Food Supply Leads to More Fall Catches
Jeremy Brettman of Guilford caught this 30-inch slot limit striped bass while diamond jigging off of Faulkner’s Island. (Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan )
Jocelyne Cummings of Westbrook, the director of amateur hockey development with the New York Islanders, had an enjoyable day of bluefish and sea bass fishing with her dad Bill out by The Race. (Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan )
Excitement erupted when Maggie Kennedy, 10, of Madison caught her lunker bass at a local Clinton pond, and her fishing brother Graeme wound up with a nice catch of sunfish. (Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan )
The migration is well underway, and that’s about normal for this time of year. October’s full moon always pulls forage from the tidal rivers as tides rise and fall and fish look to pile on protein for extra energy. That stored energy is needed for their travel to more comfortable waters or, in some cases like striped bass, to help carry them through the colder months.
All available food is eagerly sought and results in competitive behavior among and between species. This is all part of the fall run and excites fishers because of the fiery exchanges between the hunter and the hunted. Notwithstanding catching fish as a source of food, these strikes and line-melting runs are what fall sport fishing is all about.
Predictably unpredictable, October’s weather is living up to its reputation. However, what’s unusual for this start to the fall season has been the lack of sufficient rainfall and the fluctuation of the Sound’s water temperature. We’ve seen inshore temperatures drop to the mid-60s or below, only to bounce back to 69 degrees within a week. If those swings continue, the season should hold on a little longer, even though days are getting shorter.
Fish have been foraging on anything from crabs to worm hatches, shad to menhaden, sand eels to squid, and anything else found throughout the food chain. Various forms of natural baits to artificials are seasonal favorites that do catch fish. Timing and location are key, regardless of one’s choice of presentation, although knowing the whereabouts and makeup of the food supply will go a long way in achieving your quest for a memorable hookup. Fish hard and share your memories!
On the Water
The rain helped boost inland water levels and flows as Long Island Sound took a pounding. Under a gale warning, winds gusted to 50 knots as waves reached five feet, pounding the shore. However, that episode lasted only a day as a cold front marched through with mid-40s temps, clearing skies and keeping the weather more in pace with fall. Inland water temperatures bounced around from 66 to 69 degrees, but continued on a downward trend.
Prior to the weekend, there was a surge in schoolie striped bass action. Many of the tidal rivers and bays saw numbers of good catches, along with slot limit bass caught both inshore and farther out, like Faulkner’s and Six Mile. Bucktails, soft lures, plugs, and various baits caught fish as they fed in preparation for the step-down weather ahead. Additionally, the full Hunter’s Moon (also called the Harvest Moon) occurred on Oct. 1, opening the door for live eel action, especially after weather and sea conditions settled down.
Bluefish continued on their march, but as in weeks past, their fierce blitzes have been lacking in repetition and numbers. Sizes remain relatively small for this time of year, although some catches dwarfed others. At times, schools of Atlantic menhaden were generally thick and scattered, bringing out the gulls. Mostly, though, the action around them could have been better. Chunks, plugs, and runs of hickory shad caught fish while trolling the edges of rip lines. Meanwhile, artificials and diamond jigging did OK offshore. Snappers? So far, they’re still in the game.
The fall porgy (scup) and black sea bass bite is on. There have been good catches of scup off Southwest, Kimberly, Charles, and many other humps and bumps throughout the Sound. Squid, seaworms, and clams have been responsible for most catches, with many overlapping dinner plates. Sea bass are all over the place. When fishing inshore, don’t be surprised to hook into one barely larger than an index finger, but expect much larger catches offshore in around 100 feet. It’s the time of year when both of these species spark attention and have an extended season that lasts longer than that of most recreational fishers.
Summer flounder (fluke) is over for the season. Sea trout (weakfish) are still mixed in with the bass and blues, but catches of them are more intermittent. Warmer water temperatures are keeping the sharks, skate, and northern kingfish around, but they will be winding down as soon as temps take a dive. Blue crabbing, though, remains a go.
Fall trout and salmon stocking is underway. What and which waters will be stocked and in what order will be determined by water levels. Lakes and ponds will most likely get their share earlier than most rivers and streams. Large and smallmouth bass are feeding, pickerel are taking artificials, cats and carp are on sack baits, and perch are hot, while sunnies have been quite active; both are liking worms.
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 bait, 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...