If you would like to receive these weekly reports directly, just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and Ill put you on the list.And, for more information about fishing in Montauk, go to montauksportfishing.com
FOR SALE: Murry Brothers fighting chair. Good condition. Call 631 668 2019
December 12, 2010
This is the last you are going to here from me this year. Except for a couple of charter and head boats that will be operating over the winter, everybody has packed it in. The striped bass season ends this week, but in reality it has been over for quite a while, since around Thanksgiving. I thought it would last longer than it did, with the water temperature and the herring hanging around, but it wasnít to be. Except for the time just after the herring arrived, November wasnít all that great. The boats bottom fishing have been doing great, especially those fishing out in the ocean, with lots of seabass, ling and more cod than you would expect. It looks like it will be a pretty good winter for the cod.
The Surfmasters Tournament ended on December 1, and the only changes from November 1 were a couple of small fish in the womenís division. The results are as follows;
Gary Arprea - 38.26 lbs - 10/19
Mike Milano - 32.36 lbs - 10/1
Frank Krist - 24.20 lbs - 10/11
Mike Copolla - 44.54 lbs - 10/17
Mary Ellen Kane - 13.22 lbs - 11/7
Mary Ellen Kane - 10.12 lbs - 11/19
Christine Schnell - 9.8 lbs - 10/19
Kevin Losie - 22.44 lbs - 10/28
Philip Schnell - 11.08 lbs - 10/4
Xen Angelides - 9.8 lbs - 9/28
Brendan Farrell - 18.16 lbs - 10/11
I got an e-mail from Jim Levinson here, one of the fly guides about all the photos that he has of the light tackle fishing out here. You cab check them out at http://www.allmontaukflyfishing.com/
If you are interested in doing some warm water fishing this winter, drop me a line. Iíve got some great places you can go for the ďfishing adventure of a lifetimeĒ, or check out http://www.tropicalfishing.com/tropical
And lastly, since there is nothing else to do on a Sunday afternoon but watch the NFL, I have a prediction. Bret Farve will start against the giants just to keep his streak alive, but will not last a quarter. Secondly, the NFL will not act on the harassment issue until after his steak ends. Have a great holiday season and Iíll probably get back to you once or twice over the winter and then be back steadily in the Spring.
November 22, 2010
Itís been a pretty good week, three days without wind. The herring are here, and plentiful right at the mouth of the Inlet, so the first step for most boats is to make a couple of drifts with the Sabikis and load up on them. The next step is to head on down to the Point, look for the birds, and start catching bass, lots of them. No big ones though. Just about everything is 10-12 lbs. It looks like the newest thing we have to worry about from the feds is ďcatch sharesĒ. If you have always watched the crab fishermen in Alaska on the Discovery channel, you will know that when it first started it was a fixed length season and all the boats caught all that they could until the season was closed. Then they went to catch shares, and each boat was allowed to catch itís own personal limit in whatever time it took. The end result in a catch shares program is that a boat could be awarded a limit that was uneconomical and would go out of business, and itís share would be gobbled up by the other boats. Another result is that no new boat could enter the program. Now the feds are trying to see how catch shares can be utilized in the recreational fishery. The following was written by a Carolina charterboat operator; Here come catch shares: How NOAA and the Environmental Defense Fund plan to destroy North Carolinaís working watermen When my late father was 24 years old, he returned to Hatteras from Long Island, New York. He returned because the Great Depression had left him jobless and standing in a bread line. He came back home and he moved back in with his parents. He returned so that he could have a place to sleep and a meal that he had provided for himself, a meal that he earned by commercial fishing with his father on the family-owned boat. While fishing the family boat commercially for the meager income provided by fish prices during the depression, he did what young people in America have always done --- he dreamed of his future and he hatched a plan. The plan he hatched was crazy. The elders in the village told him so. They said it would not work. They shook their heads at his ideas. And he did what the young in America have always done -- he put his crazy plan in motion. He started an offshore charter fishing fleet. He launched the first of three Albatross boats in 1937 with charter fishing as his top priority and with commercial fishing as Plan B. And just how did that crazy charter fishing concept work out?
Well, in a study sanctioned by North Carolina Sea Grant and carried out by economists and a sociologist from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington and North Carolina State University, the charter fishing business is now a $650 million dollar a year industry for North Carolina with two thirds of that revenue coming from visitors from out of state. Not so crazy after all.And how much does the state of North Carolina spend promoting its charter fishing industry? The answer is zero ($0.00) dollars. That lack of government support has never been an issue or concern for North Carolinaís fishermen. Why? Because the same independent -- some would say hard-headed -- drive and determination that fueled my fatherís belief in his dream continues to fuel the dreams and ambitions of the men and women who make a living by fishing both charter and commercially today.
Since the founding of this state, it has been accepted as fact that if you work hard, if you persevere, if you are determined, and if you are lucky, you can be a fisherman. You can own your boat. You can be your own boss. You can feed your family and the larger community. And you can put smiles on the faces and adventurous memories in the minds of countless charter customers who you help experience the wonder and mysteries of our waters.The only apparent problem with this scenario of being independent, of being a self reliant contributor to society, of providing a service for others is that you do not necessarily get rich. The fishermen do not seem to find this to be a problem, but an alleged environmental group called the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) does.
Thatís right, even though its employees do not live here or fish for a living, this group has decided that North Carolinaís fishing communities need to be fixed. Or, in their words, they need to be ďmore vibrant.ĒEDF has published an endless stream of slick brochures and pblications, held numerous conferences, and attempted to enlist numerous fishermen in an attempt to explain how society -- make that the government -- can implement a plan that will ďcreate vibrant fishing communitiesĒ.
