|Catching "the Blues"
Roland St. Denis
Posted: Fri, August 09, 2002
If you dislike catching Bluefish, don’t bother reading this report. It will only depress you. If you dislike catching Bluefish, you may want to take a short break from fishing the CT coastline for a while. I’m not saying there aren’t any Stripers around, because there are, and plenty of them. But this state has seen such an influx of Bluefish activity over the last 3 weeks; I’ll bet you will catch “the Blues” without even trying.
CHARTER – OFFSHORE/INSHORE
The Reelin (860) 442-7519 fished excessively inshore this past week. On Wednesday Captain Kevin Bentley had the Mischel Group on board who enjoyed a 180-degree trip from the year before. Last year the group who included 3 young boys were greeted with 30 - 40 knot winds and rain as they spent the day hiding in the lee of the north shore catching Scup. This year they had hazy, hot, humid air with non-stop action with bluefish to 14 lbs with a couple of bonus keeper Striped Bass fishing a small reef off of Fishers Island. All the adults and children went home tired and sore.
On Friday, Bentley had the gang from the URS Corporation on board. Despite a very slow tide and an impending cold front, they struggled to catch enough Bluefish at Valiant Rock and Fishers Island on a mix of jigs and tubes to be happy with the outcome.
On Saturday, the Jeff Hubbard Stag Party encountered a slow pick of catch and release Bluefish at Valiant Rock and a small reef off of Fishers Island using a mix of tubes and jigs.
On Sunday the fishery rebounded significantly for the Wolhert party. Fishing the slack water at Valiant Rock and Fishers Island using a mix of tubes and jigs, they caught all the Bluefish they could handle with a very nice charge of striped bass thrown into the mix.
Offshore, the Bluefin Tuna fishery remained strong all week. Prior to Sunday, just about everyone that fished was averaging 20 to 30 fish a trip. Sharking remains good for the guys putting the time in. Most people are being rewarded with at least one Mako with as many as three being brought to boat side. On the edge, we hear reports of very good Yellowfin way down at Hydrographers and very good Albacore fishing at Atlantis. Inside the canyons, the Yellowfin and Albacore remain absent with only an occasional fish taken. A few reports are filtering in of some yellows around the 400 line south of Shinecock. Hopefully, these fish and the fish in the far-eastern canyons will make their way to our grounds in the near future.
We have a new charter boat contributor to nor’east.com. Sal Tardella, captain of My Bonnie Charters (203) 866-6313 was nice enough to offer his reports on a weekly basis. Considering the lack of charter boats in the western part of the state, this will bring a little balance to the charter reports section of this article.
Tardella has been operating in Norwalk for the last 18 years. He owns a 25” Custom Sportfisherman and enjoys prowling the Western Sound. Specializing in light tackle, fly rod, and spincasting charter trips, Tardella has a repeating customer base like no one else – a testament to his fish know-how and personality.
A special thanks to nor’east.com reader Mike Epstein for introducing me to our new contributor! Now for Tardella’s first report...
Thomas DeCoene, a Greenwich resident, currently living in Tokyo--and a "My Bonnie" regular whenever he comes to town-- brought along his son and daughter last week. They fished the Nissoquoque where there were acres of Bluefish on the surface. Tom used his fly rod, and the kids used spincasters, and they reeled in over 40 fish, all of which were released except for two destined for the dinner table.
Fred DeVito of Norwalk brought along his 13-year-old grandson, William Cadle of Phoenix. Young Will enjoyed the excitement of bringing in Bluefish for the first time; his biggest fish was 9lbs, 6oz, caught on a chrome Creek Chub popper.
Dr. Kathy Sackler of Fairfield treated two of her colleagues as well as her young son to a day aboard "My Bonnie.” Everyone had a ball--again with Blues on top--this time off of 11B. None of the group had ever seen this kind of action before.
Sunday was a long day...
First Trip: Dana Stein's birthday gift for her boyfriend, Jeremy, was a trip aboard "My Bonnie.” They fished off the power plant on the other side of the Sound, and there was non-stop Bluefish action again.
