While many outdoors types bemoan the passing of summer, veteran anglers and hunters make no bones about appreciating a sudden sharp chill in the air like the one that rolled across Long Island the past few days. Such cold snaps are known to draw stripers into the surf, wake up blackfish on near-shore structure and get deer up and moving about for bow season.
That’s exactly what seems to have happened as nighttime temperatures have finally begun dipping below 50 degrees. The strong winds accompanying the cold front roiled the waters of Long Island Sound providing good action with school bass for those casting diamond jigs, bucktails and Hopkins Shorty tins. Stripers also perked up inside Shinnecock and Jones inlets as well as the beaches of Southampton, with an occasional keeper pulled on live eels, tins and clam baits when conditions allowed.
Blackfish, too, have stepped up their game. Out at Orient Point, where the charter and party boat fleet has seen a solid start to the season, Capt. Mike Boccio of the Prime Time III and Jenglo called Monday one his best blackfishing days ever. “We caught our limit in a hurry with 20 anglers hauling many fish in the 4-pound class while we sampled some new spots in The Race,” he said. So good was the blackfish action that one angler, seeing bluefish break on the surface, tied on a diamond jig in hope of catching a chopper — and caught yet another blackfish.
Boccio and crew headed out for more on Thursday and saw both boats limit out near Plum Island. Darrell Horning of Kingston, New York took the pool aboard the Prime Time III with an 8-pound bulldog while enjoying time with the Eastern Anglers Fishing Club.
Well to the west, the cooler weather seems to have also tightened up the sea bass and porgy schools. “We’ve continued to see steady mixed-bag action,” said Capt. Steve Kearney of the Point Lookout open boat Super Hawk. "We are also catching some triggerfish and blackfish. It’s a great mix.” Kearney expected the cooler weather to push sea bass and scup out to deeper water, so he’ll be switching from half-day to full-day trips starting on Monday at 6 a.m.
While a chilly weather is just what archers hope will make whitetails get up and move around, 43-year old Mike Polinice of Ronkonkoma needed no such help. He climbed into his tree stand at dawn on Opening Day Oct. 1 and waited patiently until 6 p.m. Just as he was ready to climb down, a 16-point buck he had been keeping tabs on for five months came into view.
“He was 100 yards away when I first spotted him,” recalled Polinice, “and I didn’t know if he would reach me before dark. He was following another big buck and eating acorns. He kept moving at a decent pace and stepped into my shooting lane at 15 yards around 6:15 p.m.”
With less than 20 minutes of legal shooting light left the archer’s arrow flew straight and true, dropping the trophy whitetail within 40 yards. The huge buck dressed out at 187 pounds. Polinice has unofficially scored the antlers himself at 205 points.
“I think,” he said, “when measured officially, this rack might score even higher.”