The plan is called catch shares. If you eat fish or like to catch fish, catch shares will affect you.Catch shares are here. They are, as you read this, being implemented by NOAA through the National Marine Fisheries Service. The goal is to reduce the number of working watermen in the United States by more than 60 percent. The propaganda ďinformsĒ fishermen that the ones left standing, after their neighbors are economically destroyed, will be able to get rich and somehow fishing towns and villages will then ďbe vibrant.Ē
Welcome to catch shares. They are designed to kill off the fishermen. The infrastructure will then die and then somehow, according to the slick brochures produced by EDF and edited by the finest legal minds they can hire, fewer fishing boats and fewer fishermen will result in ďvibrant fishing communities.ĒJust what is a catch share? A catch share is an exclusive guarantee that whoever holds the catch share has the exclusive right to harvest a certain percentage of the total allowable catch of a particular species of marine life. Thatís a mouthful, and you read it correctly.
It does not grant the right to catch a certain number of fish each year. How many fish can be caught is a number that National Marine Fisheries Service already determines and has imposed on fishermen for years. So if catch shares is not about saving fish, since we already have that scientific process in place, you may be wondering just what the purpose is.The catch share program is not about how many fish can be caught. Catch shares is only about who gets to catch fish. Catch shares can be bought, they can be sold, and they can be leased or traded.
So the logical question is what is the conservation advantage of catch shares? The answer is that there is no conservation advantage. Catch shares policy is about taking the right to fish away from the masses, from those individuals who want to become fishermen for a lifetime or for a day, and giving that right to harvest fish to a select few.Catch shares is designed to privatize the ocean. As a free American citizen, you might want to think about that one for awhile. Who will get catch shares? Basically, it will be those with the best past history of landings. Thatís right -- those who have caught the most in the past will be selected to keep on fishing -- in the name of conservation and, of course, ďvibrant fishing communities.Ē
But it gets a lot more interesting and complicated than the simple picture Iíve presented. You see, the Environmental Defense Fund has been the driving force behind this concept. The group has spent thousands and thousands of dollars promoting this concept. (In the name of full disclosure, I went to Vancouver, B.C., on EDFís dime to learn about it.)Now what did EDF do in the spring of 2009? Why they sent their second ranking employee -- a $300,000-a- year lawyer -- to a national conference of investment brokers and venture capitalists to spread the word about an investment opportunity, something called catch shares. Thatís right. EDF thinks that Wall Street should own catch shares!
So if Wall Street owns catch shares, where do you think North Carolinaís small-time fishermen fit in? Seen any evidence lately that Wall Street has any concern about increasing the number of ďvibrant fishing communities?Ē And yet apparently EDF wants Wall Street to own catch shares.This corporate ownership of exclusive rights is not a wild guess. It is a reality. The Alaskan king crab fishery is Exhibit A, and in the four years since the imposition of catch shares the crew member shares of the catch have dropped from 50 percent to 30 percent, while the fleet has decreased by two-thirds.
Okay, so most of you are not worried about what happens to the commercial sector of fishing. Well, last week NOAA publicly announced that it wants all professional fishermen to be controlled by catch shares. Thatís right. Charter boats and headboats are the next to have catch shares. Having previously begun implementation in the commercial sector in Alaska and New England, NOAA and National Marine Fisheries have made public the plan to begin implementation in the recreational sector -- with charter boats and headboats the first targets.Worldwide various forms of catch shares have been in place for over 25 years. Where implemented, the least amount that the local fishing fleets have been diminished is 30 percent.
I suspect that I am not the only one who thinks that what North Carolina needs right now is an economic boost rather than another economic hit. Further reducing the ability of the charter/headboat industry to produce revenue sounds like economic insanity.Well, you may be thinking that at least that those who want catch shares are leaving the recreational fishermen who do not fish on charter boats alone. You might want to be aware that a plan has already been suggested that, in the Gulf of Mexico, recreational fishing rights should be sold to the highest bidder. First, we come after the commercials, then we get the charters, and next we go after those recreational types.
The concept of catch shares is straight forward. The exclusive right to harvest fish will be owned by the entity with the most money, period! And those individual owner/operators? Well, they are quaint and they might be good for tourism because of all that local color stuff, but they are just going to have to adjust and get a job with a corporation. After all, coastal fishing communities are just filled with job opportunities.Catch shares policy is about ownership not conservation! We already have Total Allowable Catch (TAC). TAC already controls how many fish are caught annually. In spite of what you may have read, TAC controls are already in place. For example, North Carolinaís bluefin tuna landings in the recreational sector were completely shut down in the late í90s during the height of our season for two years in a row because of TAC concerns. Violators were fined $25,000, and, needless to say, they were few and far between.
Iíll repeat. Catch shares is not a stock management issue. It is an ownership issue. How soon will catch shares be coming to a marina near you? The answer is that they will be coming very soon unless our elected leaders act immediately. The head of NOAA, Dr. Janet Lubchenco, worked for and closely with the Environmental Defense Fund prior to her appointment to head NOAA by President Obama.In recent weeks, EDF had a conference in Wyoming (yes, Wyoming) to develop final implementation plans for the recreational sector catch shares. Why an ENGO Ė environmental non-government organization -- is about the business of developing government policy is, to say the least, interesting.
