It’s been a breezy week in general, which is not necessarily a bad thing from a fishing perspective. With strong winds from the northwest, baitfish in Long Island Sound have been pushed against the North Shore beaches, drawing schools of stripers in the 14- to 26-inch class into the wash. The same winds have brought lower temperatures, cooling off the water from Orient Point to City Island and tempting blackfish into water depths of 10 to 30 feet.
Along the South Shore, the stiff breezes have generally had a positive effect by alerting smaller baitfish that it’s time to depart the bays. As spearing and sand eels flush out of the inlets, striped bass have been moving into the surf to intercept them. As with the blackfish on the North Shore, bottom feeders from Moriches to Jones Beach are now stacking up on local wrecks and reefs, sparking some of the best overall fishing action in months.
“The past few days at Montauk have seen some excellent diamond jigging for stripers, blues and false albacore,” said Capt. Mike Vegessi of the half-day open boat Lazy Bones. The fish have set up in the rips right under Montauk Lighthouse where many of Vegessi’s customers have seen limit catches of linesiders, along with plenty of toss backs.
“Bass fishing has been real good along the open beach, too,” said Bryce Poyer at White Water Outfitters in Hampton Bays. “We’re seeing a mix of fish from shorts to 40-pounders with most hitting slender sand eel imitations during the day or Daiwa SP Minnows after dark. Hit any sandy ocean beach along Southampton or East Hampton, you’ll eventually find some action.”
Over the past few days, solid striper fishing has made its way to the Fire Island Inlet area with decent reports of bass from the surf around Democrat Point, and solid catches made by the Captree Fleet on the ocean side. On Wednesday, the open boat Capt. Gillen limited out on linesiders during its 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. trip. Virtually all of the fish fell for diamond jigs.
Farther west, the Freeport open boat Capt. Lou VII has seen solid blackfishing on local structure. “Guys who know what they are doing tend to limit out,” said Capt. Anthony Gillespie, “We’ll stick with the blackfish for now, but the Starstream VIII (another boat in the Capt. Lou Fleet), will begin targeting stripers starting Friday.”
Back on the North Shore, the hot spot for both bass and blackfish at the moment is the stretch between Huntington Harbor and Eatons Neck. “We are catching tons of blackfish on every trip. It’s the best blackfish action we’ve seen here in years,” said Capt. James Schneider of the Huntington open boat James Joseph II. “Those who take a little advice from the mates are limiting out most days. We’re fishing shallow, and that’s a lot of fun — although it is possible the heavy winds forecast for this weekend will push the fish a little deeper.”
As for stripers, Schneider’s charter boat, the James Joseph III, has been hammering a mix of schoolies and keepers along the ledges at Eatons Neck. “That action is solid, too,” said Schneider, “and shore fishermen are using Bass Assassin lures to score with plenty of stripers from the harbor docks as well.”