Sand eels and summer bluefish blitzes

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Norwalk Island bass

I’m on vacation this week, enjoying the crystal clear waters of the St. Lawrence River.  While saltwater fishing is my clear favorite, it is good to get away and experience something a little different.  The St. Lawrence River is a world class fishery with smallmouth bass, pike, and muskie the main attractions in the area we vacation.  Despite being on such a large river, this annual vacation often brings me back to the basics.  Fishing with kids and keeping things simple.

I brought up my kayak with depth-finder, outriggers, and casting platform to stalk carp in some of the shallow water.  Looking at my kayak and the effort I put in bringing it up here is a good example of how we can easily make things more complicated than they need to be.  The focus up here is the kids.  There are fifteen kids in this family outing and about half fish periodically.  Most of the time it is with a simple hook and worm.  Guess who has had a better week, the worm or the decked out kayak?  My 12 year old nephew Connor is the big fisherman of the young kids and has been out fishing myself and another “expert” adult angler.  Connor has caught big smallmouth bass, perch, rockbass, and his first catfish all with a simple hook.  No depth-finder, GPS, radar, or $500 fly rod needed.  So as you go out fishing this week, remember it is all about the kids and sometimes keeping it simple is the best approach.

Block Island

Cast a Fly Charters fly skipper, Capt. Ray Stachelek reports:

Capt Ray

Kashia bar bass

Narragansett Bayhas pods of harbor bluefish breaking the surface during morning hours.  Most of the action is in open water.  Look around the west side of the islands.

The improved weather has moved striper fishing into the summer mode.  Stripers have really slowed down in the upper reaches of the bay.  Water temps are near 68 degrees.  Look south off Jamestown casting toward the rocky shores. Surface poppers should work on calmer water.

Want stripers? Need to get out on the ocean.  The good news is the bite at Block Island remains fairly consistent.  We had a good morning trip with Joe Herbert on Monday.  Nothing spectacular as far as surface blitzes or larger fish, but the action was evenly spaced throughout the morning.  That keeps your attention span! We were still catching stripers till eleven o’clock as we headed to the ramp.  Look for them in 15-25 feet of water lying on the bottom.  A full sinking fly line helps. Casting up-current and mending the line gets you in the zone.  Olive sand eels patterns work best.  Most of the stripers were on the 6-9 lb. range.  Great to catch on a fly!

Do you recognize this GQ man? That’s Joe Herbert in his new suave physique. We both laugh about trading in our gourmet muffins for Kashia Bars each trip.  Hah! …. To be healthy!

Watch Hill and Western Long Island Sound

Capt. Mike Duclos of Tiderunner Charter reports:

Mike

Big blues are adding to the summer action

The summer bluefish blitz is underway. For some the bluefish is not as desireable a target as our beloved Striper. I for one do not feel that way; and despite the fact that every trip has Striper as the main goal, I relish the tenacity and speed of the Bluefish. Few fish can get you into your backing as quickly as a Bluefish and give you the impression that you have a fish on that is twice the actual size of the fish you land.

The Race and Gardner’s Bay have their fair share of Blues at the moment, and despite the fact that nothing could entice them to bite last Friday, this week they are ravenous so use a trace of wire or say goodby to flies and hardware.  If you happen to be in the area of Cabela’s in East Harford on Saturday the 14th I am hosting a seminar on “Matching the Hatch ” A year on the Sound at 11:00 am. Have a great week, tight lines to all.

Capt. Roger K. Gendron of Connecticut Island Outfitters reports:

The week of, and after, the 4th of July usually marks the beginning of summer vacations, more boat traffic (particularly on weekends), and higher water temps; essentially more challenging fishing.  The sun is up well before 0600 and Bass having just finished breakfast are sluggish and seek siesta in the solace of deeper, cooler water.

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Top water bluefish action

This past week saw a few less bass bites overall, but there are still nice fish around.  It seems current is king, and slack water is a frustrating intermission to be avoided if possible.  Scott M bagged this beauty in back of the Norwalk Islands while visiting from VT (see picture at top).  It was the better of a couple that morning and a welcome reward after stabbing a smorgasbord of other species on fly, including a flatty and one pissed-off Porgy!

Of course there are a plethora of blues to occupy the dead spot while current changes direction.  There are countless sand eel pods sprinkled all throughout the Western Sound, and splash attacks are visible frequently.  The Piranha pictured here slammed a laboratory project painted in “Atomic Chicken” and was so stuffed with sand eels there was barely room for the hook.  The current size of their quarry is about 3”, or the size of your average gas cap, if you are trying to match the hatch.

Small-ish deceivers work well on the flats for these pate-sized predators, but be prepared to unhook a few Sea Robins along the way.  If you are spinning, poppers are of course the most fun, but if nothing is showing, Deadly Dicks are producing with some blind casting.  If you see the sand eels, or Cormorants diving consistently, throw the spoon.

Despite the bite, it has been a pleasure fishing in nice weather; summer may actually have arrived.

Good luck this weekend!

Garth Fondo

Posted in Fishing Reports, Lead Article, Southern New England

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