On Nov. 4, Eric Schwabb, assistant administrator for fisheries, released the formal NOAA announcement that catch shares are coming to the recreational sector. If we want to see coastal heritage and traditions vanish, we should simply do nothing. If we believe that the right to fish should be the exclusive right of those who have the deepest pockets, we should simply do nothing. If we believe that reducing the ability of coastal citizens to generate income and pay more taxes is good for our stateís economy, we should simply do nothing.On a personal note, I suspect -- perhaps hope is the better word Ė that, as the owner of a long standing and reasonably successful charter fishing operation, I will get enough catch shares to continue in business.
However, when I went to Vancouver to learn about catch shares, I heard incessantly about their great monetary value and that raised a question. So, I asked the man who developed the Canadian plan, ďHow could a young person ever become an owner/operator fisherman with this additional expense?Ē And he answered after a long pause, ďWeíre still working on that!ĒThere is something sadly, tragically wrong when a nationís government deliberately creates a mechanism that denies the next generation its right to dream. I want no part of catch shares.
(Ernie Foster is a Hatteras Island native who, after a career in education, returned to Hatteras village and is now captain of the Albatross Fleet. He supports groups that fight to save the heritage of fishing, such as North Carolina Watermen United, and is also a board member of the North Carolina Coastal Federation.)
November 1, 2010It looks like things are winding down here in Montauk, at least for the charter boats. Itís early yet, so I think the slowdown isnít due to the fishing, but rather the economy. It always hits worse on the shoulders of the season than in the middle of it. The bass fishing has been great, with occasional hiccups. A while back I still had ninety bass tags to use and did sixty of them on one tide. The bass were all over the top with not enough birds to go around (or a lot of them were too full to fly). There were some bluefish, but could be avoided. The next day we went out on the same tide, and all the fish on top were bluefish and we had to get away from them to finish the last of the tags, and wound up with twice as many blues as bass. I didnít go out the next day, but I heard there was nothing on top that day. Overall though the bass fishing is great and will probably stay that way at least until the end of the month. Virtually al of the boats fishing for blackfish have been doing it over by Fishers Island and it has been pretty steady with some porgies mixed in (their out of season). Seabass season reopens on November 1, so maybe now some of those seeking blackfish will start checking out Southwest Ledge where they will also be able to switch to Seabass when the tog limits are full. The standings in the Surfmasters Tournament are as follows;Wader Division
Mike Copolla - 44.54 lbs - 10/17
Kevin Losie - 22.44 lbs - 10/28
Philip Schnell - 11.08 lbs - 10/4
Xen Angelides - 9.8 lbs - 9/28
October 17, 2010
Hereís an update on what has been happening here in Montauk.
The bass fishing is off the wall, with patches of fish all over the place and very few bluefish to worry about. The charters are catching all they want on the rigs, chutes and diamond jigs. Bigger fish, into the forties, are being caught on live eels, but with them itís not as sure a thing. The big schools are feasting on tiny bay anchovies and when they have their sights on them they can be pretty finicky, especially in the surf.
I had a couple of friends come out early in the last week for some surfcasting, so I took a ride with them. At Turtle Cove it was a bit of a madhouse, especially when the bass were in the wash. At one point I was able to get three casts that was in fish from the end of the cast until the lure reached my feet without getting a hit, but I could feel the lure bouncing off backs. I saw three fish caught, but two of them were snagged. The falsies are gone, but the flyguys donít care. Their small flies are just what the bass want and they are doing great. There have been a couple of contests while I was gone. The Montauk Surf Classic results are as follows;Striped BassAhmet Saniray - 39.58 lbsBrian Ritter - 23.44 lbsPaul Beck - 17.56 lbsTom Schneider - 16.64 lbsTom Passariello - 14.54 lbsBluefishPat Amiratti - 14.62 lbsJoe Brendel - 10.86 lbsAudie Campbell - 10.70 lbsBob DiGiovanna - 10.70 lbsCharlie Vollmer - 10.38 lbs Paulies Tackle Shopís results are as follows;Striped BassSteve Rottach - 22.34 lbs Brian Ritter - 22.06 lbsFrank Mercurio - 21.72 lbs BluefishMike Milano - 15.88 lbsAdam Vollmer - 13.98 lbsRuben Fournier - 12.00 lbs And, Star Island held their first striped bass tournament, a one day affair that attractedsixty some odd boats. Their results are as follows;1st Place Striped BassELIZABETH - 44.6 lbs - Kenny HowardWINDY - 40.4 lbs - Evian PlattAFISHINADO - 40.2 lbs - Rob Parsons1st Place BluefishINSTIGATOR - 13.2 lbs - Steve DiBenedetto
September 27, 2010
Iím just about done for the year and will be hauling out this week, so donít expect these reports every Monday morning. Iím going to start to concentrate on the fishing trips to Central America. Speaking of which; Iím looking for a couple of guys to join me at Quepos in Costa Rica early in March for three days fishing.. Based on a party of three it will cost around $1650/person plus air fare & meals and tips. If you are interested, drop me a line. The bass fishing is about as good as it gets right now. There are plenty of fish being caught just about anyway you can think of, and bluefish are easily avoided. The biggest problem for the charterboats is avoiding all the small boats that flock out here this time of year. Any sign of bird life and itís a mad dash. The light tackle guys are in hog heaven right now, as long as they donít flip and lose their boat. On October 9 there is a ďWounded WarriorĒ event at the Star Island Yacht Club. If you want to participate go to www.montaukhookandslice.com and check it out. The next day Star Island is holding a one day striped bass tournament, so, go for broke and make aweekend out of it. If you need a charterboat for either of these days, better start calling now, because they are scarce. Seabass season closes for a couple of weeks on October 12., and scup closes for good the same day. Blackfish season opens on October 1, so there is still some good bottom fishing left, and judging by the way itís been all year it should be great.
