It has undoubtedly been a tough go for many local anglers. Between cleaning up after the brutal storms and lack of shoreline and boating access because of damage and erosion, getting anywhere near your favorite hot spot can take some resolve.
From an access standpoint things are improving. Surf casters can get to most of the popular North Shore haunts and there have been some decent encounters with schoolie stripers taking tins and poppers from Wading River east to Orient Point. On the South Shore, the Ponquogue Bridge is now open and anglers can access the Old Ponquogue Bridge fishing areas on both the north and south sides of Shinnecock Bay.
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The eastern ocean beaches out toward Southampton and Montauk have been producing stripers on a regular basis with bucktails and tins both working well at the start of ebbing tides. Surfcasters can also try their luck at Smiths Point. You can't take your truck on the beach there yet, but the parking lot is open for walk-on access. Farther west, Field 2 at Jones Beach is open and worth exploring.
If you want to get out on a party boat, your odds are quite good. The fleet is sailing just about everywhere -- including at Captree, which opened at noon Thursday. Blackfish have been the target of most vessels, with a shot of stripers and blues mixed in. There is also limited launch ramp access again at Captree State Park.
"We've been doing well on our daily blackfish trips," said captain Steve Kearney of the Point Lookout open boat Super Hawk II, "and we finish most days with a shot of stripers. The action has been pretty solid."
Along the North Shore, the super blackfishing in 40- to 60-foot depths that immediately followed the storms took a slight breather this week because of strong tides around the new moon, but the action should rebuild over the next few days given softer currents. There are also plenty of stripers and blues still schooled at mid-Sound, with bigger fish as one heads east from Eatons Neck to the Mattituck area. Blackfish and stripers are also available from the boats and fleets sailing out of Orient Point, Greenport, Montauk and Shinnecock, City Island and Sheepshead Bay.
If you feel like getting a little holiday shopping out of the way, there are few venues you might want to mark on your calendar. The Route 110 Fall Fishing Flea Market (718-998-8794) will be held at Camelot Hall in Melville on Sunday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. The Lindenhurst Fall Fishing Flea Market (732-381-2165) is scheduled for Nov. 24, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Both markets are likely to offer some real bargains from tackle shop owners and retailers affected by the storms. J&H Tackle's (www.jandh.com) huge Black Friday sale will be held on Nov. 23, but you are welcome to stop in now and ask to see what items will soon be on sale .