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South Shore stripers still strong

Many fishing clubs give back to the sport

Many fishing clubs give back to the sport by participating in charity fishing tournaments and other programs. Here, mate Stan Rand and captain Jack Picciano show off a big striper caught during a Wounded Warriors charity fishing tournament. Credit: Tom Schlichter

The wild striper fishing that broke out last week along Long Island’s South Shore from Fire Island Inlet east to Ocean Beach is still on fire and shows no signs of letting up just yet. The action, mostly in 40- to 70-foot depths, has centered around pods of migrating bunker that have drawn in a pile of linesiders ranging in size from shorts to 40 pounds.

“It’s the kind of fall fishing we wait all year for,” said Capt. Kenny Higgins of the open boat Captree Pride, which along with much of the rest of the fleet has been making the short run outside Fire Island Inlet in recent days. “We’ve been limiting out the entire boat on most trips with anglers using Bass Assassins or diamond jigs. The stripers are so aggressive right now that there is no special trick to catching them. Just get your lure in the water and start reeling.”

Kurt Concelik, proprietor of Willie K Bait and Tackle in Bay Shore, took time to join the fun this week and came away impressed. “It really is a great run right now. The bass are chasing peanut bunker and they are on the attack.”

On Thursday morning, Concelik and crew stuck two fish in the 25-pound class in addition to plenty more in the 25- to 32-inch range that were released. “It was wild,” said Concelik. “The bass were striking hard, peanut bunker were flying out of the water, and we even saw a humpback whale.”

While this South Shore action has sizzled of late — there are also good scores being made both inside and outside of Jones, Moriches and Fire Island inlets — don’t take it for granted.

“Get out now,” advised Concelik, “because there don’t seem to be many blues in the mix at the moment so you can focus on the bass. If you go, though, head out early. This action is no secret and the fleet sometimes breaks up the schools after about 9 a.m.”

While the super run of stripers has boaters happy, surfcasters are still waiting for catches to grow more consistent. On the North Fork, for example, casters at Truman’s Beach were treated to acres of stripers moving east along the beach on Wednesday evening. A few miles to the west at Kennys and McCabes beaches, all was quiet.

Although bass have been making headlines, blackfish have also provided solid actin of late. Capt. Mike Barnett of the Freeport charter vessel Codfather put Eric Huang on a huge bulldog Thursday morning. That fish took a green crab in 40 feet of water and checked in at a robust 11 pounds, 8 ounces. The skipper noted that there are still plenty of sea bass on inshore bottom structure as well.

Tourneys and events

The Saltwaters Surf Shop tournament is set for Friday and Saturday (Nov. 4-5) and pays out cash prizes for the top three bluefish and striped bass. Tourney boundaries are Fire Island Lighthouse to Jones Inlet. Entry is $50 per person. Contact 631-539-9422.

Sunday (Nov. 6) starts the Fishing Flea Market season with the Babylon Fall Fishing Flea Market kicking things off at the American Legion Hall, 22 Grove Place in Babylon. The show runs 9 a.m-2 p.m. Admission is $5 but children 12 and under get in free. Call 732-381-2165 for details.

New York Sports