Heading down to the edge of Long Island Sound on Wednesday, I was hoping to tangle with school stripers on light tackle and small swim shads for the brief span in which this week’s breezes decided to relax.
To my left, one angler was casting a small diamond jig while a second was working a suspending minnow plug. To my right, another angler tossed a small surface popper. Over the next half-hour, all four of us would connect with juvenile linesiders measuring up to 24 inches in length.
That’s how it’s been on most Long Island beaches over the past two weeks. Whether testing North Shore waters or the south side, bass action in the surf has been steady when the water has been tame. It has been an outstanding November for stripers as long as you don’t mind catching shorts; keepers from shore have been few and far between.
With a lot of bigger bass now being reported off the New Jersey Coast, it’s unlikely we’ll see a run of big fish in the surf over the coming weeks, but there is a chance the schoolies will stay around well past the Dec. 15 closing date of their NYS marine season. Rather than fight the tide the rest of the way, now might be a good time to scale down your tackle, take the kids, and simply enjoy the fast action.
Bottom-fishing also remains productive out of most ports when the fleets are able to sail, and it offers a better chance at icing a few fillets.
On the North Shore, blackfish are still coming over the rails of Huntington’s Capt. James Joseph Fleet. Likewise, Orient Point’s Prime Time continues to drill bulldogs weighing up to 9 pounds in the waters surrounding Fishers Island.
The Captain Lou Fleet out of Freeport is also focused on blackfish with decent action most days. Some anglers are catching their limit and pool winners have ranged up to 8 pounds.
For a blast of mixed-bag action, the Super Hawk out of Point Lookout has been a great choice. Capt. Steve Kearney says that larger sea bass are starting to show in the catches on extended-day offshore trips, along with some of the biggest porgies he has ever seen. A few cod are mixing in as well. The captain expects to sail through the end of the year.
Be sure to call ahead or make reservations if you plan to head out on a party boat from this point forward as the weather can alter sailing schedules at any point.
Capt. Jerry’s class
Although it doesn’t get under way until January, the time to sign-up for Capt. Jerry McGrath’s popular Sportfishing on Long Island class is now. Sponsored by Suffolk County Parks Department, the eight-week program is in its 33-rd. year and features instruction from some of Long Island’s top captains and fishing experts. This year’s guest speakers include, among others, captains Rich Jensen (Nancy Ann IV), Dan Buckley (Orient Star V), Phil Kess (Fishy Business), Tom Mikoleski (Grand Slam Charters), plus “Fish Guy” Chris Paparo.
Classes are scheduled for Tuesday evenings from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the H. Lee Dennison Building beginning Jan. 9. The course fee runs $145, with discounts for kids and seniors. Call 631-854-4947 for info.