September 20, 2010Fall starts Wednesday, but the fall fly guys are already here in force. Every year there is at least one ďOOPSĒ and Sunday we had it. A small boat went over and the two guys that were in it had to be fished out. This rarely happens when it is rough, more likely on nice days when there is a storm offshore, and Igor was doing his job sending in big swells. Another sign of fall is the Locals Surfcasting Tournament, which starts this Friday. But itís name has been change to the Surfmasters Tournament. This started out with only residents of East Hampton allowed entry, with occasional exceptions. But over the years there were more and more exceptions, so now anyone can enter, as long as it is by Thursday at 7:00 pm. You can join at Paulies Tackle Shop, which is the weight station. It ends on December 1 at 10:00 am. The bass fishing is good enough, not what I would call great, but most of the charterboats have been getting their limits, and there are fewer bluefish around than there have been, which is a good thing. I was out for a couple of hours on Sunday morning, expecting to see some bird life, but didnít. Iím sure things will be picking up though. Offshore is just about done. A couple of charterboats have a couple of trips left, but theyíre not looking forward to them. Itís been kind of a crappy year
September 13, 2010
It looks like the summer rush is over. Only a handful of charters left the dock this morning (Monday). Offshore looks grim. Two charter boats that went sharking Monday came back without having caught any. That is almost impossible to believe at this time of year. The bluesharks should be thick. Tuna around the Mudhole are either not eating or gone, and out at the Edge things are slow as well. A boat I know left on an overnighter Friday and only caught a couple of longfins and a bunch of mahi. Inshore the bass fishing is very good and there seem to be fewer bluefish around, which is a blessing. The falsies are here though, and plenty of them. Anyplace you see birds are more likely to be them than blues. On October 9 there is a ďWounded WarriorĒ event at the Star Island Yacht Club. If you want to participate go to www.montaukhookandslice.com and check it out. The next day Star Island is holding a one day striped bass tournament, so, go for broke and make a weekend out of it. Itís starting to get to that time of year when you might want to think about where you want to fish this winter. I had a single New Englander looking to team up with some other fly guys for a trip to Guatemala. If you are interested, drop me a line and Iíll put you in touch with him to check on compatibility.
September 7, 2010
Old Earl changed his mind about visiting us here in Montauk. My windometer topped out at 22 mph. On Saturday the clearing wind made it to 30 mph. But we sure got a lot of publicity. Every news show on TV had a reporter here watching the waves and the people watching the waves. Sunday it was still a little snotty but some boats made it out and caught bass. Monday was real nice and the bass continued to cooperate as did the bluefish. Everything worked, tubes, chutes, diamond jigs, live bait. Maybe itís the ďFall RunĒ? The bottom fishing got back in shape as well on Monday with the porgies & seabass at least. I didnít hear much about the fluke, but who cares? They are done for the season,except for any boats with the set aside permits, and I donít believe many boats have them this year. There was a pile of boats fishing Frisbees and the seabiscuits were biting, but I think that place has been fished to death. Most of the fish that are there have probably been caught and thrown back a half dozen times. If you want decent sized fish you have to look elsewhere, with Block Island being the best idea. Offshore, the giants at the Mudhole were snapping a bit before Earl, but I donít believe anyone from Montauk has been anywhere offshore since. I did here that a Rhode Island boat may have hooked up on Monday. But you know how rumors are. Montauk has finally joined the rest of the civilized world. The Seven Eleven across the street from the IGA finally opened up. Most of the locals hope it fails. It probably had itís best weekend until Memorial Day.
August 30, 2010
The weatherman has started affecting bookings. I know one boat that was canceled for Saturdayís trip because of big bad hurricane Danielle. And Iím sure there will be others later this week because of Earl, whether he gets here or not. Right now it is supposed to be about due south of the city and east of Hatteras by early Friday morning, be curving to the east and be south of Nova Scotia by early Saturday morning. Whatever happens, we are going to see some effects of it. It looks like the weather early in the week had an effect on the fishing, especially offshore. The good news is that there are giants in the Mudhole - and they are being caught, although not in great numbers. All the other tuna news is non-existent. The Edge was pretty much a bust over the weekend. There may of been some fish caught, but every boat that I know of that made the run came back with only some mahi. Shark fishing dropped off as well, with quite a few ďshark dummiesĒ over the weekend. Inshore the fishing for seabass is still producing numbers, but the size of the fish leaves a lot to be desired. A while back and you didnít even bother to measure fish. If it looked doubtful, throw it back. Now it seems like you have to measure everyone. Fluke fishing has been a problem as well, although I lucked on three keepers in one drift. The next drift over the same place I didnít even get a short. That seems to be pretty typical. Porgies are still good though. There are still too many bluefish around, but for the most part most of the charter boats have been able to work around them. Itís been more of a problem for boats using live bait. Itís discouraging to spend a half hour or so catching porgies and then get them all bit in half on the first couple of drifts.
