I brushed our first measurable snowfall of the year off the boat’s deck and backed out of the slip around 12:30pm yesterday. It was FREEZING cold with a brisk northwest wind doing nothing to make it feel any better. But the striped bass action is running red hot and I knew that would be all it took to get warmed up.
Arrived on the grounds and was greeted with HUGE flocks of seabirds, gulls, gannets and terns, wheeling, screeching and diving on baitfish being driven to the surface by the striped bass feeding on them. Bass were rolling on the surface all around the boat and it did not take very long for me to forget just how cold it was out there.
Simple technique in use today, drop a diamond jig to the bottom and then reel up a striped bass!! I had non-stop frenzy all to myself for almost 3 hours with not another boat in sight. I caught countless stripers in the high teens class, what they lacked in size they more then made up for in sheer numbers. It got to the point where I had to stop and surrender to the sore arms so I headed back to the marina arriving back right at dusk in time for a magnificent sunset. What a great day considering how nasty it was in the morning hours with all the snow.
Still TONS of fish out there and we should have them right through the Thanksgiving holiday and beyond barring any major coastal storms messing us up.
It was GREAT to have the Riverview Striped Bass contest back this year following the washout last year due to Hurricane Sandy where the restaurant was severely damaged following that storm. The rebuilt the place and it looks AMAZING and the contest went off on 11/5/13 smooth as a bell.
The event kicks off the night before Election day with a Captains Meeting where all the guys get the chance to talk about our favorite pursuit and engage in some smack talking with fellow anglers. Always a GREAT part of the event. I had a great time at the meeting Monday night spending it with some very good friends and discussing the various plans we all had that would ultimately land OUR fish in the one of the 15 spots awarded prizes.
My crew, Dennis and Scott met me at the boat Tuesday morning and it was FREEZING, we loaded and rigged up and were off on our search for a winner. With just about every boat entered running down to the east of Fire Island Inlet I decided to fish to the west as I had only had smaller bass to 20lbs the day before fishing to the east. Usually 20lbs isn’t going to do anything on the leader board and as it turned out that indeed was the case this year.
We soon were marking bait and fish and the diamond jigs were put into action. Did not take long for the first of MANY MANY HUGE bluefish to come alongside the boat. Big angry bluefish were mixing in with stripers into the teens. Moving around and dropping on any substantial bait balls I marked produced more of the same until my buddy Dennis stuck the jig into a bass that my BogaGrip had weighing 24-25lbs. We decided to ice that one and finished out the jigging session with more teen sized bass and blues before heading into the bay for the start of the ebb.
We worked over a bunch of pieces on the inside with live baits but sadly could only find one additional fish that was 19lbs which while not enough for the leader board was MORE than enough for Scott’s dinner. We packed it at 2:45pm and headed to the weigh-in ceremony.
There were a two VERY big fish weighed when we came to the scale but a lot of smaller 20lb class fish as well so I thought Dennis’ fish had a good chance at holding up. We watched the last 45 minutes of the entries being weighed and saw our 24 move from 5th down the board to 12th where it held on as some smaller fish came to the scale that didn’t bump it.
We had a GREAT dinner and again had the chance to review the day with wonderful company and discuss what went wrong that each of us did not find THE FISH that would have captured the top prize. Another great event put on by The View restaurant and my crew are already looking forward to next year’s edition
I had Julio and Scott aboard today for another shot at the striped bass camped in the ocean waters off Long Island’s south shore. Diamond jigging has been producing sore arms for all my anglers on recent trips and today was no exception.
We left the marina is CHILLY 37 degree weather with the wind making it feel quite colder. The ride east of Fire Island inlet was a little sporty as the East winds had some decent chop added to the mix on top of the ocean swell. The guys did great and were soon rewarded by jigging striped bass and bluefish till their arms were wore out!! We finished the trip with around 25 fish with a mix of HUGE bluefish and nice striped bass to 20lbs.
Another great day jigging these fish, if you’d like to get in on this while it lasts check my Open Boat dates and let me know which one you’d like by calling 631 750 5350 to reserve a spot.
On Saturday 10/19 my fishing buddy Bob Highland and I fished the Peter Dahill Memorial Striped Bass contest hosted by the Viking Inn in Islip NY. The Viking does a WONDEFUL job with this contest every year and we have a blast every time we fish it.
This year the week leading up to this contest featured RED hot action with big striped bass feeding on large schools of sand eels in the ocean off Long Island’s south shore. As late as Thursday we had MANY striped bass into the mid 30lb class on diamond jigs.
We broke Fire Island Inlet at first light and were first boat on the grounds far as we could see. The fishing started off slower than previous trips this week but before long birds were wheeling and diving over the baitfish driven to the surface by feeding gamefish. However, as we were to find out the large stripers had been replaced for the most part by HUGE, ANGRY bluefish running into the high teens. These fish are a LOT of fun to catch on any other day but not during a STRIPED BASS contest.
We ended up with a boatload of fish, probably combined for 30+ blues and stripers but alas the best striper for us on this day was to be a fish that hit the scale just under 22lbs. This fish was not good enough to place in the top three prizes as it fell into the 6th spot which was good enough for the “atta boy” award
On the positive side there was also a Calcutta for the largest bluefish which my partner Bobby nailed down with his 17lb slammer bluefish pictured below.
