It seems tuna of all kinds and sizes have decided to approach Long Island in great numbers. Carl Darenberg of the Montauk Marine Basin, a man who’s been around sport fishing his whole life, said the run of bigeye tuna experienced by hundreds of fishermen last week was the largest he had ever seen.
Fishermen descended on Hudson Canyon last week to take as many as 200 bigeyes and even more yellowfin tuna. John Hart on the Montauk boat Wrecking Crew returned with a 247.6-pound bigeye and a number of yellowfin. Captain Hart and others reported as many as 100 boats working the canyon.
Michael Potts, captain of the Blue Fin IV charter boat, reported finding “football” bluefin tuna south of Block Island on Monday. His party landed three of them ranging from 15 to 17 pounds all on light tackle. They also caught a number of false albacore.
And, speaking of falsies, light-tackle aficionados report a virtual invasion of the fish otherwise known as little tunny. Like all tuna, false albacore have superior eyesight. For that reason, the schools have so far been concentrated in Gardiner’s Bay.
Large swells generated by Tropical Storm Nadine — the same storm that generated some of the best surfing of the season over the weekend — have clouded the water nearshore on the ocean side. The swells have subsided, and fast-paced angling for false albacore should improve in the coming days.
“The albies are coming, the albies are coming. They’re all over the place,” Capt. Ken Rafferty shouted from his light-tackle guide boat on Monday afternoon. “The spot is anywhere between Plum Gut and Montauk,” he said. Rafferty was finding falsies and very big bluefish around the Gull Islands. Dr. Bob Rubin and his son Mark were successfully working the water around Silas Rock on an outgoing tide.
The Montauk SurfMasters fall classic began on Saturday but Nadine’s big swells kept surfcasters from working much of the south-facing beaches. Fred Kalkstein, an organizer of the fiercely contested competition, described the action around Montauk Point as spotty. Fishing “up front” should improve through the week. There are plenty of striped bass around.
The SurfMasters tournament has 15 casters competing in the wetsuit division, 28 in the wader division, 14 youths, 12 to 17 years old, and 10 kids ages 7 to 11.
“They were biting their heads off all day,” was how Scott Leonard of the Star Island Yacht Club described the striped bass fishing on Monday. “They bite their heads off when a storm is coming. All the boats limited out, bass from small to big, 15 to 40 pounds on eels at all the spots — Great Eastern, the Elbow, Pollock Rip. Bluefish everywhere. Surfcasters are catching them already. On Sunday morning there were about 85 trucks at the Point. They were catching bass up to 22 pounds,” Leonard said.
On the eerie side, news comes that on Friday Lighthouse Beach on Cape Cod was closed after a fish-tagging team tagged a 20-foot-long female great white shark as it was leaving Chatham Harbor. The largest great white ever recorded was a little over 21 feet long. On Cape Cod, all east-facing beaches remain closed along the Orleans-Chatham line from Nauset Beach to Monomoy. The presence of seals explains the presence of the big predators, experts say.
According to a reliable source, an East Hampton bayman who did not want to be identified set a gillnet in Montauk a little over a week ago and returned to find three species of shark including a 10-foot-long great white.
And speaking of sharks, the angler who caught a six-foot brown shark from his kayak a quarter mile off Napeague last week was Dr. Marco Seandel. It took him an hour and-a-half to bring the shark to the kayak. It was released.