Whether it's simply a warm spell or because of climate change, the traditional fall run of stripers, blues and even blackfish seems to be getting pushed back a little further each year and this one is no exception.
"Summer did seem to go pretty deep,'' said Capt. Neil Delanoy of the Captree open boat Laura Lee. "But with five days in a row of stiff winds from the northeast, and cooler nighttime temperatures, I'd expect the scene to be changing a bit over the next week or so.''
Delanoy, who is not afraid to switch targets on the fly, added that anglers need to be prepared with more than one kind of bait and appropriate tackle for two or three target species to keep the odds in their favor, but even more important, he suggested, is having the right frame of mind.
"Don't be stubborn,'' Delanoy said. "If you are only going to be satisfied by catching a single species, you'll miss out on a lot of opportunities to fill the bucket and have some fun. Right now, we're targeting whatever we think will bite best. On calm days we'll run to the ocean for stripers or hit near shore wrecks for porgy and sea bass. On rough days, we'll stay inside the bays and target fluke on our RSA permit, or drift between Fire Island Inlet and Fire Island Lighthouse for weakfish. Moving forward, we'll cut in more blackfishing at the top of incoming water. Overall catches have been quite good but being flexible has really made the difference.''
Over on the North Shore, Capt. Jimmy Schneider of the Huntington-based open boat Capt. James Joseph II agrees with Delanoy. His fares have been pounding porgies and sea bass, but also enjoying bluefish and occasional stripers.
"I'm going to concentrate more on the blackfish once this weather system blows through,'' Schneider said. "We'll have green crabs for bait, but we'll also carry clam for anyone who wants to keep on catching porgies. That action has been so good on the slopes south of buoy 11B that it's hard to pass up.
As for bow season, whitetails once again became legal game in Suffolk County on Oct. 1, but with warm weather the no-see-ums have been bothersome and ticks are still crawling about. Still, those willing to pay the price have done exceptionally well, according to Danny Azzato at Fish Unlimited Taxidermy in Oakdale.
"We're off to a great start despite the warm weather,'' Azzato said. "We've taken in about 100 deer to butcher already.''
He noted the top three bucks so far are a 190-class with three giant drop tines taken on the South Fork, a 170-class buck from Brookhaven, and another South Fork buck that fell in the 150 class.
The Suffolk County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation offers its 10-week "Sport Fishing on Long Island'' course beginning Nov. 21. Capt. Jerry McGrath returns for his 29th year as host. Classes will be held Tuesday nights at the H. Lee Dennison Building in Hauppauge. The fee is $130 per person, with discounts for children and seniors. Call 631-854-4947.