Labor Day has come and gone. This marks the time of year when most people pack away their speedos and bikinis, white pants, stow away the swim ladders, paddleboards and small boats, and prepare the Pleasure Vessels for winter storage. Cheese and cracker boating is close to an end. The nighttime/morning temperatures are getting down to the 50s. But, for others, things are just beginning. This is the beginning of the 2nd season for hardcore fisherman. The fall run. Bass and blues will start making their way south, baitfish will leave the rivers and estuaries as well, and mayhem will be unleashed. Our seasonal visitors, Bonita and False Albacore, will start moving in any week now. And for bottomfishing we have Blackfish season opening in October. It’s a glorious time of year.
So what’s the game plan? Well first off, the bassing is getting good during colder mornings. There is a ton of peanut bunker, and cocktail blues around as well. More than I have seen in some years which bodes well for the future I hope. I managed a 33 inch striper in the islands last weekend, and it’s only getting better. It has not been calm enough to go look for tailing blues in a while, and they seem to do that on really hot days anyway. If you want to weed out small fish and target the big boys, chunking fresh bunker or small bluefish, particularly at night, can yield some monsters. You don’t have to go far, right in the islands and harbor will produce big fish.
On the tuna front, the rule of thumb is September 15th. I am told the last 5 years before 2018 that Albies showed up on the 15th, just easy of us in Milford/Stratford area. My good friend Mat over at ctangler.blogspot.com tells me this, and this guy loves to hunt these fish. Last year I found them September 28th, and I don’t know of anyone catching them before that rough time period. Load up on jigs and soft plastics for these speed demons, and even some baits imitating peanut bunker. On the fly side, surf candy flies are my favorite. Clousers will get it done too. Right now guys are consistently getting them in Nantucket/the vineyard, buzzards bay/north shore Mass, and Narragansett area. Also guys going offshore are seeing huge schools of them. So they are heading west right for us. Sit tight, and keep your eyes out! I fished Rhode Island last weekend and the number of Bonita is astounding. This very well may be the year they show up locally, for the first time in years.