August 23, 2010
Itís a little early, but right now we seem to be having the first fall northeaster. Offshore got a little heated up this past week, especially for makos, and it seems like right now you can go mako fishing instead of just shark fishing. Most of the boats that I heard of shark fishing this past week caught a mako or two - or a dozen. The BREAKAWAY fished the Gully early in the week and caught twelve makos, keeping one of around 125 pounds. The same day, the CUJO, fishing the same area had seven. Also early in the week the VENTURE fishing in the Butterfish Hole caught a mako and a ninety pound bluefin while ďshuna fishingĒ. Thatís chumming for sharks and chunking for tuna at the same time. Further offshore the Dip was hot in the middle of the week with yellowfins, longfins, marlin & occasional bigeyes, but slowed down by the weekend. The Tales got the action on the weekend, with some fish caught on the troll as well as chunking during the day, with a better night time bite. Inshore the charter boats are still being plagued by too many bluefish, but are finding places where they can deal with them. Itís just a matter of keeping moving when they are too plentiful. Itís especially true when live bait is involved. The fluke fishing is getting pretty good with the season winding down. There are nice fish in the deeper water on the south side, along with a mix of seabass.
August 16, 2010
Iím losing touch lately. The owner of the boat I run has some back problems and as a result I havenít been out in almost two weeks. It seems like offshore tuna fishing just isnít worth trying. The local bluefins have all but disappeared. Apparently there are still some south of the Coimbra hitting jigs, but that is the equivalent of a canyon trip for us, so I donít think any boats from Montauk are considering that. Out on the Edge there are some yellowfins, longfins and an unusual amount of white marlin, but the bite has been very inconsistent. The renowned Capt Harry Capt Hump) Clemens stopped me and told of a canyon trip he did this past week. They had two yellowfins and one longfin and dropped a big allison at the boat. But he was fishing in five hundred fathoms, roughly eighty miles south of the point. Shark fishing is OK, but reports are scarce as it seems like the economy has cut down on the amount of offshore trips are being booked on the charter boats Inshore the striped bass fishing has gotten a little dicey lately, with too many fish around - blue ones with yellow eyes. The bottom fishing is still better for seabass and porgies than it is for fluke.
August 9, 2010
Star Island held their Mako Mania & Thresher tournament over the weekend, and the results will give you an idea of how exciting shark fishing is right now. Fifty-one boats fished for two days and weighed in four qualifying fish, three makos and a thresher. That isnít an accurate picture of how many makos are around. Itís just that the vast majority are on the little size. The results are as follows:
1st place mako - RIGGER - 110 lbs
2nd place mako - REEL GAMES - 109 lbs
3rd place mako - REEL STEEL - 102 lbs
1st place thresher - MAIN SQUEEZE - 154 lbs.
The tuna report isnít all that exciting either. Locally every once in a while someone lucks across a bluefin, but it seems like the second person to do it is in a different place from the first. And, it doesnít happen that often. Yellowfins, longfins and a fair amount of white marlin are out on the Edge, but not in very big numbers. And, for any real shot at success you almost have to be there by dawn. Nothing much to report from inside the 400 line, so if you go resign yourself to run all the way. No stopping short and working your way out.
Inshore is steady, with some nice size striped bass mixed in with the regular size ones, mostly on big tubes or live bait. Bottom fishing is very good, especially for seabass and porgies, but catching keeper size fluke is still difficult.
August 2, 2010Offshore fishing is a bit ďiffyĒ right now. If you go to the right place and if you are there at the right time, you can catch a couple of yellowfins, longfins, white marlin or even a blue marlin or bigeye, - there are some swords at night too. Wrong time or place and you can be in for a long ride with not much to show for it. That happened to me Sunday, when I wish the weatherman was a little more accurate. Before I even had all the rigs in the water, there was a white marlin batting a green machine around. He took a couple of shots without coming tight before he gave up. We continued working toward a spot three miles away where some fins were being caught, finally arriving there as the bite ended. That was it for the day, except listening to the other boats, most of which were on overnighters, summarize their catches, most of them pretty good. This was all in the vicinity of the Fish Tails - apparently the Dip, which was good last week was dead. The bluefins that were southeast of Block Island seem to have left, at least I havenít heard any reports of them being seen lately, much less being caught. Shark fishing is OK - it would be nice if there were more makos around. Especially since next weekend Star Island has itís Mako Mania & Thresher tournament. Inshore is fine. The bass fishing has dropped off a little of what it was, but is still good enough that a half day charter will most likely limit out, unless it tries to specialize in bigger fish. The live baiting with porgies is OK for the bigger fish, but doesnít produce numbers. Fluke fishing is improving with the eating size fish, with the deeper water off the south side holding some decent numbers of keepers.
July 26, 2010If you are interested in tuna, you have a couple of choices, but no real sure thing great ones. You can head over toward the Gully southeast of Block Island. The bluefins are there and range in size of thirty pounds up to apparently giant size. but one day there are some caught and the next day not so much. But, itís not a long run and after trolling around for most of a morning you can always give the sharks a shot.You could also head south to the Edge. In years past, a day trip for tuna would usually start around the 500 line and gradually work further south until some fish were found. This year, you have to keep running at least to the 400 line. All of the fish are on the Edge. The Dip is a better choice than the Tails. And, some boats are fishing as much as ten miles or so south of it to find the fish.Shark fishing is OK as long as you have conditions, with some blues and makos being caught. But, get out there on a day with no drift and you could wind up a shark dummy.
July 19, 2010
Inshore fishing could hardly be any better, especially for the stripers. There are some schools of bunker around, that we donít normally see around here, and they are attracting a nice class of fish. Live porgies are becoming more popular for the larger fish lately, although that doesnít usually produce a lot of fish. Medium sized fish are being taken steadily with the wire lines - parachutes, umbrellas or the big tubes. There have been days that the bass were swarming on the top and charterboats were able to catch them with only a hundred feet of wire.
