Blackfish season opened up this week, and Gary Brummet at Connecticut Outfitters reports that the fish are hungry. He said that the best bite will be on green crabs fished on a 3-way rig with a no. 2 octopus hook. “The fish are shallow in the fall,” Gary told us, “so look for them on rockpiles in 6 to 12 feet of water.” Gary also announced the beginning of the fall striper run. “Shorefishing opportunities are never better,” he said, suggesting surf jockeys look for fish in Waterford with live eels at night and chunks of bunker or large wooden plugs during the day. On the freshwater scene, Gary told us that the Crappie bite has fired up. “It’s the time of year for filling the freezer,” he said. He recommends using a small shiner or a maribou crappie jigs. Meanwhile, carp fishing is the hot new trend on the Connecticut River. “It’s like a European invasion with British, Irish, Polish and Bosnian anglers stopping by the shop everyday,” he said. Anglers are catching 30-pound carp on hair rigs with flavored corn,” he said. These guys are gearing up for the Hartford Tournament of Champions—a 72-hour carp fishing marathon that will be held on October 15.
Fall has come early to the Southeast. Jim Bettis at Jim’s Bait and Tackle said that the seasonal run of crappie, bream and shellcrackers has already kicked off on Lake Wylie, Lake Norman, and Mountain Island outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. Jim said that the best bait has been a cricket, minnow, or red worm with a No. 4 to No. 6 hook under a bobber. Jim told us that the FLW bass tour blew through town last week and the winning stringer was over 20 pounds. Low water has plagued trout fishermen in the area. Sink Kimmel at Jesse Brown Outdoors told us that fly fishing should pick up in the area as the stocking program starts in the next few weeks. He said that low water has hampered the operation over the last month. The best bet is to fish traditional dry and wet flies in Stone Mountain State Park, Mitchell River, and Watauga River for native fish.
This week’s crappie report comes from Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Texas just over the Louisiana border. When we called American Angler, Carol Ener reported that fishing has been slow, but the action is picking up. She told us that the slabs are falling for minnows fished under a bobber. Local sharpies report that the best bite has been in shallower water. “We just had a big storm come through and stir the water up,” Carol explained. Fishing for largemouth bass has also slowed considerably. Carol said that the best action is coming on Ribbits, Pop-Rs, and RattLtraps worked around the grasslines.
On the saltwater side, Devlin Roussell of Reelpeace charters in Venice, Louisiana (504-481-1327) reports that the yellowfin tuna fishing is on fire. More interested in reds and specks? Then give Ryan Lambert at Cajun Fishing Adventures a shout (985-785-9855). The fall bite for big bulls is also hot.
The big news around Lincoln, Nebraska is about big catfish on Branch Oak Lake. Glenn Hartmann at Wolf Tackle Supply reports that anglers trolling deep-diving Rapala’s have been scoring on flatheads to 65 pounds as well as channel and blue cats up to 40 pounds. “The plug has got to churn up the bottom to get the fish’s attention,” he said. Glenn added that bass fishing has been good on the local ponds and reservoirs. He said that dark colored soft plastics have been the sure thing, but a buzz bait worked through the shallows can be the ticket early in the morning. When the fish are stacked on points and humps, Glenn suggests using a diving crank bait like a Bagley’s Little O or a Bomber.
We checked in with Jim McAllister at Jim’s Bait and Tackle outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Last weekend, Jim hit Mundow Lake for rainbow trout. “We had 29 the first day and 24 the next,” he said. Jim was using a sinking fly line with a pistol Pete or bead-head wooly bugger. “We searched the lake with the fish finder until we found them concentrated then started nailing them once we found the color they wanted,” he said. By the way, the hot color was brown and black. Other species have been slow, he said, but trout fishing should pick up through the fall. Jim expects the next four weeks to be hot on the local lakes and high-mountain streams.—Ric Burnley