2011 MONTAUK SPORTFISHING REPORTS
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Here’s a little wrap up.
The Montauk Surfmasters contest finished up on December 1 as follows;
Klevar Oleas -
Klevar Oleas -
Gary Krist -
John Bruno -
Mary Ellen Kane -
Mary Ellen Kane -
YOUTH DIVISION (12-
Phillip Schnell -
Dylan Lackner -
KIDS DIVISION (7-
James Kim Jr. -
There was only one fish weighed in during November and that was a 16.8 lb bass by Gary Aprea on November 29.
The bottom fishing is still holding on pretty good for everything, with the cod fishing getting better every day. However, the number of boats fishing has dropped off considerably. All the head boats fish when they have the weather and customers. Most of the charterboats are out of the water except for the couple that usually fish through the winter.
The boat that I run all summer is no longer for sale. The owner changed his mind so I still have a job.
If you are looking for a warm place to fish this winter, check out www.tropicalfishing.com. If you have always wanted to fish at Tropic Star in Panama, I have something new for you to consider. A liveaboard boat out of Panama City. You fly to Panama and go to the boat which will run overnight to Pinas Bay, fish there however number of days you want and run back to Panama overnight for your flight back to the states. Check it out at www.tropicalfishing.com/panama/pinas.html
The herring are here big time as well as the bass waiting to eat them. Instead of
being outside the inlet though, they are down by Culloden, so it is a little bit
out of the way, but two drifts are just about all that are needed to stock up on
Bottom fishing continues to be pretty good at least when the wind lets them get out, with a surprising amount of codfish in the mix. It looks good for the upcoming winter fishing. We’re even hearing about some gillnetters trying to catch stripers catching some codfish in their nets.
This will be the last regular post for the season. Honest. I’ve said that for the last couple of weeks, but things kept changing. But the fishing isn’t likely to stop for a while. The waters are still warm and we keep getting these southwest winds, so it isn’t likely to cool down for a while. I imagine we will have a another couple of weeks of bass fishing left if anyone wants to do it. Charters are definitely dropping off though with many of the captains getting the boats ready for hauling.
I though last weeks posting would be the last scheduled report for the year, “something noteworthy happens”. Well, something noteworthy happened on Sunday. The bass fishing picked up measurably, along with the bluefish. AND, apparently the herring have arrive outside the inlet. No big bass, just the same sized fish we have been struggling to catch for the last couple of weeks, up to around fifteen pounds or so. We’ll have to see if this is a new run, and things will continue like normal through the end of the month into December, as it should based on the water temperatures and the weather we have been happening, or just a single good day.
All you striper enthusiasts out there interested in what is going on with the “Fall Run”; well, right now it is more like a walk moving toward a crawl. That just aren’t many fish around, and haven’t been for a while now, even though we keep expecting a new batch to show up. The water temps are in the lower fifties, so based on that and the calendar, we should have decent fishing. Typically the bluefish leave when it gets to be fifty degrees, but the bass will stick around in much cooler waters. Back in the early part of October I made two trips to use up my commercial tags and we brought back 180 bass. In the last three trips we brought back less than sixty. I made my last trip Monday. We went straight to Pollock Rip for the beginning of the ebb and caught eleven fish in about twenty minutes. Then they stopped. It took the rest of the day to catch seven more. That seemed to be typical of the other boats that were out. It seems like there are a couple of fish on the choice spots, but not enough to bleed over into the less choice spots. When you catch those fish, there are none left. I hate to think that it is ending so soon, but that’s the way it looks. Years ago when bass fishing slowed down in the fall, we would look forward to Capt Fritz Hubner declaring that “it is over”, because as sure as the sun rising, the fishing would pick up again in a couple of days. I’ll have to check up with Fritzie to see what he thinks.
The gannets have showed up, but it really doesn’t mean what it has in the past. They were diving off Shagwong on Monday, but none of the boats that fished around them caught anything.
The bottom fishing is pretty good now, although there are occasional flurries of dogfish. Virtually all the boats doing it are fishing over south of Block Island for seabass, blackfish, porgies and even some codfish. Usually this time of year all day charters catch a limit of bass before heading for the bottom fishing grounds. However this year, most of the captains are opting to do the reverse, going for the bottom fish first and then coming back to the Point to see what they can find in the way of bass.
Kathy Kronuch of Johnny’s Tackle shop passed away this past week. She had been sick for a while.
I won’t be fishing in Montauk again this year and I will start losing touch with what is going on, so I won’t be posting this report as steadily as I have been all season. If something noteworthy happens I’ll let you know, but I’ll be starting to pay more attention to what is going on in Central America. If you are looking for a warm place to fish this winter, check out www.tropicalfishing.com.
The frost was on the pumpkins this morning, or at least on my windshield. Years ago I used to hear that the Baymen claimed that the striped bass were gone after the first snowfall. Well, it missed us so there should still be some around. But, unless the storm brought in a new batch of fish over the weekend, there aren’t an awful lot. During the week the bass fishing was difficult to say the least with charterboats on half day trips only bringing back a couple of fish. Nobody sailed over the weekend, but there was a shot of hot action earlier in the week with short fish under the Lighthouse, but for keepers boats had to get out to the deeper rips. The water has cooled down quite a bit, into the fifties, but that’s good enough for bass, so there should still be some decent fishing coming along.
The seabass season opens up again on Tuesday so that should give a little more incentive for some bottom fishing along with the blackfish. All day charters are usually spent catching a limit of stripers before heading over toward Block Island to finish up the day.
Old Mother Nature was kind to us by letting the breeze die down for the weekend. But, we probably could have put up with a little more breeze in exchange for some better fishing.
We have a niece from Guatemala visiting us so naturally we had to go out fishing on Saturday. I went to the North Rip and it was loaded with boats so I started on the east end of it where I was able to catch one keeper, but the crowd got ridiculous, so I bailed out. I don’t like fishing in a crowd and I can usually do OK fishing all by my lonesome instead of fighting the traffic where the fishing might actually be better. But not this time. None of the spots east of there held anything but a couple of bluefish. I finally went back to the Elbow and caught another bass and a couple of more bluefish. Most of the charter boats did OK, but that’s about the best that could be said for the fishing, just OK.
