Sometimes you just never know how things are going turn out when you head out to do some fishing. This is a report from a pretty good stretch of fall surf casting and surfing.
Started the day Monday at 5am in Wainscott on a piece of beach that had bait and birds the day before and nets were being set by a downeaster about a 1/2 mile off the beach. Baits and birds were still there, but no fish after 90 minutes of casting 3 different sections of white water. After a brief review of the dismal fishing and beach breaks in the area for sutfing, I parted ways with my Surfing partner, Ari at 6:30am. Well 0 for 2 is no way to start a 2 day fishing and surfing fall holiday, but thats how it started.
After a real breakfast back at the house in East Hampton, 8am, and a quick trip to the dump, I was off to the Meca at 10am, ran into some local MTK characters along the way, none of whom gave me an accurate report, not even a local tackle shop owner whos name will not be mentioned to protect the innocent. Stopped on Old Montauk highway to surf for a while, then headed to Ditch to check out more waves and see if their were any signs of fish. Ended up Surfing again as the waves were really good. After surfing, met another Mtk local who shared enough wrong information to now deduce what was actually going on.
At 4pm I headed to Camp Hero to stake out a spot and avoid the $8 fee. Walked to a nice Rocky Point break that was frothing white water, a southeast swell was rolling in against a southwest breeze. As I walked I noticed fish piled up on the beach and guys walking up the rail with fish in hand. I wondered if I had missed it as clearly there was a blitz or mega bite earlier in the day. I Settled in on a nice midsize rock on the southeast side of the white water where there was a narrow channel through the rocks which were perfectly visible in gin clear water.
Started casting and on the 3rd cast a major strike and hook up, game on, big fish, big waves, good times. After about 5 minutes I can see the fish and it is probably a 40 incher. All of a suddon there are many fish 40 inches around me, in front of me, along side of me and behind me. A large set wave crashes in flooding the area around me, almost knocking me from my pearch and I now realize that my fish is behind me and my line is wrapped on rock, I try to free the line and it pops just above my first barrel. I am waist deep in water, stunned, by having lost, my complete set up, barrel, leader, teaser, snap, gibbs popper, a rig I tied and re-tied over 3 nights to get it perfect, shortening here, lengthening there. I am stripped naked and stunned! I look down the beach and guys are stirring and heading my way. I fumble to my back pack, trying to locate a replacement for my rig and quickly settling on an old white Creek Chub, grabbed the leader material and pulled out a length of flourocarbon and somehow, found a barrel swivel. While this frantic update is going on, this old dude nestles in next to me and hooks up on the first cast, he proceeds to land 3 fish before I am re-tied.. At this point I am sure that I am cursed and will be here all night wile my new neighbor has ruled the day.
I am re-tied, take a cast, then another, and then a missed strike, now I see fish every where in the wash, Mullet are exploding and fish are smashing there tails everywhere. Finally, I’m on! Nice solid fish, great fight, navigating the rocks, playing the waves and ultimately landing a 34″ / 18lb fish. After calming down from the last 30 minutes of complete Mayheim, I settled down and enjoyed some of the best surf casting you could ever imagine. My neighbor and I, “Fishy Pete” a veteran MTK surfcaster of 60 years, now probably eighty something years old and who can bearly walk out to the break, must of caught 5 or 6 fish each over the next 45 minutes. While releasing my last fish of the day a younger angler walked up and asked if he could step into my spot and kinda caught off guard by his etiquite I told him sure, I had just had an amazing session, he proceeded to hook up on is second cast. Needless to say, I left the beach after a moderate hike a little desheveled, but very happy.
Headed home at a reasonable hour for a good meal and some rest. Its amazing how much work goes into gearing up for these outings. After performing much more work on the tackle and gear then planned and coming to the realization that I did not have the lure that I really wanted for tomorrow it was off to set the alarm for 4am and to bed..
Back to Camp Hero as the NOAA report was for fairly strong SW winds and continued SE swell through Tuesday, those fish will be pinned on that white water in the morning and I will be the first one on em. Get there at 5am sharp, ready to roll and hoof it out to the spot. 2 guys there right on the spot, hurling like mad men, no fish on the beach, bad attitudes. Come to find out they are late arrivals yesterday, PM, missed the bite and have been there since 10pm without a strike. Winds have shifted NW over night.
Take a few casts and realize it ain’t happening.. Move to other favorite spot in the area, not easy to get to, and bang away for 2 hours, Nada.. See 2 familar faces down the beach and walk down to comiserate the grim turn of events. Chat for 10 minutes and head up to the parking lot, while putting away the gear one of the 2 guys drives by and says Turtles. Drive to the lighthouse parking lot and walk down to the south side. Quite a scene with acres of bass out a ways and some small shore blitz’s to the far right and left and a ways off shore up the middle. I walk down the middle staying away from the 2 goups of casters and take a coupe of casts to no avail. Most guys on the beach are in a state of semi-panic, casting and retieving their lures at high speed, pretty funny.
All of a suddon a huge school surfaces in front of me and I am in the middle of a full on blitz. I cast and do a slow retrieve and snag a big bass which almost stripped all of my line, he gets free and I am now surrounded by 10 guys hurling and rapid retrieving to no avail, noone has hooked up as 1,000 bass are boiling within 10 feet of the beach. I cast again 25 feet off the beach and after 2 pops on a slow retrieve I am on. Now I am a little vocal and ask for a little room, trading places with my 2 neighbors to the left. One kook casts over my line, but he appoligizes, and makes every effort to loosen his drag and get off my gear without incident. After a few more minutes of fighting the fish, 33″/16lbs, a small wave rolled in and with its help I got the fish up on the beach. Taking a breath, I looked around as the boil slowed in intensity and moved off-shore, now 20 frantic anglers, were hurling and rapid retrieving as if in unison. Noone else has hooked up, except for one old dude down the beach, I look again and it is “Fishy Pete”.