The Last Few Trips

Black sea bass are one of my favorite fish to eat.

June is a month that gives an angler in the northeast many options. I tend to have trouble focusing on any one species, because fishing for just about everything I target is worthwhile. Usually, the local striped bass get most of my attention, but this year I have been disinterested in fishing for the bass that call the Connecticut River their temporary late spring/early summer home. I don't know if it has to do with the slow May I had with nothing but schoolies (and lots of them) to show for my efforts, or the fact that everyone else is down there fishing these same fish and it is an absolute zoo. Whatever it is, I've been less than motivated to target those fish. I'm also in the process of painting my house, and was hoping to get it finished before I go up to Lake Champlain for four days next week. I've run into some unexpected home repairs as well that have kept me off the water. I did get out for a couple short trips this week to various spots inside the river. I also took a drive up to Buzzards Bay, MA. for some bottom fishing last Sunday, and did some poking around some CT. River backwaters on foot while taking a break from scraping, sanding, and priming my house.

6/2 Blues and More Schoolies

One of the better bluefish that made it into the kayak that day. I will never complain about bluefish this size or bigger.

This was a fun trip all in all. I will never complain about steady topwater action. We had a very late arrival of bigger bass this year. I know there were some slot and over slot sized fish mixed in, but I couldn't cull one out of the schoolies to save my life. So after a slow start (at least for me) bass wise, I was very excited to see bluefish, as they have been just about non-existent in this area for a couple years.

I basically threw a silver Cotton Cordell 6" pencil popper that entire day. Once I found the fish, it was non-stop topwater blowups. I was less interested in the bass knowing there were some good sized blues showing themselves behind my plug and tailing over 8 feet of water. The blues were just about stapled to this one specific rock pile toward the end of the ebb, setting up behind the pile and from what I could tell, using it as a current break and an ambush point. I love the aggression bluefish use to attack a surface plug. It makes me giddy! I caught a good 10 or so as the tide slowed down, and just like that, they up and decided to move out onto a rip line but were very spread out as the tide slacked. The blues started to mix in with the schoolie bass on the incoming tide, and on this trip I was considering the schoolies to be "interference fish", because I was looking for a gator. I continued to catch a mix of both bass and blues, but the bigger blues at that point went elsewhere.


The biggest blues I landed this day were 33" and 30", and I missed and lost a few that looked to be 36" or better. Awesome to see them inshore again after a couple years of just about zero bluefish to be caught from shore or kayak (little Millstone snappers don't count). It's no surprise they are in the river this year with the amount of bunker we have. Hopefully they stay local through the summer and into the fall.

6/11 CT. River Topwater Largemouth

I'm always happy to see a river largemouth this size, especially when they're hitting topwater.

Yes, largemouth, you read that correctly. As I mentioned earlier, I have a very hard time focusing on just one species in June (most of the season actually). Part of me feels like I should focus a little more on one species at a time, but when success rate is spotty for one species, I will switch things up. Sometimes the writing is on the wall, other times it is my "ADHD" (I don't really have ADHD, but I get bored doing the same thing, especially when the results don't improve). Saltwater is fun, but freshwater is where my roots are. Sometimes I can't decide whether to fish salt or fresh, and I am constantly swapping out the gear that I keep in my car. This causes for some serious tackle disorganization...

I live right around the corner from a fairly productive little backwater of the big river. It's one of those spots that always looks "right", but can be stingy at times. I decided to take a break from prepping my house for paint and shoot over there to see if I could get some post-spawn largemouth on topwater. I've always favored an incoming tide at this spot, especially fishing it from shore. The way the current seams set up gives a good slack pocket for bass to position themselves and wait for food to be conveyer belted by.

Long story short, my first cast with a Whopper Plopper was answered by a solid 2.5 lb river greenie, right on the edge of the current and slack water. I proceeded to catch another 5 solid largemouth in the same general area in about 20 minutes of casting. Some where hanging closer to the weed edges, others were in the tailwater of the rip. I found it interesting that all but one of the bass I caught that day had melanosis, which is nothing more than a skin pigmentation issue that shows up as black spots and blotches on both largemouth and smallmouth bass. One of the fish had black lips, a few of the others had a splotch of black here or there. This "defect" seems to be common in the river, and other large waterbodies such as the Hudson, Champlain, and the Great Lakes.

Unusual markings on this fish's lips caused by melanosis.
River bass are always chunky, and it's no mystery why with the amount and variance of forage.
More melanosis.
I'm pretty sure using the Whopper Plopper is cheating.

6/14 Buzzards Bay Bottom Fishing