FISHING REPORT: Fishing in Long Island Sound is -- there's no other word for it -- slow. Even on the rare days when the threat of an electrical storm does not keep anglers under cover, the "action" hardly merits the use of that term. Small bluefish can be found here and there, but more consistently around Penfield Reef and the Fairfield beaches. If you are lucky, you might connect with one of the feisty weakfish that have been mingling with the blues. Striped bass fishing has switched to the nighttime mode and ever the head-lamp crew is less than enthusiastic. Schooled bass can still be hooked at the mouth of the Housatonic River, in the marshes behind Smith's Point and in Southport Harbor. Small, soft plastics are the lures that work. Fluking has slowed to a walk. The sole bright spot is the porgy fishing. Tons of hand-sized porgies up to 2 pounds are sticking pretty close to shore despite the rising water temps, and can sometimes be taken from the beaches. As to how to catch them, see the accompanying column.
Fish, fish, hooray. Early this week filed emergency regulations with the Secretary of State's office that officially extend recreational porgy fishing for 90 days.
|The porgy, which is also known as
scup in the Mid-Atlantic region, is a common, bottom dwelling species
that supports large recreational and commercial fisheries. Pound
for pound it is one of the hardest fighting fish in the sea.
Porgies have a range that extends from New England to Florida but they are most abundant from Long Island to Massachusetts. They can weigh upwards of five pounds but are most commonly available in the one to two pound range.
Primarily bottom dwellers, they are fond of frequenting wrecks and other undersea structures. They migrate to deeper offshore waters in the fall and return to the shallower waters as they warm in the spring.
We catch porgies with clam bait anchored or slowly drifting on bay and ocean wrecks and reefs. They are most abundant in our area from July through November and are often mixed with sea bass and blackfish. Porgies are easy to catch and when fishing is good, double headers are common.
Porgy bites are often relatively light, for that reason fishermen with lighter more sensitive rods and line often do the best. 20 lbs test line, either braided or monofilament, is about right. Spinning rods and light conventionals are good.
Porgies have small mouths and are usually hooked in the lips so the hook can easily rip out if you reel too fast or hook them too hard. The best porgy fishermen hook these scrappy fish by lifting the rod slowly about 3 feet then reeling them in slowly. When they reach the surface, they should be lifted into the boat by lowering the rod tip to within one foot of the water, then with one motion lifting the fish out of the water, over the rail, and into the boat. Actually this method of boating a fish should be used whenever you are not going to net or gaff a fish.
The Porgy fishing season opened up on January 1st and the Captain Michael is seeing a great haul on these tasty fish. People love our local yellow tail, but that’s probably because they haven’t feasted on our Porgies. They are some of the whitest fish fillets we get off our bottom bite. On a daily basis we have been catching Porgies in and around 3 lbs. The winds have been blowing steady this month, keeping some trips in nearshore waters. When this happens the water in Hawks Channel tends to get dirtier, making it a great area for a nice Mutton bite. If you have time before heading out on one of our trips, picking up some shrimp from our new Pro’s Choice Tackle shop should work well with the murkier waters produce by the wind. With fishing still being decent we are looking for the offshore bite to be steady once the winds lay down. We are expecting to find some quality fish once we start getting further offshore.
Porgies are very aggressive and will often rip baits off the hook before the angler has a chance to hook them. Soft baits such as clams and worms are often torn off before the porgies ever inhale the hook. Multiple hook rigs greatly increase the chance of a hookup. Multiple baits will attract several fish and they become even more aggressive when competing for food. Most porgy fisherman use at least two hooks and some use even more. However, adding more hooks increases the chance of the rig tangling and adds a new level of difficulty when unhooking multiple fish. Porgies have very sharp dorsal spines that can puncture nearly any fabric and create a nasty infection. Most anglers unhook porgies by grabbing them from the stomach. A simple rig made from 30-50lb Fluorocarbon with a bank sinker on the bottom and 3-inch dropper loops tied 6 inches and 30 inches above the sinker can be very effective. Each dropper loop is threaded through the eye of a 1/0 or 2/0 bait holder style hook. The sinker should be heavy enough to easily hold the bottom. The rig is typically held steady but an occasional short lift can get the porgies attention. When a bite occurs, lift slowly. If weight is felt, strike sharply and hang on.