If you know the signs, you can tell how good the fishing is without actually seeing what the boats unload. The half day boats sail at 6:00 am and get back to the dock by 11:00 am. But on Sunday many of them didn’t get in until around 11:30 or so. I imagine some boats caught their limits, but none of the boats that I checked out did. But, at least there were a lot of bluefish to keep the clients busy. I guess we’ll have to wait until another load of fish move in. The water is still warm, so I’m sure that they will come along.
There are still a couple of falsies around, but only a couple. Most of the fly guys are gone as well. But there have been some bass on top in front of the Lighthouse.
I’m not much into the surfcasting scene, but it appears to me that it is, and has been pretty slow for a while now. I’ve taken a few rides down to the Lighthouse and I haven’t seen many guys fishing down there or even walking around with their long rods. Maybe their catching at night.
The current standings in the Montauk Surfmasters Tournament that runs until December 1 is as follows;
Klevar Oleas -
Klevar Oleas -
Gary Krist -
John Bruno -
Mary Ellen Kane -
Mary Ellen Kane -
YOUTH DIVISION (12-
Phillip Schnell -
Dylan Lackner -
KIDS DIVISION (7-
James Kim Jr. -
We had a little breeze this week and it certainly kept the boat traffic down on the weekend. Thirty knot forecasts caused more than one cancellation, although being from the southwest. it wasn’t as bad as it sounded. And, after a little lull on Tuesday, it looks like we’re in for some more for the rest of the week.
It affected the striped bass fishing in that boats weren’t always interested in going to some spots, but overall the bass fishing is holding up OK. There aren’t as many big fish as there was, but getting a limit hasn’t been much of a problem. Using eels for bait though isn’t as much fun as it was, with a lot of bluefish chewing them up.
There haven’t been many flyguys out, so I’m not sure, but the falsies may be gone.
At least the charter boat guys haven’t been seeing them. But there are still plenty
of small bass and bluefish chasing bait to keep the light tackle guys happy -
Blackfish season has been open a while now, but not many are being caught because there are still too many porgies around beating them to the bait.
Drifting around in a boat, drinking a beer or two and catching a fish or two sounds relaxing, right? Well, it ain’t happening here in Montauk, and if it what you like, don’t come to Montauk on a Columbus Day weekend around the full moon. It was a zoo out here. Saturday night I was out tagging bass (commercial fishing) and a couple of charter boats were on the radio talking about the days fishing. They couldn’t decide if there were 250 or 300 boats around the Point. Half of the boats were drifting eels trying to catch that 50 pounder and the other half were flyguys trying to get a cast into the schools of falsies. And if you were driving a boat, you had to keep your wits about you to keep from hitting another boat or getting hit. But despite the madhouse the fishing is holding up.
Montauk Marine Basin held their Last Hurrah over the past week and luckily the weather cooperated for the last couple of days, because no one fished the first half of the tournament. The results are as follows;
OVERALL WINNER MOST POINTS BELLA DONNA DAVID OHALLORAN
LARGEST FISH OVERALL 96.2 lbs FREEDOM STEVE DEMARCO
LARGEST YELOW FIN 96.2 lbs FREEDOM STEVE DEMARCO
LARGEST ALBACORE 57.4 lbs SAHRA B CHARLES ENTERMAN
LARGEST MAKO 70 lbs BELLA DONNA DAVID OHALLORAN
LARGEST MAHI MAHI 24.2 lbs BELLA DONNA DAVID OHALLORAN
LARGEST 3 YELLOW FIN 238 total lbs FREEDOM STEVE DEMARCO
Star Island held their annual one day striped bass tournament on Sunday. The results of that contest are:
1st place bass -
2nd place bass -
3rd place bass -
1st place bluefish -
In last week’s report I didn’t have the results from Paulies Tackle Shop tournament. Here they are
1st place: John Bruno35.92
2nd place: Henry Monteagndo 21.72
3rd place: Ray Sherry 20.92
1st place: Jeff Krist, 14.42 lbs
2nd place: Mark Foschi, 12.78 lbs
3rd place: German Caceres, 11.90
No complaints for those looking for stripers. There are lots of nice fish around up into the fifties, and most of them are being caught on eels. Trollers might catch some of those big ones as well, except that there are so many boats drifting eels it’s impossible to troll through the area. Boats that want to troll have to get there own place to fish where there are no other boats to bump into. And as a bonus, there aren’t too many bluefish around to make cigars out of the eels.
The falsies are keeping the light tackle guys happy and there haven’t been many problems with striper guys and falsie guys getting into each others way because most of the falsies and small stripers are on the south side. One thing common to both of them is that you have to put in your time because the fish aren’t biting good all day. Be there when the fish are cooperating and you do great. get there when the tide is wrong and you’ll spend a lot of time waiting around.
The seabass are on vacation until the first of November, but the porgie season that was to end the middle of the month has been extended so that now the fish will be gone before the season ends. Blackfish season is now open.
Next Sunday Star Island is holding their second annual striped bass tournament.
Last week I worded my comments about the offshore fishing poorly. You can still go out and catch sharks, or travel out to the Edge and catch tuna. But, very few boats are doing it, especially the charter boats. But Montauk Marine Basin is staging what is appropriately called the “LAST HURRAH” tournament through October 9. Boats are allowed to fish two 20 hour day trips or one 40 hour overnight trip. Nothing much has become of these tournaments in the past, so it will be interesting to see how this works out.
