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Posted By Fred Golofaro, November 4, 2019
James Torborg, founder of hooksforheroes.com, scored this 13.2-pound bulldog blackfish on a South Shore wreck.

Out east, blackfishing remains incredible before and after the mid-week blow. Fishers Island continues to be the hot spot with quite a few big sea bass mixing in. The tog are chewing down green and white crabs and have been coming back to marinas and bait shops to 11.8 pounds. Quite frankly there have not been too many monster togs, but there sure are a lot of keepers and shorts around to make for some torrid action. Tog fishing is this week’s best bet. Sea bass and porgy fishing remains good near Block Island while there is good cod fishing south of Block Island with fish in the 15 to 17-pound class. Loads of small bass remain around the point, while there are some keeper bass mixed with shorts in Shinnecock Inlet. If blackfish are your game, now is the time.

Along the South Shore, some big bass continue to fall to boaters. Try fishing the night tides inside the bay with live eels or head outside and troll spoons or mojos, or fish the bunker pods if you can find any. If you want to just have fun, live spots will produce all the bass you want in Moriches Inlet and inside Fire Island. The caveat is you will have to weed through a lot of smaller fish for a keeper. The largest bass this week was a 44 pounder caught on the bunker pods Sunday morning and weighed at Saltwaters Tackle.
For blackfish, jigs or standard sinker rigs depending on tide stage will produce blackfish from shorts to keepers. From Willie K’s I heard of a 6.34 pounder caught inside the inlet, while a 10.4 pound blackfish and 4.5 pound sea bass were weighed Babylon Fishing Station from the Fire Island Reef.

To the west, stripers stole the show when boats could get outside. Most reports indicated the waters south of Debs Inlet were alive and kicking with fish. White or green Mojos and bunker spoons were the tickets. The magic depths were 50 to 55 feet. Some bass were taken on diamond jigs in gold or silver at the AB Bridge and in the ocean. Sand eel jigs were quite effective as well. Jumbo bass to 50-pounds were slam dunked on bunker spoons east of the Jones needle. In the bay, anglers found success with Bass Assassins. Local bridges such as the Wantagh and Meadowbrook held good numbers of schoolie bass. Blackfishing was pretty good in the waters near Sheepshead Bay and on local reefs outside Jones Inlet. The Atlantic Beach and Hempstead Reefs, and the Rockaway Reef were the best spots this week. So far, it seems that ‘tog jigs are outfishing bait rigs.

Up on the North Shore, blackfish anglers have not been disappointed as the fish are being cooperative and there is no lack of action. Very good to excellent numbers of ‘tog are coming up and the keeper ratio is improving weekly. Nice size fish to 9-pounds were taken. Anglers reported nailing blackfish at Huckleberry Island, Pea Island, Rye, 32a, 11b, mid-Sound, Old Field, Cranes Neck and the CT shoreline. It’s best to target to waters at 40-ft. plus with green or Asian crabs. No catches of jumbo blues were reported but cocktail blues from 2 to 5-pounds were found in Manhasset Bay, Port Jeff Harbor area, along the beaches and buoy 11. Bass in these same areas were mostly shorts with a rare keeper coming up. The bass responded well to diamond jigs, shads and small tins. Many anglers targeting blackfish reported a nice by-catch of short and keeper sea bass that were willing to inhale their green crab offerings. If you enjoy calamari or just catching your own bait, plenty of squid have appeared in Oyster Bay, Little Neck Bay and Manhasset Bay.

In the surf, the Island’s southern shoreline continues to draw crowds of casters where good numbers of school bass continue to provide steady action. Many areas from Southampton to Breezy Point saw very good fishing the first half of the week and fishing was picking up again in many places as the ocean settled down on the weekend. Sand eels remain the dominant bait in most areas, with bunker are occasionally in the mix in some locations. The only bluefish reports have come from the central North Shore where there has been a mix of small bass and blues, and the North Fork, where bass, blues and albies are providing mixed bag action. Blues have been totally absent from the south side of the Island. The absence of blues around most of the Island the last few seasons is reason for concern, especially since DEC just this week expanded the daily commercial trip limit for bluefish to 10,000 pounds on Friday.

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