Serious surfcasters know onshore winds often bring good fall fishing. While most people plan vacation days for sunny skies, those who love to pursue false albacore, bluefish and stripers from the beach are probably more likely to use them when gusty winds are in the forecast.
That certainly seemed to be the case Thursday morning as a stiff northerly breeze piled whitecaps against Long Island Sound beaches, some of which had as many as two-dozen anglers casting feverishly with an assortment of bucktails, tins, poppers and swim shads.
“It’s been a good week,” said Larry Welcome of Cutchogue, the proprietor of Northbar Tackle, who was tossing a white bucktail and sliding from beach to beach along the North Fork Thursday morning. “Today I landed three legal stripers to 32 inches, a bunch of shorter bass, plus some blues,” he said.
At a beach nearby, nine year-old Anna Springer of Hamburg, Germany, visiting Long Island with her father, was thrilled after reeling in her first two false albacore, plus a striper. On Wednesday, she caught a big weakfish. All four smacked soft-plastic swim shads.
Theresa Henriksen and John Schlowinski of Mineola managed stripers to 14 pounds, a couple of false albacore, plus numerous big blues. Working red and white Super Strike poppers slowly through the waves, they said, provoked the bass.
“This is the weather I’ve been waiting for,” said Bill Robins of Greenport, who was casting a beige/green 2-ounce Creek Chub popper with buddies Mark Bingham, from Bristol, England, and Mike O’Brien of Greenport. “With the wind blowing hard, I figured the fish would be around,” he stated.
Robins guessed right as the trio drilled choppers to 16 pounds on Wednesday. Robins added a 36-inch striper on Thursday. “We’ve been waiting all fall for this kind of action to finally break loose. Maybe this is the start of a true fall run.”
Of course the flip side of windy weather is that it can keep the fleet tied to the dock. “It’s been tough to get out,” admitted Capt. Bob Schmitt of Sea Rogue Charters in Freeport, “but there are some big blackfish to be had if you wait out all the shorts when you do sail.” Schmitt and crew managed a 9-pound bulldog on Monday. Last week, they had four over 10 pounds — including three big white chins to 12.5 pounds for Alex Lucas of New Jersey.
At Captree, the open boat Fishfinder II has been decking stripers on a regular basis. “We’re catching them on clams during the day and eels after dark,” said Capt. Walter Czekaj. “We had a boat limit of bass to 17 pounds on Wednesday morning, plus stripers to 18 pounds that night. The majority of the linesiders we’ve caught have been keepers.”
Trout stream management
Long Island anglers will have the opportunity to voice opinions regarding the DECs efforts to manage stream trout populations at a public meeting scheduled for Nov. 2 at the Suffolk County Water Authority Education Center (260 Motor Parkway, Hauppauge.) Current management practices for trout streams will be discussed, along with key findings of a statewide study completed in 2015. Attendees will have a chance to offer input regarding their preferences and expectations. The doors open at 6:30 p.m.