Throughout the year I’m always getting e-
Everybody is catching striped bass, and plenty of big ones. Thirty and forty pound fish are common. Live eels are doing the trick for most of the bigger fish, but everything is working. Falsies are cooperating as well, although at times it has been difficult to find them with occasional fog problems. Seabass are actually as big a story as the normal fall run fish. The fishing for them is spectacular, with a lot of three and four pounders and some even bigger. Of course you have to fish fast for them because they will be out of bounds for October
There are few complaints from the surfcasters either. The Montauk Classic was held over the weekend with impressive results. They are as follows;
1st place -
2nd place -
3rd place -
4th place -
5th place -
1st place -
2nd place -
3rd place -
4th place -
5th place -
The Montauk Locals tournament which is now called the Montauk Surfmasters Tournament got under way this weekend and will last until December 1. For more information about it as well as up to date surfcasting reports, you can check it out at here
The offshore action is virtually done for the year with very few boats venturing off. But Montauk Marine Basin is staging what is appropriately called the “LAST HURRAH” tournament from September 30 to October 9. This is an eight day tournament that allows participants to fish two 20 hour day trips or one 40 hour overnight trip. Check it out here .
Fall doesn’t officially start for another couple of days, but as far as Montauk is concerned it is here now.
It’s a little chilly in the morning and there is practically always a little breeze. I’m starting to reconsider the shorts, tee shirt and sandals.
The other morning on my cruise through Gosman’s parking lot, there were a couple of flocks of terns working just west of the jetty.
The falsies are here, and although there aren’t a lot of flyguys here yet, they will be by next weekend.
LAZYBONES has given up on fluke and is diamond jigging for stripers and bluefish.
The Locals Surfcasting contest starts on Friday, and runs into December, and now it’s not just for locals. You can enter it too at Paulies Tackle Shop.
The bass fishing is red hot, and there are plenty of big stripers being caught, most of them on live bait. Trollers are catching their share too, as are diamond jiggers.
The head boats are running combination trips for seabass , porgies, stripers and
I’m starting to see more four wheel drives riding around with surf rods on their bumpers.
The interest in offshore is dropping. I saw a couple of reports of yellowfins and longfins being caught out by the Edge, but each one mentioned that they never saw another boat.
The results of Star Island’s Whitewater Challenge (limited to outboards) held over the weekend are as follows;
1st place striped bass -
2nd place striped bass -
1st place bluefish -
2nd place bluefish -
1st place tuna -
2nd place tuna -
The report this week is simple. Dirty water, and it affected everything. Usually when we have a blow the water gets dirty but after a couple of days it clears up. This is different. The main cause is all the rain we had from the hurricane, plus the three days of rain we had this week, plus all the rain from the make believe hurricane that has been flooding everywhere. That water is dirty and has to get past us before things brighten up
Striped bass fishing was OK at best, with some of the charterboats able to scratch
out their limits with most of the fish probably averaging around 10-
Bottom fishing was pretty difficult for everything. I think fluke are gone, but there are still seabass and porgies. Most of the seabass being caught have to be measured. Porgies are better sized, but being able to catch a lot of them is tough.
The dirty water is out at least 25 miles or so, so finding any tuna locally is not happening. Out at the Edge there are fish, but not many boats making the run. And if no boats are going out there to report back, not many boats want to spend the money ride to try and find fish.
Shark fishing is not a lost cause. Most of the boats that have been trying it have been catching a mix of small makos and bigger bluesharks, but a I haven’t heard of any boat that caught as many as a half dozen.
Star Island held their first Whitewater Challenge on Friday and Saturday, but I haven’t got the results yet. I’ll have them for you tomorrow..
Before Irene everyone was wondering what she would do to the fishing. Now we know.
It didn’t affect the striped bass fishing at all. By Monday they were biting and by Wednesday, they were biting real good, as were the bluefish, and they have continued ever since. No complaint from that side.
Bottom fishing was another story. It came back somewhat by mid week or so, but not very strongly. Dirty waters and a big heave were and are to blame. It was better over by Block Island. The seabass and porgies will come back when things settle down, if they ever do, since it looks to be pretty crappy all this week and we will be seeing the heave from hurricane Katia well into the weekend. But I have a feeling that the fluking is just about done for the year.
Offshore there are some sharks to be caught, but not a lot. A couple a trip is about
it. A couple of boats tried trolling for tuna out as far as the 600 line with no
luck. There were some yellows taken out at the Edge, but not enough to be worth the
run out, especially with all the crap in the water. Call me a wuss, but there is
no way I would run offshore in the dark at 25-
Star Island is holding their first White Water Challenge this weekend. It is open only to outboards and the fishing is for stripers, bluefish, tuna and bass.
Irene is gone and it wasn’t that big a deal here in Montauk. My wind guage maxed out at 41 mph before we lost power around 8:00 am Sunday, but it never got much stronger than that. Plus it was from the southeast most of the time and that isn’t a bad wind for us. Boats that stayed in the water at the Montauk Yacht Club did a lot of rocking and rolling, but most of the other marinas were pretty much in the lee. The charterboats that tie up at Duryea’s, Salivar’s and Lenny’s all either hauled out or went somewhere else to avoid the surge that they normally get there. The high water reached the base of the fuel pumps at the Marine Basin. A lot of boats hauled out and you couldn’t get a car onto the Marine Basin Property. Star Island was pretty much the same.
Last Thursday everyone was raving about the way the fluke and seabass were biting out around Frisbee’s. I was supposed to fish there, but canceled when I got one of those reminder phone calls about a doctor’s appointment, so we went our Friday. But the fish apparently had all left. Saturday a couple of boats got out bassing in the morning and did very good. One boat hearing that the price for bass was up around $6/pound went tagging and brought back about forty stripers. They went into the market this morning. I can’t wait to hear what he got for them.
It will probably take a couple of days for everything to settle down, but I’m sure by the end of the week we’ll be catching fish again..
8/27/11 9:00 am
Here is what I think IRENE will be here in Montauk and why.
1) The eye is going to come ashore west of us, so we will get southeast winds, and the marinas will be a bit protected, except for the Montauk Yacht Club and the boats that are left in there will probably get bounced around a lot and maybe some will be damaged.
2) The eye is supposed to come ashore around Morehead City in North Carolina and then head up along the coast to us. Because it will be over or close to land, I believe it will lose quite a bit of it’s punch before it gets here.
3) When I owned the KELLYBOAT, I tied up alongside the store at the Montauk Marine Basin. I sat out GLORIA there as well as a couple of lesser storms and the boat was never scratched. I would do the same with this one.
