This Port of Call is where many top shelf charters call their home including the U.S. Coastguard. Pouring into New London Harbor is the Thames River; a very large river. This is also one of the two places on the CT shore where you can take both high speed and classic ferries to Orient Point that also accommodate your vehicle.
The Thames River and the surrounding area in Long Island Sound is some of the finest, most prolific waters for catching striped bass, blue fish, fluke and black fish. Huge fish reside in the "Race" near Fisher's Island. The Race is actually where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Long Island Sound and can be extremely rough and dangerous if you are not familiar with how to play the tides. As you exit the harbor the water depths vary as they deepen towards the Race. In the fall many false albacores feed heavily on anchovies in surrounding areas and provide exhilarating action on medium to light tackle and on the fly rod.
Along the Thames there are many places you can park within a short walking distance to public access along the river, where stripers and snapper blues can be caught at different times of the year. A vast number of stripers stay over the winter in the Thames because of the warm water outflows from Norwich down via various factories. Most of these fish are schoolies but offer winter “fishing-fever” patients an outlet to sanity when required.
Depending on the time of year most Party Boats will fish for the following species:
April - May: Winter Flounder, Fluke, Black Fish and Striped Bass
June - September: Fluke, Bluefish, Striped Bass, Black Fish
October-December: Fluke, Blue Fish, Striped Bass, False Albacore and Black Fish
Many Charter Boats will fish for the same species as the Party Boats and will also fish offshore for Sharks from June - September and Tuna during August through early October.
Some Fishing Tips
Surf Fishing is good along all the local beaches especially around jetties.
Bluefish are fished all over the sound and will chase bunker up any river. Diving birds are a sure sign there are Bluefish in the area. When on the surface throwing surface poppers can’t be beat for excitement! The most popular way to fish for Blues is to anchor your boat chum with ground bunker to attract the fish while dropping back cut bunker. Make sure to use a heavy mono or wire leader since these fish a sharp teeth that will make short order of 10 - 15 lb mono. Night time is great for Bluefish as well.
Blackfish is best done by a charter or party boat since you need knowledge and experience to locate and fish wrecks and rock piles. If you’re not in the rocks or on a wreck you’re not going to catch.
Fluke fishing is excellent around the Spring Lake Hotel to the south and Elberon and Deal to the north. Drifting a combination of a strip of squid and a kellie is the most popular way to fish.
Flounder fishing is best in the April and May time frame. Chumming is a necessity to improve your chances of catching a good number of fish. Anchoring is the usual fare dropping down either blood or sandworms. The bay and the river are popular spots but the bay is very shallow and is limiting during low tide.
Striped Bass can be caught by using live bait - primarily bunker or river herring and eels are deadly at night and low light conditions. The world record Striper fell for a big free drifting eel with a 3/0 hook at night.
Please be responsible and only keep what you intend to eat and practice catch and release!
Party Boating - Make sure to arrive early and get a good spot on the boat. You want to stay near the bow or the stern this way you can fish comfortably regardless of the direction the boat is drifting.
Charter Boats - Book trips early and make sure you have a species in mind and have a back up spices in case the fish don't cooperate. Make sure and discuss it with the captain so they are prepared and are in agreement. In the case of fishing for Tuna, make sure you are aware of the captains rules as far as keeping fish. Some boats, especially when giant Tuna fishing, will keep most of what their charters catch.