Bite at the Light Timely for Holiday Weekend Anglers

azar-9-25-2008-2Everything opened up briefly for inshore anglers in Montauk over the holiday weekend providing superb blitzes with large bass feeding voaraciously on copper balls of anchovies. It was mid-day madness on Sunday, a day that more than one experienced angler told me was their best day ever out there. I spoke to some of those same folks after they went back for seconds on Monday to no avail. Having considered making the run from Orient that day, I was perversely pleased that I made the right decision to stay closer to home. I would have given a limb to experience Sunday’s fishing though. I am comforted all of this bait, and by the calendar and its indication of months of good fishing to come.

The North Fork has been fishing pretty well but needs a new push of fish to take advantage of the stockpiles of bait I am finding. Jamaica Bay is rife as well but with only big chopper blues many anglers are heading offshore for mahi and bluefin (see Capt. Azar’s report). Shinnecock has probably fished better than most places in recent weeks with bones and bass feeding on the surface during the right stages of the tides. With tropical storms lining up along the coast, we will get some nasty weather and when it all settles down, I expect some lights out fishing. These fish need a swift kick in the rear and I think Hannah, Ike and Josephine will do just that. Then it is simple. Go find ’em, and feed ’em!

Tight lines and Strong knots!

Capt. Andrew Derr

Western Long Island

Graham Uffelman reports:

uffelmann-9-5-2008Hey Derr-The blues have invaded the bays and harbors of the Western Long Island Sound. We were catching blues on nearly every cast from the boat and the dock in Oyster Bay. We spent some time cruising the sound looking for the ‘bones but we never did find them. Blues to 13 lbs and linesiders to 5 lbs from the dock. We had one large blue fish hooked and subdued at the boat with several followers with him. My 7 year old son, Charlie, screamed out that a whale had followed the blue to the boat. We looked down and what had to be a 50 lb bass and the largest one I have ever seen, was following close to the blue. It was an amazing site and one we won’t soon forget. The striper slowly dropped back into the abys as we landed the blue. A great time. Tight lines. -Graham

Eastern Long Island

Captain Andrew Derr reports:

derr-9-5-2008-1Fishing has been good but is teed up to be great. Montauk was in the proverbial “zone” last weekend and then came back down to earth. The whole east end is pretty covered up in bait. A lot of times this fall fishing needs a little shaking up and that is what it looks like we are going to get with all of the storms brewing. Unfortunately for the weekenders, it doesn’t look like they’ll be as lucky this weekend. Saturday will take the brunt of it. I think by Monday we should be in good shape but Sunday may work out as well. Also, last Monday in the sluiceway, we were attacked by hundreds and hundreds of biting black flies that were tenacious and persistent in there pusuit of us while traveling 30 mph to try and give them the slip. Pretty amazing! It always happens during a good bite too! -ALD

Alex Powers reports:

august-at-the-beach-179Hey Andrew- I went out with Captain Brendan McCarthy ( this past Sunday and had one of the best days of fishing I’ve ever had off Montauk… I brought an Argentine friend of mine along and a dog who had never been out fishing before and they were completely blown away…As soon as we left Montauk Harbor, there were huge bait balls everywhere and the blues and bass pounded them all day long… Even better, it was a blue bird day and there weren’t that many other boats around, although the TUNA TANGLER TOO couldn’t resist the blitzing fish right off the beach (see photo)… And, of course, Brendan had to ask the captain if he takes that boat bonefishing in the off season…

We had a couple of run-ins with surfcasters – one in particular who threw his plug at boat full of kids that he thought had come in too close to shore, which drew a heated response from several boats, including ours…That minor wrinkle aside, it was an incredible day – we probably boated over 50 fish and hats off to Brendan who made it all the better with his proficient guiding skills and running commentary on all of it… -Alex


New York Metro

Capt. John McMurray reports:

mcmurray-0-5-2008-2Still all bluefish at the moment. Some solid reports of bonito and false albacore out east, but still none in my neck of the woods. And day now I suspect. The bait concentrations are extraordinary. Bay anchovies on the ocean side and peanut bunker on the inside. The bay anchovies are so thick they appear as big copper masses on the surface. So far it’s only bluefish on them, but any day now the hardtails are gonna find them and it’s gonna be nuts. I’m thinking we’re gonna have a sick fall with all this bait. In the meantime, we’re keeping busy throwing popper to big bluefish up against structure. -John

Capt. Dave Azar reports:

azar-9-25-2008Hi Andrew- Headed offshore again last Friday with Dr. Ron Mizrahi and Nathan Azizo to troll up some more bluefin tuna, always hoping to find them working on the surface to get a shot with the fly. While we did troll up another 30 pound bluefin we had no luck finding them in any concentration. While roaming around we did come upon a bonus in the form of large, dead leather-back turtle. The unfortunate turtle may have been the victim of an errant boater, but the floating carcass created a natural chum slick and was a haven for dozens of mahi! The mahi were keyed up and hit any lures we threw at them, and it proved an opportune time to throw a fly. A simple white clouser did the trick and I managed to land 2 acrobatic youngsters, my first of that species on the fly. They were by no means large specimens, but a first of species is always exciting. I heard reports of some bigger mahi out there a few days ago so unless Hurricane Hannah keeps us off the water Dr. Ron and I will be heading out there again this Friday to look for tuna and/or mahi. Hope I have something special to tell you next week…maybe bluefin on the fly, who knows?
On the local front there have been lots of large bluefish in the New York Bight eating flies. Hopefully this will keep us busy until the albies show up…PLEASE! Tight lines. -Capt Dave Azar

New Jersey

Capt. Gene Quigley reports:

quigley-9-5-2008-2Andrew- Sorry just got in. The Bluefin and Mahi Fishing right now is as good as it gets. Fish have been within 13 miles of our shores and busting on top for acres on some days. other days we scout them out on the troll, find em, chum em with live peanuts and crush em on the fly. This week we say fish over 100 lbs come over our rails on light tackle and fish to 40 lbs on fly tackle. We have not seen this action in years here along our coast and our BFT season really has not even started. Normally it does not get underway until late September. We ran trips pretty much all week offshore and had nice fish on each trip.

Inshore the bluefish are blitzing on rain bait and we are seeing the occasional school of bonito – still no sign on Albies – Hard to even focus on the inshore stuff right now when the BFT action is so good. Rain bait is everywhere and the stage is set for a great fall.


Mark N. Cahill has been writing and editing for since 1995. He started fishing in the mid-1960's and caught his first striper off World's End in Hingham in 1966. From there on in it was an obsession. He loves fishing for tuna, and fly fishing for striped bass. In a pinch, anything with fins will do...

Posted in New York & New Jersey

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