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Posted By Toby Lapinski, July 27, 2020
Mike Wade of Watch Hill Outfitters with a schoolie bluefin landed off the RI coast on a recent trip with Capt. Tom Logan of Fish On! Charters.

Here we are (somehow) already entering the final week of July. This means that for those of you who consider the open-water season as running from May through November as I do, we’re nearly half-way through the 2020 fishing season! If you’re looking to improve on your success as seen so far this year, check out what our Field Editors gleamed from this week’s reports and let it lead you to that next big catch!

CONNECTICUT – Dave Anderson
This is usually high time for fluke in the waters covered in this report, but it seems that no matter how far you steam - Block, Montauk, Fishers, the RI Beaches - the bite is just no what we’re used to seeing. The only bright spot I know of seems to be way west, off Norwalk and adjacent towns where the fluke bite is still not on fire, but the catches are better than any other place. Striped bass action has been slow in most of the nearshore areas but the areas around Six Mile Reef have had some nice fish, especially after dark on eels. The best action has been in the Race where scores of stripers from 20 inches to 40 pounds have been reported this week. Porgy action is still redefining what ‘good porgy fishing’ really is, I don’t remember a better year in the 12 years I’ve been writing this report. We’re going to turn the page into August this week which is sort of a lamb/lion situation as far as fishing goes. It often starts with very warm water, not much wind and empty shelves in the air conditioner section at Target, BJs and Wal-Mart and then wraps up with a preview of the fall run. Don’t let off the gas, there are fish to be caught!

RHODE ISLAND – John Hanecak
Reports of a few green bonito showing, a good sign heading into August. But without a doubt, the top fishery in Rhode Island still appears to be the black sea bass with plenty of limit catches and quite a few jumbo fish in the mix.

CAPE COD & THE ISLANDS – Charley Soares
It is repetitive; however the black sea bass fishing is still on the top rung of the target list and for good reason. Despite a load of shorts and the occasional sea robin you can jig or baitfish a legal limit of five fish from Westport to the west end of the canal. The striped bass fishing in the canal got a shot in the arm this week with a good first light bite and some daytime action as bass of various sizes pursued macks up and down the ditch. The fluke fishing in Vineyard Sound picked up a bit with legal fish in the deeper holes of Lucas Shoal and Middle Ground. Bonito are little more than a pipe dream unless you head to the Hooter and even that isn’t a sure bet. The offshore bite is red hot in the canyons where yellowfin up to 80-pounds are whacking surface baits and a few more swords were reported on deep drops both day and night.

SOUTH SHORE MA TO ME – Capt Greg Metcalf
The southern Maine shoreline between York and Saco is a great bet for stripers this week. Mackerel are abundant as well as large schools of pogies. The sandy beaches, river mouths and rocky shorelines all have been producing great catches. This makes the Maine shoreline prime real estate for this type of fishing. As we move into August the offshore action will continue heat up. Canyon fishing is off to an incredible start. Big eye and yellowfin tuna, white and blue marlin, wahoo and mahi are all devouring anything trolled by them. The canyon bite has been stellar. Giant bluefin are also being taken on the offshore ledges as well as sharks. If you have the opportunity, this is a great week to take a ride to the deep.

On July 18 my fishing partner, John Chrisant, and I bass-fished Quabbin Reservoir out of Gate 31 in New Salem, Massachusetts. As usual we spent the trip pitchin’ wacky-rigged 5-inch, dark-colored Yum Dingers into reeds. Our catch comprised of 12 smallmouths and eight largemouths. Several of each species were decent specimens in the 15- to 17.75-inch range. The best smallmouth measured 21.75 inches but weighed only 4 pounds, 3 ounces; the best largemouths taped 19.5 and 19.75 inches and scaled 3 pounds, 11 ounces and 3 pounds, 12 ounces respectively. (The big smallie, by the way, was not relating to reeds but to rocks out front of a fallen tree.) John and I agree that we’re seeing a slowdown in action. My records indicate the same happened last year at this point in the summer, so we’re not surprised. What has us perplexed, though, is that some of our best summertime reed stands, including those rooted in plenty of water, are not producing which is one reason we’ve had to travel around so much in search of new reed beds to test. John returned to Quabbin July 25, but I couldn’t go. His report appears below. I’m thinking of trying someplace different this week, maybe Lake Buel in Monterey. John has an appointment, so he won’t be coming along. We will be fishing Quabbin again Friday, July 31. I’ll keep you posted.

IN THE SURF – Dave Anderson
Okay, last week I was suggesting that we all need a bit of an attitude adjustment - and I still think that’s a good idea - but this week I have started to hear some news that suggests that we might be seeing a late surge of larger fish. The weather has been hot, some might even say oppressive, and that is usually not a great thing if you’re hoping for some fish to make a swing inshore. In spite of this, I heard from one friend that he had found a pile of good fish somewhere along the CT shoreline. I know that at least one 40-pounder was pulled from the Newport surf between flashes of offshore lightning this week. And then, of course, there’s the whole Canal thing. As is so often the case with the social media skew of the Canal, it wasn’t all giants. In fact it was mostly 24- to 34-inch fish, but there were a lot of them. However, even if you only casually scanned Instagram, you will know that there were some horses in the mix as well. All methods were taking fish from pencil poppers to Magic Swimmers to Savages…but the plug that seemed to be getting the most love was the larger floating Stick Shadd (182). For the guys plying the beaches, live eels have been far and away THE best bet for hooking something born before 2015. We are also seeing some new signs of progress on the bonito and albie front. Don’t get too excited, I don’t have any albie news and I don’t expect any for at least a month. But there were more bones taken from the sand and rocks on Marthas Vineyard this week, there were several reports from southern Rhode Island as well. In around Newport and Narragansett, there were multiple reports of frigate mackerel pushing bait around and taking small flies and tiny tins. Chub mackerel are filling in all along the Rhode Island shoreline as well. That’s a heck of a lot of surfcasting news for the hottest week of the year so far!

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