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New York and New Jersey FishWire

New York Metro &
New Jersey

December 6th, 2002

FishWire Coordinator: John McMurray
Navigation Aids:




Packing It In...

Okay…  I think it’s time we all admit to ourselves that perhaps this year’s fishing season is about over.  As I write this I’m looking out at an ominous sky unloading 6 to 9-inches of snow…  And darn is it cold!  There are several messages on my voice mail from an irate marina manager to get my “!#$%^ boat out” of the water so he can turn off the water.  I believe the exact words Danielle said to me this morning as I complained a little more about the weather were “give it up for !#$% sake.”  As I make plans for winter storage, I can’t help but think that we got jipped out of a good month of fall fishing.  Seems as if Mother Nature wasn’t as kind to us as year’s past.  Last year’s benevolent weather as well as pervious year’s fishable November and Decembers really spoiled us.  Yea, I guess it’s possible that some warmer, less windy weather might lurk in our future, but, more than likely, we’re headed straight for winter… Even though there is still an abundance of fish around, especially in the New York Bight and New Jersey, for me it’s time to put the flyrods away and get the skies out.

Overall I’d definitely mark this year down as another winner…  The season in the NY Bight and all along the Jersey Coast was pretty incredible, with some great site fishing and some serious topwater action.  The bays fished fantastic this year and we found more and more undiscovered hot spots.  Good things can be said for the North and South Shores and Montauk… well…  it was Montauk… And anyone who has ever fished it knows what I mean. 

What’s probably most noteworthy about this year is that we made it through without any real disasters.  Such tension exists throughout the world today and it seems to have filtered it’s way down to all of our lives and how we live them.  I couldn’t help but cringe as every plane that lifted off the ground from JFK airport soared over us.  I always felt like there was a possibility that it could explode at any minute.  Security was really tough in the spring and really limited the areas we could fish.  It has loosed quite a bit since then, and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.  The Macallan Cup Manhattan Catch and Release Striped Bass Derby went off without a hitch and was another fantastic event put on by some really great people.  The Montauk Redbone was another terrific tournament that raised a big wad of cash for Cystic Fibrosis research.  The Professional Flyfishing and Light Tackle Guides Association further extended it’s credibility and influence with a large presence and articulate testimony at all of the fishery management hearings.  The Coastal Conservation of New York continued to lead the way this year for prudent fisheries management.  Marine Protected Areas (MPA)s continued to be a contentious issue between enviros and fishermen, but it looks as if things are beginning to smooth out and steps are being taken as we speak to find common ground, and bridge that gap that was created last year.  Big showings by saltwater flyfishermen at the Amendment 6 to the Striped Bass Management plan hearings made it perfectly obvious to managers that we wanted striped bass managed not as a pan fish, but as the majestic fish that it is.  Let’s just hope that they listen.

Through all of the happenings this year a couple of things remained static:  Our love for this great thing we do and the wonderful community saltwater flyfishing has spawned.  The people involved are some of the best human beings I’ve had the pleasure to be associated with.  I’ve never met a saltwater flyfishermen that didn’t practice conservation in just about everything they do.  

So, for now, I’ll set my sights on a few winter trips I’m planning.  But in the meantime, I’ll make it through the winter with memories of some great moments tucked away in my subconscious.  Even on the darkest and coldest of days visions will stick in my mind of giant fins, cruising in less than a foot of water, the sound of a real screaming on a calm windless morning totally by myself as the sun rises, a bright colored line delicately laying itself across a class surface pushing a small fly directly on top of a boil, incredibly dense schools of bass thumping off the hull of the boat.  It’s truly amazing the way nature exposes herself to our unique saltwater flyfishing subculture. The fact that such a wild and natural world exists so close to one of the biggest cities in the world is concept some people just can’t grasp.  The majority have no idea of what NY and NJ’s vast expanses of water have to offer on any given day.

So in short, thanks for another year of letting me share my enthusiasm with you… It’s been an honor and great pleasure being part of Reel-Time…  I look forward to communicating with you all again in April…  Have a great Holiday and a great off-season, and if you take any trips and have some great stories and photos send them my way.

