Essex, Connecticut, has long been a beloved destination among boaters. But America’s favorite small town is more than just scenic streets, interesting museums and fine restaurants. It’s also home to some of the most thrilling and reliable fishing in the Northeast.
Situated along the Connecticut River, just five miles up from where the river flows into Long Island Sound, the waters near Essex offer some of the most diverse and productive sportfishing around. We should know, as our Essex office is just a stone’s throw from these prime fishing grounds.
The fishing scene in Essex really takes off in late April, as striped bass up to 2 feet long begin chasing migratory herring into the river. By late May, you can land 40-pound stripers. Come July, as the water temperatures warm, stripers return to the Sound.
But summer action around Essex is about fluke, scup and bluefish. Fishermen can snag doormat fluke around mid-June in the Sound at depths ranging from 10 to 40 feet. You can also find them inside the river from the mouth up to the train trestle. Probably the top summer fluke spots are White Sands, Black Point, Soundview, Long Island Shoal and Two Brothers Point. Anglers can track down scup in the rocky areas bordering the fluke grounds. And blues can be found in more open water.
As autumn rolls around, the fishing is about hunting stripers and blues. Some years, false albacore make their way into the mouth of the river. But one great fish to target around this time that is often overlooked is tautog. You’ll find tautog in 20 to 60 feet of water over rocky bottoms in areas such as Halftide Rock, Jordans Cove, Hatchett Reef and Hen and Chickens Shoal. The tautog fishing usually remains strong through mid-November.
To find out the latest fishing news around Essex, check in with a local bait and tackle shop. The folks at River’s End Tackle; 860-388-2283 in Old Saybrook can fill you in on what’s biting, and they publish a local fishing report online. You can visit Ted’s Bait and Tackle Shop; 860-388-4882, also in Old Saybrook, and Jack’s Shoreline Bait and Tackle; 860-399-2271 in Westbrook.
And, of course, you’ll find us in Essex at 9 Novelty Lane. Stop in. We’d love to talk with you about boating and fishing in the area.