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HAPPY OCTOBER! The October monthly edition of The Fisherman is out now and it’s packed with a slew of great fall features like driving the beach, seeking giant striped bass, late-season panfish secrets, hunting albies and much, much more. Check out the October issue on your local newsstand, your mailbox or online at http://www.thefisherman.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=digital.toc&Digital_ID=1200&ParentCat=18.

Start off with some bottom fishing, and with blackfish season opening in Connecticut next Thursday, many of my local friends have been talking tog. To kick-off the fall season, Black Hall Outfitters has their annual Tog-Tober Tournament which begins on Friday, October 11 with a captains meeting at the shop in Westbrook, CT. Fishing begins on Saturday, October 12, and concludes on Sunday. This year’s winner will be crowned king of the tog based upon their three heaviest fish weighed-in over the weekend at the shop. You can check out all the details right now at http://www.thefisherman.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=feature.display&feature_ID=2459&ParentCat=19.

For those who have the itch really bad, you can drive north where the season is open in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and some big fish are being landed like the 11.68-pounder caught by Cameron Thomas who works at Crafty One Customs in Portsmouth, RI. Word in general has been of the fish being shallow, but last week’s weather did push some fish out a bit.

I also received some pictures from Capt. Jason Colby of Little Sister Charters, sailing out of Westport, MA, as he’s been getting some big tog just a short ride from the river. Some trips have been excellent, with others being just “good,” but he is finding plenty of fish to keep everyone happy. Many of his morning trips have started off chunking or eeling the river where bass and blues have been the target, adding to the day’s adventure.

Looking to that blackfish opener next week in Connecticut, I finally got my Old Town Predator kayak rigged and ready to go this week, thanks in no small part to the guys from Black Hall Outfitters, Humminbird, Yak Lights and Yak Attack. I’m still working on configuring how I transport it, but if everything comes together then I’ll be on the water for the opener on Thursday.

Sticking with the bottom fish theme, Capt. Greg of the Black Hawk has been putting his clients onto very consistent catches of porgies and black sea bass with some striped bass and cod mixed-in at times. Keep in mind that the CT for-hire bonus season on both porgies and sea bass is in effect which increase the limit for anglers onboard for-hire boats to 50 porgies and 7 black sea bass.

Fisherman Magazine subscriber, Tony Ranaudo checked-in this week as he has been targeting black sea bass around Watch Hill. On a recent outing along with Ken Kelly, they got a pile of keepers to 20 inches, several of which he cooked up whole on the grill. That’s something I have been meaning to try, maybe my next sea bass will end up being served that way. Tony said that they finished off the trip casting tins at 2- to 3-pound blues that were schooled-up in the lower Pawcatuck River.

Speaking of sea bass and bluefish, Jeffrey Downs was jigging for biscuits inside Long Island Sound the other day when he got into a pile of big blues that were more than happy to gulp down the sea bass jigs. While bluefish seemed to take their sweet time entering the Sound this year, since about mid-August we’ve had a pretty good shot of them from small 2-pounders on up to fish pushing, and even a few eclipsing, the 20-pound mark.

Next up is a video report from contributor, TJ Kopecky.

Finishing up the salt for the week, I received an email from Dave Bogacz prior to last week’s video but due to my being out of town and the limited internet and cell service I had, I missed his email. Dave reported that he had been fishing the surf in Rhode Island, landing a pile of small bass and blues on Super Strike darters. Towards the bottom of the tide he switched over to a Mike’s Custom bottle darter and ended up hooking up with 28-pounder in short order. He stuck with the plug for a while but didn’t have any more hits until switching to jigs around slack.

And last up, on the freshwater side, there have been a lot of big bowfin being landed in the Connecticut River this year. I believe that the state record has been set and broken three times so far, and I got word of another record-class fish that was caught, weighed and released. But, for now, the most recent record-setting catch was made by Jack Dugay with his 9-pound, 29.5-inch bowfin he landed on September 15 while fishing the Connecticut River in Glastonbury. You can find some info on the lowly bowfin right now by visiting http://www.thefisherman.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=feature.display&feature_ID=2469&ParentCat=19.