Warm water is bringing some interesting catches from afar
This is the time of year when our waters warm to the point where we see southern fish in our catches. Small mahi were reported last week off the Block Island Fairway buoy and other the years we've seen cobia caught by striper fishermen, sheepshead and triggerfish by bottom bouncers and this week, a 35-pound red drum caught from Weekapaug Breachway.
Don at King Cove saw a picture of the drum, landed about 12:30 p.m. this week on a chunk of bunker on the bottom meant for striped bass by a shore angler. Sea bassing remains good at Block Island and on the rocky bottom off the Rhode Island beaches. Tuesday, a load of squid came through on one tide off Watch Hill Point but there were only blues chasing it around.
Overall fluking is fair not great, added Don, but porgy catches have been good to excellent. Striper fishing is still up and down, best on weighted bunker in the deep holes if you can find any pogies for bait.
Captain Jack at The Fish Connection reported seeing a picture a couple years ago of an angler holding up a cobia he caught with the east end of Fishers Island clearly in the background. Jack warned area boaters to be on the lookout when going between the bell at Napatree Point and the shore. There is a sunken boat about halfway between the two that is only six feet or so below the surface.
Fluking is best in deeper water and the Watch Hill Reefs are still very poor for people that like to cast lures into the rips. There are more casting opportunities at this time from Race Point to the Sluiceway, maybe some small keeper bass early in the day followed by blues later on. Diamond jigging in The Race is producing lots of blues and a few bass.
There was a worm hatch off Sandy Point and the East Breakwater of Stonington that produced a day or so of school bass fishing but that dried up by week's end. Tube and worm trolling is producing some bass on some days on the south side of Fishers.
Captain Kyle Douton at J&B said his father has been fishing out in the canyons most of the week on their charter boat landing yellowfin from 15-30 pounds, a few big eyes and a few yellows from 50-55 pounds, all trolling; the night bite has been slow. Some boats had good trips, others only a few small tuna. The trick seems to be causing lots of commotion with spreader bars and birds and then very light leaders to the lures.
Roger from the shop fished for fluke over the weekend and had a good number of keepers both at Isabella and the Rhode Island beaches. Their other charter boat is catching blues steadily in The Race along with bass on bucktails or trolling. Some of the private boats are catching bass trolling a tube and worm at Black Point and Outer Bartletts or using deep-diving swimming plugs on 50-pound braid instead of wire, the latter producing some 15-20-pound stripers during the day.
Hillyers reported one of the kids from the shop fished the deep water between Black Point and Hatchetts the other morning for a couple hours for three fluke from 5-9 pounds. Some night striper fishermen found their plans changed due to bridge work but that phase is soon to be completed, said Mark. The Race was loaded with blues on Tuesday and some boats are starting to catch somewhat bigger sea bass around Outer Bartletts on small metal jigs.
Allen at Shaffers Marina took time to say his customers, both locals and people renting nearby cottages, are catching lots of fluke, culling keepers from big numbers. Steve "Java" and Donna Harmon fished three days this week, one trip throwing back 100 shorts but finding enough legal fish for a limit. Best spot was in 40 feet of water on the south side of Noyes Shoal.
Joel Reid of Mystic caught a 6.4-popund fluke right in the channel in the Mystic River and others landed snapper blues from the Mason's Island Bridge and porgies from the Mystic River Park. Residents of Fishers Island continue to come across to buy lots of live eels for shore fishing for stripers from the west end of the island.
Captain Brad Glas of the Hel-Cat tells us they caught good numbers of blues this past week along with bass, the currents in The Race back to normal velocity. Big fish of the week was a 24-pound bass caught by Jeff Carpenter from Rhode Island.
Tim Coleman is The Day's saltwater fishing columnist.