Fishing ... and now football, too

Fishing and football. What a great combination to make life enjoyable at a time when summer crowds are gone and parking regulations eased so our locals get out and scout beaches from Point Judith to the west end of Fishers Island to Hammonasett, looking for birds working over migrating blues and bass. And, once you're done, you can come home and watch the start of a new NFL season.

Don at King Cove said Toby Lapinski weighed in a 42-pound striper caught from one of the nearby Rhode Island beaches. Others caught schoolies are various spots from Stonington to Bluff Points. Out on the reefs there were a couple days of good surface casting for both bass and blues but nobody has seen any amount of bonito. Porgies continue to bite well but fluke season is closed for the year and blackfish for the time being.

Mark at Hillyers Tackle reported blackfish season will reopen on Oct. 1 running through Dec. 6. You will be allowed to keep four fish per person at 14 inches long. Porgies are still with us, biting from Goshen Reef to the Spindle and rockpiles to the west. In the mornings there were blues caught in small boats off Harkness Park and presumably some of those got in close enough at times for beach fishermen to catch some on splashy poppers.

Evan over at J&B said the bass fishing was good on both tides in The Race for their charter boats. They used bucktails on the strength of the tide and eels at night when tides slowed down. Porgy fishing remains worthwhile and prior to Irene there were lots of sea bass on the West Grounds off Block Island.

Al Golinski and his wife fished once this week, using frozen bunker and catching one lone bass. They did have some live scup for bait but the bluefish got those. Locals that drove to New Bedford for fresh bunker got stripers at Race Rock and Valiant. Captain Ben DeMario fished 12 hours, from 8 p.m.-8 a.m., for four bass, three in the 20s and one 34-pounder, using eels. Al's next trip will be over to Block Island for some jumbo sea bass.

Captain Jack at The Fish Connection reported lots of blues from Race Point to Valiant with some bass mixed in though the water is still a little on the dirty side as far as Jack could judge. Inside some small and medium bass plus blues chased bait around on the surface in the mornings from Goshen to Bartletts. All the inshore rockpiles still have scup on them and chunkers from shore along the Thames caught blues with a few bass on bait on the bottom.

Pat down at River's End said the lower Connecticut River is still very dirty with a few blues caught off the piers with chunks on the bottom. Many people have yet to get back on the water, said Pat, probably still working on cleaning up after Irene. It's that time of year to start checking the beaches for blues and bass, especially on overcast, stormy days, normally a good time for shore fishing from Stonington to New Haven.

Captain Brad Glas of the Hel-Cat reported they got out after the storm and found the fishing "nothing short of fabulous." The blues were wild and fares also stood a chance at catching a nice striped bass.

Our sources for surf fishing said the summer doldrums are behind us and people out caught blues and keeper bass at various spots along the coast. One fellow caught some at Point Judith Lighthouse, another had three too small to keep from Quonny Breachway and a third reported seeing blues caught on chunks at buoy 27 in the Thames River.

Eastern Point Beach might also produce some bass early some morning, maybe with a northeast wind and dropping tide, also the Niantic River, that spot good some rainy day with wind hard from the southeast, catching on bucktails on a flood tide, fishing near Captain John's dock.

Some of the bridges along Route 1 might have bass after dark, some of those to 38 inches on live eels plus chances for shore bass at spots along the Mystic River. At times we see blues as far up as the 95 overpass, those fish hitting chunks or poppers in the morning, the bass down river below the drawbridge usually bite best after dark.

Tim Coleman is The Day's saltwater fishing columnist. He can be reached at thewreckhunter@aol.com

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