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BIG OL’ BASS

Posted By Toby Lapinski, June 22, 2020
BIG OL’ BASS
There are some big bass on the move in LI Sound. Here is a bass “pushing 60” landed by Dan Taylor last week mid-Sound.

This week saw a good variety of action across Southern New England. Overall there is no single best bet with each area having its shining light. Sea bass season opens this Wednesday, June 24 in Rhode Island and New York opens the day prior, both of which are much-welcomed dates on the calendar as anglers have been throwing back some hefty humpheads in those waters for weeks—this is a result of both places “needing” a late-fall season and therefore having to give up some time elsewhere. Fluking remains so-so in the Sound, a little better in Rhody and better from Buzzards Bay to the Nantucket Shoals—a friend took a trip there over the weekend and had one of the best trips he has seen in some 40-plus years of fishing! Porgy action really ramped up this week with hubcaps landed both from shore and by boat in Rhody, LI Sound and NY waters. Striper fishing remains, well, varied. There are still fish in Western Long Island Sound, Block saw some bigger fish hit he Ledge, and the night tides in the Canal have big bass that disappear the moment the sun begins to peak over the eastern horizon. But don’t take my word for it, here is what our Field Editors have to say this week:

CONNECTICUT
By Dave Anderson
One of these years I’ll remember that the Father’s Day wishes belong in the report for the week before Father’s Day! But it’s the thought that counts, so Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there! There are a lot of fisheries that are booming right now but for anyone with a small boat, now is your chance to catch a bluefin within sight of land. There are acres of football bluefins from Block Island to Hampton, NY. Places like the Coimbra and the Butterfish Hole are holding big numbers of sand-eel-crushing tunas and, with good weather on the horizon, now is your chance! For those looking to stay closer to home, the bass bite has been red hot at both ends of the Sound and some really big fish are around now. In other great news, New York sea bass opens this week so your horizons have broadened exponentially. It’s summer, get out there and take advantage of it we only have three months of official summer, make it count!

RHODE ISLAND
By John Hanecak
With black sea bass season finally opening up in Rhode Island on June 24 with a three fish limit, it should be an excellent week to plan a combo fluke and sea bass trip. The fluke fishing has improved some but anglers are still working through quite a few shorts for their keepers; Throw-back sea bass have been “plaguing” bottom fishermen for weeks, so we know they are there in good numbers. Striped bass fishing really picked up out at Block with several big fish reported this past week.

CAPE COD AND THE ISLANDS
By Charley Soares
Water temperatures have spiked in the protected bays and harbors and on our last trip at the confluence of Buzzards Bay and Rhode Island Sound we encountered surface water temperatures from 65 to 67 degrees. The black sea bass bite in western Buzzards Bay has been good but bigger fish are moving to deeper water. The west end of the Canal has been hot for bass from schoolies to slot fish and bigger by anglers using cut mackerel and jigs. In the east end there are a few schools of macks that are providing action for stripers, many of them are in the 40-inch class. The offshore bite is good with bluefin moving in closer to the Dump and the Claw with a mix of footballs and giants.

SOUTH SHORE MASSACHUSETTS TO MAINE
By Capt. Greg Metcalf
Striper fishing around the Green Harbor to Scituate Harbor shorelines has been heating up and is my best for this week. Many of the rocky shoreline areas have been producing impressive catches of keeper and over-the-slot sized fish. As the weather improves and the water temperatures continue to increase the angling possibilities will increase and the reports will be more robust. Look for more sightings of tuna and sharks as the water temperature reaches into the mid-60- degree range.

INLAND/FRESHWATER
By Rod Teehan
My fishing partner, John Chrisant, and I put in a morning at O’Loughlin Pond, a small water retention venue located at Quabbin Reservoir’s Gate 31 in New Salem, Massachusetts. Ordinarily we fish the main reservoir, but once in a while we select O’Loughlin to try something different. The pond, which is rimmed with lily pads, has a healthy population of largemouth bass and panfish including crappies. Although we’ve never caught any species of trophy size at O’Loughlin, John and I still like the place. Usually we enjoy plenty of action there. Our latest outing began in a typical O’Loughlin manner. In the early morning 1- and 2-pound class largies were relating to the outside edge of lily pads. We caught nine, most of them on a white 3/16-ounce spinnerbait, a few on a surface-twitched Rapala. Two midget pickerel also attacked a Rapala. Action lasted until about 8:00 a.m. When we stopped getting bitten by bigmouths, we switched to panfish. What a disappointment they turned out to be. Only one of our favorite spots—a lily pad hump located near where the Swift River enters—produced, and even that one was awfully stingy yielding only seven crappies and a few bluegills. One of the ‘gills, though, was a beauty measuring 9.5 inches and weighing 12 ounces. All in all, it was a fair morning but not one that left us restless for more of the same. By the way, O’Loughlin Pond is subject to the same rules and regulations as the main body of Quabbin Reservoir including the requirement that private boats must possess an intact Quabbin Boat Seal in order to launch. In previous years DCR rental boats and motors, kayaks, and canoes were available for use on the pond, but so far this year rentals have not been made available.

OFFSHORE
By Toby Lapinski
The waters by the Coimbra are still producing bluefin from small footballs on up to 100-plus-pounders. I spoke with a guy late in the week and he said he had heard the fish were most cooperative out that direction and he was heading here shortly after our meeting. From his sources the fish are not necessarily on the wreck, but in the vicinity, with a friend getting a pile of bluefin and never getting closer than 5 miles from the site. Moving north, the lockjaw fish from last week that were between Block and the Dump seem to have opened their mouths up a bit, but they’re still not in full-on suicide mode just yet. Trolling and topwater is producing up that way, but the best action has been on sand eel-like jigs down deep. We have a reader report this week from Keith Edwards out of Milford, CT; shoot me an email by noon on Sunday at tlapinski@thefisherman.com if you have some intel—good or bad—that you’d like to share.

IN THE SURF
By Dave Anderson
Water temps took a good surge upwards this week and I think we are starting to catch up to the season, finally. The Canal anticipation has been so high I think you can physically see it in the air from anywhere within 90 miles of the place. Casters have been camped there for days waiting for, what they feel is inevitable, the big push of bass crushing plugs in the light of dawn. So far, it has not played out that way. Big fish have entered the Canal, yes, but they are laying low in daylight and seem to be only taking jigs and mostly in the deep of night. More bonito have been caught from the shore this week as well, several from places around Rhode Island and one from the Vineyard. If you’re going to be fishing during the day, make sure you have some tins or some Snax on you in case you see a pod of porpoising tunoids. This week feels like the week when the surf starts to feel like the summer surf, most of the fish will be out front and the night guys will rule the roost.

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