Fishing season may be winding down here on Long Island but it’s not over yet. While it’s been tough to get out some days thanks to strong winds, there are still stripers to be had in the surf along both the North and South shores, and from boats departing Jones Inlet.
East End blackfishing continues to be fall’s highlight with a serious bite taking place in 70-foot depths between Orient Point and Fishers Island. Capt. Paul Ripperger of the Prime Time Fleet has been limiting out most days with ‘tog in the 3- to 5-pound class falling to green crabs. Thursday had 10 anglers catch their limit early with a pool fish weighing 7 pounds. Plenty of sea bass have been in the mix as well.
Blackfish also continue to bite well in the deeper waters of Long Island Sound. Blaize Rifino at Duffy’s Bait and Tackle in Glenwood Landing said that Tuesday witnessed local angler Sheppy O'Rourke drill an 11.35-pound brute while teaming up with Miguel Jose and Timmy Vindar. The trio managed seven keepers plus more than 60 toss backs.
School stripers are still available at many North Shore beaches and along the ocean coast from Fire Island Inlet through Breezy Point. Most are falling to small Spro bucktails tipped with Fat Cow jigging strips or 007 diamond jigs with green or chartreuse tails. In general, anglers fishing just after daybreak have had a decided edge.
Probably your best shot at catching a keeper striper at this point is to troll in 35- to 45-feet of water west of Jones Inlet. Late last week, Capt. Joey Leggio ran his Frankie James charter boat down to the Round House off Atlantic Beach and trolled up several solid bass to 24 pounds. On Tuesday, Greg Nisito of Massapequa teamed-up with Joey Hirsch of Bay Shore to troll stripers to 34 inches on Spro Bucktails trailed by spoons.
“Take your time to really look for the bunker if you want to find a keeper bass,” Leggio offered. “We noticed that the bunker pods that are ‘finning’ (swimming with their dorsal fins and tail tips breaking the surface) were mostly surrounded by undesirable dogfish. If you find a pod of bunker on the surface, circle around and use your electronics to discover another pod that’s maybe 10 feet deep. Those are the baits holding bigger bass.”
Just as the fishing seems to be getting tougher, so is archery hunting for whitetails. Right now, the bucks are coming off the rut — their primary mating season — and so they are less likely to move around. Several archers I’ve spoken with this week, however, did notice a pattern that might be of help. Each mentioned that the deer seem to be traveling more in the late afternoon and early evening than in the morning or at midday.
I’ve noticed the same trend on my recent hunts: plenty of sightings between 3 p.m. and dark, only a couple between daybreak and 10 a.m. Keeping that in mind, those who like to both fish and hunt might want to target bass in the early morning and head out to the woods for the afternoon. That might make for a lot of hours outside, but wouldn’t it be sweet to set a hook and fill a deer tag on the same day?