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Black fishing luck has varied by spot

Our black fishing remains very worthwhile in between bouts of wind, though not all areas produced those really big tautog that look so good in photos at work the next day. Big blues are still around but striper fishing, both beach and boat, could be better unless one heads over to Montauk.

Captain Jack Balint said shore anglers caught blackfish to eight pounds at Groton over the last week and fish to 15 pounds in the boats this past weekend. Best spots are the Middle Clump, North Hill and Race Rock. Large bunker are holding blues in Norwich Harbor with some bigger bass there in the evening.

School bass were chasing bait on a couple evenings on the surface at Drawbridge Road and Gales Ferry, maybe some of those the first arrivals of our winter stock, said Jack. Bass catches in the Sound have been pretty poor; Montauk is a better bet if you get a weather window. You might be able to get a day at Shagwong or Gardiner's Bay rather than big seas right now on the south side. And, if it's too rough to go anywhere, you might try your hand catching one of 200 salmon the state just stocked in the Shetucket River.

Roger at J&B said the wind made it tough at times for small boaters to get out after blackfish, and when they did, Roger hasn't heard about any real monsters. Bass fishing in tough but there are still lots of big blues on some days in The Race and Gut. Albies are a very hit or miss deal, more miss than anything else.

Blackfish can be caught in most rocky areas, said Hillyers Tackle. They didn't weigh in any real jumbos but people are getting their limits. Big blues are coming in close at times from Harkness to Crescent Beach, also the Niantic River, best early or late in the day. Bass are here and there, maybe your best chance is to cover a lot of water trolling, looking for that one or two during the day.

Bob's Tackle weighed in two 13-plus-pound blackfish during the last weekend and is hoping for even bigger ones tomorrow or Sunday. Bunkers are keeping large blues in and around Norwich Harbor. Sea bass opens up in state waters on Monday, Nov. 1, giving anglers another chance to catch supper.

Captain Allen from Shaffer's was on his way to Boston to pick up a big model ship when I caught up with him via cell phone. He reported steady blackfish catches, keeper size and better but no giants from all the usual places like the Clumps that can sometimes have a small fleet of boats on them. Fisher Island surfcasters continue to buy eels, a sign they are catching bass at night off the south side and rocky points on the other side.

Some people are pulling their boats but Allen said the marina will stay open in November as next month can offer some great opportunities for local anglers that stay with the program.

Don at King Cove told me they black fishing was in high gear, wind permitting. This has been one of the better blackfish season, said Don, with all the usual spots producing, including the south side of Fishers and the tip of Napatree Point. Some bass chased bunkers around on a couple days as far up the Pawcatuck River as C.C. O'Brien's. There were also a few bass after finger mullet in some of the coves off Route One, usually there on a strong flood tide, said Don.

Down at River's End in Old Saybrook, Mark said that he had a report of large bass caught from the Block Island beaches on eels after dark at the beginning of this week on the upside of the full moon. The local beaches are pretty slow, the steadies that know the water catching a school bass here and there. Much the same could be said for the Rhode Island beaches from Watch Hill to Weekapaug.

We close with a surf report from Al Golinski. One of his neighbors, Dick LaFaille, took his daughter Chris out for a day of surfcasting in Rhode Island, using his 4WD truck. Chris tossed out a popper at one spot, thought she might have some weed on the lure until her dad told her it was a fish, a fine 39.85-pound striper, the only hit they had all day, but a very successful trip nevertheless.

Tim Coleman is The Day's saltwater fishing columnist.

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