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On the Water: Trick-or-Treat for Fishing

Tue, 10/29/2019 - 16:40

It was quiet. Almost too quiet. A recent late afternoon stroll through my local boatyard brought to me the realization that the boating and fishing season for many has come to an end. Watercraft that once gleamed in the summer sunshine with a fresh coat of wax, were now entombed in nondescript, heavy-gauge white plastic. They have been put to rest.

Like a surreal Halloween graveyard scene, the eerie shapes of their outlines in the late-day setting sun, under their uniform synthetic polyethylene covering, reminded me of pictures of long-dead mummies or ghosts resting at peace in an everlasting sleep. The silence in the dusty yard was deafening.

However, in about six months’ time, all will come alive once again for another round of fun and pleasure. The dead will once again awaken. Boo!

It’s a shame to see so many boats out of the water, but it’s completely understandable, as the windows of fishable weather that allow for safe passage get dimmer and dimmer with each passing week before winter sets in. But for those still with the time and patience to wait out those precious few days of calm seas, the fishing options remain plentiful and the action has been reliable in most cases of late. In reverse Halloween lingo, it’s been not a trick, but rather a treat to behold for those who still set sail.

“The fishing for blackfish has been off the charts,” said Ken Morse from behind his perch at the Tight Line Tackle in Sag Harbor on a rainy Sunday afternoon, where a bucket of Halloween candy was available for all to partake of. “Any time the winds allow, the fishing has been great, all the way from Plum Island to Fishers Island. Blacks up to 10 pounds have been taken. It’s been a great start to the season, and I’m selling plenty of green crabs for bait. Also, schools of false albacore continue to roam about near Plum Island, and in Block Island Sound all the way to Montauk Point. Let the good times roll.”

Morse added that the surf action for stripers has been consistent from the ocean beach on small diamond jigs and bucktails. “The cut at Mecox was opened a few days ago and the fishing has been pretty good,” he said. “No keepers to speak of, but the action has been okay.”

Before the big rainstorm on Sunday, light tackle enthusiasts experienced excellent catch-and-release action on striped bass and false albacore in and around Montauk. 

“There is a ton of small bait in the water and the striped bass and false albacore fishing was excellent, with some nice blitzes,” said Capt. Paul Dixon of To the Point Charters out of East Hampton. “There are also some big bluefish around. It’s been a good fall season so far.”

“Blackfish are biting their heads off,” remarked Harvey Bennett at the Tackle Shop, located directly off Montauk Highway east of the Amagansett I.G.A. “The fishing for them has been the best in many years. Get some green crabs and you are good to go.”

Bennett added that the action for small bass and blues along the ocean beach has been decent of late. “Lots of rat-sized fish are around, but a few keepers are in the mix as well,” he observed. “There’s a lot of bait in the water, so the action should last for quite a while.” Bennett also said that false albacore and a few green bonito are still in residence, as well as some porgies and blowfish for the bayside anglers.

The old salt Bennett was also enthused about the early response to his annual fishing raffle. For a mere $20, you can enter to win a top-notch Shakespeare Ugly Stick rod and matching reel. Each person will also be automatically entered into Bennett’s end-of season fish contest on Dec. 15, where any fish landed and weighed, from salt or fresh water, can be submitted. The angler with the largest fish will receive a Shakespeare surf reel.

Proceeds from the raffle will help underprivileged children at a baseball camp in the Dominican Republic. Bennett is looking for additional funds to ship a large assortment of baseball equipment, tennis rackets, shoes, clothes, and school supplies in the next week or so, in order for it to arrive before Christmas. 

“This is all for a very good cause,” he said. “The kids down there have been so appreciative of what we’ve been able to send to them the past few years. The pictures and videos they have sent back to me have been priceless. This should make for a great Christmas present for them.”

“We had good blackfishing on Saturday with a good group of guys, and had our limit by noon,” said Capt. Tyler Quaresimo of the charter boat Simple Life, which hails out of Montauk. “The high hook had 12 fish.”

“The fishing for blackfish has been very good,” agreed Capt. Michael Potts of the charter boat Blue Fin IV. “We haven’t seen the big fish yet, but that should change soon as the waters continue to cool down.” Potts added that small striped bass remain in abundance, and that sea bass fishing has been consistent near Block Island.

We welcome your fishing tips, observations, and photographs at 

[email protected]. You can find the “On the Water” column on Twitter at


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