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Posted By Fred Golofaro, November 18, 2019
Blackfishing is being described as the best in years around many parts of the Island. Photo courtesy of Celtic Quest Fleet.

Out east, Montauk and North Fork captains are calling the blackfishing the best in years. It remains excellent around Fishers Island and environs, with some good catches also coming from around Block Island, where sea bass rule the roost. Increasing numbers of cod are also mixing into the action at Block and Cartwright. If you are into light tackle action, Montauk’s waters are inundated with school bass to 27 inches. There were blackfish on the Shinnecock Reef during the week before the winds kicked in, and lots of small bass in the inlet and along the beach.

Along the South Shore, there are still loads of bass to the east so this could be another year where we see fish right up until the season closes on December 15th. Anglers reported jigging and either trolling spoons or Mojo’s for bass outside the inlets, and live eels in the bays were still producing fish. On the blackfish front, the bite continues to please inside the bays but those days are numbered as water temps continue to fall. Action has improved on the offshore pieces as sea bass and porgies, along with cod, ling and pollock are keeping rods bending aboard open boats.

To the west, bass and blackfish provided solid action when anglers could get out. However, the keeper ratio on both species was low. The waters to the east off of Fire Island saw lots of school bass action on bucktails and jigs. Reports indicated that the areas south of Debs Inlet, Jones Inlet, Ambrose Channel and Sandy Hook had bigger bass responding to bunker spoons, Mojos and occasionally diamond jigs. The biggest of the bunch was 67.55 pounder caught by Tyler Lang in Raritan Bay on a gold/white TGT rattle spoon while fishing aboard Capt. Vinny Vetere’s Katfish Charters out of Staten Island last Thursday. Blackfish have thinned out in the bays and are setting up on wrecks, reefs and rock piles. Bait rigs and tog jigs were equally effective with green or white crabs. Anglers who want to do a number on sea bass, porgies and cod should check the offshore schedules of the party and charter boats.

Up on the North Shore, despite the uncooperative weather, blackfish continued to provide plenty of action on shorts and keepers. Action was very good in the waters in and around Rye. Anglers also encountered tog at Battery Park and the Whitestone Bridge. One angler worked the Kings Point Lighthouse for blackfish of 9 and 8 pounds. The City Island area experienced some fine bass activity. Shore bound anglers were able to connect with short and keeper bass when they used worms, plugs, poppers and bunker. Orchard Beach, the C.I. Bridge, Turtle Cove, the Whitestone and the Throgs Neck all saw action.

In the surf, it seems like there is no end to the steady stream of school bass working their way down the southern shore of the Island. Some areas, like Robert Moses and Demo saw good action virtually every day this past week including the weekend, despite a strong sweep and rough surf. With the Montauk rips still stacked up with acres upon acres of school bass, it’s a safe bet that this action will last for a while. The same size fish, 18 to 28 inches are also along some North Shore beaches and the North Fork. If they get the protection they need, we could be looking at some great striper fishing in the years ahead.

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