The tuna fishing is nothing to rave about. In fact maybe it’s not even something to consider unless you are hard core. There are a few yellowfins to be caught south of the 43600 line as well as out on the Edge. But it’s far from a sure thing that you will get one. You can probably catch some mahi around the pots to keep the skunk off the boat, but it’s a long run for five pound fish. Likewise to the east where you might hope for a bluefin or two. That’s unlikely to happen either.
Sharks on the other hand are very cooperative. Four or five bluesharks are about the norm, with a real possibility of a mako, although the mako might only be a pup. But there are enough of them of legal size around that you do stand a chance of getting one you can eat. What’s also nice about the shark fishing is the little amount of fuel you burn to get to them.
Inshore the striped bass fishing is a little delicate. You might explain that it’s
that way because there are so many bluefish around -
Bottom fishing is great, for fluke, seabass and porgies. In recent years the fluke fishing started to taper off by this time of year, but it is holding up nicely, and there is no reason, other than incompetence, why you shouldn’t be able to go out and catch some nice meals. Most of the action is on the south side.
Up until ten years or so ago, if you booked an offshore trip in August, it would have been assumed that you would be fishing of tuna. But then the tuna started moving further off shore, and a serious charter for tuna would have to be an extended day, leaving early and coming home late, with a minimum of forty miles of running to get to the fish. The last two years there were very few yellowfins as close as forty miles, and for a realistic shot, you had to go to the Edge, and beyond.
However, now there are fish scattered around the forty fathom area, about thirty miles or so from the Point. In addition to the yellowfins, there are some small bluefins, white marlin, wahoo and mahi. There is no particular hotspot, but fish can be found anywhere between 43650 and 43550. No big fish, with most between twenty and thirty pounds or so. The wahoo though have been nice sized fish up to around eighty pounds.
The fishing was pretty good during the week, with just about every boat that went out there catching something, but based on radio chatter, it did slow down for the weekend, with maybe one boat in three catching. Curiously, the fishing has slowed down out on the Edge, with the only boats having much success being on overnighters and hooking up very early or late in the day.
Hopefully this will continue.
This has nothing to do with Montauk, but a potential new world record striped bass, weighing 81.6 pounds, was taken in Long Island Sound this past week on a live eel. The fish was taken on the Southwest Reef by Greg Myerson and weighed in at Shoreline Bait and Tackle in Westbrook CT.
Offshore, the action out on the Edge seems to have tapered off a bit, but there are some yellowfins, as well as some small bluefins, showing up closer, most around the 600 line, but rumors of some in almost to the 700 line.
Star Island held their mako/thresher tournament over the weekend, with thirty-
1st place mako -
2nd place mako -
3rd place mako -
1st place thresher -
Inshore the fluke fishing tapered off a bit last week, but it would be unrealistic to think that it would continue to be as good as it had been. It’s still great, but the number of keepers is down a little. Striped bass fishing continues to be pretty steady with most of the charterboats sticking with trolling the wire with parachutes, umbrellas and the big tubes. The live baits are catching too, but are not as consistent as trolling, plus there are bluefish to contend with.
This past week Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that anglers and boat captains who plunked down money for a saltwater fishing license in 2011 prior to the license repeal in March will be refunded in full, making my prediction that it would never happen wrong.
Inshore fishing couldn’t be any better. The fluke action continues to be excellent with a lot of fish as well as a lot of keepers. It has spread out as well, with some boats now fishing as far west as Gurney’s. Seabass and porgies are pretty good as well.
Striped bass fishing has improved somewhat too. Boats are regularly catching their limits of nice size fish with many in the twenty pound range. And you can catch them any way you like. You might have to be a little more patient if you are using the bait, but eventually you’ll get your bites. Also with the bait you could have bluefish problems.
If you are into tuna fishing, you have to be a little hard core. Yellowfins are biting out on the Edge and beyond, along with occasional marlin, wahoo, etc. But you have to make the long run. Stopping at the 400 line and trolling south is pretty much a waste of time. Your best bet is an overnighter or leave at 2:00 am or so. For bluefins, you have to be equally dedicated, although you can save a lot of fuel $$$. There are fish southeast of Block Island around the Tuna Bank, and probably at the Butterfish Hole as well. But, most of the guys that go after them have a backup plan in the form of a couple of buckets of chum and after a couple of hours of trolling switch over. If you really want tuna, you have to be “all in”. Leave the chum home.
Shark fishing has picked up a bit with a lot more bluesharks around than there have been as well as makos and very occasional threshers. Making a long run isn’t necessary either. Just get into the bluewater and you are far enough.
Star Island will be holding their annual mako/thresher tournament next Friday and Saturday, so if you want to show the kiddies what “Jaws” looks like stop over after around 3:00 pm or so. It’s the last chance this year.
For as long as I can remember, if you wanted codfish at this time of year, Coxes Ledge was the place to go. No longer. Now you can catch them locally. I’m not going to tell you where, but if you are a codfish guy, you know.
If you have any interest in fishing in Panama, check out here. The reports there will help you decide what area you want to go to, depending on what you want to catch. Or, you can just give me a call.
Have you signed up with New York’s Saltwater Registry yet? There was a public relations type guy from the DEC here this past week reminding everyone that he saw that you need to, and that the DEC will probably start enforcement soon. If you fish in Montauk or land in Montauk with a fish, you need to be enrolled, unless you only fish on a charter or head boat. To do it, you can go here and just follow the instructions. Don’t worry about the indication that you have to pay with a credit card. If you only apply for the marine license, the fee is $0.00 and you don’t have to enter any credit card info.
Inshore the fluke fishing is as good as it gets right now, the best it’s been all season with lots of fish and plenty of the edible kind, with pool winners on the head boats regularly 8 pounds or better. There are some nice sized seabass mixed in as well. I haven’t heard much about the porgie or seabass fishing since most of the bottom fishermen are concentrating on the fluke.