Now on to the reports:

The folks hearty enough to brave the cold are still out there fishing away and doing quite well.  The big runs of herring began on Tuesday and the guys in New Jersey and the New York Bight are reportedly having 100-fish days, although mostly involving small fish.  All along the South Shore of LI blitzing bass and some rogue blues have been up pretty consistently.  Getting to them still has been a problem though.  No official reports from the North Shore, but word is that there is still some schoolie action to be had.  Montauk has producing, although not with the consistency that it was last week.  Most are still expecting the really big fish to pass through this weekend, so it might be worth taking a look if you are in the neighborhood. 


And don’t forget to email me your own reports. Tight lines all.

Tight Lines!

John McMurray

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New Jersey

While the weather stinks, the fishing is apparently about as good as it gets in central New Jersey…  Check out Gene Quigley from Shore Catch Guiding’s report:


Fishing is unreal right now!! It is definitely going to be a "December to
Remember" down here in Jersey. The last two days we have had serious blitzes
both in the boat and on the beach from Shark River all the way down through
Island beach State Park. All bass are in the 10 to 16 LB range, hungry, and
eating everything is site.

Shore Catch will be running both beach and boat charters through Christmas -
as long as the ocean does not freeze over. To all of our clients -- thank you
for your business!! Jim, Shell E., and I are greatly looking forward to
fishing with you all next year!

Stay warm and keep fishin'

Capt. Gene Quigley
Shore Catch Guide Service

Awesome Gene… 

From Northern New Jersey, Captain Paul Eidman from Reel Therapy reports good fishing but a quick end to the season:

Things definitely seem like they are grinding to a painful halt, weather wise that is. How much wind can nature throw at us? In years past we usually slam the bass now. But this year is a whole different story. On the days that we can make it out, the smaller bass are all around but finding larger fish has been hit or miss at best. I am hoping that we can still do some herring fly fishing next week after this whole weather system passes. We got some real cows last year in mid December. After listening to the weather forecast today, I reluctantly made the decision to pull the boat out of the water and put her on the trailer.  The salty, slushy ice along the waterline and on the prop convinced me that I was doing the right thing. I'm not done yet, just more portable. On the way home, I stopped to fill up and the guys at the gas station were making slushballs from the ice on my hull...
In any event I would like to wish everybody out there a safe and happy holiday and look forward to spring!
Capt. Paul
Fishing charter or Kayak adventure Gift certificates are available

Surfcaster Stephen Sautner checks in with a report of some great beach fishing…  Check it out:

Despite howling winds, a biting windchill, and a pounding surf, I actually managed to catch a bass yesterday afternoon.  The fish hit a yellow bucktail with porkrind, then rolled after I hooked it, showing pinkish sides in the late afternoon light.  It then took off on a low-gear run that at first made me think my drag was too loose.  But I quickly realized that the drag was fine and the fish nice, so I held on.  A few minutes later I beached an extremely fat, pot-bellied 35-incher that I'll guess weighed 17 pounds.  Though I contemplated keeping it for chowder, it was far too pretty to kill so I sent it on it's way...



Finchaser Charters

Finchaser Charters

New York Metro

Found some bigger fish in a backwater creek in Jamaica Bay this week, but they were skittish and the action died pretty quickly.  Wind prevented us, for the most part from making it out front, but there were plenty of birds and fish just out of reach.  Plan on fishing this weekend and then, more than likely calling it quits. 

Captain Joe Mattioli from On the Bight Charters plans on hanging in there a little longer through…  Check it out:

Hi John
It looks like where're on tap for another late season in the NY Bight. The fishing broke lose this week with fish blitzing
peanut bunker and herring, The birds are up and the fishing has turned to catching! Most of the fish were under
5lbs lots of fun on  6&7 wt outfits. The Big fish should be here by this weekend.
I have dates available, Happy Holidays
Capt. Joe Mattel
On The Bite Charters

Captain Ralph Burtis from Island Charters is going to keep fishing also:

