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How are they biting? It's a mixed bag

A fisherman waits for at catch by a

A fisherman waits for at catch by a Bluefish or Striped Bass at the 2011 Jones Beach Classic fishing tournament. (Nov. 5, 2011) Credit: Alexi Knock

This is usually a prime time of the year for surf fishing in this area. As baitfish drain from South Shore bay waters, Long Island Sound and the Peconics, they create a natural chum slick that leads to super action in the suds.

So far this year, however, the surf zone has been relatively quiet. There were some solid innings with false albacore in the Shinnecock area in late September, and the stretch between Montauk and Mecox has had some action, but at 60 degrees, water temperatures are still relatively warm. That has most surfcasters hoping the fall blitz simply has been delayed and will arrive soon.

While landlubbers are still waiting on the bass and blues, boating anglers targeting mixed-bag catches of sea bass, blackfish, porgies and triggerfish continue to enjoy some of the best bottom-fishing in memory. Drop a crab or clam bait over rough bottom in 25 to 100 feet of water anywhere in Long Island Sound, off the North or South shores, or at Greenport or Montauk, and it should get scoffed right up.

"Mixed-bag action is real good right now,'' said Capt. Rob Andresen of the open vessel Captree Pride. "We're seeing limit catches of sea bass on most trips, with porgies, blackfish and triggers also coming over the rails. It's just super.''

Andresen added that stripers are also beginning to show both inside and outside of Fire Island Inlet. The Captree Princess, he noted, has decked between 10 and 70 keepers per trip, with the best scores made using clam chum or live bunker on very windy days.

Capt. Steve Kearney on the Point Lookout open boat Super Hawk said, "Since the sea bass season reopened in federal waters in mid-October, our bottom-fishing has been excellent. Everyone's heading home with plenty of fillets after each trip.''

The Starstream out of Freeport also has seen great bottom-fishing. "On Wednesdays,'' said Capt. Mike Wasserman, "our 20- to 30-mile offshore wreck trips have been limiting out with sea bass plus a mix of porgies, triggerfish and small cod. Our daily half-day trips for stripers have also produced well with up to 50 keepers landed on clams, live bunker and diamond jigs.''

Over on the North Fork, Capt. Jimmy Schneider of the Huntington open boat Capt. James Joseph said that both blackfish and sea bass are chewing well. "We've averaged over 100 sea bass a trip mixed in with the 'tog,'' he said. "The best action has been in 17- to 30-foot depths.''

Of course, with nasty weather predicted for tomorrow, anglers may have to wait a day or two before testing the waters again. Hopefully, the strong winds and temperature drop will whip the stripers and blues into a feeding frenzy. while allowing the super bottom action to continue.

Coming up

The Babylon Fall Fishing Flea Market is scheduled for Sunday, from 9 a.m.- 2 p.m. at American Legion Hall 22. Call 732-381-2165 . . . The Riverview Striped Bass Tournament is set for Tuesday, with cash prizes for the 15 largest stripers. Call 631-589-2694 . . . The Jones Beach Fall Surf Fishing Classic will run Nov. 7-9. Call 631-559-5938 . . . The Route 110 Fall Fishing Flea Market will be held Nov. 23 at Camelot Hall in Melville from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Call 718-998-8794.

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