|As indicated in the report thru August, it is rather easy to catch fluke in Fire Island Inlet. Efforts to catch bigger, "doormat" fluke in the open ocean were unsuccessful, and the cruise through the inlet to the ocean was hair raising on occasion. The worst seas we encountered came at us sideways in the narrow channel, causing my wife great concern that we would broach in the five to six foot waves. As usual, the solution was to crack open the throttles and leap right over the waves at 40 MPH+. The faster the boat goes, the less hull is in the water and the more freeboard we have, increasing the safety margin. In addition, the boat becomes airborne most of the time at speed in sloppy seas, hence avoiding the troughs in the waves and cutting across the wave tops. Of course, one could always go through the inlet at slack tide, but what fun is that? Ho Ho!|
October presented some of the best fishing opportunities for species other than fluke. Much of the surface of the ocean outside the Fire Island Inlet was covered with numerous schools of foot long Atlantic Menhaden finning on the surface in the sun. The locals refer to this baitfish as bunker, and the schools on the surface were typically about fifty feet across. Groups of tuna, longfin I think, streaked past the Sonic as we attempted to snag the bunker. The tuna are amazingly fast, their fins and backs popping up above the surface of the water like mini dolphins. Simply too fast for me to catch them this year.
We snagged many bunker, but got only one to the boat. When we trolled him, a massive fish bit 3/4 of it off, likely a four foot plus bluefish or tuna. My wife did a great job maneuvering the boat to put the stern towards the finning bunker while I tried to snag them. This is legal for bunker. If we had lowered our landing net into the water we would have scooped up dozens of foot long fish in one pass. I donít think this is legal though, nor would I have been able to lift the net full of fish into the boat, so I did not do it. I got blisters on my hands from all the rod work but had no cause for complaints! A photo of one of the bunker schools is in the photo gallery.
The October 14 weekend was one of the nicest boating weekends all year. Absolutely glorious weather and my mechanic said to take advantage of it before yanking the boat out. Over 70 degrees Saturday and Sunday with very few waves in the ocean, just the way my wife likes it. Looked for those huge bunker schools we saw the previous weekend, but did not see them. What we saw instead was equally spectacular. Large schools of bluefish attacking spearing, a type of minnow, right on the surface again. We trolled a locally made umbrella rig; two crossed wires with many trailing tube lures to look like a school of baitfish, sand eels or shrimp. A school of bluefish rushed it and two got hung on the hooks, the trailing rubber eel was stripped off and one of the tube lures was cut off. The teeth on the bluefish are really nasty and many so called shark attacks are really just bluefish in a feeding frenzy. The two bluefish we caught are about seventeen inches long and will make a couple of tasty dinners. Photos of the bluefish and feeding frenzy are in the photo gallery.
We chased the hungry bluefish right up to within about fifty feet of the beach, but must have been casting the wrong lures at the feeding frenzy as we were the only boat not reeling them in. My wife did a good job chasing and backing the boat down on the schools while I frantically but unsuccessfully cast lures at them just feet off the boat. Most frustrating! Glad we at least got the two on the trolled rig.
Saturday, Oct. 14, we docked at Sailors Haven marina at the Sunken Forest and tried vainly to catch bluefish and stripers off the beach. No luck, but while we were eating dinner in the sand, a doe and a buck came up to see what we were doing. Deer have done this before but never have been so aggressive. The doe stuck her nose into my pockets while I was siting in the chair eating my potato salad and telling her to "go away, this is not deer food." Then she stuck her nose right into the garbage bag in my lap and managed to lick the container holding my wifeís potato salad leftovers before I closed it. The Doe must have liked it as she then went over to my wife, licked her hand and put her nose inches from her face, almost close enough to kiss. Looking for mouth positioned carrots I suppose. I would be concerned about the buck getting so close as you could easily get some antlers through your head if a sound startled him. My wife has trained me not to feed any wild critters, but I guess boaters and fisherman have given these deer some bad habits. Sure was cute though, check the photo gallery for photos of the killer deer.
At night on the boat we listened to the sound track of Beauty and the Beast, a great play we saw in NYC a few years ago. We were plugged into shore power so the trouble lamp worked great to heat up the interior of the boatÖ.surprising heat just from a light bulb. I had some bug screens made that drape over the open 90 degree hatch openings so we can easily stick out heads up to look around at night which is great. Much better than the usual screens which fit straight across the inside opening and therefore you canít look out unless you want some mosquitoes inside too.
Up early the next morning, many of the other boaters there were seriously interested in beach fishing also, with hip waders hanging out to dry etc. Bluefish were attacking spearing all along the sandy beach. I looked like a crazy man running towards each new bird/fish feeding frenzy and casting a lure frantically into the mayhem, with no results. Several hours later I realized I had left the clear rubber tubing over the hook. Dummy! I just got too excited about getting it into the water without checking first. I think all the other surf fisherman caught fish but me. Gee, I wonder why?
Interesting sights though...once the terrified spearing minnows were actually driven right onto the beach at my feet by the bluefish. The two inch long minnows flapped all over the sand after a wave dumped them there. Another time, as I was directly facing into the newly risen sun, it was low enough to back light the waves in the middle of another feeding frenzy. I was startled to see what looked like an aquarium, a wave filled with fish! I donít expect to see that many times in my life
It was really beautiful over at the Sunken Forest beach this weekend. Ferries stopped going there about a week ago so unless you have a boat or are willing to walk about fifteen miles, you canít get there. Most of the time there was less than a dozen people on the beach within half a mile, and no one else as far as the eye could see either side. In addition, the water is still 65 degrees plus and even warmer in the shallows near the beach. Therefore I spent much of the day in my swim trunks, waist deep in the water, trying to catch fish with my fly rod. No luck with that, but on one of two beach mounted rods I caught a skate on clam bellies. A photo of the skate on the beach is in the photo gallery. I tossed him back as I was hoping for a three foot striped bass. Many huge butterflies that looked like birds. Red Admirals I think, plus pretty smaller yellow ones. The water is so clear, warm and the beach so lovely, it is like the tropics at Sailors Haven.
But, boating is over the for year as the boat is out of the water and undergoing some custom modifications to enhance itís Hyperfishing abilities. Some of these products may be marketed right here on this website.
Time to focus on Hyperfishing by car until the boat goes back into the water. Look out trout and striped bass! Until the next missive, tight lines.
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