Striped bass fishing continues to be a little on the difficult side. There are some nice fish around, but not a lot of fish. The most consistent catching has been on the wire with the parachutes. More anglers have been using live bait of some sort (porgies, eels, spot, croakers, whatever), but that involves a lot of patience with not much action, but usually larger fish. Some of the charters on all day trips have been heading over to Southwest Ledge, and having better luck, but it’s a long ride a half day trip.
Offshore the sharking is coming into what we call the doldrums. Not a lot of sharks. One to three bites per trip is probably about average, but no bites is also possible. I’m the poster captain for that, not getting a bite n two out of three trips over the past week and a half. But the good news is that you have a great chance of the bite you do get of being a mako.
There may still be some bluefin tuna around, but not many. I know one charter boat that put in a full day trolling around the Butterfish Hole and a bit south of it. He got one bluefin of around fifty pounds, which means he caught his limit. But, one fish among six guys isn’t a very exciting trip. To keep the crew entertained they stopped at some lobster pots and caught a bunch of chicken dolphin on spinning rods.
Out on the Edge the yellowfin action continues to improve, but you have to go all
the way, and beyond. There isn’t much inside the drop-
The September issue of Marlin magazine is out and they have a nice article about the history of fishing in Montauk. If you can’t get a copy of it, you can check it out here
The striped bass fishing is starting to get a little delicate. How good it is depends on who you talk to. If a captain caught his limit it’s good. If he didn’t, then it’s tough. A couple of boats have even started to run over to Southwest Ledge, and with the price of fuel, that’s a bit of desperation. But the good news is that the size of the fish is very good, with many of the fish around twenty pounds and better, and virtually nothing that has to be measured.
The fluke fishing is picking up, with lots of fish around and a good amount of them being edible. The pool fish on the head boats is usually at least seven pounds and the LAZYBONES had one that weighed eleven pounds early in the week. And, they’re close with no boats bothering to fish west of the Radar Stand.
Offshore the shark fishing is good, although it is possible to put in a day and not
get a bite. It seems like you can bring a half dozen or more bluedogs to the boat,
but then might not catch a mako. If you only get one bite, it will probably be a
mako. What’s unusual is the size of the bluesharks, more like the typical fall fish
There are still some bluefins around the Butterfish Hole, even if no one except me has been catching them. No charter boat has gone strictly for them, with most only putting in an hour or so dragging the plastic around before giving in and starting chumming for sharks. There are still some white marlin around as well. Quite a few of them were seen this past week in on Southwest Ledge, chasing skip bait. I don’t know if I’d try fishing for them there. The ballyhoos would probably be all eaten up by bluefish. Further off at the Edge, there are yellowfins being caught every day, as well as occasional bigeyes. But I haven’t heard of any boat loading up on them, with most only getting a couple.
The water inshore is unusually clean. One of the captains told me that while drifting for fluke in the North Rips, he could notice the sandy color as he passed over the high spot about twenty some odd feet down. But then the boat that I run is docked at Devon Yacht Club back in the southwest corner of Gardiners Bay. The water in the marina is the dirtiest that I’ve ever seen it, and for the first time in the ten years I’ve been there, there are no schoolie bass or even cormorants feeding on the little sandeels that live there.
Old Ma Nature shined on us over the weekend, burning the fog away for a while. But the forecast looks like it might be coming by Tuesday.
The local offshore is getting pretty interesting, with some bluefin hanging around
along with occasional white marlin plus some other exotics, like the cobia that the
MONTAUK had in it’s slick. There are less bluesharks, but more makos and threshers.
Most of the bluefins that we had been seeing have apparently kept moving east and
are now east of Coxes Ledge. But there are still some stragglers around even if you
don’t see any signs of them. I had three between 40-
The MBCA had it’s shark tournament over the weekend with fourteen entrants, the same as last year. The results are as follows;
1st place -
2nd place -
3rd place -
Inshore the bass fishing is good enough, with a nicer class of fish around. Many
of the fish are between 20-
Fluke fishing is pretty decent as well and charters on all day inshore trips are now comfortable fishing for them, instead of the seabass or porgies, after catching their limit of stripers. At least now when you catch a short, you might have to measure it before throwing it back.
Big holiday weekend, with lots of cars. Bumper to bumper traffic through the village. To make a left turn onto Montauk Highway, it’s easier to turn right, then left and go around the block.
Inshore with the stripers, there are enough fish around in enough spots that you don’t have to fight any crowds, and the size of the fish is improving. Pretty decent fishing throughout the week, but it got a little difficult over the weekend, with many charters not limiting out.
The fluke fishing has improved in both numbers and size of fish, and catching dinner is a lot easier now than it has been. You still have to work at it, but you will probably get what you want by the end of the day.
Seabass fishing is great, with very few of the dogfish problems that we’ve had over the past couple of years, and porgy fishing couldn’t be better, with some of the biggest kind around.
Offshore there are yellowfins out on the Edge, but most of them are still the dwarfs. But put in enough time and fish your way through them and the mushies, and you can probably luck across a couple of keepers.
Closer inside there are a lot of bluefins in a lot of places, but they’re not that easy to catch. You will see them, along with the whales, porpoise and birds in the Butterfish Hole or over at the Tuna Bank, but seeing is a lot easier than catching. However, there are some being caught. A lot of the fish that you see look like hundred pound fish, but most of the ones being caught are closer to fifty pounds, although some of the bigger fish have been taken.
Shark fishing is just right, with enough bluesharks to guarantee some action, but not enough that they become a nuisance. Plus there are enough threshers and makos around to keep hope alive.
The MBCA is holding their annual shark tournament on Saturday and Sunday. For years it has been promoted as a charity tournament, but no more. Now the money goes the same place as in all the other tournaments.
There’s always a little something interesting going on in Montauk. This week it’s at the Star Island Yacht Club. The southern half of their parking lot, by the charterboats, actually belongs to the Montauk Yacht Club, and Friday they pointed that out by erecting a snow fence on the property line. Now there is just enough room to park behind the boats, but you have to leave a little extra space alongside your car. Otherwise you are not going to have enough room to back out of your spot without a lot of maneuvering.
