One of the best things about the 'fall run' is that it's actually worth surf fishing during the day again. Even just a couple weeks ago, I wouldn't have bothered testing the waters while the sun was out. Inshore water temperatures on summer days are usually too warm for striped bass to wander within casting range of surf anglers. That's why we forgo sleep on weeknights and look disheveled at the office. But now that fall is here and temps are dropping, stripers are dining in the shallows again.
This week a friend and I pricked several nice fish on live eels under bright skies in Long Island Sound. One of the fish that was hooked was in a class above all the rest. My fishing partner Kurt fought it for what felt like an eternity before the fish cut his 60-pound test leader on a boulder right in front of us. The bulldogging bass never showed itself, but we both knew it was something special--fish like that will keep us going back until there's ice in our guides. Thinking the night bite would be just as good if not better, we returned to the scene of the crime and were shut out two nights in a row. Then on the following day the action picked right up again...go figure.
I guess it is time to change up those summertime patterns. Striped bass and bluefish have only one thing on their minds and that's fattening up before they head to wherever they spend the winter months. That means that they will act and feed differently now than they did in July or August. That also means that surfcasters need to adjust their fishing tactics too.
Photo credit: Kurt Daniello