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Thread: Why are there no fish in Montauk right now?

  1. #1
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    Default Why are there no fish in Montauk right now?

    Y'all probably figured out my answer already, but I'll try to lay it out for you, step by step.

    I met an old timer the other morning, we were talking about the lack of bass and big bluefish in the NJ surf so far..... He's been catching, but it's been very spotty for him. The guy has 50 years of experience, so I would think he knows how to catch a fish or 2....

    He said to me:
    "If there are no fish in the Montauk surf, and fishing is this slow in NJ, where are they???"

    The answer to that prompted the idea for this thread.

    I'll fill it in as I get time...

  2. #2
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    Isn't that the thing that guys always say, "there are no fish in Montauk" even when there are? Dark are you trying to throw us off here? The boats are catching them I have been reading the reports, so are you referring to the surf or what?

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    Tis the season to be on the Lazybones diamond jigging in the Montauk rips the fish are in the rips and hitting fairly steady your best shot is early morning or the night tides in the surf otherwise jump on a boat.The bait is heavy in the rips damn I wish I could be there I love squidding out there it is the one time of the year I want to be on the boat rather than the surf.When you hit em its just non stop craziness at it's best.Capt. Mike and his crew are top notch no BS professional crew if you want to know whats up in the boat reports his wife Kathy is the one to listen to.Sorry for the plug for Mike but I don't want people going on the wrong boat I have once when his boat was full there is a difference between catching and not catching some are willing to try harder and yes you do have bad days on his boat also but thats fishing.Leave the spinning rods home they are not welcome on the boat if you never done it before its a blast talk to the mates his daughters(Serena and Rebecca) mate sometimes if Serena doesn't have a charter for her boat Lady Bones all the mates are more than willing to give instruction on casting and the technique of squidding.I know after 3 years of not being out there I will be a little rusty I had my reel all tuned and ready to rock maybe next year.
    Cranky Old Bassturd.

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    I don't know a lot about Montauk but I do know it is called the Mecca of surf fishing. A few of my friends were there 2 weeks ago and got one fish between all 3 of them from the surf. So yes I am curious, why is the surf action so bad this year? My friends said they always score on their trips up there and have been making the same trip near the end of Septtember for the last 10 years. What is different about this year from the last 9?

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    Montauk is far and a lot of gas. I am catching fish where I live near Brooklyn.

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    We used to go out every year for our anniversary in Sept.

    10 years ago the surf seemed to be mobbed with bait and the surf fishing was much better.

    we recently saw the last 5 years the bite getting later every year so we have gone as late as Nov.

    I like it after Columbus day and the hotel rates drop the bait is staying off the beach.I generally diamond jig & the amount of fish when out on the boats are incredible sometimes

    The other issue in Montauk is everyone seems to focus on the lighthouse which is mainly a nighttime bite. when everything quiets down the bait hides.
    the fish look for the bait there are many places that are producing steady action but no one looks for them drive around and get familiar with Montauk all sides of it

    their are so many little spots. the locals are not going to tell you where they are catching forget about it.

    many overlook the sand beaches they provide better daytime action I have had bad boat days too and then you find out the fish were on the beach all day.

    Things Happen It may be the Mecca but its no different then anywhere else if your just putting a day in you better be pretty damn lucky.

    You need to put your time in there just like anywhere else. theres more to Montauk then the lighthouse.
    Cranky Old Bassturd.

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    Well said^^^^. Forget the lighthouse and Turtle Cove unless it is deeeeeep into the night. Even this time of the year and with a good tide, there is plenty of room then. I favor the sand beaches during the daytime and the rockier areas at night. Put in your time, the fish will be there.....most of the time. If you don't catch, you have still fished some fabulous water. Better than raking leaves.....

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    Thanks Mick I hate raking leaves too lmao
    Cranky Old Bassturd.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mick2360 View Post
    Put in your time, the fish will be there.....most of the time. If you don't catch, you have still fished some fabulous water. Better than raking leaves.....
    No offense meant but I feel that phrase is a little over used. Friends of mine have been hitting it up regularly. Very little bass action, even at night, until this Weds when it finally blew open. So the fish are around now with some regularity, 5 weeks later then they showed up last year. And I know about the two 40+ bass on Paulie's site.The thing is, there were 400 guys up there fishing that weekend and that's the best that came out of it.

