The Weekly Bite: October 24-29

Illustration courtesy ##http://www.fishedimpressions.com/Gallery_of_fresh_fish_4CWH.html## Fished Impressions##

Things are definitely winding down from Boston south, although there are still fish to be had if the weather allows. Tautog (blackfish) continue to provide stellar action over the shallow rockpiles south of Cape Cod through Long Island Sound and deep into Narragansett and Buzzards Bays.

Big stripers seem to be giving us a pass (again), although a few good-sized fish were taken this past week. Schoolie action is way down, however, and many anglers are deeply concerned over the lack of small fish in our coastal waters. The evidence is not just anecdotal; recent government numbers show an alarming decline in the recreational striper catch of 75 percent in the last 4 years!

On the tuna front, occasional fish are being taken on Stellwagen Bank and off Chatham, and there’s at least one report of a 55-inch fish being taken off Block Island, which you can read about here.

Massachusetts

Cape Cod Bay

  • A buddy and I splashed the boat in Sandwich on Sunday morning, only to find that the port engine would not start. With light SE winds and no swell, we decided to go for it anyway and trolled our way out to Fishing Ledge. Saw lots of gannets, but they were mostly sitting on the water. Did not mark any bait at all and did not see any fish at all. A buddy boat took the inside route and skirted the coast for Scorton’s Ledge to Barnstable and out towards P-town without seeing anything either.
  • We made our way inshore on the ride back to the ramp to check out Scorton’s Ledge, but did not see any sign of life. Not even a bluefish.
  • Since then we’ve gotten some reports of big schools of schoolies moving through off Sandwich and the east end of the Canal.
  • The Southeast Corner of Stellwagen is still producing fish from 50 to 200 pounds for the anglers who can get out there. Trolling and live-baiting seem to be scoring best.

Cape Cod

Spoke with Aaryn Briggs at Falmouth Bait & Tackle:

  • Things have been slow all around. A few tuna are being taken in Cape Cod Bay, on Stellwagen and off Chatham, but it’s not a wide-open bite.
  • Schoolies are available along the south side of the Cape, but they haven’t seen a push of migratory fish yet.
  • Some big blues are being taken on chunk baits off South Cape Beach.
  • Tautog fishing is very good right now over shallow structure.

Buzzards Bay

  • We’ve heard sporadic reports of school bass and the occasional monster blue being taken around some rocky points in the upper bay, but it’s a day-to-day deal, with the fish not sticking around very long. No signs of surface action, but then again not many folks have been able to get out.
  • A group of friends made the trek from Wareham to Westport on Monday in the fog, and only found some scattered pods of fast-moving school bass to play with. No blues to be seen.
  • The one bright spot has been tautog, which are thick on the ledges of rocks in 10 to 15 feet of water right now.

Rhode Island

Newport

Arden at the SaltWater Edge tells us:

  • He heard reports of school bass moving along the coast from Westport to Sakonnet. He tell us that the bait is beginning to break up and spread out in the Newport area, but that fishing should hold deep into November. Water temps are still pretty high, but not a lot of blitz fishing happening as of late.
  • Larger striped bass to 30 pounds and monster blues are being taken off Newport for anglers who are willing to put in their time with live eels.

Narragansett Bay

Capt. Jim White from White Ghost Charters reports:

  • “I was out yesterday with a friend inside the bay. We boated 70 tautog, 17 of them keepers. The biggest was just over 8 pounds. Plus 3 big sea bass but the sea bass season is closed until Nov. 1. Tons of tautog in the bay. Almost any place that has rocks has tautog living in them.
  • We haven’t fished any of the more popular spots yet. Everything has been on isolated rock piles in very shallow water, like 10 to 12 feet. Pretty amazing stuff. I have never seen tautog fishing like this in my life.”