The Turk is back. For years the cheapest gas in Montauk was at a rundown Empire gas
station run by a Turk, whose name I forget. Last year it was shut down and for the
last couple of months they have been rebuilding it. It just opened and regular gas
is $3.99/gallon, and he’ll pump it for you -
Canada has loosened the restrictions on recreational giant tuna fishing (for years
it was restricted to commercial fishing only), and I am arranging packages to Prince
Edward Island for fish that average between 600 & 800 pounds. A package for three
days fishing, four nights lodging for a party of two will cost around $4250 -
The Montauk Marine Basin had their shark tournament over the weekend and some decent
results. Almost sixty boats fished it, about the same as last year. They gave out
the Concerned Citizens of Montauk circle hooks and a couple of fish weighed in even
had them in their mouths, as well as one that got hooked in the belly instead of
the jaw. The fishing was pretty good with a lot less bluesharks -
The results are as follows;
Overall Largest -
1st Place Women’s -
1st Place Mako -
2nd Place Mako -
3rd Place Mako -
1st Place Blueshark -
2nd Place Blueshark -
3rd Blueshark -
1st Place Thresher -
2nd Place Thresher -
3rd Place Thresher -
There was a 450 pound mako brought in on Friday, but it was a couple of hours late.
Out in the Dip there are a fair amount of yellowfins. Most of them are dwarfs, but
there are some 30-
Inshore the striped bass fishing is pretty steady, but the diamond jigging that was
so good isn’t so good anymore. The charterboats are getting their limits, but they
are fishing in a lot more places to do it. The Slot is still one of the hot spots
though and gets pretty crowded on the weekends -
The fluke fishing is a little better than it has been, but nothing to write home about. There are fish in the rips, mostly shorts and some better fish on the south side between Ditch Plains and the Radar Stand. But you have to work pretty hard at it to catch dinner type fish. Charterboats fishing all day trips usually catch their limit of stripers and then go after the fluke, but you’re seeing more of them following up with seabass or porgies instead. It’s a surer thing.
Star Island held the first shark tournament of the year on Friday and Saturday with
around 130 boats signed up, about 35 less than last year. That’s probably because
a lot of boats listened to the forecast for Friday which was pretty crappy -
Overall, the fishing was too good, with too, too many bluesharks. Sixteen fish were weighed in, nine makos, with no qualifying blues or threshers.
For the second year, the Concerned Citizens of Montauk spent a couple of thousand dollars on circle hooks that they donated to all the shark tournaments to be given out as a conservation measure. At this tournament not a single fish that was weighed in was caught with a circle hook. Of course the fact that Star Island never gave out the hooks for the second year in a row might have had something to do with that.
The results are as follows;
Overall winner & 1st place mako -
2nd place mako -
3rd place mako -
Next weekend Montauk Marine Basin has their tournament and Carl has assured me that he will be giving the hooks out. I’ll check and see how many fish are weighed in with circles in their mouths.
Inshore the striped bass fishing is pretty steady, with the best action on the flood tide at either the Elbow or Slot. Of course everybody knows this, so it gets pretty crowded and was especially zoo like on Saturday with the fog and 125 shark boats zooming out. The ebb isn’t as good, and you have to look around for them, but the fish seem to be a better size.
Fluke fishing has started to pick up a bit. The LAZYBONES had fifteen keepers on their Sunday morning trip up to 9.5 pounds. You will also likely catch some nice seabass, but if you really want them, you can get more action fishing further offshore than you might normally fish for fluke. Another piece of good news for seabass lovers is the lack of the doggies. You might catch one or two, but so far at least, you are unlikely to be overcome by them.
The MARLIN PRINCESS has moved again. Now it is tied up at Salivar’s Dock.
Peter Vican of Rhode Island caught a 77.40 pound bass Saturday night
Hot all week and then somebody turned off the global warming button for Saturday, and clicked on the breeze button making it a little sloppy. Then Sunday started with a monsoon.
It doesn’t affect the bass though, They were cooperating nicely, especially on the
dj’s. The Elbow and Slot were the main location with bass rolling around on the top
giving anyone with a spinning rod a chance to cast to them. It’s not like a fall
blitz with the fish all charging a single school of bait, but instead individual
fish here and there. All you have to do is look for the terns flying around and you’ll
mark the fish on the recorder. A lot of the fish are in the 15-
Fluke fishing seems to have picked up by the end of the week, but it’s not because there are a lot of fish around. But there are some decent fish in one area, namely the Alaska Rip, and anybody that wanted to target fluke headed there. The south side is pretty dead. There are occasional real nice seabass hanging around the fluke grounds as well.
Next weekend is Star Island’s shark tournament. The Concerned Citizens of Montauk have donated a bunch of circle hooks for the tournaments, but based on how the shark fishing is, they probably didn’t buy enough. Twenty bluesharks per trip is normal right now, and the biggest problem those fishing in the tournament are likely to have is getting the bait past the bluedogs. Fifteen miles out isn’t too far to go, but it’s not necessary to go that far.
I heard second hand about a boat that went out to the Tails this week and caught a pile of yellowfins, bringing back four of them, all dwarfs. The next day they tried again and couldn’t find the fish.
A nice weekend and some of the charter boats are starting to sail a little better. It was a pretty rotten May for them and not only because of the weather. It doesn’t matter what the wind is doing if your not booked anyway.
The bass fishing is holding up nicely and the average size of the fish is getting
better. Shorts are almost unheard of and most t of the fish being taken are from
During the week the fluke fishing was pretty steady even though keeper size fish are in short supply. If we had New Jersey or Connecticut regs, boats would be taking their limit daily. Over the weekend though it slowed down even for the shorts.
Some nice sized porgies are around, but of course that season isn’t open yet. Seabass are showing up too, but that doesn’t open until next week. With these regs I think a good number of anglers are going to start using the same system that is used with the 55 mph on the LIE.
The doggies are showing up too, but it hasn’t been much of a problem. They will be more difficult when the seabass season opens up.
