There’s Action Close to Shore

With high winds and heavy surf, the action stayed close to shore over the weekend
Robert Van Velsor caught this 42.46-pound striped bass “by accident,” from Ditch Plain beach in Montauk on Friday. The big striper took a bucktail in knee-deep water. Mark Foschi

   “It’s Montauk,” was how Sue Jappell at Paulie’s Tackle shop in Montauk explained what happened to Robert Van Velsor on Friday.
    Van Velsor was heaving a bucktail toward the horizon while standing in knee-deep water at Ditch Plain beach. He was at the end of a retrieve and was in the process of lifting the lure out of the water when a 42.46-pound striped bass snatched it. That’s the way to do it.
    With high winds and heavy surf, the action stayed close to shore over the weekend. Casters worked two and three-ounce bucktails with some success on bass and big bluefish feeding on snappers and a mix of other prey in the whitewater of collapsing waves.
    On Sunday afternoon, a quick study of the fish coming off the Venture and Adios charter boats in Montauk Harbor revealed two large bass for every angler (the state bag limit) and monster, pot-bellied bluefish in the 15 to 18-pound range.
    The potbellies were testament to the mass of prey species that continue to surround Montauk Point despite recent heavy seas. On Monday, Chris Miller of the West Lake Marina said the bassing had slowed, but it’s important to remember Ms. Jappell’s “it’s Montauk” maxim. October fishing is phenomenal by most fishing standards.
    Miller did rave about the black sea bass action at places like Cartright Shoal, Southwest Ledge, and the West Grounds. They cannot resist clam and squid baits. Nor can voracious schools of porgies.
    Ken Rafferty, a light-tackle and fly guide, made the distinction between the productivity of the larger sport-fishing boats and the mosquito fleet of fly fisherman. Despite their ability to weather heavier sea conditions, charter boats are having success trolling wire line. “I can’t fish like that,” Rafferty said. Dragging wire is a style of fishing anathema to light-tackle aficionados. Rafferty said he’d heard that the fishing in New York Harbor was “lighting up,” a sure sign that the striped bass migration was moving south and west. 
    There has been a change on the leader board in the Montauk SurfMasters tournament. Gary Aprea has knocked Atilla Ozturk out of third place with a 22.7-pound bass caught on Monday. Gary Krist and Klever Oleas hold on to first and second places with 29.15 and 26-pound stripers. John Bruno’s 40.3-pounder is the sole leader in the contest’s wetsuit division.
    Christine Schnell, Mary Ellen Kane, and Cheryl Lackner have 18.8, 14, and 11.8-pound bass in the women’s contest. Dylan Lackner leads the youth division with a 13.5-pound bass, and Brian Damm is still the top kid with a 14.6-pound striped bass.