|If you fish at Montauk right now, the waters look just like this picture, Gridlock, taken by photographer Jim Levison|
Drop what you are doing. Right now. Get a plane, train, car, kayak or whatever and head to Montauk, New York.
As you read this, the striped bass fishing at the eastern end of Long Island is, according to Jim Levison, a gifted photographer and fishing guide, “epic.”
Striped bass migrate south during fall and concentrate as they swim south past Montauk Point. For the last few days, the fish have been schooling all around the Point.
If you have a boat, they are reachable by boat. If you have a kayak, the weather has been calm enough to launch from the beach and paddle out.
If you are a surf caster, the fish are within easy range of the beach, sometimes right at the water’s edge, churning through the water, like miniature sharks, gobbling baitfish.
This past Sunday, I drove to Montauk to see if there were any fish. As I drove slowly around the circle by the Lighthouse, I saw anglers coming up from the beach with stripers.
On reaching the beach, there were anglers everywhere. The beach was crowded but not elbow to elbow crowded.
Every ten minutes or so, a school of striped bass would come by within easy casting range of the beach. Between 2 and 3:30 PM, I hooked and lost three bass. The fish were taking white bucktail jigs, silver spoons of all types and surface plugs.
Seeing dozens of three feet fish swirling by on the surface almost wiped out my angling manners. It took several times crossing other anglers’ lines to finally learn that you must cast straight out and not diagonally to the fish.
Russ Drumm, the East Hampton Star’s fisheries reporter, advises that it’s better to cast on the edge of a school of feeding fish than in the middle of it. Striped bass do not have sharp mouths as do bluefish but they have lots of sharp edges and when lots of fish are swirling around, those sharp edges can cut your line.
Striped bass come and go. For now, there is a chance to see once in a lifetime fishing at Montauk Point!
Striped Bass links:
Jim Levison's website is fillled with beautiful photographs of striped bass and Montauk.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's website offers useful information on striped bass and on striped bass fishing.
Russ Drumm is an excellent, witty writer. He has his own website, www.russelldrumm.com, and his writing is found at The East Hampton Star's website.