Long Island Sound has always supported a rich variety of recreational fishing opportunities. From tasty summer flounder and tautog to aggressive bluefish, the Sound offers worthy options for both shore and boat anglers. Over the last few years, however, this fine estuary has become particularly known far and wide as a world-class striped bass fishery.
A number of tributaries that pour into Long Island Sound are home to wintering populations of striped bass, but the majority of the “stripers” that visit here each year hail from the Chesapeake Bay or Hudson River. Bountiful food sources like menhaden, river herring, silversides, and sand eels, as well as ideal habitat such as rips, reefs, and shoals, attract migrating striped bass to the Sound, usually between May and November.
A striper from these waters needs to be 28-inches long in order to be harvested for the dinner table (a limit of two per day) and many anglers use that measurement as the bar for a respectable-sized catch, also known as a “keeper.” But along with keepers and the smaller stripers, called “schoolies,” are the occasional trophy-sized specimen often referred to striper fishermen as “cows.” The Sound has been increasingly producing these very large striped bass catches, though none raised more eyebrows than “the one” landed last summer.
On August 4, 2011, the new world record striper, weighing an astonishing 81-pounds and 14 ounces, was caught by Greg Myerson while fishing on his boat with live eels just off Westbrook, Connecticut. The news of this record-setting catch spread like wildfire through fishing circles across the country and effectively put Long Island Sound “on the map” for many anglers, but not for the those who already knew what this special body of water had to offer!
That momentous fish swimming in the Sound was no fluke. Before Myerson’s catch, the previous striped bass record for Long Island Sound was a 75-pound 6-ounce striped bass taken from New Haven Harbor in 1992. And just a couple weeks ago, a behemoth bass weighing over 74-pounds was caught off Niantic, Connecticut.
So whether you are targeting trophy striped bass with live eels or introducing a youngster to the sport, Long Island Sound is full of fishing promise and lasting memories. The chance for that catch of a lifetime is always there with every nibble on the end of your line!
To obtain a recreational marine fishing license or to learn about fishing regulations for Long Island Sound, please visit the websites of Connecticut’s Department of Energy & Environmental Protection or New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation.
Posted by Kierran Broatch, outreach associate for CFE/Save the Sound and an avid fisherman. Read more about fishing on Kierran’s blog, The Connecticut Yankee.