Here’s a breakdown of potential opportunity for Long Island surfcasters in the month of October.
Fall fishing is in full swing, and you hear of good bites from all corners of the island. You can’t be in all places at once, so you have a decision to make. Where are you going to head to? An advantage to being a surfcaster is that we can hop in the car and drive to any spot we believe might be productive. Here’s a breakdown of potential opportunities for Long Island surfcasters in the month of October.
The south shore of Long Island stretches from the city to Montauk. It’s a massive piece of real estate to cover as a surfcaster. While this is true, many prime beaches offer easy to access for fishermen, and you can hone in on specific stretches that have been productive over the years without jumping through too many hoops. A 4×4 vehicle always helps, but you can get into some great fishing by parking and using your feet too. Before I had a truck, I’d park in these beach lots and by walking on the beach, was able to catch lots of striped bass myself. Also, don’t rule out the use of fat tire bikes. Using one of these will allow you to cover even more ground than walking at times. I have found that an advantage of walking is it forces you to fish every prime piece of beach you see. When driving a truck or a bike, anglers can become lazy and skip one part for the next quite often.
When fishing the south shore, don’t forget about the inlets. These entryways into the bay will hold fish and bait, making them the perfect location to fish at times. I haven’t had many productive outings on the rocks in recent fall seasons, but spending a few nights around them during the new and full moon phases casting bucktails in October can give you a shot at scoring big. The only reason I never count these locations out is that in years past, I’ve had epic sessions fishing the jetties that cannot be ignored.
The south shore has seen some impressive sand eel fueled fishing in the last few seasons. The great thing about having this bait present is that they stick around for a while, keeping the bass around. If all goes accordingly, we should see these bass treats stick around past the end of the month, giving anglers a good chunk of opportunity to get into some excellent fishing. When sand eels are present, try using slender profile lures like Ava jigs, needlefish, Daiwa SP Minnows, Tsunami Sand Eels, and bucktails. The use of a teaser can also help at times, but personally, I like to use a single lure on 95 percent of my outings.
The north shore is an exciting place. It spans roughly the same distance as the south shore when you think about its contour. The north shore is littered with points, coves, and boulder fields, while the south is a flat sand beach mixed with jetties. So much unknown exists on the north shore. A vast majority of it is unexplored by anglers.
This leads me to my next point, which is access. The reason why it’s so underfished is that admission is tough on this side of the island. Each town has its own permits, and some are extremely tough to get. Again, there are ways around this. Finding parking spots with no signs and walking or biking is one way to go about it. If you are going to fish these spots, be respectful and courteous. Being noisy, leaving a mess or cramming multiple vehicles into a small parking spot is likely to upset the local residents, which will result in more restrictions and possibly also a shiny new sign in your favorite parking spot.
The north shore has seen a nice mix of bait and fish come through it in the past few October’s. While the south shore has primarily been a striper fishery in the month of October, on the north shore, you can expect a mix of bass, bluefish, and false albacore throughout the tenth month. This side of the island usually stays relatively calm, and fish often run close to shore, so if you’re into fly fishing, the north shore needs to be on your list.
Primary baits that fuel the fishing on this side can be rainbait, bunker of all sizes, squid, herring, and spearing. Having an array of plugs and jigs will help keep you covered if you decide to try your luck out over here. If you find any species mentioned above feeding on small rainbait or spearing, small tins, epoxy jigs, teasers, and smaller soft plastics on jigheads will all match the hatch perfectly. When larger bunker or squid are around, it’s wise to bring pencil poppers, little neck poppers, big needlefish, and bigger profile swimming plugs with you. I carry all these with me on my north shore treks. Sometimes it can be a different game every time I’m out that way.
Now while this easternmost point of Long Island has a little terrain from all areas, I’m going to put it in a category all its own. Montauk has long stretches of sand beach, rocky terrain like the north shore, and jetty-like structures as well. Deemed “the surfcasting capitol,” this vast and diverse landscape holds many opportunities in the fall months. The sandy side can produce some genuinely epic sand eels runs along the town beach, Hither Hills, and Napeague stretches.
If you head over to the south side of the point this month, you can potentially experience several schools of rainbait getting blitzed on by striped bass and bluefish. Don’t rule out the after-dark bite either. Night fishing is when you can catch some of the biggest stripers that run the coast. Work the rocky boulder fields with darters, bottle plugs, and bucktails for a shot at a trophy-sized fish. Fishing like this can produce intense bites at times.
The north side of the point can be a little more laid back. Explore the different sub-points with swimming plugs by night and topwaters, tins, or bucktails by day. If you hear the forecast calling for heavy northeast winds, this is an excellent place to be. In years past, these conditions can generate some productive and extreme fishing. When you’re in these conditions, the only things that work well are heavier bucktails in the 1- to 3-ounce range and tins.
This fall, be sure to try something new. Keep an eye on The Fisherman Magazine’s weekly reports to help get a better idea of happenings around the island during the month. If you enjoy surfcasting and want to dedicate one month to it here on Long Island, October would be the one.