Tom Schlichter Newsday columnist Tom Schlichter

Tom Schlichter writes the Outdoors column for Newsday.

If you’ve been waiting for the fall runs of stripers, bluefish, false albacore and blackfish to get underway, wait no longer. Even though the leaves are still bright green in most areas, local fishing action has taken on a decidedly fall flavor.

On the surf scene, stripers continue to mix with ever-abundant bluefish from Shinnecock Inlet east to Montauk but are now also putting in some appearances at Moriches, Fire Island and Jones inlets. They’ve also begun to establish themselves with more authority along the North Fork between Mattituck and Truman’s Beach, although you’ll find mostly schoolies in this stretch. There have also been some good innings with false albacore along the North Fork beaches for early morning casters.

So far, the blues have responded best to tins while the bass have preferred bucktails or live eels. The albies have been hot for Deadly Dicks, Ava 007 diamond jigs and Epoxy Minnow fly patterns. As more and more bait moves into this area and the waters continue to cool, you can expect the bass and blues to begin slamming topwater poppers. To date, however, prolonged surface blitzes have been widely scattered.

Boaters are finding stripers in the same general areas that have produced for surfcasters. Those drifting live eels after dark in the inlets have had a decided edge over anglers tossing lures from the shore or jetties. Fire Island Inlet showed generous numbers of keeper bass on late night tides.

That’s where Brian Dunston of Coram was fishing aboard the Captree open boat Laura Lee on Sunday evening when he drilled a 46-pounder. Dunston’s brute smashed a white, 7-inch Bass Assassin. Capt. Neil Delanoy noted that the boat also limited out.

Blackfish season continues to steadily improve, too, but are more shorts than keepers coming over the rails. Water surface temperature readings are still well above 60 degrees, so it will probably be another two weeks before the tautog hit full stride as bigger blackfish bite best when water temperatures are around 55 degrees.

Upcoming events

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) I FISH NY Program’s annual Fall Family Fishing Festival will be held Saturday at Hempstead Lake State Park from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. No fishing license is required and parking is free. Both South and McDonald ponds will be stocked with hundreds of trout. DEC will provide loaner rods and free bait to those who need it, and organizations like Trout Unlimited will provide displays and casting instruction. Call Hempstead Lake State Park at 516-766-1029 for details.

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The South Shore Surf Fishing Classic kicks off at noon on Friday and runs through noon on Sunday with cash prizes for the three largest striped bass, bluefish and catch and released stripers. The entry fee is $15 and you can sign up in person though Saturday at 9 a.m. at Captree Bait and Tackle.

The South Shore Waterfowlers Association’s 36th Annual Duckboat Show and Waterfowl Festival is slated Oct. 30, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Cedar Beach Marina in Babylon. Kids get in free and adults pay just $2. Activities include a dock dog jumping event, paintball, sporting clays, duckboat judging, field trial demos, food venders and more. For info call 631-661-0379.