The stripers are on the move.The big bass that inhabited the rips off Montauk for an incredible eight-week affair have begun their migration, as evidenced by the gillnets off Bridgehampton and Southampton last week that were chock full of big fish in the 20- and 30-pound classes—and a few much bigger.
I’m going to bite my tongue about the debatable issues with gillnetting this situation spotlights—that’s for another day—but suffice to lament that a huge population of really quality fish is already exiting our area for the year. Efforts to entice them to bite artificials cast from the local sand proved fruitless in the coffee-colored waters that have rimmed the south shore beaches for the last 10 days thanks to successive thundering hurricane swells.
The good news is that on the heels of Hurricane Jose, it seems as though a new population of stripers has moved into our side of Block Island Sound. The average size of these fish doesn’t seem to be quite as large as the thousands that tried to commit suicide by eel all summer long, but they are quality fish and equally as eager to consume eels, trolled artificials and diamond jigs.
The Montauk Surf Classic surfcasting tournament was held last weekend and while the fishing was not gangbusters the lighthouse gang managed to pull some decent fish out of the big swells. Top fish was 28 pounds and change, by German Caceres.
With fluking over, meat hunters are focusing largely on black sea bass and porgies now, both of which are in abundance. Federal waters are closed until late October so fishing for sea bass is confined to inside of the three-miles from shore (that includes the humps in Block Island Sound north of the Montauk inlet). Fortunately there are good numbers of sea bass still making their way out of the bays, and the rocky spots off Montauk and around the islands are stacked with fat BSBs.
Blackfish season also opens next week so there will be plenty for sinker bouncers to hunt for and start filling freezers for the winter.
The canyons have been showing signs of life after the brush from Jose. Boats that snuck offshore this week found good numbers of yellowfin tuna and wahoo lurking at the edge.
Light tackle enthusiasts are racing to and fro in Gardiners Bay looking for the schools of false albacore that are marauding on bay anchovies along pretty much every stretch of water from Fort Pond Bay to Sag Harbor at various times. The fish have been a bit scattered and hard to get on top of but they will eat when you get the right shot. The albies running the Shinnecock jetties have continued their lackluster showing this year, though with summer-like temps for nearly two weeks now, perhaps they are just waiting for fall to actually arrive.
Catch ’em up. See you out there.