Striper Swan Song, Sea Bass Still Strong

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It seems as though a thunderous west wind has once again spelled the end for the striped bass run on Long Island. Our loss has been New Jersey’s gain, but the fall run wasn’t as dismal as it’s been the last few years, so we can thank our lucky stars for that, I suppose.

The good news is that the mild weather this fall has kept other fishing on high, so there’s still plenty of opportunities to put some fillets in the freezer before winter sets in for real.

Striper addicts were still picking good numbers of micro-bass out of the surf in Quogue, Southampton and East Hampton as of Monday, and the stiff southeasterlies on Tuesday and Wednesday showed some promise of bringing what remains of the bass presence into the surf. So, hopefully, there will be a couple of better fish still lingering in the mix.

If you’ve put away your long sticks but still have some freezer space to fill, the best bet is certainly to go in hunt of bottom species on the wrecks and reefs south of Montauk and Shinnecock Inlet. With water temperatures still lingering in the mid 50s, blackfish and black sea bass don’t seem to really be showing any signs of moving out of range, while some codfish are starting to mix in with them on the local reefs.

The weather has been nice enough that even small boats have been able to get to Cartwrights and the Shinnecock reefs on some days and there are a host of party boats still making trips out of both Montauk and Shinnecock that are almost guaranteed to send a decent angler home with big bags of fillets.

There are a few herring starting to show up around the various commercial docks if you are champing at the bit to get pickling.

Light winds and sunny skies spelled a less-than-exciting start to the duck hunting season for many. From the sounds of gunshots heard from my house, I would guess the guys hunting the coastal ponds behind the dunes did okay just by virtue of not giving the birds anyplace to rest. There are a fair number of geese in town already and, hopefully, a couple of early winter storms, to our north if not here, will bring some more birds into the area before the season reopens for the main event.

Catch ’em up. See you out there.

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