Finders, keepers when it comes to fluke

Fluke remain a very viable option for weekend fishing; the trick is to find the keepers through all the ones that must be tossed back. Sea bass numbers are on the rise, porgies are biting well and bass catches fair to good, especially for the sharpies and charter boat captains.

Captain Kerry Douton said the daytime bass fishing in The Race is good but very tide dependent: right now on the ebb is good, the flood very, very poor. The night bite has been generally fair to poor, the fish not responding well on black nights with thick fog. Fluking numbers remain good but there is a lack of keepers for Mr. and Mrs. Average Angler due to today's higher minimum sizes.

We still haven't seen our usual summer glut of blues though a few more were in some of this week's catches. During the last hot spell, one of our bigger boats trolled up a monster 69-pound mahi at West Atlantis Canyon, the biggest Kerry has ever seen in many years fishing in southern New England.

Over at Hillyer's Tackle, I was told about an early morning bite of stripers at Bartlett's and lots of short fluke with some keepers in the New London Dumping Grounds and other spots along the Connecticut shore. Porgies are biting well most days at the Bartlett's Spindle and Two Tree Channel. Hickory shad are moving into the Niantic River, maybe drawing some larger bass in there after dark for the shore fishermen, and blue crabbing remains another good option along the Niantic River.

Jeff at A&W Marina said he's landed three bass in the 30-pound range this week fishing eels on the outgoing tide before first light in The Race. Some of the local fluke sharpies landed 6- and 7-pounders on our side of the Sound plus you might find some light tackle fishing at the mouth of the river early in the morning. A mass of bait there has small blues and smaller bass up on top chasing it around.

Red at Bob's Bait & Tackle heard about some keeper fluke caught in more shallow water along with the normal stories about lots of fish caught but few big enough to take home. There are a few more blues in The Race on certain tides and good blue crabbing along the Thames River

The casting for bass right now isn't too good, said Captain Allen Fee at Shaffer's Marina in Mystic. He and friends got out a couple times, once drawing only one swirl after a popper on the north side of Fishers, the other on the south side for a couple small bass. The local blackfish pros like Pete Simlick from Enfield, using their own traps to catch green crabs, easily caught their two-fish limit at Ram Island Reef among other locations.

Allen heard about lots of fluke caught in our waters with the ratio of keepers to shorts about 15 to 1. The numbers are good, said Allen, but with today's higher legal sizes, it's tough at times to get a couple to take home. Sea bass, most caught incidentally while drifting for fluke, are on the increase, some of those to 5 pounds.

Shore anglers caught porgies early in the day at Mystic River Park and snapper blues are just around the corner. One way to beat the heat and get a nice seafood dinner is wading and digging for clams along the lower Mystic River,

Al Golinski fished twice for bass this week, landing 22 stripers from the teens to 30 pounds fishing weighted bunker in the deeper holes in and around the Watch Hill Reefs. He got some positive reports about large fluke and sea bass from the rockpiles on the south side of Block Island; those may be his next targets this coming week.

Captain Jack Balint at The Fish Connection said he talked with surfers who are seeing small fluke up in the surf along the Rhode Island shore just at the ends of their runs when they can look down and see the bottom. Trolling the tube and worm is producing some medium stripers along the south side of Fishers but the number of pot buoys in certain areas is making that fishing difficult.

You might find small bass and blues on the surface in the morning from Eastern Point Beach over to Ocean Beach, the fish chasing small sand eels. The shore anglers at Norwich continue to catch some blues and bass on a weekly basis and porgies are around any rocky spot, including Race Rock.

Tim Coleman is The Day's saltwater fishing columnist. He can be reached at thewreckhunter@aol.com.

By Tim Coleman

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