Fall run blitzes all over the island this week. Stripers from 15-26 inches are the main event, with some slots and over-slots in the mix. Plenty of fish on the beach, with massive blitzes outside for the boat anglers. Fantastic wreck fishing, with huge sea bass, big porgies, and cod to 30+ pounds. Even some big weakfish out there.
Long Island Fishing Report
Quick story/report from Bernie, via the Surf Rats Ball:
My father passed away two weeks ago. He passed on to me and my brother the love of nature, the sea, and fishing. When we were kids, my dad would soak sandworms at Jones Beach while the family swam in the ocean. He didn’t catch that much, but there was one freak summer storm with a biblical blackening of the sky, sandblasting winds that blew beach chairs out of our hands and my mom yelling to my dad to get us to safety. After catching bass after bass, He finally complied when a waterspout almost made land. One fall, years later, when we were older my parents rented rooms at East Deck Hotel. We were greeted by the spectacle of acres of blitzing bluefish moving east on Ditch Plains. There were Bluefish, keeper bass, Spanish Mackerel, and even a 20+ pound football-shaped bluefin tuna caught by fisherman that day on the beach. We were enthusiastic googans in cutoff shorts, but we were officially hooked on Montauk and surf fishing, and it became our bond. That was more than 30 years ago. As years passed my father slowed down. He stopped fishing Montauk first. Catching his personal best 30-pound striper alone on a south shore beach alerted him to a heart condition that would later kill him. A couple years later, I took a great picture of him with the very last fish he caught—a keeper bass from Robert Moses. He’s kissing the fish and it is like he knew it would be his last fish he would ever catch. After that he was an attentive listener and got a kick out of my fishing adventures but he also got weaker. I saw him the day he died after fishing Robert Moses with little to report. He smiled when I told him before I left the beach, I spent a little time drinking my coffee enjoying the sunrise sitting on the expensive Yeti chair, I felt guilty about buying. This last Wednesday, I took off work and fished sun up again at Robert Moses. The first hours only produced snagged sand sharks for myself and the fishermen around me. As the sun rose, the familiar markers of fall fishing showed, the sun’s low position in the sky, gannets offshore, a whale spout, and breaking water of fish schooling bait with birds above. The blitzing was beyond casting range but I walked back to the inlet to find them close to the shore. To avoid snagging sand sharks, I threw pencils and caught 8 bass starting at 27 inches. They seem to get an inch shorter with each fish and I switched to a bucktail and caught more. When the bite stopped, I left and visited my Mom. My Dad’s absence was palpable. I drove home with the sun setting. I stopped at Breezy Point and saw the same kind of conditions and fish working as Robert Moses. The fall run is on which is great fun but also bittersweet. It means my fishing season will end in less than a month. I cherish my time fishing. It’s an antidote to my work staring at a computer all day. I cherish my father whose legacy I continue and who helped make me the person I am today. Time is so precious. Go catch some fish. Hug your children and your parents if you can.
Rockfish Charters in Brooklyn reports:
Bass and gator blues were providing some sick action this week. Bluefish were biting up a storm. Lots of slots and some quality bass came over the rail, and some tog went home as well. Call/text Capt. Kyle or Rich to reserve a spot: 347-661-4501.
John McMurray of “One More Cast Charters” in Oceanside has been on a good topwater striper bite this week. Given certain factors like water temps and bait presence, John reckons we still have a lot of fishing left this season. John Paduano’s “premium bucktails” put a lot of fish on the boat this week. Huge bass and gator blues provided some crazy action earlier in the week. Get in touch with him via www.nyctuna.com.
The Capt Lou Fleet in Freeport has been boating large specimens of all species this week. There were some especially large cod, sea bass, and weakfish. The sea bass were numerous and ravenous; the tog were chewing heavily also. Striper fishing was good on recent trips, with fish below, within, and over the slot coming over the rails. Book your trip at www.captloufleet.com.
Point Lookout’s Super Hawk has been getting into a nice variety of fish including bluefish, sea bass, scup, and tog. Their trips target giant sea bass, jumbo porgies, cod, and more. Their December schedule is posted on their Facebook page. Call today to make a reservation: 516-607-3004.
Captree’s Laura Lee reports:
This weekend saw some good fishing on the tog grounds, with 108 tautog being caught on Sunday morning. 7 sea bass, 7 porgies, 5 cunner and 14 dogfish mixed up the bag. Striper fishing was okay, producing an 8 man limit that morning, with 3 oversized and 6 shorts released. The striper fishing earlier in the weekend was awesome, with lots of fish to 28 pounds. Tog made it up to the 8-pound mark this week.
Surfcasting Guide Bernie Bass kept busy with plenty of short bass this week. The bite was best around high water, both day and night. Bucktails, rubber shads, and needlefish were just a few of the lures drawing strikes.
Dave Flanagan of “North Island Fly” says the bass have been stacked thick along the north shore, chewing on topwater lures and flies. Jerry and his boys Andrew and Will got in on the action, and even put a bunch of tog on the boat. Check out Dave’s website to book him for a charter at www.northislandfly.com.