Bottom fishing for the bigger porgies, seabass and fluke is steady, although you still have to do a lot of culling with the fluke to get the ones you can eat. The action is good on the south side out to Frisbies and west to Caswells, or on the other side in the Rips or as far west as Pocketbook.
Offshore the bluesharks are thinning out, but there are more consistent reports of makos being taken as little as twelve miles or so out. There are still some bluefish in the Butterfish Hole, which is kind of unusual. They are all normally inshore by this time of year. Of course there are some of them on the inshore grounds as well, all big ones,which is also unusual this time of year.
The bluefins are still around, both east in the vicinity of the Gully and in the Butterfish Hole, but not many of them are being caught. If you want a surer thing, you want to head out to the edge, particularly the Dip where there is a fairly steady bite with the yellowfins and some bigeyes as well.
July 12, 2010
What happens if you have a shark tournament and no sharks show up? You hear a lot of ďWhere are the sharks, Mommy?Ē and ďWhat time do the boats come in?Ē. Thatís what happened to the weekends MBCA shark contest. First there was a very disappointing number of boats involved. And then the shark fishing wasnít very good, probably partially due to the seventy-five degree water temps. Three fish were brought to the scales on Saturday and on Sunday only one qualifier. The results are as follows;1st place - Boat #4 - blueshark - 268 lbs.2nd place - TUNA TANGLER TOO - blueshark - 236 lbs.3rd place - MY MATE - blueshark - 221 lbs.4th place - REAL DEAL - thresher - 211 lbs. The bluefins seem to be all around. At least they are being seen in a lot of different places, but the only place they seem to be being caught is around the Gully. Being there early is the surest way to get a bite, but some occasional fish are being caught after the sun gets up in the sky. Diamond jigs are working occasionally if you drop them on the right fish. A lot of them are being seen pushing water throughout the day, but they rarely do anything other than swim on by.
Yellowfins out on the Edge are getting closer with a couple of charterboats catching fish as close as 14600/43400. Better action is still out around West Atlantis.Inshore the striped bass fishing is exceptional. A week ago it was great and this week it got even better. Iím running out of words to describe it. You can catch them anyway you like, and there are better size fish showing up more regularly.
Bottom fishing is still good as long as you donít eat fluke. Keepers are still scarce, but if you put in your time in the deeper waters you will be able to scratch out a few.The bluefish are biting pretty good. So good that they had to close down Hither Hills to swimming after a couple of people got bit.
July 6, 2010
Man, was the village mobbed over the last couple of days. But it didnít carry over very well to the charterboats. Overall business sucks again this year. So bad in fact that a couple of the guys who run draggers over the winter are still working them on days when they have no trips instead of hanging around doing boatwork and being available if a group walks by interested in going fishing. Offshore the bluefins are still hanging around and some are being caught. But, in order to be successful you have to leave the dock around half-past last night. If you havenít got the gear in the water as the sun is peaking over the horizon, you are just going through the motions. And, donít forget that fish between 59Ē and 73Ē are off limits, and there are some of them around. The canyon is heating up a bit as well with some decent fishing out to the east around Atlantis. The shark fishing is still great for blueies, but the makos and threshers are scarce. Try to avoid the Butterfish Hole. There are lots of bluefish there. I had to move on two successive days to get away from them. Inshore the bass fishing is in great shape with limits of fish on a half day the norm. Unless you only want big ones. The big tubes are starting to work for them, but you wonít catch many of the smaller fish under thirty pounds or so with them. Bottom fishing is also hot, unless you like eating fluke. Keepers are hard to come by, but the porgies and seabass are in good supply Next week is the MBCA shark tournament (Saturday & Sunday) being run out of Star Island Yacht Club. Stop by and show the kiddies the big maneaters and buy a tee shirt. Itís all for charity.
June 28, 2010The Montauk Marine Basin held their annual shark tournament over the weekend. The results are as follows:1st place mako - WAZZUP - 388 lbs2nd place mako - KING CHARLES - 215 lbs3rd place mako - RIDGE RUNNER II - 181 lbs1st place blueshark - CRACK OAR - 345 lbs2nd place blueshark - WE GO - 280 lbs3rd place blueshark - KNOT BOARD - 259 lbs1st place thresher - LADY MARION - 266 lbs2nd place thresher - TAILWALKER - 237 lbs3rd place thresher - TIGER SHARK - 222 lbs The numbers of bluesharks are dropping as the waters warm up and they move further east. Thatís good news or bad news, depending on whether you are interested in a lot of action or the quality of makos and threshers.
The bluefins are still around, in as close as Cartwright about six miles south of the Point.Inshore the fishing has been markedly better on the flood tide than on the ebb, but that is sure to change. Bass fishing is holding steady, but the fluke could use a little help, at least as far as dinner types are concerned. Itís a real struggle for them, and there are a lot of tiny fluke showing up, smaller than I think Iíve ever caught out here - as small as twelve inches or so. Great bait size for stripers, but of course that would be illegal. The porgy fishing is great with plenty of huge fish. Itís going to be hard to do anything with them as bait for bass with so many fifteen inch and up fish. I guess the seabass are doing OK as well, but itís hard for me to get a handle on them because MY %#&@ING NORTHSTAR IS STILL IN THE %#&@ING HOSPITAL.
