On the Water: Fishing Action Is ‘Insane’

    The mosquito fleet of light-tackle and fly-fishing boats was out in force over the weekend with the appearence of false albacore in the rips off Montauk Point and in Gardiner’s Bay. Striped bass made an impressive presence “up front” as well.
    “Insane,” was how Ken Rafferty, a light-tackle and fly-fishing guide described the action from Shagwong to Montauk Point over the weekend.
    “Stripers everywhere, mostly on the north side. The south side had big swells. Late in the day was the best, after 2 o’clock. Albies [false albacore] were everywhere out there, too. The bite was from 8 to 10 in the morning, then you hunt around for albies, then from noon on, and around the point a bit, small schools of stripers. At the end of the day there were striper blitzes on the shoreline.”
    “The albies are phenomenal, more powerful than ever. We had one, 12 pounds, like a torpedo.”
    Rafferty said bass and albacore were feeding on small bay anchovies in balled-up schools measuring about 20 feet across by 10 feet deep. “When
 you come across them, they’re so dense the ball is a maroon color. You see the streaks passing through taking mouthfuls. Here they are taking mouthfuls and you throw a fly that looks like an anchovy and they go for it. It’s the crippled one, the easy kill. They can’t resist.”
    The light-tackle guide said, “Sometimes you can’t match the hatch. Then the fly becomes one more of the billion in the ball, so you add color. I’m doing well on small white patterns with a flash mixed in,” Rafferty said, referring to the fly that’s been working best in recent days.
    Klever Olea — who seems well named — found a 37.74-pound striped bass to climb into first place in the Montauk SurfMasters tournament’s wader division. The catch pushed Richie Michelson’s 24.12-pound bass into second place. Mike Larson sits in third with a 21.88 pounder. John Bruno remains in the top slot of the wetsuit division.
    Paul Melnyk confirmed that bass, some in the 20-pound class, were caught over the weekend around the Montauk Lighthouse and into the Montauk moorland coves as well. Bigger fish, a few over 30 pounds, were taken at night, he said.
    Charter boats led their anglers to some truly large striped bass over the weekend. A live eel dangled from the Double Header boat attracted one that weighed in at 59.25 pounds. The angler was Jay Walsh, part of a group of fishermen from the Northport Yacht Club. Burt Prince on the Susie E II caught a 50-pound bass on Sunday night and the Soaker charter boat found a 53-pounder on Monday. Eels did the trick in all cases.
    Boating fishermen were buoyed by the news that the porgy fishing season for private boats was extended last week until Dec. 25. The bag limit remains 10 porgies per day with a minimum size of 10.5 inches. Charter and party boat anglers may keep up to 40 per day until Tuesday. After that, 10.
    The blackfish season opened on Saturday and early reports are good. One charter boat reported 17 on Monday with about 25 throwbacks under 14 inches in length. The bag limit is four per day. There is talk of an increase in legal size to 16 inches, but not to affect this season’s fishing.
    Black seabass are abundant but off limits since Saturday. They are due to become fair game again on Nov. 1.
    Tuna-wise, reports have an abundant supply of albacore (the big ones) in Hudson Canyon; also a fair number of yellowfin and big-eye tuna offshore. Fishermen are finding a surprising lack of bluefin, however.