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What were quiet shoreline hideaways are now bustling with activity. Wharves, beaches, jetties, and boat launches are drawing crowds and the once-calm Long Island Sound is now streaked with wakes from vessels heading to all points of the compass rose. Summer is here and locals are braced for the seasonal visitors, both fish and fishers.
Egrets, herons, gulls, and osprey are busy at work. Turtles are lazily crossing obstacles or stealing bait from hooks, while crabs and jellyfish remind us what time of year it is. A unique environment in which to spend some quality time with family and friends, Long Island Sound is a backyard paradise.
As fish migrate into this saltwater pond, the angler prepares for sport and fresh table fare. A true crowd-pleaser is the run of scup/porgy, our saltwater panfish. Sometimes a chore to fillet, a pain in the butt when trying to get through them to other fish below, but nevertheless, delicious to the palate. One cannot get more simple than rigging up for a tide of porgy fishing. A light rod, couple of hooks, some weight, and bait and you're set for some fun.
In only 12 feet of water, the anchor was lowered and with very little wind not much scope was needed. This hump rose above a 30-foot dropoff on one side and about 25 on the other. Over the side went the baited hooks and, literally within seconds of imparting a little rod action, fish were on. Like many scup caught this week, these fish were slabs. Word was out that runs of porgies in excess of 15 inches were being caught-a true sign that summer has arrived.
Eyes widened on this youngster when his rod was almost pulled from his grip. He pulled and cranked with everything he could muster but ultimately needed a slight helping hand to bring this slab over the gunwale. With a big smile, he looked up and said, "I'm a real fisherman now, huh?" Until this happens, you cannot appreciate the joy that a youngster feels when he/she makes their first catch. Now is the season and time for you to make that happen.
On the Water
Evening/daytime storms and near misses prompted by typical mid-80 degree summer temperatures etched this week's weather pattern. This semi-regular pattern cranked water temperatures into the high 60s where the Sound responded with sometime wind-draped cranky seas or flat pancake conditions.
Although bait has been abundant throughout Long Island Sound, primarily foraging striped bass and bluefish have driven it. Recently, catches along the shoreline have increased in numbers almost across the board. But because baitfish, like menhaden, have been on the move and, in many cases, relegated to mid-Sound, those near-shore visits have been spontaneous and intermittent.
Just about every inshore reef has held striped bass throughout the week, but only for short periods of time. Inner/outer southwest, the S's, Long Sand Shoal, and Six Mile are classic examples. Kelsey's held fish for a bit on the flood, but depending on your position in the line of drifters/trollers, it was a toss-up who hooked up. Timing was key for off-shore 'linesiders' and depending on the day/tide, work was cut out for most skippers. For the most part, Faulkner's north rip and Cinder Bottom gave up fish during recent full moon flood tides.
This week more gulls were working both in/offshore reefs giving rise to more top water bluefish action. Still, schools of bunker have not been forced into the channels or beaches for very long. Blues from 4 to 14 pounds have been caught-an increase from previous weeks.
Porgy/scup fishing continues to be 'red hot' with them banging both fresh/frozen baits. Shore/reef action is good as fish from keeper size to more than 17 inches are still being landed. Look to Kimberly, Madison, Charles, Half Acre, and Goose. Mixed in amongst the schools are seabass hunkered down in the holes. Fluke fishing both from shore and boat has improved however the ratio of through-backs to keepers is about 15:1 with more shorts running Long Sand Shoal, the 'trough' and along the shoreline. Note: Blackfish/tautog opens July 1 in Connecticut with a two-fish, 14-inch limit.
Trout fishing is still hanging in with better than average catches in the rivers, lakes, and trout parks. Combo presentations of worms, small roosters, floaters, and flies are good choices. Largemouths, smallies, pickerel, pike, and catfish all are in full swing although cooler parts of the day will be more productive. Try mid-day for panfish-the bite is good!
For all things fishy, including the latest gear, bait, flies/flyfishing, rod/reel repair, clam/crabbing supplies, and licenses/permits, 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...