July 31, 2016
NEBO TV Report from the Field: Candlewood Lake, CT
Who knew that Candlewood Lake was such a great fishing spot? Apparently Mark Condran does, as it didn’t take him long to put the crew of New England Boating TV on some word-class smallmouth and largemouth bass action on last week’s visit to Connecticut’s largest lake.
Mark, a tournament bass fisherman, picked us up at the Candlewood East Marina on the morning after our arrival and brought us to one of his favorite summer fishing spots—a large rock “hump” in the middle of the manmade lake that was loaded with smallmouths. Mere seconds after sending down live alewives on dropper rigs, co-hosts Tom Richardson and Parker Kelley were battling smallies up to 4 ½ pounds! Candlewood is also home to pike, pickerel, sunfish and other freshwater species, but it’s the lake’s bass population that gets the most attention. The secret to success, especially in midsummer, is to get out early before the lake gets too busy
And Candlewood is one busy lake, as the NEBO crew discovered. A good chunk of the lake’s boaters are based at its southern end, where Candlewood East and Echo Bay Marina are located. The former served as the host marina for our Pursuit C260, which was not entirely out of place on the big lake. Candlewood East’s owner, CEO and Operations Manager Mitch O’Hara took good care of us and our boat during the stay, even going so far as to provide us with an impromptu team of savvy wake-boarders/wake-surfers, among them his three daughters: Erin, Rachel and Carolyn.
Long and narrow, with plenty of protected water, Candlewood is a popular spot for watersports of all types, and Chris Perry, Travis Keaney and the three O’Hara sisters demonstrated their considerable wake-surfing skills for the cameras. It will make for an exciting segment!
Around noon we took a break from the watersports action for a dock-and-dine meal at Down the Hatch, the only restaurant on the lake that’s open to the public. The Hatch has a long dock with lots of slips, but they fill up quickly on summer weekends. We enjoyed a tasty clam strips platter, a seared ahi sandwich, lobster rolls and more before heading back on the water.
We again met up with Chris, Travis and the O’Haras for more watersports fun then headed north to the infamous Chicken Rock. Located in the town of Sheldon, this big chunk of granite is a popular spot from which to jump into the lake, and since Tom had failed to catch the largest fish of the day, he was forced to prove his bravery.
Following the Chicken Rock leap, the NEBO team joined Tyler of Echo Bay Marina for a relaxed yet fact-packed tour of the lower lake aboard a luxurious pontoon boat. Parker and Tom were both impressed by the boat’s comfort, as well as its speed. As the sun sank low, Tyler dispensed lots of information about the lake, its creation and some of its regulations.
When the boat tour finished, we returned to Candlewood East for a delicious sunset dinner at Candlewood East Marina’s private restaurant. The food was excellent! Parker enjoyed a seared sea bass, while Tom had the chicken Alfredo. The conversation was good and the view of the lake from the club was enjoyed by all.
You can catch the Candlewood Lake episode of New England Boating TV this fall on NESN. And stay tuned to NewEnglandBoating.com or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates on show times and dates, and to find out where we’ll be filming next!