more popular baited rigs when the tide and current are favorable.

The black sea bass bite is far from over, although they have taken a breath. Fishing in water from 95 to 125 feet will continue to produce a limit of fish in the four-pound range, along with some smaller ones, especially when fishing in shallower water. A variety of 2 Hook and 3 Hook setups with the appropriate weight is the way to go. The rest of the bottom fishery is on fire, from the ever-popular sea robin to northern kingfish, sand sharks, and skates. Dunk some chunks on the bottom and hold on!

Hot temperatures will effect inland fishing, but at least we have a bit more water to work around. Trout fishing has been variable, bass fishing the lakes has been good, and the rest of the species such as perch, crappie, pickerel, catfish, and sunnies are as active as expected.

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 the latest gear, swing by the shop (203-245-8665) open seven days at 21 Boston Post Road in 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...

Tight Lines,

Captain Morgan

captainmorganusa@hotmail.com

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