There's been plenty of time to fish between the gusts of wind
In between bouts of very strong winds, there were fishing opportunities both off our shores and over at Montauk. Included in the catches were a very large blackfish and some great action using light tackle for schoolie bass and false albacore in the rips on the east end of Long Island.
Mark at Hillyer's weighed in the big black, an 18.8-pound giant, over 30 inches long, for Bob Silver who caught his trophy at Jordan Cove, fishing from shore. Small boaters caught bass from the mouth of the Thames River over to Black Point trolling the tube and worm in the inshore rips or live eels in close to the shoreline rocks.
Mark Kuz weighed in a 45-inch bass he caught on a live bunker, location kept a secret. Mark from the store suggested either Ocean beach or the mouth of the Thames after possibly getting some bunker in the Thames below the RR Bridge.
Captain Jack Balint at the Fish Connection said he fished over at Montauk on Tuesday, the last time our fall winds allowed him to make the trip across in his 26-footer. His charter landed 18 very fat schoolie bass to 27 inches and 18 false albacore. They used light spinning rods and 4½-inch Zoom Flukes on a hook, no lead head; the lure worked on the surface, the fish hitting the lure when it was at a dead stop.
A few schools of schoolie bass were seen moving past the south side of Fishers Island and also schools of small blues moving past Watch Hill Point on the flood tide. Weather permitting, there are blackfish in shallow water off Stonington but always err on the side of safety when deciding whether it's safe to go out in a small boat.
Captain Allen Fee at Shaffer's reported the wind has kept people off the water but there have been some catches on the nicer days. On Tuesday Rick Butler from Montville and his friend Ryan Brauth plus a third party, landed 12 keeper blackfish fishing right along the Monastery Wall at the tip of Enders Island. Eighty-three-year old Hugh Williams of Mystic fished in very shallow water right off Paddle Rock on the south side of Ram Island for a 23-inch blackfish, his only fish that trip.
Captain Kerry Douton over at J&B said their charter boat is doing well in The Race during the day but night trips have been on the poor side. Daytime fishing is also good in Plum Gut, mixed blues and bass. Bass are moving along the shoreline, sometimes within range of the shore anglers, others times caught trolling in small boats.
He's had mixed reports about black fishing, the most success coming from little known rockpiles in shallow water. The construction around the Niantic River RR Bridge has cut down on the amount of shore fishing in that spot, normally a productive place this time of year.
Over at King Cove, Don said he didn't have much to report save for some hardies braving the wind and catching small to medium blackfish around the Stonington Breakwall and inshore rockpiles, sometimes putting up with rough water and high winds. He added that black fishermen were often a breed apart.
There are some hickory shad in the Mystic River that might draw in some larger stripers. This is the time when there should also be some stripers hanging around the bridges from Stonington to the west, access much better now than during the busy summer.
Down at River's End, Mark Lewchick said some of the locals drove up to Harkness Park a couple evenings this week and were rewarded with some school bass hitting their plugs. Others that went to Watch Hill saw some larger bass chasing bait on the surface but out of range of even their 10-foot surf rods.
Montauk has been red hot for bass, and some of the shore anglers boarded the New London ferry for the trip over to fish for one or two days. Chunkers continue to land blues of various sizes from the pier and access point along the lower Connecticut River from under the Baldwin Bridge to the river mouth. The best black fishing right now is in shallow spots that are not hit near as much as the bigger, better known rocks.
Rhode Island shore fishing generally has been pretty poor now for about 10 days with only a fish caught here and there, usually at dusk and daybreak. Bob Clark landed a 38-incher on a windy morning on a Captain Andy swimmer and Ray Monahan caught a 27-inch bass on a popper just before last light on Watch Hill Beach, the only fish taken that evening said Ray.
Tim Coleman is the Day's saltwater fishing columnist.