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Fish bite through the cold

After watching the thermometer dip from nearly 60 degrees late last week down to around 25 degrees on Wednesday, it’s hard to imagine many anglers would be willing to get out and test local waters. Still, test they did — and the action held up surprisingly well.

“Blackfishing is still solid, and there are plenty of small stripers around,” said Capt. Jimmy Schneider of the Huntington-based James Joseph Fleet. “We had good ‘togging all week with pool fish running up to 9 pounds and sharpies catching their limit and tossing back plenty more,” the skipper said. “Although there has been a huge dip in the air temperature, Long Island Sound’s surface waters were still 52 degrees on Thursday. That’s perfect for catching blackfish.”

Of the stripers, Schneider said mostly small fish remain along the North Shore, but there are a ton of them holding right outside Huntington Bay and at buoy 15, where they are feeding on the last remaining anchovies and peanut bunker.

With winds gusting over 20 miles per hour predicted for the weekend, it’s unclear if the bass will be as plentiful next week, but coming off this week’s full moon the tides should be softer, which should make for some sweet blackfish action all the way east to Orient Point. Expect the fish, however, to be sliding out to water depths of 50 feet or more.

On the South Shore, offshore fishing has yielded solid results, revealed Capt. Steve Kearney on the Point Lookout Super Hawk. He’s been running 20 to 40 miles to score with sea bass, cod, hake, pollack and porgies but noted it probably will be Monday or Tuesday before the seas settle down enough for another visit.

Heading out of Jones Inlet, Anthony Gillespie of the Capt. Lou Fleet has been targeting blackfish with mixed success. “Some days have been good,” the captain said, “others have been tough. On the better days, pool fish have weighed up to 8 pounds with green crabs and white crabs working equally. “We’ll be switching to offshore wreck trips at the end of November,” added the skipper.

Most boats sailing out of Fire Island Inlet are still chasing stripers. As in most other areas, the numbers remain solid but sizes are generally small. “We’re seeing good action day and night,” said Capt. Neil Delanoy of the Captree open boat Laura Lee, “but almost all the bass we’re catching have to be tossed back. Still, it’s a ton of fun to have the rod bending all day long if you fish with relatively light tackle and use small jigs or a white, soft-plastic Bass Assassin’ on a 1- to 2-ounce jighead.”

Heading east, plenty of short bass continue to keep inshore anglers entertained, revealed Jeff Lomonaco at White Water Outfitters in Hampton Bays. He suggested using small bucktails and Bill Hurley swimbaits for the schoolies.

“The big news out of Shinnecock,” Lomonaco added, “is a real steady bite of big sea bass on the offshore wrecks when anglers have been able to get out to them. That action has been real solid with some impressive fish taken. Too bad that wind is going to blow for the next few days. Still, that’s deep water. Those fish should still be there when the seas finally calm down.”

Email: outdoortom@optonline.net

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