I didn’t hear about this until after I posted last weeks report. On Memorial Day Saturday a friend was helping me put the outriggers back on the boat I run. While we were doing it we were talking about how the water on the south side still hadn’t reached fifty degrees yet, and what that might mean for when the first sharks might be caught. While we were talking, Capt Tommy Cusimano had his SEA WIFE out at forty fathoms in 59 degree water releasing around thirty bluesharks. He might have had more if he had more hooks.
I guess summer is officially here, at least for the tourists. The town was mobbed this weekend and it looks like Montauk needs a parking garage, at least on weekends.
Fishingwise, the striped bass fishing is very consistent, with most charter boats
easily catching their limits of 10-
Fluke fishing is good if not great. It would be great if the size limit was more
reasonable than it is. The fish have spread out more now and are in the rips and
back in the bay in addition to the south side. Each day you hear about the 8-
The seabass regs, were announced about two weeks ago, with an opening day of June
13. I don’t remember the exact day it was announced, but up until it was, the season
was set to open on May 22. One charter captain booked a group that wanted seabass
a month or so ago based on the old opening date. He didn’t find out that it had
changed until a casual conversation he had while picking up some clams for bait.
Except for that conversation he could have been in deep doo-
A while ago I mentioned that Salivar’s would not be opening this year. There was
a time that it along with Tuma’s tackle shop next door was the heart of the Montauk
charterboat scene. Tuma’s is gone for a number of years now, replaced by what is
now Lenny’s restaurant, but it was still home to a number of well-
It was a pretty crappy week, followed by a marginally decent weekend. But the weather didn’t bother the stripers at all. In fact they seemed to like it as virtually all the charter boats that sailed caught their limits of what we refer to as “nice tagging fish”. This refers to the size restrictions on commercially caught striped bass. The maximum size we are allowed to sell is 36” and since we are only allowed to sell a fixed number of fish each year, ideally we would like them all to be between 35” and 36”, close to fifteen pounds. The fish are in all the normal spots, with the Elbow and Pollock Rip getting the most traffic, and are being caught mainly on the good old chartreuse parachute, with diamond jigs also working well.
Fluke are another story all together. There are lots of them around, with most of the activity still on the south side between the Lighthouse and Ditch Plains to the west. But keepers are hard to come by and you can spend the whole day chasing them without catching a limit. And, a lot of the fluke that are being caught and released are unlikely to grow up even to sandwich size this year.
The DEC finally came up with the seabass regs. The season will run from June 13 to October 1, go on vacation for a while and reopen again on November 1 until December 31. The minimum size will be 13” with a bag limit of 10 fish per angler, a big drop from the previous bag limit of 25 fish. Overall I guess it is livable, although head boats will probably be unhappy. Charter boats here in Montauk will probably be OK with it.
There was one day early this past week (I forget what day it was), when the fishing was great. Everybody had their limit of fluke in the six to eight pound range. And around the Point there were plenty of bluefish. Not much in the way of bass though. Then the next day, there was a bit of an easterly breeze and everything shut down.
On Saturday, the few charterboats that got out were on all day trips, which are usually spent half the time on bass and the other half on fluke. But, the fishing wasn’t really good enough for that. The BREAKAWAY had eight keeper bass on Saturday, but the other boats I checked on only had one or two, but they split the day and also had a couple of fluke that made the grade. Boats that stuck with the fluking all day were better off, with limits of nice fish. Sunday was a much better day, at least for the stripers with fish nearing twenty pounds being taken. There was lots of bait around and it looks like the bass are finally in for real.
The DEC has gotten the registry system up and running, and you need to sign on to fish legally in New York waters, unless you are fishing on a charter or head boat, even if you are from out of state. But it doesn’t cost anything except the time to get online and do it. Go to https://nyfgisales.appsolgrp.com/fgnyia/html/index.jsp and just follow the instructions. Don’t worry about the indication that you have to pay with a credit card. If you only apply for the marine license, the fee is $0.00 and you don’t have to enter any credit card info.
Early in the year I mentioned that Capt John Demaio would not be coming back to Montauk until mid July at the earliest, but that’s not going to happen. His boat, the VIVIENNE was sold this week and left town, so I guess John is officially retired. Capt Ken Bause sold his PEGGY S as well, so he is also retired.
Another institution here in Montauk that has retired is Salivar’s Restaurant. it
is not going to open this year. There was a time that it was open either on the bar
side or diner side twenty-
I’m hearing a lot about captains having problems renewing their captain’s licenses. The problems seem to be due to medications they have been prescribed and they have to jump through all kind of hoops to get the job done. It took one captain almost a year to get his done and it was all over his prescription for Avadart. There is a years grace period to renew the license after it has expired, but you are not supposed to operate a boat for hire during that period, so it’s getting to be a bit of a problem.
Great weekend, with a fair amount of boats fishing, at least on Saturday. Not so many on Mommy’s day.
The fluke fishing is pretty good, fluke keeping, maybe not so good. Depending on who you talk to the throwback to keeper ratio is 10, 20 or 30 to 1. The most honest report came from early in the week from one captain who told me they caught around sixty fluke with nine “legal keepers”. You can read what you want into that. Everybody keeps saying that the draggers are catching a lot of big fish, and there have been a couple of fish over ten pounds caught already, so it should be getting better real soon.
There are plenty of bluefish around as well, being caught by flukers as well as a couple of boats that went after stripers. There was one bass caught that I know of, a 30” fish. I’m sure that by next weekend there will be a lot more around
I always consider the opening day of the fishing season here in Montauk the first day that the LAZYBONES sails, and that was Sunday with the opening of the fluke season. There are fluke there, but it was a slow start with some keepers but more shorts. The morning was best but nothing to jump up and down about, but when the breeze came up in the afternoon things slowed down. The water has to warm up a bit more before things get serious. Right now, cod fishing is a better bet with that still going strong southeast of Block Island.
