Good news here on the Connecticut side of the Sound. Striped bass and bluefish rode into town on the last moon. That’s a wonderful sign. The stripers are mainly schoolies, of course, but a few larger bass are mixed in, especially where you find menhaden. Naturally the bluefish are following those menhaden too. And my son reports hooking a fairly big bluefish. Nice. And I hear very big blues are now on the southside of Long Island. Maybe they will come up our way.
My friend Judy Hall sent me a picture of a striper she recently caught on a fly. This schoolie appears to be about 4 or 5 years old and in good shape. By the way Judy is a highly experienced travel agent who specializes in planning adventures for anglers world wide.
Frankly I’m pleased to hear about some blues. The stock assessment indicates that bluefish are hurting puppies. Landing have dropped like a stone since 2018. No wonder our present limit is 3 fish. Hell, I remember a time when there was no limit on bluefish, none. Take as many as you want! Any size you want. Fill up the boat. Fill up your cooler. Throw the rest in the dumpster. People thought bluefish would endless. Of course that kind of thinking lead to problems. Back then I was Connecticut’s recreational advisor to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Bluefish Management Plan. And I remember the struggle to get the bluefish creel limit lower to 10 fish. Some folks in the room actually thought that was too restrictive.
Bluefish reproduction success is off too, and has been since 2007. But I’m hopeful we’ll see a turn around. In the past, much of our fall fishing in Long Island was driving by marauding bluefish. Not anymore. One thing we can all do is to reduce hook & release mortality on blues (and bass). Bluefish often bleed when hooked. Lets crimp our barbs and handle blues better. And please get them back in the drink as soon as possible. And the same goes for striped bass.