June 20, 2010
The Star Island Tournament was held over the weekend and a lot of sharks were caught -too many bluesharks. What we call festivals of them, with most boats having them swarming around the boat all day. But, there were some exotics culled out. The results areas follows;Heaviest overall - AFISHIONADO - 335 lbs. thresher1st place mako - CAROL LIBBY - 241 lbs2nd place mako - PANCHO - 236 lbs3rd place mako - CHANGE ORDER -224 lbs 1st place other species - AFISHIONADO - 335 lbs. thresher2nd place other species - HALFWAY THERE - 330 lbs thresher 3rd place other species - WE GO - 325 lbs thresher If you are going to enter a shark tournament, it would be to your advantage to know the rules. One guy didnít and brought in a white shark, which is a no-no. The shark ladies who are there to study the sharks called a tall guy in green who came by to enforce the law. I understand the fine to be around $25,000. Last week there was talk that the Concerned Citizens of Montauk were going to supply circle hooks for the tournament but that never happened. I thought the shark huggers werenít going to protest either, but on Saturday they were out on the island at the entrance to Star Island. No plane dragging a banner though. The Marine Basin has itís tournament next Friday and Saturday and they will definitely be giving out free hooks. I already glommed a pack. Theyíve got a lot of them, but I donít know how many they are giving out to each boat, but with the number of blues out there it probably wonít be enough. It seems like the bluefins are here in force, and in a lot of different places, from the West Bank east to the Fairway Buoy, and they are being cooperative. Getting to the spot early seems to be key. The BLUEFIN IV was able to keep two bluefins and released another early in the week and it was all over by 7:30. But I canít tell you where or Michaelíll have to kill me. Heís got a couple of dates available in the next week or so if you want to find out where he caught them. Inshore the bass fishing is good enough with a limit on a half day trip about standard, with most fish legal sized up to around twenty pounds or so. Diamond jigging at the Elbow is still going on, but trolling with wire produces at all the regular spots. Fluke fishing is a bit of a struggle, and not just because of the 21Ē size limit. Even the shorts are getting scarce. The charter boats on an all day trip would usually spend half the trip on bass and then switch to fluke, but more of them are switching to porgies instead. That is great with some real monsters around. Diamond jiggers at the Elbow have been catching them along with the stripers.
June 14, 2010The offshore season got started with a bang over this week. Bluesharks are plentiful, more than you would expect this early in the season. There were even a couple of makos taken already, which bodes well for the Star Island shark tournament next weekend. And it looks like there will be no picketing this year by the shark huggers. The Concerned Citizens of Montauk are contributing non offset circle hooks to all the shark tournamentís participants. I donít know that the tournaments will require their use, but they should. There have been sightings for a while now of bluefins south of the Point, and over the weekend there were a couple caught - 100 pounders. One I know was taken at ďSix & EightĒ, which is only about eight miles from the Lighthouse, and I assume the others were as well. Inshore, the striped bass is excellent, although not quite as excellent as it was. Full limits plus are the norm, and there are starting to be some better size fish mixed in, including a 56 pound fish taken on a private boat out of Star Island on Sunday. The fluke fishing is steady and you can catch a lot of fish, but you have to work at it for the keepers. Most of the action is still north and east of the point. And, there are some nice seabass mixed in with them.. Porgie fishing is great especially for the size of the fish. I caught one on a diamond jig and had to cut itís tail off to fit it in the ziplock bag. Over the June 5-6 weekend, Paulies Tackle Shop had a contest. The results are asfollows;Bass: 1st Place, Brian Lang - 31.34 lbs 2nd Place, Jay Fried - 20.34 lbs3rd Place, John Mollica - 19.36 lbs. Bluefish: 1st Place, Karl Danielsson - 9.38 lbs.
June 7, 2010
It looks like the fluke fishing has gotten back to what it should be at this time of the year, with a lot of fish in the rips. Most are short (thanks to New Yorkís ridiculous regs), but if you stick to it you can get what you are allowed. There have been some doggies showing up where the fluke are but have not been a big problem. If you catch a couple just move to the next rip to the north and youíll be fine. The south shore has been pretty much a waste of time. The striped bass action remains hot as long as the tide is running, and at times it looks like the fall with fish rolling all over the top. Umbrellas and parachutes are working, but the DJís are working even better if the anglers are decent. Loran C is gone, phased out earlier this year, but it lives on as ďphantom loranĒ in the GPS units, thank God, because I donít speak lat/lon. My Northstar buttons stopped working and I looked into replacing it, instead of paying $800 to get it fixed. But apparently the only unit that is available that will fit has a touch screen and that gets me nervous, so the Northstar is in the shop for a week or two. I feel like Iím missing an arm. The Montauk Boatmenís and Captains Associationís annual Blessing of The Fleet will be held next Sunday staring around 5:00 pm. If you want a free boat ride, just stop by one of the head boats and jump on. There have been the usual warnings about water balloon throwers being written up, so be careful.