You’ve all seen store with signs in their windows about sales because they lost their lease. Well, something like that has happened here in Montauk with a couple of the head boats. Last year Capt Jamie Quaresimo was running the FISHING EXPRESS as his regular boat with the MISS MONTAUK being used for occasional charters. The EXPRESS is gone now, and Jamie is back with the MISS MONTAUK on the scheduled trips, and I hear it will be docked at Salivar’s, but not yet. There will have to be some dockwork done first. Right now the boat is tied up at the Marine Basin’s fuel dock. The MARLIN VI PRINCESS is no longer docked at Uhlein’s. All week it was at the Marine Basin, but now is tied up where the FISHING EXPRESS used to be.
Capt Stret Whitting has retired and has the WAKE up for sale. It’s a pretty new 42’ Wilbur with an 800 hp Cat, and is a real sweet boat. Apparently Cap John Demaio who runs the VIVIENNE out of Lenny’s Dock has come up with some sort of gig that will curtail his fishing. Most of this is a rumor, but his mate started to look for a new slot because John is not coming back to town until mid July at the earliest.
There are still some details to be ironed out with the Salt Water Registry that will take the place of the Salt Water License. As it stands as of my phone call to the DEC this morning, out of state anglers are allowed to fish in New York waters without doing anything, unless they operate a head or charter boat, and then they will need the New York $250 permit to operate. When the registry details are all finished having their i’s dotted and t’s crossed, outsiders might have to be registered with New York State. It won’t cost anything except aggravation. I’m willing to be a beer that this won’t be all figured out until late this year, if then.
Nobody has fished since early last week, but the codfishing is still great. By the end of March, it looked like it was all over and the number of boats fishing dropped markedly. I guess the lack of pressure made all the difference. The few boats that were able to get in trips since the exodus have done very well.
New York has declared a two year moratorium on the Salt Water License, and it will be replaced by a free Salt Water Registry. That registry has not yet been done, but it is in the works. NOAA's agreement with New York remains in place, meaning anglers will not need to register with the National Saltwater Angler Registry if they're in compliance with the new state registration requirement. NOAA expects that New York State will be able to modify its agreement with NOAA to send its new registry data, and therefore retain its exempted state designation.
The new fluke regs are in and it will be 3 fluke at 20-
There is a new tournament slated for September out of the Star Island Yacht Club.
It is sponsored by Star Island, White Water Marine and Contender boats and is open
only to outboards. There are two divisions, offshore and inshore and the winners
are determined by a point system. It will be held September 8 -
Regular pump it your self at Marshalls is $4.25. Diesel at the Marine Basin is $3.79, but that has to be taken with a teaspoon of salt because there is very little turnover in the tanks this time of year and that price is probably based on a delivery a month or more ago.
April is here, with the opening of trout season and flounder season, all of which means nothing here in Montauk. What it does mean is that some of the captains are starting to come out of hibernation and thinking about what they have to do to get the boat ready for the upcoming season. Thinking mind, you not necessarily doing, since the main part of the fishing season won’t be getting underway for another month or so.
Head boats and the few charterboats that were involved in codfishing are starting
to relax a little, since the rush is over. All the carpetbagger boats have left.
There are still some cod around, but not like it was and most of them are shorts.
Plus, I guess those hardy souls who don’t mind freezing their fingers off for a bunch
of cod fillets are just about cod-
When you get to Montauk you are going to see some changes in the inlet, namely a couple of buoys sitting right in the middle of it. Well, the green one is in the middle. The red one is closer to the west jetty, but it makes it a little narrow for boats going in different directions. It’s going to be interesting for the start of Star Island’s shark tournament, even though there’s probably enough water on the wrong side of the green one for most boats.
It looks like the fluke regs are going to be a little more lenient this season, but we still don’t know what they are. We may get three fish per person, up from two with a longer season.
It looks like the Salt Water License is going out the window. As part of New York’s budget bill, it will be discontinued, either immediately upon passage or a couple of months down the road. In New York charter and head boats are required to purchase a $250 permit to operate. For this $250, their clients are allowed two stripers at 28” instead of one at 28” and one at 40” like for the normal people, plus some liberalization on limits for porgies. In addition, in order to allow their clients to fish on the boat without buying a salt water license, they are required to buy a $400 license for the boat. Some charterboat guys who already have paid for theirs are likely to be screwed. The DEC would not accept payment for the $250 permit without also getting the $400 license. So, any captain who felt flush enough to buy his permit when the DEC sent out the notices early this year will be out of luck. Those that put it off until it will be needed will probably skate. I doubt the “But I didn’t fish” excuse will work either.
Longtime mate Montauk mate Curtis Briand passed away suddenly earlier this year.
He was forty-
I’ll start to post weekly reports around the first of May.
Just a short report to let you know what’s going on here in Montauk, where we are still covered in snow, although not as bad as other parts of the island.
All there is to talk about is the codfishing, which from all the reports is great (there is no way that I am going to go out and check for myself). There are a half dozen head boats sailing daily or at least when weather permits. There are only two outsiders here this year, less than last. The way they sailed last year I assumed that there would be more of them but I guess the travel and economics weren’t worth it. There couldn’t have been any complaints about the fishing. One of the boats here is the HELEN H, down from Hyannis Massachusetts, where cod is the state fish. What does that suggest to you? There are a couple of charterboats still in the water, but the only ones that seem to be sailing with any regularity are the BLUEFIN IV and CAPT MARK, both of which have been organizing trips on a per person basis as well as straight charters and SEA SPRAY an over six boat sailing out of Montauk Marine Basin..
Most of the boats are sailing around 3:00 am or so getting to the grounds south of Block Island well before dawn. Quite often the best bite of the day starts immediately, usually tapering off as the sun rises. Reservations on all the boats are a must. You don’t want to drive all the way to Montauk to find out the drive was a waste of time.
I’ll get back to you occasionally throughout the winter and resume the weekly reports in the Spring.
PS: I have a Murray Brothers fighting chair taking up space in the basement that I want to get rid of. Anybody interested, drop me a line.
WEEKLY FISHING REPORT
Capt Gene Kelly
Tropical Fishing Adventures
PO Box 2104, Montauk, NY, 11954
631 668 2019
If you are interested in catching a lot of sailfish this winter, I’ll be escorting some groups to Guatemala in March. Check it out here.