Bundle up and head out to Montauk Point
If you want a crack at some good striper fishing, Montauk is the place to go. Bundle up if you have an open boat, watch the weather for the next window and head on over. You can also run down to the wrecks and lumps off the Rhode Island beaches for some good sea bass catches.
Captain Jack Balint took his charter to Montauk on Wednesday, fishing both around the point and then down as far as eight miles to the west on the south side. Using Super Flukes and light spin tackle they landed roughly 20 bass to 35 inches and loads of small blues to 5 pounds. At the end of the day they had gone through six bags of Super Flukes, the blues biting them in half. Jack also noted he fished in minimal boat traffic, some around the light, almost no one off the south side beaches in 20 to 25 feet of water.
On this side you might find some school bass some mornings off Sandy Point or try drifting for blackfish around the abutments of the I-95 Bridge over the Thames if it's too windy to go out in the Sound. Shore anglers stand at chance at a keeper blackfish from Avery and Eastern Points. Shore casters also caught blues in the evening from the Norwich docks along with a few larger bass.
Don at King Cove weighed in a fine 37-pound striper caught by a fly rodder that beached his boat at Sandy Point then fished from the shore. Black fishing was best during the week right at the change of the tide around Watch Hill Point, White Rock and Ragged Reef.
Captain Kerry Douton at J&B said he took some of his friends on a busman's holiday on Wednesday down to the Rhode Island beaches fishing wrecks and rocks where they landed roughly 100 keeper sea bass along with some small blues. A couple of the other captains told Kerry they've caught some smaller cod this past week on some of the deeper wrecks off Watch Hill.
Montauk offers the best chance for bass right now just watch the weather if you go in a small boat. There are blues still around the rip off Wilderness Point and Pigeon Rip but striper fishing in The Race may be over for the season. Black fishing is good for those with lots of spots, able to move around as some of the more well known, heavily-fished areas have been pretty well picked over said Kerry.
Captain Allen Fee at Shaffer's Marina told me people are steadily catching blackfish on the days they get out. Ram Island and Latimer Reef are good as are both East and Middle Clumps though those spots require 6 to 8 ounces of lead to hold bottom versus only 3 to 4 ounces at North Hill.
Hillyers Tackle reported Wednesday was a very busy one for people heading out on the water taking advantage of the nice weather. The crowds were approaching what you would expect on a weekend. They weighed in a 9.12-pound blackfish for one angler who also had two 6-pounders. One local traveled up to a party boat in Point Judith where he landed two nice cod and nine sea bass.
Bluefish continue to come in along the shore at Harkness and Pleasure Beaches early in the day plus there's been bass chasing some type of bait off the mouth of the Thames River on some mornings. Pier fishermen at Fort Trumbull pier landed both blackfish and stripers; that spot a fine one for shore access.
Mark at River's End said he got news about some blues and a few bass at the Sand Shoal. Black fishing locally has been on the slow side with lots of smaller fish, some too small to keep. Two different boats reported blues grabbing small blackfish being reeled to the surface at Southwest Reef. Schoolies are along the local beaches at night but don't expect too many hits for an evening's fishing said Mark. On a hopeful note, there were some large bunkers in close one afternoon along some beaches just to the west.
The Rhode Island beaches were pretty poor during the daylight hours, fish sometimes showing up just after dark, often after people had gone home. One local landed 51 bass in three nights with seven keepers to 34 inches. But, on Wednesday evening he fished the same beach at dark and didn't get a single bite. He figured the fish had moved on through as they often do this time of year stopping for a while then moving on in their migration to winter quarters at various rivers and bays to the west and south.
Tim Coleman is the Day's saltwater fishing columnist.
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