December 06, 2006

Gone Fishin'

If you thought that finding great fish in December was impossible, think again! Until a few days ago, our unseasonably warm weather had created a moderating environment for a ton of creatures that inhabit our local waters. While seals and whales have been more commonplace in recent weeks, even ardent anglers might be surprised at how many bluefish are still making their presence known.

It is not that often when the ocean calms to almost a lake-like luster, shining like a pane of glass. The schools of tiny squid are being fiercely pursued by all the herring that have finally arrived. Anglers and those collecting herring for bait have remarked that the herring have gorged themselves on smaller bait. Tons of bluefish are following in their wake, in competition with striped bass.

Blitzes have been reported all over the island, especially this past Sunday. An angling buddy of mine who spends a lot of surf time at Democrat Point on Fire Island fished on Sunday and scored big time with blues and bass. He noted that the water was thick with herring and it was not difficult to find a keeper bass and some very large bluefish if you happened to be there when a blitz began.

Posted reports from websites like Noreast.com have given rave reviews to Sunday's catches. The Fishfinder out of Captree closed down its 2006 season that day, staying on the fish and hitting them hard over the Kismet Reef. Most productive was the outgoing tide, which proved that live eels and a knowledgeable captain equaled striped bass for dinner.

A Noreast posting by a boater fishing two miles east of the inlet in about 50 feet of water also noted that the ocean was so flat it even lacked swells. The herring were jumping out of the water at great speed as he arrived at the site, obviously frenzied by the huge stripers surrounding them. One 30-incher managed to end up on the fisherman's umbrella rig.

The Sea Otter IV fished on Sunday with an angling club on board. They worked the water around Block Island for a good catch of blackfish and eventually ended up off Rhode Island with more good results. The pool fish was just shy of 10 pounds. Even Capt. John of the Shinnecock Star logged on to report that he let everyone sail for free on Sunday as a holiday gift, allowing himself that rare opportunity to be simply an angler on his own boat. It worked well for him as his generosity helped him to win the pool and high hook honors.

Ken, owner and operator of Tight Lines Tackle in Sag Harbor told me that he had heard of a couple of anglers that had done very well with live herring, catching several nice-sized bass. The beaches out east have also been very productive, most notably on Monday morning with fish being caught in the 30-pound class. Amagansett, East Hampton, Bridgehampton and Southampton have all been hot spots when the weather is decent.

Yes anglers, the end is near, but you can still fish for stripers until December 15 and then, although you cannot harvest them, the DEC doesn't frown upon taking the occasional migratory striped bass if you happen to come across one.

Good Fishin' to all of you!

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