 I know it seems like winter out there, freezing temperatures, lots of wind and an occasional snow flurry, but the bass fishing continues to be amazing in the metro area from New York Harbor to Breezy Point, to the Jersey shore. The weather may be cold, but the fishing is hot as hell. Gannets and gulls are crashing bait as stripers are pushing it up to the surface everywhere you look. This week, stripers coming into my boat ranged in size from 16” up to 40”. Large 6 – 8” flies worked deep on heavy sinking lines continue to work best for the bigger bass. The schoolies of course will take just about anything that moves. Crease flies have worked equally well for all size stripers, depending on location and situation. On spin trips, white bucktails continue to be the lure of preference. The only complaint I had this week was that my clients lost count of how many fish they were catching.
 I hear this is the last report of the season. With the weather as it is, most people don’t want to be out there. As usual, I’ll continue to cruise the metro waters until the fish have gone or the weather prevents me from going. I want to thank you, everyone else at Reel-Time and all of the Reel-Time readers for their support this year.  Without all of you, Reel-Time would be just another website. I guess I’ll talk to you in the spring when you start up the reports again. For everyone that doesn’t know, keep one thing in mind, striper fishing starts early in the metro area, late March or early April depending on the winter. I’m not talking schoolies here, I mean good sized fish up to 36”. John, I know you’ll be out there with me when the first fish arrives. So, until next year, have a great winter and get your gear ready for next year.
See ya out there;
Capt Ralph Burtis

Captain Frank Crescitelli from Fin Chaser Charters is also planning on staying in till the fish leave:

 Hey John as for the fishing today, I'll quote Dino "stupid fishing" this is our reference, which translates closest to: Outrageous fishing! We are far from done, and except for the crazy snowstorm headed our way we'll be out there. The biggest and best fish of the season, I think are yet to come. Last week the fish were plentiful, but spooky. John Fortenberry and Jack Handey had Bass up to 14 pounds but worked hard to get them. Thankfully it has busted open and the fish are eating, like most of us did last Thursday! This year started off with the absolute best fishing ever! The Bass were huge and I can still close my eyes and see that 24 pounder landed by one of our clients, Steve Price! The summer was tougher than usual, but the Albies, who never seem to want to leave, made it great. The fall is off to a later start than usual, but is making up for it fast! Hopefully we will see! the big Herring (I've only seen smallish ones so far) and the big  Bass will cooperate as they did last year right up to, and through Christmas. This year we added a Grand Slam Silver Shadow flats boat and are excited to start sight fishing in Jamaica Bay as well as south Jersey in the Long Beach Island Area. Also on tap for spring 2003 will be a brand new Angler 29' center console, for offshore and possible Canyon Fly trips. Can anyone say melted reels? Anyway thanks to all of our devoted clients for making 2002 such a great year and we look forward to a very early start in the spring. April 1st we will be ready to roll. Until then, Happy Holidays to all from Capt. Dino and Myself. See ya, Capt. Frank

Captain Paul Koopman from CT, had a chance to get out with Captain Dino Torino from Fin Chaser Charters on Tuesday…  Here’s what he had to say about the trip:

Captain Dino Torino HOOKED US UP today (12-4-2002).
We arrived on Staten Island this morning at 6:30AM with temps at 17 degrees and the winds blowing at about 10-15mph. Capt. Dino found fish almost immediately once we entered Raritan Bay. Birds, bait, and bass were everywhere. I never expected to see conditions like this. The first bass was over 30” and was landed on a white bunny fly using 400 grain line. We then proceeded to land over 100 bass in 8 hours of hard-core fly-fishing. This was Extreme!!!! This was as good if not better than Montauk in the fall.
Capt. Torino said that he has never had a charter in such cold temps nor has he ever had 3 crazier guys show up from CT ready and willing to freeze their fingers off.
We fished from Raritan Bay to Rockaway beach and never had a dull moment. Our illustrious Capt almost threw his back out bending over board to land all of our fish.
Capt. Torino knows the NYC, NJ and Staten Island fishery like the back for his hand. We are very thankful for having the opportunity to fish with him on such and awesome day.
Movies and pictures are posted on this web site
Thanks for everything Dino.

Captain Robin Caltri fishing from One More Cast Charters also checks in with a report this week:

John,  After fishing Annie Kyrke and Patrick of Salty Fly Rodders on your "ONE More Cast" on Monday, I went to Florida.  The fishing was solid in Jamacia Bay with flies and any time I dropped a jig down there was a hook up.  Lost some tackle to Bluefish but most of the time it was Bass to about 24".  Annie did quite well on the fly while Patrick, who is a very fine
caster, had a harder time..  Both caught. 

