Dear Fishermen and Friends,
I’m concerned about writing this article now. You see, I’m very superstitious and don’t want to jinx what’s going on in our fishery right now. But that is why I’m here. I’m here to share all of what’s happening on our water, whether it is good, bad or ugly. Right now, it is pretty darn good!
Variety is the name of the game. Two weeks ago, we were pleasantly surprised by catching a False Albacore. We knew it was a bit of a fluke, but I was optimistic that at least it was a sign of things to come. Well, someone turned on the on switch and over last weekend reports of Albies being caught seemed to roll in very quickly. First, one fish, then two fish and then we had over a dozen reports of fish being caught! Fish were on the west end. Fish were on the east end. Fish were being caught from the beach and the boat. Boys and girls, it seems as if our Albie season may be kicking off in full gear and still three weeks early!
We’ve found schools of Albies stretching from Muskeget across the South Shore to the airport. These fish are schooled up top and moving very, very quickly. All of these fish are feeding on Sand Eels, so we have been using smaller lures such as epoxies and deadly dicks. One of my favorite plugs though has been the small pencil popper from Island X lures. It is a fantastic plug for all situations and currently my favorite albie plug. Great Point is also holding a good number of fish. These fish are in the edge but also up and down the east and west sides of the beach. In the next few days, and especially with a lot of wind on Wednesday, these fish will move around, but it seems like they are here to stay.
Fishing Great Point from the beach for False Albacore is one of my favorite angling experiences. I believe your chances of hooking up from the beach are as good as from the boat. From the boat, you tend to wait until you see the fish. From the beach, you are often casting blindly which leads to more hook ups.
Speaking of beach fishing, we’ve had several reports of Bonito caught from the beach as well. Bonito have been caught both at Great Point and Smith’s Point. (Which is open!). These speedsters have pushed back in our waters after a slow week and have been active. We are seeing them pod up in schools, similar to Albies or like we have seen in the harbor over the last several years. It’s because there are sooo many sand eels, when they are in open water, it is easiest to corral the bait in groups of fish. Look for birds and birds will tell you where the fish are. On this smaller bait, we tend to have terns pointing us in the right direction.
Bluefish are still here but not in the numbers we had in July. This is not uncommon or concerning. You can still target Bluefish and have an incredible day, but we simply are not tripping over these fish like we were. We are seeing some smaller fish in our fishery. These are the fish I prefer to eat. I know a lot of people don’t love bluefish, but if the fish are smaller and you cook them the same day, they are delicious! I don’t like to kill fish generally, but in my occupation, sometimes they die and it is nice when you really look forward to the meal!
Blues are still very active around Great Point and down the east side of the Island. They have been a little hit or miss on the south shore, but if you put time in you’ll find them. From the beach, Eel Point or the east side beaches have been producing well into the evenings.
To round out the Grand Slam, I am pleasantly surprised by our Striped Bass fishery. It should be dead right now, but man it seems like there are still a fair number of fish. These fish are across the south shore in the evenings or in most moving water when targeted from a boat. The fish are on the smaller side, but that should not deter you in any way. My favorite two spots have been in Cisco and Madaket in the evenings. I would use a smaller swimming plug and move it slowly in the surf.
These next few weeks are the time when you have the opportunity to catch a slam. A slam in our fishery is a Bluefish, a Bonito, a Bass and a False Albacore on the same day. A real accomplishment is to catch them all from the beach! Head out to Smiths Point or Great Point early one morning and put your time in. You may accomplish a feat few have. I know I have not caught all four in one day from the beach. Even crazier is that it is mid-August and we are discussing this. Okay, stop reading and go wet a line!
Credit: Bill Fisher Tackle