Going into the Thanksgiving weekend with our final report, action on tautog remains excellent. Aboard the Nancy Ann out of Orient by the Sea, Capt. Rich Jensen told us Monday that blackfish were still in water as shallow as 40 feet on some drops. When winds blew, fishing was up and down, and there were plenty of seals around for competition! Still, there were larger tautog showing plus the occasional keeper cod.
Jensen told us Capt. Mike Boccio had taken the Prime Time 3 to Montauk on Monday to liveline herring for bass with excellent results, too. The Prime Time has split charters on blackfish or bass, booking on Saturday upcoming, and then from Monday through Friday, Dec. 2. Call (323) 2618 for reservations. Capt. Dave Brennan on the Peconic Star II out of Greenport will be sailing Friday through Sunday after an excellent weekend that saw seven or eight fish over five pounds every day and pool fish of seven and a half pounds or better. Brennan also sees some cod in the mix along with occasional sea bass.
Phil Loria at Captain Marty’s Fishing Station in New Suffolk explained how enterprising anglers launching small boats could find blackfish in the sheltered area off the Brickyard in Southold now; he saw one seven-pounder from that spot over the weekend. Late-season tries for bass in the Peconics, trolling with wire, were unsuccessful, however. Bill Czech at Jamesport Bait and Tackle in Mattituck told us beaches were still alive with small bass plus a few keepers; best bet was a tipped bucktail in green/white pattern. Bait also produced at times, and there were tautog to be taken on drops off Mulford and Rocky Point. A hopeful sign for the spring was the presence of lots of small flounder in the traps this month.
At the Rocky Point Fishing Stop, Stan Hentschel saw small school bass taken on bucktails and curly tails and suggested anglers stay with the beaches all the way from Cranes Neck to Mulford. With tautog still as shallow as 30 feet in his area, it was not surprising that big scup were occasionally caught as well. Vinnie at Camp Site Sports liked the herring run at Montauk but was disappointed that only one quick shot of bass was reported off Robert Moses. South Shore surf has been tough, but anglers could catch occasionally on the North Shore if they put in enough time. Jersey beaches, on the other hand, had good action.
Vinnie at Camp Site Sports in Huntington Station described the angling scene along Long Island beaches. The diehards are “in the ninth inning, waiting for a rally” in most places. There’s no big body of fish, no peanut bunker in close, and not a lot of sand eels. The North Shore has a pick of fish, particularly around mid-Island, while the South Shore has been pretty quiet. Those who fish five nights a week have a fish or two, sometimes in the 40s, but the last full moon was not a good one. Mid-Long Island Sound seems to be producing well, and boats outside Fire Island have found bass working on schools of adult bunker.
On the North Fork, Bob Ceglowski from the Captain Bob V out of Mattituck Inlet is planning on one last sailing on Friday; then he’s looking ahead to Morehead City, N.C., for the catch-release season on giant tuna. He will be booking for the 2012 Mattituck season, beginning with fluke on or about May 1. Until the gale last Friday, he had excellent fishing on blues, bass and tautog and thanked all his fares for a productive season, too. At We Go Fishing on the Main Road in Southold, Stephen spotted lots of cars chasing birds along local beaches Monday, evidence that blues and bass had pushed in close. Waters continue to be warm enough to produce some tautog on shallow drops, so We Go is optimistic for the immediate future.
Hope also springs eternal at Jamesport Bait and Tackle in Mattituck, where Bill Czech reported a nice bunch of bass and blues on the big northwest blow over the weekend. Anglers fishing chunks had bass to 28 pounds, along with big blues. Late in the weekend, some plug anglers also scored. There are no big pods of fish here, but there are enough to support an honest effort along Long Island Sound.
Some of the better action of the week was reported by Stan Hentschel at the Rocky Point Fishing Stop. On Sunday the shop weighed a lovely pair of 11-pound tautog taken off Shoreham in only 32 feet of water. Hentschel also saw stripers to nearly 20 pounds and large blues to 15 working on local bunker. Those who were slinging bait had the bigger fish while pluggers had smaller ones. The biggest headache for locals is the lack of beach access in his area. He called the South Shore “dead,” except for a few places west of Fire Island.
Aboard the Prime Time III out of Orient by the Sea on Tuesday, Capt. Mike Boccio told us he plans to fish through the first December week now that the tautog season is in full swing. The boat continues to catch nicely with limits for many and pool fish to 10 pounds. Sea bass are in the mix for a while and there is heartening evidence of an uptick in cod stocks. A couple of cod to 30 inches were taken on drops over the weekend. Bass and blues appear to be gone from the Gut, although some marauding choppers and slammers can still be found in Long Island Sound.