My son Scot treated me to a day
of Redsfishing on the Mosquito Lagoon on Friday.  We did well with Reds to
11lbs ont the fly.  John Kumiski is a great guide as well as writer.  He has
a new book out on fishing the Space Coast.  Best, Captain Robin Calitri

Reel-timer David Azar also checks in with a report this week:

Hi john,

Well I guess it's finally really over.  Nothing to report for this past week.  Just wanted to publicly give a few words of thanks.  Thanks to Richard Reagan and Capt. Dino Torino for that one great day at Montauk, October 10th.  You don't get 50  Albie days too often!!!  And additional thanks to Richard for bailing me out the other day when my motor wouldn't start!  And of course to Capt. McMurray for the good fishing, good reports and just general, all-around help and friendship.
Nothing left to do but sing:

Oh, the weather outside is frightful,
and the Keys are so delightful,
i'm all set to go
so let is snow, let it snow, let it snow.

heading down January 1st for a few days of bonefishing, will report back.

'til then, tie fhose flies, clean fhose lines, grease those reels and keep telling yourself April is only 4 months away!!!
Dr. Dave

There’s not doubt David that you epitomize the classic hardcore saltwater flyfisherman…  

KC Charters

Dragon Fly Charters -- 516-840-6522

Capt. Don Kaye 212-213-8830

Salty Flyrodders of New York
  Western Long Island

From the South Shore Captain Barry Kanavy of Natural Anglers checks in with this year end report:

Dear John,
I guess this is a "Dear John Letter," because its over! at least in my book. When you can't hold on to your fly line due to ice, It's over. When you have to give you're fly time thaw before beginning you're retrieve, it's over. When you lean over an icy gunwale to lip a hog and you feel yourself sliding over It's time to exchange the 12wt, for my 12 gauge.
In review, the fall run had some spectacular moments I won't soon forget. One late afternoon on Montauks south side, as I looked west into the low sun I saw shards of red light leaping from the ocean surrounded in a flaming mist. On approaching it revealed monster stripers smashing a tightly balled school of bay anchovy. What a Malay, the spray had to go five feet in the air! Myself and Capt. Jim Careys' boat we're alone, we stayed and played with these monsters until it was over. I flashback on proud smiles of first fish anglers holding up their trophies for the camera and the quiet confidence of accomplished anglers with another big bass.
In the past few years I have seen a change in the fall migration. Although Montauk hails the beginning of the run many of the mammoth schools of fish now continue along Long Islands South shore. In the past many of these fish skirted the South shore by five miles or more offshore. In the past two years these fish have been very close if not on the beach. As I sit here Gannets are plunging into the ocean just three miles south of my home in Seaford following the remaining schools of big bass. It won't be long before Mother Nature calls a halt to another season and all we're left with is the memories. But, isn't that's what it's all about.
This winter my efforts will go toward helping my anglers become more accomplished anglers. www.NaturalAnglers.com will list a series of seminars designed to bring you to the next level. Whether it's fly tying, casting or angling destinations for bonefish, tarpon or permit. We are here for you. After all that's what we do!
We would like to wish everyone a happy holiday season and look forward to seeing you real soon.
And don't forget to "check you're backing" you never know when you might need every last wrap.

Capt. Barry Kanavy
516-785-7171 / 516-238-7642 cell

Well said Barry.


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Natural Anglers 516-785-7171

Capt. Jim Hull 631-749-1906

Capt. Paul Dixon


Eastern Long Island

Captain Jim Hull from Light Tackle Challenge checks in with a great year-end report:

Well John, It looks like this great season is drawing to a close. I'll be in till New Years Eve looking for fish on every day the weather allows. Had Ken out this weekend for some good divebomb blitz action finally at the end of the tide. I have most of the really good anglers of the community in my client bank and I'm happy that some of them are able to experience this wild herring blitz. This year has been monumental in that 38 bass over 40" were brought boatside. Neil had one 45"of 36lbs. Geppy had a 46" near 40lbs. and I took my best fish ever a 48" at 44lbs. The rainbait blitz saw longwand master Hawk have several 20+ albacore days, and most sports had slams. There were uncountable personal bests by accomplished anglers during this record breaking year. Hopefully next season will surpass this one.  The adult herring with really big bass on their tails are yet to come as they have the previous two years so a word for those regulars on my standby list waiting with baited breath, get those woolies and skins ready and watch those weather reports carefully.   Happy holidays everybody and hope for next season. Pump up and reel down. Jim (captainjimhull@aol.com) 631-749-1906