June 1, 2010
It was a typical Memorial Day weekend, with lots of tourists and traffic. I took a walk as the half day head boats came in on Sunday and it looked like they carried pretty good, but I didnít see much signs of fluke. Nobody carrying a little plastic bag with fillets. I saw the mate on one of the boats dressing out one fluke and one seabass. I don't know that anybody has an explanation of what is going on with the fluke. This time of the year it should be hot and heavy, with some of the bigger fish, but itís not. Maybe thatís why the only head boat that sailed today was the LAZYBONES. Maybe the fluke boats should switch over to seabass. They are plentiful and on the radio Saturday I heard more guys talking about them than fluke. And, the doggies are not a problem, although they are around. Two of us kept around a dozen and a half in two hours of fishing, not bothering to measure any. If they looked small we just through them back. We only caught two doggies but they followed us up a couple of times, and I did mark them about twenty feet down. Striped bass fishing is continuing to be hot, with limits plus normal on a half day trip, with a lot of them being taken on the diamond jigs. Most of the fish are just short up to fifteen pounds or so. I heard a rumor of some bluefins being sighted by a dragger south of the Point, but I doubt anyone will follow up on it quite yet, although there may be a shark boat heading out next weekend.
May 24, 2010
The boat I run isnít in the water yet, so I took a little ride down to the Lighthouse on Saturday just to see whatís going on. But couldnít see anything because of the fog, a sure sign that summer is on itís way. On Sunday I tried again around mid-day, but didnít see a single boat even with about two miles visibility. Of course I couldnít see around to the south side where the fluke boats were likely to be. But, when I went down to the docks there were only two charter boats out from the main dock and two from Star Island. On Saturday about half of the charterboats that I would expect to see out were. It looks like a rocky start to the business. The striped bass fishing is about as good as it gets right now, with a lot of medium sized fish and once in a while something a little larger up to around thirty pounds. They are eating parachutes, umbrellas and diamond jigs. On any decent charterboat you can expect an easy limit in a half day - plus a bunch of legal throwbacks. Fluke fishing is another story. There are some nice size fish around, but not very many of them. The two most recent hot spots - maybe warm spots is a better term - were Pocketbook and the south side down as far as the Radar Stand. But, the fish seem to be moving around a lot and it ainít easy. A boat with two guys in it can spend the day fishing and catch a limit, but put six guys on that same boat, probably not. Of course a limit is only two fish per person, so a whole day for two fish isnít really that exciting. The seabass season opened on Saturday, but I havenít heard about anybody going nuts about it. I did hear of one of the charterboats that went south of the island to try for some cod and got eaten alive by the doggies, so they are likely to be a problem with the seabass as well. I guess everyone knows that you need a fishing license, unless you are fishing on a charterboat or head boat that has a blanket license. If you are from Connecticut or Rhode Island, your state license will be honored here in New York with a caveat. You have to be fishing in common waters. That means Connecticut boats are covered in Long Island Sound and Rhode Island boats are covered in Block Island Sound and thatís it. I havenít spoken to anyone in Rhode Island, but I assume that New York boats fishing in Rhode Island Waters south of Block Island will need a non-resident license from that state. If all the powers to be start checking licenses on the water I bet there are going to be quite a few surprises in store. I know if I was with the DEC doing it, Iíd keep my eyes open for boats with a ďCTĒ on it. You can get your license online here; https://nyfgisales.appsolgrp.com/fgnyia/html/index.jsp
May 17, 2010
Fluke season opened on Saturday to less than ideal conditions, with a little bit of breeze. In spite of that most boats that went out did OK. Sunday was a different story with great conditions and a pile of boats drifting on the south side from Ditch Plains east to the Lighthouse. But something happened to the fluke. They didnít eat. One charterboat found some fish in the Rips, so maybe thatís where they all went, even though itís a couple of weeks early for them to be out there.
The striped bass are here as well, but they are a little dicey too. Be in the right place at the right time of the tide and you can probably catch your limit; although youíll have to keep the ruler handy, as just about everything is right on the border. Get out too late and youíll have to work your tail off to get a couple of fish.
Westlake is holding a get together to remember Eddie Miller on Monday, May 24th at 4pm, what would have been his birthday. If you are interested in attending RSVP Tanya at 668-5600.
May 5, 2010
Iím back, alive & kicking, although kicking a little easier than in the past. I had a triple bypass and a pacemaker installed over the winter and am still recupearting a bit. My wife and I just got back from Guatemala and she was telling everybody down there that with my new battery, Iím going to be like that bunny on TV pounding on the drum. Weíll see.
The winter kind of sucked as usual, unless you are one of those guys who doesnít mind freezing your ass off while catching codfish. In that case you were in your glory. The fishing was awsome from January through March. By April 1 it was all over at least as far as the people were concerned. The fishing was still OK, and there are still codfish out there. Twenty years ago all the charterboats aimed to be in the water to get codfishing by April 1. Now it seems like thatís the end of it instead. Going into the winter I was wondering about the wisdom of the up-island head boats migrating out here. I didnít think that there would be enough people to make it worthwhile. It just goes to show you how much I know. They did great. I guess they brought their own clients out with them. It might even make up for the lack of fares during their normal season. The charterboats that stayed in didnít do as well as the headboats.
Fluke season opens on the 15th, but they are out there now and biting. Itís not great, but itís a start and will probably be in peak form for the opening. I wasnít here, but I understand that the LAZYBONES was railed on Saturday, even thougn he hasnít got a set-aside permit like most of the other head boats, the ones that didnít sail.
Striped bass season is open now, but the fish donít know it yet. One charterboat spent all day Saturday without a bite.
The fluke season this year wonít have that crazy mid term shutdown like last year, thank you. Seabass will open on May 22nd and run until September 12. The feds extended the 180 day seabass shutdown until that date, which I donít understand. Hopefully they wonít pull that crap again, but Iím suspicious. The regs for the other species are pretty much the same as last year.
We lost Carl Darenberg Sr of the Montauk Marine Basin and Eddie Miller from Westlake over the winter. They both had been in failing health for a while.