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Rainy weather puts a damper on the opening of fluke season

Our fluke opener was a bit of a bust as you might imagine due to all the lousy weather.

There were some keepers caught, mainly at Block Island and New York waters but overall many boats just stayed tied to the dock. On a much brighter note was an influx of large bass up into the Thames River, drawn there by bunker schools.

Captain Jack at the Fish Connection said they weighed in three bass over 40 pounds this past week, one caught on live bunker, two on chunks. One of the fish was caught from the Norwich docks, the second from a shore spot on the west side of the river across from the Thermos Condos and the last one in a boat off Mohegan Sun.

Before the rains came, people were also catching larger bass drifting eels in Norwich Harbor or casting them from shore after dark along the Shetucket River up from the Norwich rip-rap. Schoolie bass are all along the river as far down as New London.

Jack also got confirmed news about more bass now in the Mystic River plus some smaller blues here and there in Connecticut waters. Your best chance for fluke is Montauk or over at Block Island.

Evan at J&B Tackle said their charter boats have been catching bass in the Race since last Saturday, best on the flood tide, both diamond jigging and bucktailing. No news from on any fluke caught in local waters. Try either Greenport or the south side of Montauk.

Hillyers Tackle reported some bass caught during the rainy, miserable week off the Millstone Discharge. There were also some winter flounder caught in the lower Niantic River for those brave souls bundled up against the chilly east wind. The Sunbeam went over to Greenport on Sunday, catching some blues.

Don at King Cove told me his customers that braved the cold weather caught mainly short fluke both off Misquamicut and the south side of Fishers Island. Two others that took the rough trip over to Block Island did land some keepers along with bass, blues, sea bass and sea robins.

Silversides have shown up in some of the coves off Route 1 with school bass chasing them around at times. Small bass were also observed chasing bait on the surface two evenings in a row by people having dinner at Skipper's in Stonington.

Al Golinski is back in Rhode Island after a winter catching fish in Key West. His accomplished angler wife Emme landed a 35-pound blackfin tuna that would have been a line class record on 12- or 16-pound mono but unfortunately she used 30-pound braided line. Locally, all he's heard was school bass along the shore and one catch of some keeper fluke and some dogfish from Block Island.

Q at River's End in Old Saybrook said the bass fishing in the lower Connecticut River is pretty good for most anglers. Every once in a while somebody gets skunked but most who try are catching stripers to 30-plus-inches. There was a confirmed catch of a 48-incher in the lower river, the fishermen refusing to divulge any details beyond the size.

Trollers caught some bass at Six Mile plus he had a reliable report of a 9-pound fluke from the same area, the only keeper caught in local waters all week long, not exactly a ringing endorsement to start fishing in the Sound just yet. It's better right now over at Montauk or Greenport.

Shore anglers driving to Rhode Island from places in Connecticut caught school bass during the worm hatches in the evenings in Ninigret Pond, but please keep in mind that spot is in the bull's-eye of many fishermen from both Connecticut and Rhode Island and, as such, is getting crowded.

Shore fishermen are also catching school bass to 36 inches from Old Lyme over to Quonny, often bundled up last week against the chill and rain. A white half-ounce lead head with 4-inch twister tail was working well as was a 6-inch Slug-Go in alewife pattern rigged on a 3/8-ounce lead head and fished in shallower waters in the back bays and ponds.

Tim Coleman is The Day's saltwater fishing columnist.

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