Fishing Mystic, CT
November 10, 2019
Mystic is a busy port, which isn’t always the best recipe for great fishing, but you can make some decent catches of striped bass, bluefish and fluke if you time things right. The key is to fish when boat traffic is minimal. To that end, focus your fishing efforts around dawn and dusk. Keep in mind, too, that a falling tide seems to offer the best general action during spring and early summer, while a cool, rising tide is better for midsummer forays. When fall arrives, the best action shifts back to the ebb as baitfish begin to exit the river to start their southerly migration.
Some excellent action with striped bass can be had right inside the river in May and early June. Most of these fish run 4 to 12 pounds, but a few trophies in the 20-pound class also patrol these waters. You can score by working the rip lines and any visible structure inside Mystic Harbor. The bass are chasing squid and small baitfish (usually silversides), and like to corner these forage species against the shoreline, bulkheads, or other hard objects. The I-95 bridge and the railroad bridge are perennial hot spots on the ebb. Best lures include hard-bodied plugs, soft-plastic shads or white or pearl poppers. Flies also work well, including Clouser Minnows, squid flies, large Deceivers and poppers.
Nearby Watch Hill Reef can offer tremendous action with big bass in late May, when the rips here fill with squid. It is sometimes possible to catch 30-pound fish on topwater plugs fished in the rips here at this time, but trolling parachute jigs on wire line is often a more reliable bet. Just be sure to watch out for the huge boat-eating boulders in this area!
As the waters warm in June, the larger bass move into Fishers Island Sound, where they congregate around rocky areas washed by fast current, such as Watch Hill Reef, Cormorant Reef, Ram Reef, and Ellis Reef. In the deeper areas, you can tempt the bass with diamond jigs, eels, and cut bait, or troll for them with parachute jigs and tube lures. The peak action usually drops off in mid-June, although a few big bass hang out in the Sound’s deeper waters through the summer. Fishing chunks and live eels and menhaden at night can help you score with these larger fish during the hot months.
Just as the bass begin to exit the Mystic River in June, bluefish usually arrive on the scene, and they can provide steady action through October. The blues range from cocktails weighing two or three pounds to monster choppers breaking the 15-pound mark. Look for the biggest blues to cruise along the west side of Masons Island and invade the many coves east and west of Mystic. These big bruisers often prey on adult bunker (menhaden), so target them with live menhaden, chunks, and large poppers.
If you like bottom fishing, try fluking off Mystic during the summer months. Flounder action is fairly consistent, with fish ranging in size from barely legal up to about four pounds. A squid-and-spearing combo is the usual offering, although some anglers do well by working one- to two-ounce white or chartreuse bucktails around Masons Island. For the best action with summer flatties, drift along channel edges. To target bigger fluke, probe the deeper pockets and points along the west side of Masons Island, and on out into Fishers Island Sound.
Come October, many Mystic anglers set their sites on blackfish (tautog), which can be taken over and around virtually any type of structure, from jetties to deep wrecks in the Sound. To catch them, anchor over the structure and send down a green crab section on a dropper rig or small jig. If the blackfish are present, you’ll know it soon. The key to catching the biggest fish is to locate a small patch of rocks that few other know about, as the more popular spots often get fished out fast.
Bait & Tackle
Shaffer’s Boat Livery (860-536-8713): Offers updated fishing information and a launch ramp, as well as tackle sales.
Kingfisher Charters (860-573-3614)