most Fairfield County residents, Long Island Sound is just a short
car-ride away and offers an abundance of saltwater fly fishing
opportunities. Even for those without access to a boat, wade fishing
from shore can put anglers within casting distance of striped bass,
bluefish and other saltwater sports species.
The Sound, which
was heavily polluted and saw depleting stocks of striped bass and other
fish just a few decades ago, has had a re-birth of sort thanks to
changes in environmental laws on the many inland rivers and watersheds.
The result is a world class saltwater fishery with an increasing chance
to hook into a trophy bass or blue.
Access to the Sound, though
becoming more limited to some degree, is still quite prevalent. From
Greenwich to Fairfield, the typical "beat" fished by area residents, there are literally dozens of places an angler can get down to
the water. It would be difficult to include all of the locations, but
below are a few of the top choices. Your local fishing shop is well
staffed to give you more specific pointers depending on where you live.
best way to fish the Sound is by boat. If you don't have one, make
friends with someone who does, and offer to pay for fuel for the day.
In the deeper waters of the Sound, and also off the string of mid-Sound
islands, referred to as the Norwalk Islands, fishing can be phenomenal
throughout the season. Along with larger striped bass and bluefish, in the
fall, anglers have a chance at tuna species such as false albacore and
bonito which make quick runs through the Sound during their winter
migration south. Along with the typical flats boat most common among
fly anglers, fishing from a sea kayak can also be an effective and
relatively cheap way to open access to all types of water.
What to use
fishing Long Island Sound, anglers are best armed with a 9-foot 8- or 9-weight
rod and a large arbor reel with plenty of backing. The ideal line for
fishing from shore is an intermediate sinking line, with a sink rate of
around 1 to 2 inches a second. If fishing from a boat, a depth charge
line with a faster sink rate, perhaps 5 to 8 inches a second, is
preferable. Leaders should be at least 12 pound test or higher, and
when bluefish are around it is wise to have some steel leaders with
you, as otherwise you are likely to lose more than a few $4 flies to
Flies should imitate bait patterns found in the water
at the time (again another reason to stop by your local shop for up to
date conditions) but generally flies from clousers to deceivers, sand
eel patterns and others work well. The go-to fly for wading anglers is
a chartreuse clouser.
Along with the rod, reel, line, leaders
and flies, anglers fishing the Sound should be sure to carry a number
of essential tools. The first is a large set of pliers for removing
hooks, and this can be coupled with a Boga Grip or other locking tool
used to grab a fish by the jaw. Never grab a bluefish by the mouth, as
the sharp teeth and frenetic head shaking can easily cut into or
through a finger. Anglers should also carry a good cutting tool. for
those adventurous to head out at night, when the action often heats up,
a good headlamp or waterproof flashlight is vital to having a safe,
Some of the most popular spots to fish include:
Holly Pond: Located at the border of Stamford and Darien at Cove State
Park, Holly Pond is a tidal pond where incoming tides rise through a
narrow inlet, flood over a dam and fill the pond with saltwater.
Baitfish move up into the pond and stripers and blues quickly follow.
At high tide, anglers can fish the upper end of the pond, near
Giovanni's restaurant. On the falling tide, the best action takes place
at the dam itself, where stripers and blues will line up above the dam
chomping down the baitfish as they try to sneak past and back out into
the Sound. As the tide recedes further, the bass and blues move below
the dam, and continue to stage further and further out of the inlet
mouth as the tide moves out to sea. Access can be more difficult here,
as parking at Cove Park requires a Stamford resident sticker. In the
early morning hours, anglers can access the park with minimal fear of
being ticketed. After the summer season, however, parking in the park
is more relaxed and not enforced as heavily.
On the other side of the Holly Pond inlet, Weed Beach in Darien also
offers angler access, but without the restrictive permit parking. While
not as ideal a location to fish from, under marine laws, anglers can
make there way from Weed Beach along the shoreline below the high tide
mark up to the Holly Pond dam and fish from there, following the tide
out in a similar fashion. Bass and blues will also congregate along the
Weed Beach side of the inlet, so fishing from that side can also be
Compo Beach: Located on Compo Beach Road in Westport, Compo Beach is
another popular location for wade fishing. Again, parking is limited
during the summer season and daytime, but anglers arriving in the
early morning and again in the evening have no problem getting into the
parking areas. The beach is dotted with stone jetties and other
structures which draw stripers in, and the beach itself offers easy
wading for quite a distance out from shore before dropping off. Anglers
can walk the shoreline in either direction from Compo to fish off more
structure and ledges dotting the shoreline.
Sherwood Mill Pond: Located on Hillspoint Road in Westport, just past
compo Beach, the Sherwood Mill Pond is another tidal pond, similar to
Holly Pond. The outflow from this pond on the falling tide can be
extremely productive. What makes the Mill Pond most attractive to
wading anglers is the large expanse of "flats" extending out towards
the sound in the inlet. As the tide drops, anglers can follow it out
close to one mile from the main beach. Bass and blues stage at various
points along the flats, or cruise the flats in search of prey. At the
outermost edge of the flats, the water drops fairly precipitously from
a few feet at low tide down to around 10 feet in depth. This rapid
change in water depth is a clear signal to look for bass and blues to
stack up in a feeding frenzy.
Pennfield Reef: Located off Reef Road in Fairfield, Pennfield Reef
offers an excellent opportunity for anglers to wade far off the
coastline. The reef extends out more than a mile towards a distant
lighthouse. It is best, and safest, to fish the reef on an outgoing
tide, as the churning water confuses the baitfish and means an easier
meal for big game fish. Anglers making it out to the point on the reef,
which becomes completely exposed at low tide, should take care to head
back in shore as the tide starts to rise. The reef is not a straight
line, and it also has dips and rises, meaning while an incoming tide on
the point may only be knee deep, at some points between the angler and
shore it is already at waist level or higher.
When fishing Pennfield Reef, it is also a good idea to make a few casts
on the "Shark Bar" a shark fin shaped sandy flat projecting to the
right side of the stone jetty when standing on the shoreline looking
out. Like the flats at Sherwood Mill Pond, the Shark Bar also offers a
chance at cruising stripers looking for an easy meal.