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On the Water: Smart Fishing

Thu, 11/02/2023 - 21:01
The East Hampton Sportsmen’s Alliance had a successful trip on the Elizabeth II out of Montauk last week. 
Capt. Paul Bruno

Fishing aboard the Elizabeth II, a 45-foot charter boat that was built by the famed Young Brothers boatyard in Corea, Me., is always fun. Capt. Paul Bruno is the captain and chief cheerleader of the boat, which sails from the Montauk Marine Basin.

“Quiet,” “subtle,” and “reserved” are not words commonly used to describe the savvy skipper when he’s in his helm station, and that’s just fine with me.

Bruno always has a smile on his face and is blessed with a wicked sense of humor, plus he knows where to find the fish. Fishing and humor are always a perfect combination in my book.

His two daughters, Emily and Katie, are special too. Both are now attending the prestigious Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, Mass. They each have incredible drive, determination, and brains. Katie is a senior and plans to be an environmental engineer. Emily, who is a year younger, has the goal of being a neurosurgeon. How many do you know at that age who have mapped out such career ambitions? They most certainly have bright careers ahead of them. Kudos to Bruno and his wife, Elizabeth, for raising such gifted daughters.

“I honestly don’t think I can be any more proud of them both,” Bruno said on the morning of Oct. 24, as we headed east to Block Island on a fishing trip for sea bass, blackfish, and striped bass. “They have an incredible determination to succeed.” Outside of the classroom, Katie is on the crew team, while Emily enjoys her time on the field hockey squad when not hitting the books.

“They are both extremely competitive,” he said. “This summer, I finally had a chance to take them both tuna fishing for the first time. Thankfully they both caught a yellowfin. But they were very concerned who caught the largest one that day. Too funny. I loved it.”

As for the fishing that day on our charter, it was great. The trip was organized by Ilissa Meyer of the East Hampton Sportsmen’s Alliance, who, like Bruno, has a bright smile and quick wit. She and Bruno are perfect foils. While the bite for blackfish was picky, we loaded up on large black sea bass and secured our limit of striped bass. As well, we landed several zeppelin-size bluefish on the troll. The bluefish looked more like rotund tuna. Our arms were all tired at the end of the day. It was a good feeling.

The next Sportsmen’s Alliance fishing trip will take place in two weeks. No doubt the jokes, humor, and banter will be plentiful with Bruno leading the charge. I can’t wait.

In Friday’s record warm weather, I ventured out on the Rock Water to the northeast side of Plum Island for blackfish. The strong, full moon tide resulted in a rather delicate bite in 25 feet of water. While Terie and I caught our respective three-fish limit, it was not easy.

Ken Morse, the owner of Tight Lines Tackle in Southampton, agreed that blackfishing has been tough of late. “The full moon tides made it a challenge for many,” he said. “But bass, blues, and false albacore are still running well in Plum Gut.”

Morse added that bluefish are still at Jessup’s Neck, mixed in with a few stripers. As for Montauk, Morse said that anglers have experienced blitz-like fishing for striped bass all around the Lighthouse. “The fishing has been insane,” he said. “Plus, the bass from the Southampton ocean beaches continue to be excellent.”

“What an incredible week, from Montauk to the back bays, and everything in between,” said Capt. David Blinken of North Flats Guiding. “Fishing shallow this fall was incredible, and while the false albacore run was a bit erratic, going shallow and sight fishing couldn’t have been better.”

In a few days, Blinken’s East End season will come to an end, and he’ll head to southern climes to do some fishing for tarpon and more.

Blinken is nonstop in his passionate pursuit of fish, no matter the season.


Fishing tips, observations, and photographs can be sent to [email protected].


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