Capt. Nick Savene looked at his fish-finder and noticed several marks on the screen. “Those are stripers,” he said while continuing to push the throttle forward. “Good to know in case we need them later. We can always double back and troll some mojo rigs. For now, let’s keep heading west. The guys want to try chunking.”
“The guys” were Savene’s fares for a daytime striper trip on Monday — a hand-picked group of skilled, hard-fishing, veteran anglers the skipper had put together for a split-charter aboard his Oceanside-based 34-foot custom sportfisherman No Time.
Manning the rods with backup from stellar mate Bob Hindenlang as we pushed into Raritan Bay were Lloyd Malsin, Kevin Grant, Tom Minor, Ron Jablonski and Bill Burk.
It wasn’t long before our baits were in the water in the same spot where the previous day had witnessed Savene’s charter limit-out in half an hour. With fresh bunker chunks impaled at the end of fish-finder rigs, four poles were cast out into a slick of bunker. An hour later, we hadn’t a bite.
“We’re all experienced, so we’re patient when it comes to fishing,” Minor said as we waited for the fish to respond. “You fish with Nick a few times and you learn the day can change in a matter of minutes if you keep at it. We’ll probably switch to trolling soon.”
As if on cue, Savene stepped to the back of the boat. “Bring the lines in, we’ll troll those fish,” he ordered, and we sped off to find the bass marked earlier. Arriving on the numbers with several boats already on the troll, it took a couple passes before Savene could line up his lures exactly as he wanted.
But once he got the KTC Tackle and Rockfish Candy mojo rigs in the zone, we quickly raised several keepers.
“You really have to come prepared” said Savene, a full-time charter skipper since 1992, as Hindenlang dropped the fifth bass into the cooler. “You never know which method will work best. I like to bring bait and a variety of lures, plus tackle to get the job done under varying conditions. Yesterday the fish wanted bunker chunks, today it’s mojos. Tomorrow it might be spoons or poppers. You don’t have to cover every possibility, but don’t leave the dock shorthanded, either. Be prepared, that’s my advice.”
Not many captains can change lanes as quickly and efficiently as Savene. While the stripers have been his primary target this spring, he’s also added blackfish and winter flounder on most trips. A quick stop on the way home put six tasty flatties on ice for our crew, a special treat to top off the striper fillets.
“That’s what we all love about captain Nick,” Malsin said as we headed back to the dock. “He doesn’t quit on the fish, and he makes it interesting with multiple species. I have my own boat, but when I need a refresher course on how to do it right, he’s the guy I want in the wheelhouse.”
n Fluke season opens Saturday
Porgy season opened Wednesday with solid catches made in Peconic Bay around Jessup Neck. Fluke season starts Saturday with a 19-inch minimum size and four-fish daily creel limit. To view saltwater recreational fishing regulations, visit: https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7894.html.