The Celtic Quest Fishing Fleet of Mattituck has been finding a good number of quality tautog for its passengers. Sea bass have been coming up as well. The striper situation is all-you-can-catch: just head towards the working birds, you can’t miss them. They’ve been eating diamond jigs.
The Hampton Lady of Hampton Bays has been crushing it at the wrecks on their 4 am – 3 pm trips. One of Gene Hamilton’s quality cod took the pool the other day. The same trip saw a 15 man boat limit of sea bass to 6.2 pounds. The scup out there were also tremendous, and ling, weakfish, and cod made for a nice mixed bag. There’s availability on their $90 tog trip on Thanksgiving morning. All trips require reservations. Wreck trips are 15-people max and cost $170 per person.
Montauk’s Viking Fleet reports:
Sunday’s trip was awesome, with sea bass to 4.4 pounds. The cod pool went to Juan Canada from NYC with a 25 pounder. Michael Bunch from Flanders took the tog pool with a seven pound tautog. Several other tog to 9 pounds came over the rail, and limits were landed. The cod fishing was the best we’ve seen so far this year. Porgy fishing was great on the morning trip, with the pool going to a 2.8 pounder. Saturday also put up some good numbers of very big sea bass. Paul Luguercio’s 4.5 pounder won the pool. An 8-pound tog from Paul Flass of EH took that pool. Tom Perrillo of Smithtown caught a 20-pound cod that won the cod pool.
Surf Guide Bill Wetzel of the Surf Rats Ball reports:
Montauk has been host to consistent daytime blitzes. Herring have arrived out there, so expect some fat bellies. Bill reckons there are even sand eels around, perhaps not for a long time with the impending storm. Bill fished the Shirley area with T-Bone Tommy and his bud on Saturday for just four fish to about slot size on Bombers and Daiwa SP Minnows. Rob and Jon fished a western north shore back bay on Sunday afternoon, during the top of the outgoing. They picked a bunch of 15-inch bass almost immediately; then the fish got bigger, into the high-20 inches, once the current kicked up. He experimented with a bunch of lures, but the swim shads ended up being the hot ticket. The fellas were delightfully surprised at just how many fish they were able to catch so late in the season in skinny water. Steve prodded the surf on the south shore yesterday, finding a real good pick of fish to thirty pounds. He had ten fish from 12-14 pounds on a big Yo-Zuri Mag Darter.
Captain Stu Paterson of “Northport Charters” reports:
We had a great weekend of tautog fishing, especially on Saturday with Kris, Sami, and family. We had over 60 fish, with keepers to 5 pounds! This coming Sunday is our last trip of the season and I want to thank all ‘our customers’ for making 2021 the best season ever! Remember to book your fluke and striped bass charters soon for next season; we start up again in May 2022! We wish everyone a peaceful Thanksgiving and a Happy Holiday Season!
Long Island Fishing Forecast
This week actually gave us a little taste of the fall run on the south fork. Whether you fish the north shore, the south fork, or western Nassau, you were probably looking at nearly the same scene this week. Diving gannets, raucous seagulls, and blitzing bass were the norm all around the island. Underneath the countless birds are countless stripers voraciously feeding. Whales are on the move about a half-mile off the beach, breaching to feed on occasion. Stripers are being picked off by seals as they move along the shore. The sunrises and sets are producing insane colors, and the air is crisp and fresh. There’s no better time to be outside than right now.
During the day I’d fly my drone above the hungry birds, watching the silhouettes of silver stripers hither and thither as they feverishly fed. Keep an eye out for some of that cool drone footage on my YouTube this week. In the evenings, I’d rush back to the bay, capitalizing on the chaos provided by fat-bellied bass patrolling skinny water. It was as productive back there as it was on the beach this week, and the fish were on par with what’s in the ocean. I caught a lot of shorts on the open beach this week and I saw some better fish being caught down there, but the bays provided better quality for me on average. I lost my largest, but picked fish from 12-15 pounds on a lighter rod. As the moon waned, the tenacity of the back bay stripers faded with it. High north winds arose, making for a tougher bite in front and out back. Water muddied as the air temps plummeted, and the fish developed a bit of lockjaw.
Looking forward, it’s tough to say what will occur.
It’s about micro bass time, and the fish here now are about that size. There’s some large stragglers for sure, but I get the feeling there will be way more, even shorter fish arriving in the near future: the true micro bass. However, there’s a lot of guys talking about a herring bite right now. The water temps are warmer than they should be, and they have been warmer than average for basically this entire season. A lot of guys will hang up their gear for the winter come Thanksgiving, and I always think that’s a mistake. There’s always plenty of fish to be caught in December, and in about half of the past ten years I’ve had bass from 15-20 pounds in the final month. This year I’m feeling more optimistic than ever about December. Considering how well my late-season fishing went last year, and how much warmer this year is on average, I can only imagine that this December will be one for the books.
Don’t call it quits just yet! Enjoy this rod-bending action while it’s available.
Have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving. Be safe out there and enjoy the time with your family, and maybe go out and get some of them in on this easy striper action! Whatever’s in store, have a great time!!
Tight lines and yummy gravy. Thanks for reading my reports!