Boats working out of Orient by the Sea early this week were doing very, very well on fall tautog. Rich Jensen with the Nancy Ann said, “It’s way, way better than last year!” Jensen has had limits for the last two weeks, lots of fish to five pounds and pools generally eight or nine. Best fish of the season have been bulldogs of 11 and 13 pounds. Drops from east of Fishers Island to Rocky Point (East Marion) have all been producing. There are still bluefish around in a few places, chopping up blackfish coming to the top.
Captain Sloan Gurney on the Black Rock is now on his way to Costa Rica for billfish, but finished up with limits of tautog right through the week. Mike Boccio on the Prime Time 3 now sails at six a.m. to get more bottom time. He has openings on Friday, Tuesday and Thursday next week (call 631-323-2618). He’s had shots of cod of late, too.
Dave Brennan, aboard the Peconic Star II out of Greenport was catching tautog as shallow as 25-30 feet on some drops, thanks to a water temperature of 58 F as late as Tuesday afternoon! Bill Czech at Jamesport Bait and Tackle is puzzled by the lack of action along North Fork beaches for the third fall in a row. Waters are warm enough to keep tautog tight to the beach. The Peconics have some tautog if you know where to look. At the Rocky Point Fishing Stop, Stan Hentschel told us that fish have spread out now along South Shore beaches with bass still coming down from the north. The Cape Cod Canal is producing teen-sized stripers with blues on the Cape as well. It’s been hard to get reports on tautog locally but the blackfish appear to be in depths out to about 50 feet.
From East End Bait and Tackle in Hampton Bays comes a report from Captain Scott Jeffrey. He tells us the pick off the ocean beaches is now normal for the season if you put in your time. There are more school bass in the mix, with AVA diamonds still taking most fish. Shad and sandeels are prey. Bigger fish often come to anglers using needlefish, bucktails, swimmers and darters. Although there are no blues to speak of, there were three confirmed catches of red drum (“channel bass” or “redfish”) as well as a couple of weakfish from the surf. The Shinnecock reef has some nice blackfish, sea bass and scup.