Block Island

Chris Willi of Block Island FishWorks reported the following fish tale:

  • “Went on an impromptu trip on Monday morning based on credible report that there were some fish around. We headed out on the 31′ Bahama, went due south with no real plan other than to ‘go look’. At about 7:30 Capt. Joe Noel spotted a couple splashes, so we stopped to see what happened when 3 bluefins went airborne! We grabbed the spinning gear and started casting. Another 5 minutes and a pod of dolphin surfaced and surrounded us, then some bait scattered 20 yards away and we launched the 10″ Ron-Z tuna jigs in that direction.
  • “Joe hooked up something that we initially thought was a big bluefish. However, once the fish realized it was hooked, it made a blistering run that peeled of half a spool of 80-pound braid. Tuna! We had color after 10 minutes, then it took another loooong run. After the fish kicked Joe’s butt for another 25 minutes, he had it boatside and we saw that it was a respectable 50-plus” fish. I hit it with the gaff and game over.
  • “At 54″ it weighed in at 85 pounds—a lot of fat on this fish. Its belly was packed with 10″ halfbeaks. Water temp was 60 degrees. Back at the dock at 9:30. What’s better than that? Block Island in the fall!”

Charlestown

Breachway Bait & Tackle told us:

  • Fishing had been slow lately, but mainly due to the wind. Some bass had been caught off the breachway, but not many. Curiously, there have now been 2 accounts of anglers having all their line stripped by an unseen creature along the beaches. Could be a seal, but who knows?
  • Tautog are being taken on the shallow reefs and rocks just outside the breachway. Some guys are even taking them from shore.

Watch Hill

Mike Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters gave us his take on the local action in South County.

  • Apparently bass in the 20-pound range are being taken off Weekapaug, along with big blues. The blues can often be seen feeding under working birds. Mike says that water temps are still in the 60s, so there should be plenty of season left, with “new” fish continuing to move through the area. The dirty water of late has made noisy topwater plugs the lures of choice.
  • Bonito have been reported on the Watch Hill Reefs, but nothing confirmed.
  • Tautog fishing has been gangbusters over any type of shallow rock pile or wreck in 10 to 15 feet of water. Blackfishing inside the Thames River has also been outstanding.

Connecticut

Saybrook

Pat Abate at Rivers End Tackle filed the following report:

  • STRIPED BASS: The Shoal is offering the best fishing in terms of local reliability, and that’s normal for this time of year. Long Sand Shoal has held bass, mostly schoolies until Christmas some years. Most of the action there has been on drifted eels or trolled bucktails. Hatchetts had some bass this week on the surface and with drifted eels.
  • School bass are being taken along the Harkness to New London shoreline, a few from shore, most from boats trolling. No word from the Race or Plum Gut.
  • Some schoolies have been in the Connecticut River under the Causeway Bridges.
  • The schoolie run on the Southside of Montauk has slowed with most of those fish heading west along the sand beaches.
  • BLUEFISH: The Race has a good pick of mixed sizes of blues, but Long Sand Shoal still has the monsters. A few bigger blues are being caught from the mouth of the Connecticut River.
  • BLACKFISH: We’ve seen a slowing down of good reports this week. It seems that the shallow breakwaters have been pretty picked over. The best reports are still coming in from Fishers Island Sound.

Norwalk

Nick Massaro at Fisherman’s World gave us the scoop from western Long Island Sound.

  • Stripers and blues are still providing action at buoy 11B, Can 13 and 28C. Diamond jigging has been the method of choice, although chunks are also taking fish at 28C.
  • Light-tackle and fly fishing for stripers has been pretty good inside Norwalk Harbor and around the Norwalk Islands. Walk-the-dog plugs like the Zara Spook and baby bunker flies are taking fish up to 18 pounds.
  • Bonito are still kicking around the Sound, at least as of Monday. Some fish were reported off Darien.
  • Blackfishing has been outstanding, with lots of fish being taken in 10 to 20 feet of water. Fish up to 10 pounds have been weighed in at the shop.