Reel-Timer Ken Hawkins also checks in with a report of that day:

I got the call from Jim Hull last week that there was a body of smaller
Herring in Montauk and was lucky enough to catch what was probably the last
bit of action with those guys on Saturday. It was a lot of running around
but as usual Jim stuck it out and we had a half hour window of action with
three +12lbs. bass and one 8lbs. coming to the boat along with one fly
caught Gannet. By the way I would not recommend grabbing one of those birds
without some thick gloves on, Jim took one for the team and got a big gash
in his thumb taking one of my flies out of its wing. Let us hope that
another wave of bigger Herring and bigger Bass coupled with some good
weather passes through before the new year. Looks like that could be the
capper to a great year out in Montauk I fished a lot this year and Jim Hull
always put in that extra effort and always got me into a lot fish including
my personal best in largest Bass and most Albies in a day on three different


Also heard form Captain Don Kaye from Shinnecock Angling who reports bad weather but fish galore:

Loads of fish out there but getting to them is another story! Had a lull
between windstorms earlier this past week and The Bonner brothers took
advantage of the one calm day. Lots of Bluefish and Bass (up to 12 lbs)
captured and released just off the ocean beaches and large schools of Shad
still around in the Bay. Winds soon returned, again, with gusts over 40.
Feels like the tip of South America! Hoping for a few decent days before the
snow flies.

Capt. Don Kaye, Shinnecock Guiding 631-7288175

Afraid it’s already flying Don…

Surf angler Joel Filner checks in with an end of the year report from Shinnecock…  Check it out:

Friday after turkeys, the surf rodders were active most of the day off the
ocean at Shinnecock and the village beaches. Flyrods were not useful as
they were out a bit and the wind was not cooperative. Saturday was castable
but the fish were realllllly out there, with no luck from either camp. I
went out on the incoming but watched along with all the other fishermen
from the truck. Sunday was a true blow, with the bay showing white caps. I
only went out of boredom but stayed in the truck. The wind gods were not
happy with us this fall as most weekends were not really hospitable to
either the surf or fly rods. Spring should be good as the lack of  a real
fierce nor 'easter is keeping the beach intact as well as making the bays
very hospitable for growth. More blues this year for me than other years,
longer albie availabilities, and a nice size range of 22 to 26 inch
stripers still coming through should make for a good spring. One more
weekend with the rods assembled and then its hope for a tropical trip in April.
see you next year john

Capt. Paul Dixon of To the Point Charters reports:

John we are going to give it one last try this weekend, sense we are
expecting a heat wave of in the 40s.It's been a great year, starting with
some awsom flats fishing in May that continued into early August. I
remember two of the best days being with Josh Figenbaum. The first he caught over 20 bass all sight fishing,I kept having to tell him to forget the ones at 11:00 and take the Toad at 2:00!!!!! The next week we didn't have the numbers but we sure had the size. These fish were from 10lbs to just over 20lbs, great stuff. The fall turned out to be one of the best, maybe not for weather or length of season, but for massive blitzes, "It Rocked". When the Anglers Club of New York came for their yearly "Haj to Mecca" (Montauk) you could have walked from my boat to Turtle Cove on the backs of the bass. My thumb still looks like it got caught in a sander from lipping stripers. The herring season ended up being the bunker season. Big schools of small bunker all along the beaches from Montauk to Shinnicock kept the big bass going for the last month. Not many fishable days, but when they are it's Fabuloso!!!

So this weekend I will don my snowshoes and treck down to the
dock for the last Hoorra.... after that it's ' Hello Florida' where dem Bones?
My best to everyone this Holiday Season. Be safe and God Bless.

Happy Holidays,
Paul Dixon
P.S. When it's snowing and colder than a..... think of big bones and
jumping tarpon and call me on the cell. It's only three hours to Sun and Fun. Yea Baby!!!!!!!!!

That’s all for the year folks…  We’ll see you next spring….