Fishing Guy: Season’s End Draws Near

John Wharry fishing in Montauk cropped surfcasting
John Wharry fishing in Montauk
Guy Morales

They say that doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity … unless you’re a fisherman.

For many of us, this fall was frustrating, having to put in some serious hours to get on a decent striper bite.

With the crazy weather we’ve had, even the people fishing from their boats had to work hard to get on the fish.

From Montauk to Jones Beach, the bass were here today, gone tomorrow. Some places barely turned on at all for striped bass.

It seemed to take a long time for the water temps to get low enough for large groups of fish to run through, so when any sizable fish were around, you better have been out there.

With a diamond jig doing the job during the day, it’s been the needle fish that have done it for me at night this last month of the season.

It seemed like the larger needle fish (blurple) on those dark nights kept the bigger bass hitting with my largest of the fall weighing 26 lbs. and reaching 40 inches long.

Charter a boat in Montauk to go fishing for striped bass
Striped bassGetty Images

Fishing By the Spot

Montauk had a slow start for bass but it picked up with a fairly strong finish with fish up to 50 lbs. coming up from the surf.

Large needlefish plugs and bottle plugs get the job done this fall.

Fishing out here is its own sport and is not for someone who’s new to surfcasting-style fishing.

Attempting to go out to fish Montauk without the proper gear and an experienced fisherman guide can get a person injured or worse.

Cupsogue has had more frequent action for striped bass in the last few weeks and is your best bet for some early morning fishing.

The inlet, as well as out front, has had some larger fish coming up in the early mornings and even during the daytime on diamond jigs and swim shad.

The outgoing tide has been the best time to be out there with a line in the water.

These mornings are getting colder and colder, so by now if you’re surfcasting, you need those neoprene waders and all of your cold weather gear.

December 15 is getting closer to ending yet another striped bass season.

Shinnecock has had plenty of good fishing this fall and it’s even been somewhat consistent, considering the crazy weather we’ve had for much of this last month.

Putting time in on the rocks paid off well for many fishermen at the inlet.

These rocks get packed with hungry anglers from all over New York looking to get into some fish, so try to give folks plenty of room to keep from getting your lines tangled.

Smith Point is where I started really getting into surfcasting. I’d been fishing Long Island’s South Shore since I was a kid before getting lured in.

I was hooked right away and will be out there until I’m physically unable to do it any longer.

At this time last year I couldn’t miss at Great Gun, but this year I haven’t heard of anything going on making that drive worth it.

I had one small striper on a small sinking needlefish that wasn’t even picture-worthy, and a few bites.

There were some larger fish coming up right out in front of the concession stand for a few days on diamond jigs and swim shad.

Robert Moses Field 5 has been seeing some short bass with some slot-sized fish mixed in during the daytime on diamond jigs mostly.

With the winds we’ve been having, an A27 diamond jig has been the easiest lure to have any kind of feel with and for casting purposes.

Needlefish are great for casting into the wind at night and with all the sand eels around, it’s a “must have” plug.

Democrat Point has had a crazy fall with some people doing very well.

There’ve been some nice slot-sized fish and even some oversized striped bass moving throughout out front, in the inlet and even in the back bay late at night.

The day bite has been the deal these last few weeks but the last of the season should see a better night bite with the new moon and following cycle.

I plan to get at least one more keeper before the end of the season and I hope you do too.

There’s nothing quite like fresh striped bass for the holidays.

However you plan to spend your holiday, I wish you all the best and hope you end your fishing season on a high note.

Just remember to be safe out there and until next spring … catch ’em up!