Second Trip: Virginia Kamsky of Wilson Point brought son, Michael, and doctor friend, "Uncle John," and his daughter. It was a fun day for all--especially the kids--who caught lots of porgies in Middle Passage--as well as four Blues on top at Cockenoe.
Finally, Mark Hawley and wife, Mary -of Norwalk - and their friend, Ben, was Tardella’s third trip of the day--in the late afternoon. The Blues weren't where they had been, so they had to travel all around to try to find them. It was getting late, so they switched gears and looked for another species. We found porgies about half a mile from the Northport platform, and there they stayed, loading up on fish from 10-13". Before leaving, they “blindcasted” in a few spots and brought in four more Blues.
George and Steve of Danbury fished Monday morning, although the weather started out looking very ominous. After a few drops of rain and more than an hour of hunting down fish, Tardella and crew found masses of Blues on the surface in Southport.
Nick Gagliarti of the Bait Shop (203) 853-3811 checked in with good news regarding Bluefish activity. From the shoals outside of Southport to the Norwalk Islands, Bluefish, in the 3-8 lbs range have been caught with regularity. Middle Pass has also been effective on the falling tide.
Striper action has been very slow in the area.
Inside Norwalk Harbor, local anglers are picking up good-sized Weakfish on Sabiki Rigs and small Kastmasters and Krocodiles.
Fluking has been inconsistent of late, but a local angler (unnamed by Gagliarti) picked up four keeper Fluke right inside the harbor in 6 feet of water. The water temps in this area surpassed the 80 degree mark.
Tons of small Peanut Bunker have entered the harbor. You’ll also find a nice mix of Snappers and Tailors feeding on them at dawn and dusk.
SW Reef has been a harbinger for Striped Bass over the last few weeks – and I received even more good news about another species of fish that appears to be plentiful in this area. A trusted friend of mine called this afternoon to report a decent pick of Sea Bass up to 6 lbs were taken this afternoon. After returning to port, he learned many boats were having a ton of success bottom fishing sandworms for this tasty fish.
For those of you who frequent the sand bar, you’ll be happy to know the water in this area is also boiling with baitfish. Several mini-blitzes have occurred over the last few nights, with many catching a fair share of Tailors and a few 9+ pounders mixed in. The only problem with this location is the plethora of Sea Robins. It appears they have been caught using every method in the book, so you’ll have to sift through these pesky creatures to get to your prized Bluefish.
Also, several small schoolies have been taken at night on chunk bait and Kastmasters. So far, there have been no signs of any linesiders.
Other shoreline areas along the West Haven shore have produced good-to-excellent Porgy fishing, as well as endless schools of Snapper Blues.
Jason Jadach reported in to give his take on the Milford fishing scene.
Buoy 12 is producing nice-sized Weakfish (5-6 lbs) and Tailor Blues (3-4 lbs). Jointed Bombers and swimmers have been used with a great deal of success.
Fishing along Fort Trumball Beach has improved a great deal over the last week. Keeper-sized Stripers have been slaughtering numerous pods of Peanut Bunker within casting distance. Many anglers have been using small Yozuri’s with success.
Walnut Beach Pier has also improved. Many keeper Stripers have been taken on the incoming tide.
For those of you loyal Gulf Beach fisherman, your patience is starting to pay off. Over the last three days, large schools of Stripers (some keepers) have been caught in Gulf Pond. Apparently, the influx of Peanut Bunker has finally enticed our striped friends to venture close enough to shore to catch with small poppers and swimmers.
Middle Ground continues to produce an obscene amount of Porgy’s. Jadach and friends caught over 85 keeper Scup. Most fish were averaging around 1 lb, while the largest weighed in slightly over 1.5 lbs. They also tallied 3 Sea Bass – 2.5, 3, 4.5 lbs.
Local angler Jim Zimmerman, inventor of the Ring Rig, caught 3 slot Stripers and 2 others at 38” fishing off his boat in the Woodmont area.
Another local angler, Dave Collins reported a mix of Blues, Bass, Sea Robins, and Fluke were caught in New Haven Harbor waters off of his kayak. Several schools of Snapper Blues blitzing on Shiners and Peanut Bunker were seen between New Haven Harbor and Woodmont Beach.