The past week saw much of the same fishing across Southern New England as the previous few weeks with lots of small stripers in the surf and mixed to good results for boats when they can get out for bottom fish like black sea bass, cod and blackfish.
But first up, as noted earlier this week, the ASMFC began a string of public hearings this week in regards to black sea bass, scup and fluke management. I attended the first hearing, which took place in CT on Monday, and here in New England we follow with RI on November 7 and Massachusetts on November 28. The other member states of the ASMFC will have their meetings throughout the month, so check out the full story.
The topics being addressed cover Draft Addendum 31 and 32 which, in short, relate to conservation equivalency measure for black sea bass, rollover regulations from January through May, the ability to possess black sea bass, scup and fluke in the Block Island Transit zone, and the ability of states to manage annual regulations between themselves with somewhat less involvement from the ASMFC. In my opinion, most of the items are kind of non-issues, especially the transit zone issue as there is rarely a time when these species are open in state waters but not federal, but the issue of allowing states a bit more control in the process of setting annual regulations could streamline the process. In any event, if you are unable to attend a meeting in person, the public comment period runs through November 29 and you can submit your comments via snail mail or email.
Speaking of bottom fish, Capt. Greg of the Black Hawk was at the ASMFC meeting on Monday night, and we spent some time talking about the fishing going on right now. He has been splitting his trips between Block Island when the weather allows for it, and local waters when things get churned up or the wind is blowing. Locally the blackfishing has been pretty good, but those trips over to Block have been producing an array of crowd-pleasing favorites including black sea bass, porgies, cod, winter flounder and pollock at times. Call the boat today at (860) 448-3662 to reserve your spot and get in on the action!
Moving on to blackfish, another mega-tog was landed over the weekend, this time by Mike Salkauskas while fishing in Eastern Long Island Sound, He landed the 16.25-pound fish on a 2-ounce Asylum Jigz Blackfish Bug, one of the hottest blackfish jigs going right now. What makes the catch even more special is that Mike kept the fish alive, weighed it in at AW Marina in New London, and released it to keep on growing. I really commend this movement by local anglers to release the bigger fish, congrats!
Moving into the surf, there are small, isolated pods of larger bass being landed – I know of fish to 30 pounds caught this week in Southern New England – but it is mostly a game of schoolie bass from micro 8-inch or so fish on up to about 20- or 22-inchers. The majority of the forage is in the form of small, slender baitfish like sand eels and silversides, and this fits perfectly with single-hook offerings like bucktails and soft plastics being your best bet. Joe of JoeBaggs Tackle sent me a bunch of pictures of bass recently caught on his Patriot Fish, and I have been fishing them on my recent outings and doing quite well, too. Give them a look!
Up on the Cape, while I didn’t get a video from our friends at the Goose Hummock this week, I got word that Eric from the shop did a little trout fishing in a local kettle pond this week and was rewarded with a solid rainbow. The New England states are all about done with their annual fall trout stocking, and we have some updates on fall trout stocking if you’re looking to get out for some freshwater action this weekend.