Blackfish are in season and showing up in all the usual places

Blackfish are keeping area anglers busy and the extension of the porgy season offers another reason to get out on our calmer days to enjoy ourselves and later a great seafood dinner to boot.

Captain Allen at Shaffers's Marina said the blackfish season opened last weekend. Saturday's catches were so-so but Sunday was much better on the afternoon outgoing tide. Chris Fay and his family caught five to 21 inches fishing on the two humps west of buoy 1. Other slip customers jumped around at the usual spots from Latimer Reef to North Hill, catching some fish or their limits.

Albies are still around, but producing "more frustrations than catches," said Allen, referring to the albacore's refusal to hit lures, their keen eyes detecting heavy leaders sometimes mistakenly used for them like one would for surface-feeding blues. It's usually best to tie light spinning line right to the lure, doing away with heavy mono or worse, wire leaders.

There haven't been a lot of bass coming in, said Allen, but visitors to our area are catching big porgies right from shore at Mystic River Park. Clamming has finally reopened in Area A, closed since Irene due to poor water quality.

Mark at Hillyer's Tackle reported people catching blackfish in all the usual spots from Niantic Bay over to the mouth of the Thames River. It's best to use either green or Asian crabs versus worms, the latter drawing too many of the large porgies that are on most inshore rock piles.

Striper anglers were trolling the tube and worm outside the mouth of the Thames River and catching keepers as did shore anglers using live eels at dark along Waterford Beach, this time of year often productive for beach fishermen now that the busy tourists season is over and parking spots more abundant.

Blue fishing in the Race is still good with diamond jigs or you can also catch some large blues on chunks at various reefs along the shoreline. As of this report your best chance to find false albacore is over in the Sluiceway or south of Fishers Island.

Don at King Cove in Stonington reported his slip customers catching blackfish but he rated the numbers as fair with far better numbers to come as water cools down. They weighed in a 9.75-pound tautog for John Yashuk and an 11.55 for another fellow who didn't leave his name.

Striper fishing is up and down on the reefs, but not too bad overall on a weekly basis. Drifted eels are working after dark on the reefs and also at times casting them into the rocks along the backside of Fishers Island if the wind allows smaller boats to make the trip across and back safely.

Porgy fishing remains very worthwhile on almost all the rock piles. Alibes showed up for two days on the Watch Hill Reefs early in the week but were gone as of yesterday. This is also the time of year when shore anglers have a chance of catching a nice bass on an eel after dark from Stonington Point east along some of the bridges along Route 1.

Joe Balint at The Fish Connection told me there was an influx of school bass from 14-20 inches caught from shore along the Thames River from Poquetanuck Cove down to Montville. Chunkers continue to land blues to 9 pounds from the river access points plus there are large porgies around the Fort Trumbull pier.

People casting plugs early in the morning are catching school bass plus a few blues at Harkness Park, the action sometimes over when the sun gets up. They weighed in some blackfish to 5.8 pounds from the Sub Base piers and also from the rocks around the RR Bridge by the Gold Star and also Eastern Point Beach.

Captain Brad Glas of the Hel-Cat said in his regular email that porgy catches remain very good. Brad also said they will switch back to blue fishing on Oct. 14.

Down at River's End Tackle in Old Saybrook, Mark reported some blackfish caught at Hatchett's Reef along with some 3-pound winter flounder. Chunkers caught big blues early in the week on the humps off Cornfield Point but that fishing dried up as of Thursday. Big porgies are on all the local spots and your best chance as of press time for false albacore is a run over to Montauk.

Tim Coleman is The Day's saltwater fishing columnist.

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