At We Go Fishing on the Main Road in Southold, Steven was heartened by the beach action with big bluefish still available and school bass caught at dawn and dusk. He feels that the fall run of bass and blues is still about to get better and that local anglers should keep trying the gravel. All the blackfish have moved somewhat deeper now, however.
At the Rocky Point Fishing Stop, Stan Hentschel said there were big blues every day in his area, along with stripers to 20 pounds. Although South Shore boaties are catching well, the surf casters have it tough. Some very small bass moved into the Shinnecock area, which is not a good sign. The frontal system due around Friday may trigger the last movement of fish along the South Shore beaches. Meanwhile, tautog fishing is getting very good on the Middle Grounds, and that area still boasts a lot of scup in sizes to 14 inches.
In Port Jefferson, the Caraftis Fishing Station reported an influx of sea bass with tautog off Old Field and Cranes Neck. Buoy 11 has been producing small bluefish in the three- to six-pound class with schoolie stripers to 26 inches. Candy Caraftis said that things have quieted down for brother-in-law Charlie at the Mattituck Marina and Fishing Station on Mattituck Creek.
Further back on the island, Vinnie at Camp Site Sports brought his boat back from Montauk and reported catching his last false albacore off Southold a couple of weeks ago. Although the Fire Island bite has died, the Shinnecock action has been good for the beaches up front by day and the inlet in back by night for about a week. Bass run into the low 20s and blues seem to be in the five- to 10-pound class.
The quickly moving storm last weekend changed the local angling scene dramatically. Water temperatures plunged 5 to 8 degrees, but waters were not badly muddied. Tautog are the main show for daytime boats while beaches are slow. The only questions for beach anglers is this: Is the “fall run” done, or will we still see bait and blitzes in the weeks ahead?
Rich Jensen, aboard the Nancy Ann out of Orient by the Sea on Tuesday told us the 57-degree water didn’t hurt the tautog. Parties catch limits. Scup seem to have exited on the last westerlies, and night fishing seems to be over with bass and blues now requiring a search by day. At We Go Fishing on the Main Road in Southold, Steven told us about bass and blues scattered along the beaches. Patient anglers could still pick occasional bass to 20 pounds from the bluefish.The water was choppy enough early this week to make bunker chunking the only show in town. Steven feels the season still has life, with tautog remaining on shallow pieces north of Plum Island.
Phil Loria at Captain Marty’s Fishing Station in New Suffolk was busy winterizing boats and selling bait, with plenty of green crabs available. There was one intriguing report of big blues to 13 pounds in the South Race, trolled by enterprising anglers using umbrellas and parachutes. Apparently bunker schools in the Peconic Bays have brought the marauders with them. Bill Czech at Jamesport Bait and Tackle in Mattituck mentioned blues scattered around Horton’s, McCabe’s, and Goldsmith’s as well as off Iron Pier to the west. The bite on chunks seems to fall off at dark. Czech is disappointed by the lack of concentration of fish on the beach; still the bite in the bay is encouraging. For anglers who want to play with small bass, there are some 16- to 20-inch stripers to be found in creeks like Deep Hole. Bucktails are good for catch and release. Rumors from the South Shore indicate that one big body of fish has moved west with larger bass now gone from the South Fork. Reports from Cupsogue of bass on live eels by daylight are only a memory.
Finally, Stan Hentschel at the Rocky Point Fishing Stop said there were five- and six-pound choppers off the beach locally on Sunday; scup were still being taken by party boats over the weekend in the mid-Island zone of Long Island Sound. Otherwise, tautog fishing is the ticket.
Despite a windy spell and sour weather over the past weekend, fall fishing continues to look good overall. Capt. Bob Ceglowski told us the Captain Bob V out of Mattituck Inlet has enjoyed exceptional fishing for the whole spectrum of North Fork fish last week. Action on blues and bass is phenomenal with bass over 15 pounds and blues to eight or more in photos posted on the web site. Porgy fishing is equally impressive with some jumbos in the three-pound class. One triple-header actually weighed nine pounds! The boat will be carrying crab baits as tautog fishing picks up in the days ahead.
The weekend at the shop was a slow one, according to Bill Czech at Jamesport Bait and Tackle in Mattituck. There are bluefish on the beach, but action seems to die off at dusk. Scup and tautog can still be taken from the suds, too, if anglers use soft bait. Green crabs should be producing more consistently as waters cool.
Phil Loria at Captain Marty’s Fishing Station and Marina in New Suffolk had a quiet weekend, thanks to strong winds, but with winds dying down, the fishing should be picking up again. It’s still too early to lose the porgies in the Peconics; Loria is stocked with bait for the expected uptick in blackfish action, too.
At the Rocky Point Fishing Stop, Stan Hentschel weighed a 31-pound local bass taken from the beach over the weekend. Hentschel tells us the scup and tautog fishing continues to be good when small craft can get out. Boats on the south shore have done well, even on days when beach anglers have to contend with rough and weedy water conditions. Montauk had a good run last week with predators working on schools of anchovies.
