Fluke season opens on Sunday
Connecticut fluke season opens Sunday and runs through Sept. 5. You are allowed to keep three fish per person per day as long as they are 18.5 inches long. In addition to fluke you also stand a chance of catching the first bass of the year out of The Race or schoolies along the shorelines/rivers from the lower Connecticut River to Sandy Point. And, hopefully the cold northeast wind that's been blowing a week will go away.
Captain Kerry Douton at J&B reported a bubble of warm water moved into Block Canyon this week. Rumor has it one or two of the Shinnecock boats got in on the fishing, landing a white marlin and a few yellowfin before the water moved on.
Small blues and fluke are over in Greenport plus there are some winter flounder in the lower Niantic River plus schoolies along the shorelines and the Millstone Discharge. It may not be the warmest weather right now but our spring fishing is taking place.
Hillyers Tackle said one fellow caught 20 flounder in the lower Niantic River, keeping of course his two-fish limit. There are school bass from the mouth of the Niantic River over toward the mouth of the Thames, plus some talk about some fish caught after dark from shore around the bridges over the Niantic.
Captain Allen Fee told me there are some school bass in the lower part of the Mystic River and more schoolies along the Connecticut shorelines over into the Rhode Island beaches. Cold weather or not, the spring migration of bass is under way. On Wednesday evening a large flock of terns was working over bait and small bass from the west side of Watch Hill over to the north side of Sugar Reef on the ebb tide without a boat in sight to fish for them.
Ray Monahan of Westerly has been catching small bass in the evening on small plastics bait and lead heads from the Rhode Island beaches. The action is much better in the evening than daybreak; maybe the sun has a chance to warm the 47-degree water a bit during the day, sparking the fish to feed?
There are fluke off Misquamicut in 60 to 80 feet of water, reported Don at King Cove, if any one wants to bundle up and begin the season. A diver saw some bass down deep on the Watch Hill Reefs but no sign of surface feeding like we see during the upcoming squid run.
Schoolie bass are around from the lower Pawcatuck over Sandy Point to the west along the Route One Bridges, including the coves, but numbers are not what we come to expect from others years at this time, said Don.
Captain Jack at the Fish Connection reported some of his customers caught fluke over at Peconic Bay but tossed them back because the Connecticut season had yet to open. The cold wind has been a limiting factor during the week keeping some, not all, off the water but it has not kept shore fishermen from landing stripers.
They are catching small stripers in the evenings from the Rhode Island beaches and along the Thames, especially those walking in about 200 yards to one of the small points just off Route 2A. Kayakers landed small keepers in Poquetanuck Coves and most of the other coves have bass in them said Jack. There are also bass to be caught when times are right up along the Shetucket River shore and the Norwich dock/rip-rap.
While it may be early there have been sightings of blue crabs in the Mystic and Thames Rivers plus rumors about the first small bass landed at Valiant Shoal. Two locals trailered down to the lower Connecticut River, launching below the Baldwin Bridge, landing 25 school bass in spite of the river still being on the high side with lots of debris floating by.
Mark at Rivers End said two of the local sharpies caught 10 bass in an afternoon on small plastic baits around Great Island and shore anglers are catching bass from the White Sands beaches. Some days it's been OK, said Mark, the next day nothing at all for the first surfcasters out for a new season. No flounder news; that report expected when the river is high and murky.
Tim Coleman is The Day's saltwater fishing columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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