October 25, 2006

Gone Fishin'

Ken, owner of Tight Lines Tackle in Sag Harbor, told me that the blackfish bite picked up significantly last week with reports locally of fish to six pounds with three fishermen splitting a catch of 12 nice-sized keepers.

"That's not a bad start to the season," said Ken who also reported porgies mixed in with sea bass along the beaches from Montauk all the way up to Shinnecock and including the cut at Mecox, which was also quite productive. All in all, Ken said that it was another very, very good week for surfcasting.

Paulie from Freddie's Bait and Tackle in Montauk said that "the last couple of days were hot, with fish all over the beach. Yesterday was insane down by the glass house and the farther west end beaches, which were loaded all day with tons of big blues and small bass." Although the wind turning west slowed action a tad, those spots were still producing solid catches.

"Blackfish by the wrecks as well as sea bass and porgies with striped bass in the inlets and porgies at the north end of the canal," reported East End Bait and Tackle in Hampton Bays. The shop also said that a few flounder were there as well, which is a great sign.

Posted reports from Noreast.com revealed that there were sightings of schools of peanut bunker off the Shinnecock beaches over the weekend. Some big blitzes were seen chasing these schools much to the delight of anglers who went home with great dinners.

This time of year is usually a surfcaster's delight and this season is no exception. Ken, owner of White's Bait and Tackle in Greenport, had his own personal experience to share regarding a recent angling adventure. Last week, as he scanned the local North Fork beaches on the Sound, he sighted a flock of birds that seemed to have made an interesting discovery.

When Ken and his fishing buddies arrived on the active shoreline, the water appeared to look like it would in a rainstorm. However the sun was shining and the boiling appearance of the Sound was the result of heavy-duty schools of bay anchovies that were under attack by large schools of bluefish and striped bass. As the excitement built, the wading anglers were soon surrounded by mega-numbers of blues and stripers that ignored them in their feeding frenzy.

This is the kind of action that can happen to any angler this time of year, especially if you actively observe conditions, keep your eyes on the birds and pay attention to the appropriate tides. Ken explained that the bay anchovy population at that moment was so thick that you could easily have scooped up thousands in a few minutes.

I did my own homework on the bay anchovy and learned a bit more about these tiny fish. They are a pale tan in color and have a narrow, silvery lateral line. They look a lot like spearing but are smaller and appear to be almost transparent. The largest ones grow only to about three inches and they prefer to move in thick, densely packed schools.

Bay anchovies move into our waters this time of year in their own quest for plants to feed on, like algae.

Luckily, our local area can easily support billions of these tiny fish that attract almost any predatory fish including striped bass and bluefish. It is the presence of all the migrating schools of baitfish in the water; like bay anchovies and peanut bunker that bring all the bigger fish into shore and eventually onto your hooks.

Bill and Linda at Jamesport Bait and Tackle in Mattituck reported that the porgy action has been good and lots of larger fish are still in the area. Bill said the sea bass catch was still good in the bay and his shop had weighed in a few large striped bass in recent days.

Steve at WeGo Fishing Bait and Tackle in Southold reported that Fisher's Island continues to sustain some monster scup and that the blackfish action had picked up steam. The biggest blues he'd weighed in recently were from Mulford's and Rocky Point. WeGo weighed in a 37-inch bass taken in the Sluiceway on live eels at night by Ken Zegrucky and another by John Zenecis who reeled in a 35-plus inch striper. Both anglers said that every cast produced a fish, even if it was a feisty bluefish.

So anglers, blitzing action is here at last but it will reach its peak fast and then be over when the water is too cold and the migratory fish have exited our domain. Don't hesitate. Take that extra vacation day and have some serious fishing fun. You won't be sorry.

Good Fishin' to all of you!

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