A wisp of chill is finally in the air, though I’d hardly call it a cold snap.As of Saturday, the fishing scene seemed to be solidly in late-September/early-October mode. Bass were blitzing in Montauk and along the North Fork. False albacore were still racing to and fro across almost every nautical mile between Warhols and Watch Hill, happily attacking any metal, rubber or deer hair-wrapped thing with a hook in it that crossed their paths.
We’ve had a couple good blows but until we get a good sharp frost before a gale, there’s really no reason to expect any of these fish to be thinking about high-tailing it out of our area. So November is looking like it could be a fantastic October.
If you are a fan of catching false-albacore on light tackle this has already been pretty much as good a season as one could hope—with the lone exception of the Shinnecock Inlet jetty bite being a bit lackluster (I hope someone is keeping them honest down there, now that we are actually into the kind of weather that usually sets the fishing off down there).
Surfcasters have had a little bit of a tougher time, with the warm weather and generally calm conditions not really sending a lot of striped bass into the surf zone. Intrepid hunters doing nighttime and dawn patrols are catching some fish though so if you’re just waiting for the big surge you are missing out on plenty of catching.
The big body of stripers that has been moving off the south shore for the last several weeks seems to have passed without any real outstanding runs onto the beach, though the gillnet boats I’ve watched lately are still getting fish, so they are out there.
Meat hunters are having a grand old time these days too. Black sea bass are abundant on all the ocean-side wrecks and reefs and if you want to cull through your catch to just the big’uns you still should have no problem putting together a 10-fish limit. There have been decent numbers of cod and—my favorite—ling mixed in on the deeper wrecks as well. Just about all the local party boats are doing daily trips to the wrecks so finding a ride and coming home with a big bag of fillets for the freezer should be no great hurdle for anyone.
Even though water temps have not dropped to the point that would usually trigger blackfish migrations, the fish seem to have been getting steadily more dense on the rocky piles around Plum, Fishers and Block Island Sound.
A little bit of chill and steady north winds this week should have things feeling and looking a little more like mid-to-late October this week so check the beaches on your way home from scalloping.
Catch ’em up. See you out there.