October 04, 2006
Montauk has always been referred to as a fishing mecca by those who are lured to the area this time of year. Perhaps because the water yields so many surprises in autumn. One angler on the Noreast.com website fished the surf last Saturday near the lighthouse and just before dawn he hooked up with schoolie bass before heading to the south side under the bluffs. Standing at the peak of one of the cliffs, he looked west to see a cloud of gulls screaming above a huge blitz that has to be seen to be truly understood.
"Mecca" was showing off one of those moments that anglers await each season as the fisherman and his angling buddies were soon surrounded by a ton of bass and blues just a few feet away; with every cast producing fish. An exhausting two hours ended with happy fishermen who watched the schools swim off to Turtle Cove where they were later reported to have stayed until dusk.
Phil at Capt. Marty's Fishing Station in New Suffolk reported that the fishing has been good in spite of the wind. He said that nice porgies and weakfish have been appearing daily near Roses Grove while buoys #22 and 26 were yielding some of the best scup of the week. His shop had also seen some decent sea bass hooked near buoy #18 and the Middle Grounds. It was also snapper city in the waters off New Suffolk with schools ranging from 10 to 12 inches. As Phil noted, "it's a good mixed bag of fish."
Linda at Jamesport Bait and Tackle in Mattituck agreed that the week was dominated by the presence of scup from large to small and everything in between. At WeGo Fishing Bait and Tackle in Southold, Steve reported that bluefish were easy to find just about most places you would expect to see them this time in the season. He noted that surfcasters along the Sound were doing well with both blues and striped bass and that the day bite was beginning to pick up. Steve mentioned that schools of bait were beginning to be seen in the Sound.
Ken at White's Bait and Tackle in Greenport reported that top water bluefish action with light tackle had been attracting a lot of anglers to the local waters and some were lucky enough to be around when false albacore or blue-fin tuna were moving through the area. As Ken noted, more and more of these fish will soon be passing by the beaches and inlets.
White's urges everyone to get all their gear ready for the striped bass and bluefish blitzes, which will soon be in place along the shores. Ken suggests that it's time to be sure that your angling equipment is in its best shape; that waders don't leak, lures have all been packed and hooks are clean and sharp. As he said, "We're in that bit of a lull before the fast action suddenly hits, so get geared up and ready to move quickly when the fall action begins. Get ready, because the best is yet to come."
Blackfish season officially opened up on October 1 to the dismay of numerous anglers who hooked and released keeper tog this past week prior to opening day. Tautog can usually be found from the waters off Nova Scotia to the southern reaches of South Carolina.
This time of year, our northern locations play host to this species and marine fishing regulations warrant a 14-inch minimum for size and a 10 fish per day bag limit from October 1 through May 31.
Tautog inhabits both coastal and offshore waters, often preferring the structures that have been formed by piers, reefs and rocky bottoms. Probably the best way to describe these fish is to say that they possess unusually large teeth and lips that are necessary for their preferred diet of crabs and other crustaceans.
When blackfish are your quest, remember that they don't cover a lot of territory in any given day and will start to move into cooler water in the autumn and winter. While they can actually grow in excess of 20 pounds, the smaller ones are most often the ones we hook. Since many anglers like to prepare fish chowders and stews as the temperature drops, tautog taste great when added to these recipes and can be substituted in any recipe that requires a lean, white mild-tasting fish. Gets me hungry just thinking about it!
Good Fishin' to all of you!