“Fantastic fall fishing” was the term Capt. Mike Boccio aboard the Prime Time III out of Orient by the Sea used to describe his recent trips for bottom fish by day and stripers by night. His best bass during the last week went 36 pounds. Boccio expects to have scup around for bottom fishing fans into mid-November, so he won’t target tautog until about the third October week. Water temperatures are now around 65 degrees but should drop some five degrees by then. The sea bass closure in October means that many of these tasty bottom fish, found with the porgies and blackfish, have to be released.
Charlie Caraftis at Charlie’s Mattituck Marina on Mattituck Creek told us that porgy fanciers are doing well in 25- to 35-foot depths for scup to two and a half pounds. There are lots of small tautog around as well. Getting green crabs for blackfish baits has been a problem, however, and there are too many other species in the area to feed hermit crabs now. Bluefish numbers have tapered off, but the week was pretty good for stripers. A 42-inch, 40-pounder from Horton’s Point was weighed at the shop last week.
At Jamesport Bait and Tackle, Bill Czech said the Long Island Sound beaches were rather quiet with a bit of action on bunker baits off McCabe’s and Kenny’s Beaches. The Peconics featured a good bite of blowfish and scup, particularly in the North Race and off Robin’s Island Rock. The last couple of hours of ebb are the best. One of the biggest porgies at the shop in recent days was a hulking 20-incher.
The Columbus Day holiday weekend was better for business than the Fourth of July, according to Stan Hentschel at the Rocky Point Fishing Stop. Tautog, scup, bluefish and bass are on the menu, and fishing has been excellent. False albacore are stacked up to the east and to the west, but not locally. Warm waters are around 70 degrees, so green crabs are very hard to get for blackfish specialists. Eastern surf anglers on the South Shore enjoy blitz fishing for bass and blues feeding on anchovies. Vinnie at Camp Fire Sports in Huntington Station said fish are “going off” everywhere with 28-to-36-inch bass by day off Montauk and somewhat larger stripers by night. The South Shore Inlets and Jones Beach are producing, too, but there are no reports from the Fire Island National Seashore (FINS) at the moment.