Vinnie at Camp Site Sports in Huntington Station advises anglers to focus on the south shore now. Besides Montauk blitzes, the inlets are worth pounding by night for bass. There aren’t a lot of blues by day, but plug fishing by night has yielded a handful of stripers over 30 pounds. The north shore features only smaller blues and few blitzes so far.
“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.
With the recreational fishing season for scup extended (on Sept. 28) for 90 days by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, anglers continue to enjoy excellent action for big porgies locally as waters cool. Sea bass fishing is closed for the month, but tautog season has opened with decent action on smaller blackfish, usually on shallow drops. Capt. Rich Jensen aboard the Nancy Ann out of Orient by the Sea says the scup he sees average two pounds with an occasional three-pounder. Parties took a “mess of tautog” early this week, too, with the largest fish around five pounds. Bass fishing is very good day and night, and there are thick schools of blues around some days, so thick it’s hard to get through them to the stripers below. Water temperatures are still in the high 60s!
Steven at We Go Fishing on Main Road, Southold (opposite Goldsmith’s) told us anglers are doing well on scup and tautog off Rocky Point, East Marion. Horton’s Point continues to pull anglers fishing bass, particularly boaters using live eels. Bluefish are also abundant there. Tautog fishing is also fairly good north of Plum Island. False albacore are far off Long Island Sound beaches now.
Phil Loria at Captain Marty’s Fishing Station in New Suffolk has his docks ready for boats in transit at season’s end, and is stocking bait and tackle all fall. The porgy fishing is very good in the bay with some really nice scup as close as Buoy One in Cutchogue Harbor. A bucket of chum brings porgies and blowfish as well off Nassau Point Buoy Three, and a couple of weaks to 20 inches were taken by anglers fishing Roses Grove.
At the Rocky Point Fishing Stop, Stan Hentschel said there were plenty of keeper tautog off Old Field, Cranes Neck and Mount Sinai with a few larger fish. The big porgies on local beaches are “really good for the tackle shops”, too. Blues and bass are plentiful, although the stripers along the shores are still small because waters are still so warm. South Shore anglers fish best with bait, but Montauk has some good bassing for boaters. There are massive bunker schools a half mile off the beach off Moriches, and that’s where the stripers are. At Camp Site Sports in Huntington Station, Vinnie told us the false albacore are chasing bait in mid-Long Island Sound all the way to Montauk. South Shore inlets produce by night on bucktails, particularly off Moriches and Shinnecock, while the Montauk sand beaches are spotty with occasional good nights.
Aboard the Prime Time III out of Orient by the Sea Marina on Monday, Capt. Mike Boccio called the bottom fishing “outstanding” with a mix of porgies to three pounds and black sea bass in the two-to-three-pound range. The party boat expects to continue its 8 a.m. sailings into November when tautog fishing heats up. Night trips are producing plenty of stripers again, mostly in the 15-to-20-pound class with some bluefish early and late.
Steven at We Go Fishing (now moved one mile east of the Port of Egypt and opposite Goldsmith’s, but still on Main Road in Southold) said reports of false albacore north and south of Plum Island have beach anglers thinking about future blitzes. Meanwhile, the water remains extraordinarily warm with summer species still abundant. At one point last week, a temperature of 74 degrees was reported, and there was chatter about mako sharks off Shinnecock. Striper action along the beaches is still quiet, but there are some large bluefish around. As far as scup are concerned, if you fish the right areas, you “can’t miss.”
Linda Czech at Jamesport Bait and Tackle in Mattituck was concerned about anglers “pigging out” with coolers of large blowfish (northern puffers), and taking more fish than they need. These “chickens of the sea” run up to one and a half pounds. Snappers are still small, and crabbing activity has dropped off, as it usually does after Labor Day when vacationers go home. There are rumors of albacore here and there, and scup are ubiquitous.
In the Peconics, look for the porgies around Rogers Rock and off Roses Grove. Phil Loria at Captain Marty’s Fishing Station in New Suffolk told us boats did very well on Sunday with catches of scup to 14 inches. There are still summer weakfish off Nassau Point and in the South Race, the largest squeteague running 22 inches. One angler fishing for snappers off the boat dock wound up releasing a nice, short striper, too. Blowfish are mostly in the North Race.
Stan Hentschel at the Rocky Point Fishing Stop explained beach anglers did quite well over the weekend, fishing bait locally and tallying blues in the 10-to-12-pound range. Scup are also plentiful and, on the Middle Grounds, are mixed with sea bass. At the Fire Island National Seashore anglers over the weekend were treated to an adventure with a pod of school tuna. Practically all got “spooled,” but Sean Jensen did manage to subdue a 33-pound bluefin on a pencil popper after turning it.