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Posted By Toby Lapinski, June 15, 2020
While fishing in Buzzards Bay over the weekend with his son, Joey, Steve Moniz caught and released this 45-inch, 40-pound striped bass.

I’ve been writing this report for over a decade now and one of the things that always fascinates me is the movement of cow stripers exiting the Hudson. I can remember years when the bulk of the action was over by June 1, but this year it’s just hanging on. In fact, I think your best bet right now is to fish for striped bass somewhere between Milford, CT and Rye, NY. Troll mojos, drift chunks maybe drag a bunker spoon or sling a large spook—these fish are big and hungry and 40-pounders have not been rare. This suggests (maybe confirms) to me that water temperature is the big driver of this migration. The water is still on the cool side for mid-June and, my thinking is that, these fish are comfortable and surrounded by plenty of food, so why would they rush? Fluke action continues to improve slowly with good catches from every reporting station that mentioned them, there have been some really nice ones taken this week, Montauk and Block seem to be the hot zones. Sea-bassing took a step back this week, and some say it’s because they’re spawning now; I’m not an ichthyologist so I can’t say for sure, but it sounds like a sensible reason. Finally, porgy action is coming into its own right now and there have been great reports from the Thames, Six Mile and the Norwalk Islands, fill in the blanks on that, to me that says they’re everywhere. We’ve had (mostly) great weather, calm seas and light winds, if you haven’t been fishing, you should go soon!

This week’s reports show some improvement in fluke action, but it seems that there are still a lot of shorts being caught for every keeper boated. Striped bass fishing remains good, and there are some bigger fish being caught, but there is still a lack of any really large bass being reported so far this season. There are good numbers of bluefish pretty much everywhere right now which is a good sign given they have been scarce the past few seasons. Scup fishing is picking up and will continue to improve as the water warms.

The black sea bass bite has been red hot with subscribers from the Plymouth Harbor area steaming down and through the Canal to the rockpiles in and around Cleveland Ledge for a limit of knuckleheads. The striper bite has been sporadic except in upper Mt Hope Bay where huge schools of pogies were holding very fussy bass underneath them. Fish in the high 20’s and up to 30 pounds are being teased into feeding by sharpies like Matt Francis and Captain BJ Silvia using big lures. The blues have also been a hit and miss target. The 5-pound blues we had in lower Mt Hope Bay on Friday had disappeared by Saturday morning. The offshore action has heated up and the few boats that have visited the canyons have found willing school tuna and some larger specimens as well as loads of false albacore. Remember fish have tails and they move.

Striper fishing around the Plum Island ocean front and the Merrimack River is my best bet for this week. Striper fishing is consistent and there are plenty of them. Most of the stripers are school sized up to just over the slot, however, a bigger class of fish are due to show up any and day and now. Looking at my calendar, I predict this will be the week. Flounder fishing will continue to be good all through the month of June. The water is a bit cooler this season which could extend the flounder bite well into July. Haddock fishing on the offshore grounds will remain steady but the fish tend to seek deeper cooler water as the season progresses. Tuna, sharks and canyon fishing will be rolling into high gear within the next few weeks. The inshore fishing for stripers, mackerel and flounder is already off to a good start, so it is full speed ahead into summer.


John Chrisant and I fished Quabbin Reservoir out of Gate 31 in New Salem June 5, a mostly cloudy day with a strong southwest breeze. Smallmouth bass were rather slow all day. Even places that usually produce loads of smallies in the 8-inch to 2-pound range were barren. We did catch fourteen bronzies but had to work hard for them. They were mostly nice-size fish with a pair of 18-inchers the day’s best. Some were relating to reeds. The majority were in rocks. Most hit wacky worms; a few grabbed surface-fished Rapalas, Pop-R’s, and Baby Torpedoes. Largemouths were more plentiful, more aggressive, and generally bigger. We put fifteen in the boat. Five measured between 17.75 inches and 18.75 inches. One taped 20.5 inches but weighed only 4.25 pounds. Many were 16-inch-class fish. Every one ate a wacky worm. Surprisingly, reeds did not yield many largemouths. Rocks and back ends of coves were much more productive. We quit fishing about 2:00 p.m. Back at the launch site John talked with other bass anglers. Most reported having done well with both black bass species. Only two said they’d had a bad day.


I’ll be the first to admit it, it simply doesn’t feel like June yet let alone the halfway point of the month! After a very mild winter, and predictions/hopes of an early spring season, things went to hell in a handbasket between a cold spring and COVID-19 bologna. Until things get going, the weekly offshore report is going to be a bit thin, but I’ll throw in some info as it comes my way. I’ll scan the reports to the south and pass along what I can find there, and if you have anything to add, feel free to shoot me an email at tlapinski@thefisherman.com. I’ll need it in my inbox by about noon or so on Sunday to make the week’s report, but if it comes in after that time I will gladly add it to my weekly video report which is posted on YouTube every week by noon on Thursday. As for what is going on locally, the few guys I spoke with this week reported very similar things with super-picky fish feeding on sand eels from Block to the Dump and much more cooperative fish down by the Coimbra. Another common feeling was that when this scenario sets up—finicky fish on sand eels—once the fish turn on it can be lights-out when the switch is flipped and it could happen any day.


It’s no major surprise when the boat guys out-fish the surfcasters, but right now they’re eating our lunch! I’ve heard about lots of big fish being taken from boats well within reach of the shore during the day. The largest being a 55-pounder taken from 9 feet of water on a bluebird Friday morning aboard Newport Sportfishing Charters with Capt. Rob Taylor. If these fish are in tight in full daylight, it’s hard not to think there are twice as many in these zones after dark. The hard part is that there just aren’t as many striped bass in the ocean now as there used to be, so it takes a lot more dedication to hook up and it takes a stronger understanding of which little spots within the spots have the greatest likelihood to hold the few fish that might be in an area. This is the time to pour yourself into it, now through early July. Go as often as you can, hit multiple spots per night, stay the course through repeated skunkings. With the new moon approaching, I’d have to say your best bet would be to fish the breaking tides at the Canal; it’s becoming less and less of a ‘sure thing’ these days, but it’s going to happen sooner or later. With that said, you won’t see me there. The crowds have removed the enjoyment for me. But that’s just my opinion—no judgement here—if I had to catch a big fish in the next seven days, I’d think the Canal offered my best shot.

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