Wow! What a Fall Run this year! Last year the Fall Run lasted for quite a while, but this year seems even better. Once again the Striped Bass have proven to be an amazingly resilient fish. I remember back in the early 80’s catching Striped Bass was like pulling teeth, you worked so hard to just get a bite. Fancy umbrella rigs with all combinations of colors, diamond jigs had to be super shiny, and God forbid you weren’t exactly on the spot or making the trolling pass perfectly. Cleaning up the Hudson River and Chesapeake Bay area has really helped. Regulations, though not always correct, have obviously helped in the Striped Bass recovery. At the time I’m writing this article, hordes of Striped Bass are swarming all around Raritan Bay area, under the Verrazano Bridge, millions of birds, bait, and Striped Bass! Great to see these days. Eventually the Striped Bass will continue west from Montauk to winter in either the Hudson or the Chesapeake. There are still plenty of fish coming through, which is another good sign.
With the Striped Bass cooperating so well there is plenty of time to go bottom fishing too. Tautog (Blackfish), Black Sea Bass, and still some Porgy (Scup) have been plentiful this fall season. NMFS raised the size limit for the Black Sea Bass this year to 16 inches, but it didn’t matter. Plenty of these hard fighting, delicious, legal sized critters to keep anglers happy this season. The beauty of Black Sea Bass fishing is that you can drift for them. You cover so much more area and can actually drift from one rock pile to another. This also allows Diamond Jigs to be used, which really helps weed out the smaller sea bass and saves you lots of money by not buying a lot of bait! Drop the Diamond down to the bottom, take a turn or two up on the reel, then sharply jerk the rod straight up and let it fall back down. Keep repeating for a short time, then wind it all the way up and re-drop to start the process all over again. Blackfish have been very active this fall too. Now with Blackfish you have to anchor up. It’s very important to position your boat properly in the wind and tide. A lot of times you will catch a few then have to re-adjust the anchor. Sometimes when you’re on a spot that has been left alone and not been “Hit” yet, you can catch an entire limit without moving. If you think the Black Sea Bass fight hard, wait till you hook into a double digit Tautog!! You better hold on tight, because you’re in for a good fight!
When there are good weather days this time of year, it’s time to go bottom fishing!! Black Sea Bass are open till December 31st…16 inch size limit, 6 fish per angler. Blackfish are open till December 22nd. (In the N.Y. Bight Region)…16 inch size limit, 4 fish per angler.
Wishing everyone all the best for the Holiday Season.
~ Tight Lines, Captain Skip