The after party back at the Viking was awesome as usual, lots of laughs and good natured smack talking going on among the contestents. The final result had a 34lb bass take first, two fish at 24lbs and some change nailed down the second and third spots. Great time and already looking forward to next year’s version. See you there
I was very fortunate to be able to cash in on some EXTREMELY good striped bass fishing during the week of October 13 through October 19. During this span I fished 5 trips with excellent results on BIG striped bass with some very LARGE bluefish beginning to mix in during the latter part of the week. The fish are gorging themselves on vast shoals of sand eels that have moved into the area and are best taken by using diamond jigs during this type of bite. Jigs without tube tails, with white, green and yellow tubes all accounted themselves very well. At times despite the seemingly endless amount of fish rolling on the surface they would be very picky as can be the case when such a large amount of natural forage is available. Different presentations were needed to find the one the fish would respond to on a particular outing.
One dialed into the presentation of the day the fishing was just plain crazy as I wore myself out on fish ranging from the high teens into the mid 30lb class on every each trip. My week started off fishing Columbus day afternoon with me heading the boat east of Fire Island Inlet and encountering large schools of fish breaking on the surface under canopies of diving birds feeding on the leftover scraps. After countless number of stripers on the diamond jigs I headed inside the Great South Bay at dusk for the start of the ebb current and fed live eels to two striped bass in the high 20lb class.
Tuesday brought with it a large swell on the ocean and after gently navigating a dicey inlet I found the fish right at the Fire Island head buoy where a repeat of the previous day ensued. This day was the start of my noticing the fish beginning to be somewhat finicky and it took some time to get the proper jig configuration and presentation locked in but once I did the fish came to the boat non-stop. Another banner day with the best of the bunch going 31lbs.
Wednesday was a carbon copy of Tuesday with a good swell on but excellent fishing again with heavy stripers to 30 pounds. Thursday was one for the books as I fished with two long time fishing pals and we beat up on well over 50 fish, but it was not the number that impressed me so much as it was the quality of the fish on this day. We have very few fish that were UNDER 20 pounds with the majority running 25+ pounds and 7 of those over 30!!! Best fish of this day was a 36 taken by my buddy Bob Highland. This day is the reason that all the striper fishermen in my area LOVE the Fall for!! Just an EPIC striped bass bite !!!
As we moved later in the week, Friday was a blow out with west winds to 30kts blowing down the ocean in the morning. It laid off a bit in the afternoon for the Captree boats to get outside and they reported those trips found LARGE bluefish taking over the show. There are still stripers in the mix as well but where it was ALL striped bass for the week, the bluefish moved in for the weekend and busted up folks tackle pretty good as they are prone to doing We fished a striped bass contest on Saturday and I’ll have another report on our results of that.
This fishing should continue through the rest of the fall, and we will also start seeing the action on the sheltered bay waters increase as the water temperature starts dropping with the cooler weather to come.
Each year during the late summer as I wait for the striped bass to return to my local waters I turn my focus to the summer run of weakfish we see in the Great South Bay. Prior to this week my search for the weakfish has been unsuccessful but I am happy to report that the calendar flipping to September has spurred some action on this front and VERY good action at that.
On Monday I departed in beautiful sunny and calm conditions. I loaded up my livewell with my favorite weakfish bait, live peanut bunker, and headed across the bay with high hopes. Gathering the live baits is a early morning affair where they are readily available on the surface and very easy to get the castnet on. Once the sun gets up higher the baitfish will seemingly vanish, they are still there but are down deeper making it much harder to get to them. As a result of being out so early I arrived on the fishing grounds well in advance of the tidal conditions I prefer for the weakfish.
While waiting for the flood current to build I killed some time bucktailing fluke and straggler bluefish. As the current built the bluefish turned on in a typical blitz with the fish crashing bait on the surface and willing to take any lure thrown at them. Caught the blues till my arms were weary before setting my sights on the weakies.
Did not take long for the first taker as a decent 20 inch fish found a live bait to it’s liking, short while later another in the similar size. Final weakfish tally for the day was 5 before the bluefish showed again making short work of the bunkers.
The next day, Tuesday was my Birthday and the weatherman gave me strong West winds with rain as I left the dock. Bait was thick and loaded up quickly. Again I was onsite earlier than I wanted to be so I fished around the Fire Island Inlet area and had some bluefish before making my move back into the bay for the incoming current.
The action started off fairly slow but as the incoming current aided by the strong west wind started cooking I experienced action with weakfish that I have not seen for longer than I can recall. For almost two hours I was hooked up on every drift with some quality fish. These were not the usual summer run “spikes” of 14-21 inches we see most times but instead were all very nice fishing ranging from 25-28 inches. I did keep one for the dinner table and it went 5lbs on my BogaGrip scale. 10 other beautiful fish came into the boat and were all safe released. As the current slowed, the fish shut down and the bluefish took over once again.
Safe to say I did not even notice the weather with the action being so good. Two excellent days on the water and I look forward to more of these beautiful fish the rest of September before once again changing gears to target the striped bass that should be back in town by early October.