As the autumn colors seep into the leaves of birch, oak and maple trees across Long Island, there's an urgency to the fishing season because anglers realize the fall bite is building toward its peak over the next few weeks. Right on cue, striper fishing has exploded at the South Shore inlets, down the south side of Montauk, and onto the open beaches between Moriches and Jones inlets.
Bluefish joined the action in most areas, while blackfish have come on strong as well along both the North and South shores.
"We've had some solid striper fishing in Fire Island Inlet over the past few days and nights," said captain Neil Delanoy of the Captree open boat Laura Lee. "The day bite on clams had been good for a while but starting Wednesday, the night bite on soft plastic Bass Assassins also came alive."
Delanoy noted most of the Captree Fleet boats that target stripers have been in on the fun, including the Fishfinder II, Captree Princess, Jib, Island Princess and Capt. Gillen. Farther west, the Point Lookout open boat Super Hawk, along with Freeport's captain Lou Fleet, continue to score well while bottom-fishing for a mix of sea bass, porgies and blackfish.
On the surf scene, bass catches remain strong at Montauk Point, with action now spreading down the south side beaches all the way to Montauk Village. Pockets of bass, along with blues, have also shown at Shinnecock Inlet, Smiths Point Beach, Democrat Point and off Jones Beach Field 2.
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Tins and poppers continue to rule in the surf with bluefish more prominent the farther west one casts.
In the North Shore wash, bluefish are making their presence known along the beaches from Wading River east to Truman's. Although a few have risen to pencil poppers, bunker chunks have a decided edge.
Some especially large blues to 14 pounds have also showed in Manhasset Bay.
"We've had a good start to the blackfish season in terms of numbers but you'll have to cull through a few to get your keepers," said captain Stew Cash of the Port Jefferson open boat Osprey V. "Porgies and blues add to the fun and the action should keep building as the water continues to cool off."
Mark your calendars
The South Shore Waterfowlers Association's 32nd Annual Duck Boat Show and Waterfowl Festival is scheduled for Oct. 28, at Cedar Beach Marina, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. . . . The South Shore Surf Fishing Classic runs Friday through Sunday. Entry is $15 and anglers can register until 9 a.m. Saturday at Jones Beach Bait and Tackle, Captree Bait and Tackle or Saltwaters Tackle in West Islip . . . NYS DEC Marine Resources Bureau Chief James Gilmore will discuss blackfish regulations and management on The Fishing Line Radio Show, 4 p.m. Saturday (WGBB 1240). Visit thefishingline.com for details.