Urban Angling: Fishing at Fayerweather - The Fisherman

Urban Angling: Fishing at Fayerweather

2018 5 Fishing At Fayerweather Tower
Fayerweather Lighthouse offers picturesque scenery with great fishing at its base.

Want to fish an amazing spot with monstrous fish history? A place with at least one verified record fish and a great deal of record-breaking potential? Follow me and visualize a tall white lighthouse surrounded by tanned landscapes of dried sea grass. On the route out, if by foot, there will be different sized stones, each one weathered by blue-grey, nutrient-rich waters passing over them throughout the centuries. Add in a sea wall made of blasted rock of various type as a pathway and some large boulders mixed-in, and we’ve just defined many renowned surf areas. However, this particular spot rarely gets the attention it deserves.

Fayerweather Island, located in Bridgeport, Connecticut, has “epic fishing trip potential” written all over it. Although called an island, Fayerweather is actually a peninsula, except during the heaviest flood tides combined with strong winds where it swamps out by cresting white water, making it the island it’s named like. The peninsula juts out of the west end of Seaside Park in Bridgeport. Its prominent lighthouse, which of course has historical importance, and said to be haunted, marks the southernmost point of Black Rock Harbor, home of Captains Cove Marina, the Bridgeport Regional Aquaculture School, and humongous schools of menhaden throughout spring, summer and fall months in most years.

Finding fish-holding habitat here is simple work as this area attracts many, if not all of the predatory fish that call Long Island Sound their home. Its structure is key. It’s ragged, craggy and boulder-strewn with a strong mix of clay and mud brew. Putting this into simpler terms, the cracks and crevices among the stone attract crustaceans, the crustaceans attract tautog, scup, and other bottom-dwellers, and allow for plenty of places to hide for juvenile fish like fluke and flounder. They in turn provide meals for larger predators. Bonus points are added to this locale as several creeks empty nearby into Long Island Sound carrying plentiful amounts of baitfish into the mix. Plus, the island/peninsula is a muddy muscle bed, a living breathing entity in and of itself, creating unheard of and extraordinary worm hatches.

In early spring the waters here receive schools of weakfish, small striped bass, and at times some extremely large ones as well. Work the harbor side shoreline from the stone rockpiles beyond the end of the parking area all the way up to the tip on the outgoing tide. Throw the typical fish-producing swimmers inclusive of the Daiwa SP Minnow and Long A Bombers. I often have success with a strong current, reeling very slowly, adding several twitches per handle turn to entice a bite. When you find fish, stay put until the bite dies. If you don’t find takers move 20 or so yards up island and cast again. Be ready when a large striped bass takes your lure and do your best to keep her from running into the many sailboat moorings found on this side of the island.

Moving towards summer, as the salty waters warm considerably, the June and July full moons relinquish the amazing details of the worm hatches here. Fishing these worm hatches is a phenomenon that must be experienced. Frustrating they can be, but with the right techniques many fish can be landed.

Jimmy Orifice, owner of nearby Jimmy O’s Bait and Tackle, grew up fishing this area. Through his refined top secret technique, taught to him from the old high liners of the day, we can learn how to succeed on the hatches. He has landed more fish throughout the years here during the June and July hatches fishing a 5-inch yellow Red Fin with NO LEADER. You can also use his highly-confidential tactic and keep your rod tip high and your line out of the water, reel two turns, stop, twitch, repeat, and get ready to set the hook.

2018 5 Fishing At Fayerweather Catch
Spring and fall offers good access and even better fishing at Fayerweather Island.

During other times and in other seasons try all the typical swimmers such as jointed Rebels, junior Atoms in blue and white, or yellow and red, plus Slug-Os, bucktails, Sebiles, and rattletraps. Outgoing tides and winds help the cause. Fish the point on both sides and the sides themselves. The author at age 9, back in the 1970s, was stripped of all of his line by an unknown foe hooked while drifting sandworms on a gold hook some 3 feet below a large white and red bobber in this area. It was a first of a late spring trip onboard a brand new 17 Mako with his dad. This technique of drifting sandworms is not as popular today as it once was, but there is no disputing its ability to hook some of the largest stripers in the area.

In the early heat of the summer, trips can produce both bass and blues, especially if water temperatures cooperate. Poppers, during the early-morning hours, will grab the attention of hunting predators, and similarly during blitzes that are sometimes frequent within the harbor when the bunker are present. In the hottest of summers, though, water here will warm beyond a comfortable level for these species, and the fish will move out, only to return as the nights cool again. Autumn here can be crazy wild. In September the bluefish pound bunker schools, and in October schools of stripers stack up off the point on the east side. If you’re looking for bigger stripers, fish after the sun sets.

Few places offer such a unique land form for fishing. Added to the fact is that there is deep-water access close by, and the presence of the oily menhaden, does not hurt the scenario at all. Fayerweather combines structure, outflow, and current with bait-attracting and bait-creating potential all in one package. If you have some free time and want to try something new give it a hit. A stop at Jimmy O’s Bait and Tackle can give some greater insight into the most recent activity there.

By the way, the state record weakfish was landed here at 17 pounds, 14 ounces by June Andrejko in 1986. Over the years quite a few slammer bluefish and trophy striped bass have also been landed in this area both by boat and from shore. Fayerweather offers a unique combination of urban access and excellent fishing in a state generally not associated with such pleasures.

2018 5 Fishing At Fayerweather Waves
Expect to see large pods of adult bunker finning on the surface in this area. When this occurs, predators such as striped bass, bluefish and weakfish are not far behind.
BY SHORE OR BOAT
Access to Fayerweather by land is made by way of Seaside Park prior to Memorial Day and after Labor Day. During the period in-between, you can find parking outside of the park and make the trek to good fishing. By boat, kayak, etc., there is a ramp at Seaside and next to Port 5, both in Bridgeport. Neither ramp is in great shape so scout prior to planning a trip. Kayakers will have no problem accessing this area.

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