Fishing Stonington, Connecticut

False albacore often show in eastern Long Island Sound come late August. Photo by Tom Richardson

Stonington offers exciting fishing prospects from late spring through Halloween. Striped bass up to 40 pounds kick off the season, invading the nearby Watch Hill reef system in early May. These bass are feasting on herring and squid, and will eagerly slam reverse Atom poppers, herring chunks, large Deceiver flies and pink, yellow or red squid flies. The reefs can be dangerous due to strong currents and huge rocks, however, so use caution when fishing this area.

Fluke arrive in the area in late May, providing good fishing close to the beach off Napatree and Stonington Points, or farther out along Noyes Shoal. Good numbers of fluke can also be found to the east off Misquamicut Beach in Rhode Island in 40 to 60 feet of water.

The bottom off Misquamicut is sandy, so it’s ideal for drifting live mummichogs, squid strips or even whole squid. The average fish runs 19 to 22 inches, but fluke up to 10 pounds are taken every year at this spot. As the fluke settle in for the summer, try fishing off Isabella Beach on the south side of Fishers Island, where the fish will feed on any moving water.

July and August mean action with chopper bluefish up to 12 pounds around Fishers Island, Watch Hill Reef, Middle Ground, and Latimer Reef. You can pop them on top, but trolling umbrella rigs or diamond jigging over structure is often more dependable.

Bottom-bouncers can delight in fine sea bass and porgy (scup) fishing during July and August in 35 to 40 feet of water off Latimer Light and around Ram Island Reef. Clam baits are best for the scup, which average one to two pounds. The sea bass will hit just about any jig sweetened with a small strip of squid.

Come late August, false albacore begin to slice though Fishers Island Sound. You can entice these speedsters with small Deadly Dicks, Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnows, white Zoom Super Flukes and Fin-S-Fish. In the fly department, epoxy anchovies or Mushmouth streamers usually do the trick. Look for the albies to show around Watch Hill, Ram Island Reef and in the rips off Fishers Island.

Fall fishing can be pure mayhem. All the different predator species can be caught as they tear into schools of baitfish heading south or exiting the local rivers, creeks and harbors. Surface action often explodes in late September, and October is a great time for jigging up bass and blues throughout Fishers Island Sound. Given mild weather, both species will stay into November.

October and November are also prime months for targeting tautog (blackfish). In October, the fish move in close to the reefs and breakwaters in 10 to 15 feet of water, where they can be taken on green crabs. As the water temps fall, the fish gradually move deeper into the Sound, and can be taken right into December.