While Connecticut tog fanatics might not love the late opener, it does come with a unique positive in that all the popular spots have plenty of time to accumulate fish without any fishing pressure. Blackfish are known to be territorial, so as the best fish are removed and breaded, broiled or baked, new fish typically aren’t moving in to take their place. For this reason, those first few days of Connecticut’s fall blackfish season are typically some of the best of the year! These first few weeks of the season also feature some of the best ‘shallow water’ togging, making for one of those win-win situations.
Black Ledge is one of these perfect little gems that sits in close proximity to several launches and marinas and is easy to find, relatively sheltered and produces fish. It’s just over a mile from the Pine Island boat ramp and is just about 4 miles from the Thames River Boat Launch under the I-95 Bridge.
It’s a fairly large piece of fishy bottom covering an area of about 1000 by 2000 feet. The easiest way to find it on the Sound is to locate the small cluster of exposed rocks that’s situated about 3/4-mile southwest of Avery Point which is located just off of Eastern Point Beach. Another way to find it is to look about 1/3 mile east-southeast of the New London Ledge Lighthouse.
The best fishing is found on the two steepest edges, one is on the southeast side of the main body of the reef and the other in on the small finger of reef that reaches out from the southwest side, the latter is marked by the exposed rocks. Here you’ll find diverse depths that spill off from 7 to 9 feet down to 20. And these areas are hotspots for early-October tog. With relatively shallow water here, it’s a great place to deploy a tog jig, strong currents move over the reef at peak tides and heavier rigs may be required during those times. Don’t neglect the north side of the ledge though, as depths here plunge into Pine Island Channel and lots of fishy structure can be found there. As with any prominent rocky structure, it’s not just blackfish that will pile up here, porgies can be landed by the bushel and it can be a decent spot for sea bass as well, although keepers tend to be a little tougher to find here than nearby deeper spots.
I also know an old salt whose identity I will keep secret who has trolled up some big stripers here using the tube and worm. The fact that he thought of this place as ‘good enough’ for a few passes with the tubes means that decent bass hang here with fair regularity and I’d bet that throwing the Doc or another large spook over the shallower spots would produce some major blowups at first or last light. I’d also bet that some big fish could be pulled out of there with live eels or big plastic eels after dark.
Zooming out a bit, Black Ledge is in close proximity to a ton of great ‘tog water’ from New London Ledge and Sarah’s Ledge, to the deep cut that butts right up against the west side of Pine Island, and any one of the dozens of lesser rocks, islands and ledges in that area. It seems to get little press in comparison to some of the bigger spots nearby like Bartlett’s, Goshen or Two Tree, but it shouldn’t. Give it try this month and I think you’ll find success.