On the Water: The Bass Shootout Cometh

No one thought to inform the bass
It might take a while for fishermen and striped bass to come together. Durell Godfrey

   The Montauk SurfMasters spring shootout tournament will begin on May 10. The first of Montauk’s annual fishing tournaments targets striped bass.
    The entry fee is $110, all but $10 of which will go into the winner’s pot. The ten bucks is for lunch on awards day, June 29. The tournament has no divisions. Waders, wetsuiters, adult men and women compete against one another. An extra prize of $100 will be awarded for the first legal-size bass (28 inches long or longer) that’s weighed in.
    Young surfcasters under 18 are invited to compete for free. First, second, and third-place finishers will receive plaques. In addition, the first caster to weigh in a legal-size bass will receive a rod-and-reel combination compliments of John Ward Plumbing and Heating. The weigh stations for the spring shootout will be the Star Island Yacht Club, West Lake Marina, and Paulie’s Tackle.
Surfcasters who are not Montauk SurfMasters and would like to join the tournament are asked to contact Fred (Eelman) Kalkstein at 907-0610.
   This year’s striped bass season began on Monday, but apparently no one thought to inform the bass. Kalkstein said he had queried the usual early-season suspects, all of whom reported no sign of bass. There’s a good chance that a colder than normal ocean temperature, 44.6 degrees as of Tuesday, is to blame. And, it might take a while for fishermen and striped bass to come together.
   It’s probable that Superstorm Sandy and the four northeasters that followed rearranged the bottom nearshore. In other parts of the coast, stripers are called rockfish because of their preference for rocky bottom. Could be that outcroppings around Montauk favored by stripers have been covered with sand, or areas usually covered with sand have been denuded by strong currents. The spring striped bass season will be interesting to watch once the fish arrive.