N 41.2110 / W 72.4812
Normally when the word “reef” is mentioned in a discussion, the thought of bottom dwellers such as blackfish are the first species to come to mind. However, here in the Northeast, some reefs will produce great fishing for cow stripers and gator blues along with a few other speedsters too, as well as the usual array of bottom fish. Six Mile Reef is such a place and an easy sail from the North Fork.
Located on the Connecticut side of Long Island Sound, Six Mile Reef sits a mile and a half off the coast of Clinton, CT, approximately 11 miles northwest of Orient Pont and 10 miles northeast of Mattituck Inlet. The reef is just under 6 miles in length and sits southeast to northwest from the Long Island side. Water depth varies between 35 to 45 feet with moderate current flow under normal conditions. The reef is one of the many glacial carvings from the Ice Age era and consists of large rocks and boulders.
During the summer months and into the fall, much of the reef will produce porgies and sea bass. Motoring around the reef and keeping an eye on the sonar will expose hundreds of rocky patches that can produce plenty of big tog during October and into early November or until a true cold snap sends them off to warmer deeper water. The usual clam and crab baits all work well here. Surprisingly the current is not as swift here as many areas on the eastern side of the Sound, therefore sinkers ranging from 2 to 8 ounces should make up part of your arsenal.
While sinker bouncers can anchor and stay content through the day with ground fish, it’s the monster stripers that savvy striper anglers from Long Island hike the 10 or 11 miles for. Six Mile Reef is more of a long shoal in the middle of the Sound surrounded by deep water that forms rips along the edges of the reef, especially on the west side during the ebb tide. With a buffet of food making up an oasis for nearly 6 miles, it’s a no brainer why big bass and blues ply this ground. Although drifting live porgies on a 25-foot leader using 9/0 circles hooks with the bait hooked directly in the lips works very well here during the daylight hours, trolling parachutes and wireline are the top producers when it comes to catching stripers here. Keep in mind that the current world record striper was caught just a hop, skip and a jump away on Southwest Reef.
Come the end of August and through September, make sure you have some Crippled Herring, Kastmasters, Deadly Dicks and spinning rods with you as false albacore can be thick and pop up out of nowhere at any time. The speedsters stick around to October with an occasional bonito and Spanish mackerel mixed among them.