    The boat action has been good, the the surf action has sucked. Are YOU catching fish of any size at Montauk right now (before Weds) If you were to call that a hot bite, or even any kind of bite at all with 400 guys fishing, imo that would be delusional. Just my 2 cents, of course.

  10. #10
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    Montauk report yesterday from another site, any questions?

    "Fished montauk today. I don't know whats going on, but montauk has been DEAD. From the town beaches , to ditch plains, to caswells, to camp hero,scotts,the weed bowl,north bar,stepping stones,shagwong,fort pond bay,and nappeuge.... saw a few schoolies, i caught a few blues today. Thats it"

  11. #11
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    SC, NO offense taken. I drive five hours to hit M. My perspective is much different than that of an Island guy who gets to fish there at his whim; my bad, I should have made that clear. There are times when I make the drive down for the weekend and catch little but blues. I sleep a little and then hit the rock beaches at night. These can be long shifts. But I learned from watching the night guys and my rate of hook ups have improved. Just trying to give my perspective.

    When I'm lucky, I get to M five times in the fall. I'm no expert but I work at it, apply what I've been told and learned on my own and once in awhile, one trip out of my five, I get lucky and get into some lights out fishing. I'll never weigh a fish at Paulies. What happens on the rocks stays on the rocks (he don't need my photos, I buy enough plugs there. Do I need 'em? Not really. It's an illness.).
    Reports or not, I'm heading down next weekend and praying to the bass Gods for a good trip.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stripercrazy View Post
    No offense meant but I feel that phrase is a little over used. Friends of mine have been hitting it up regularly. Very little bass action, even at night, until this Weds when it finally blew open. So the fish are around now with some regularity, 5 weeks later then they showed up last year. And I know about the two 40+ bass on Paulie's site.The thing is, there were 400 guys up there fishing that weekend and that's the best that came out of it.

    The boat action has been good, the the surf action has sucked. Are YOU catching fish of any size at Montauk right now (before Weds) If you were to call that a hot bite, or even any kind of bite at all with 400 guys fishing, imo that would be delusional. Just my 2 cents, of course.
    Thats exactly right it was a very poor start to the surf seaosn and on the internet guys love to split hairs and if oneeeee bass is caught among 400 guys love to come on and say oohh nooo the run is ON 1 sey twosey were caught at night.

    When i asked this question about 2 weeeks ago if anyone knew of a bite Mick u implied you were nailing lots fish and i should make my own reports, but im callign shennigans cause truthfully it sounds like you offering your opinion and you haven't been up there. A surf club i know of got one bass between 8 guys last week, the way i see it is a saved 400 miles until it gets better, Like Joe Friday would say .....Just the facts!

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    Sharkhart, I posted in the last week in September that I fish Montauk in October and November. Re-read the post.

    Shoot me a PM. I'll be there next weekend hoping to 'make my own report', always happy to meet someone from this site for a tide or a cup of coffee.

    I guess what I want to say is that Bass are migratory and reports are what happened to someone else yesterday. I'm going to take my chances.

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    I'm glad to see that we can all have different opinions without fighting.

    Shark and Mick, I've fished with both of ya's and neither seems to know the meaning of the word quit when you're out there.... I think if you met each other on the beach, you would probably realize that you are more compulsive when out there, than a lot of guys. I think that you would both get along, and you seem to have the same dedication, the only difference being that Mick can't fish as much because of work and family..... You both have the tendency to fish till you're ready to drop. In my book, that makes for a dedicated fisherman, and someone who's likely to get a fish when others might not.

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    I feel I may have given the wong impression with the title of this thread.

    Yes there are fish in Montauk.

    Yes the boats have been hammering them for some time....but even with the charters, there has been a shift in the dynamics how they fish...whereas in the past it was "pure bass" charters for all 2 or 3 daily trips that they did....there has now, in the last year or so, been a subtle shift to "mixed bag charters" where they fish for seabass, fluke, or porgies, and then shift to fishing the Rips when the tide is optimal for maximum bass activity..


    Let's think about this here.... Montauk, as one of the main highways for bass migration, traditionally has had more than just a "bass in the Rips" bite.
    EX- when the bite dies in other states, like NJ, Del, MD, MA, etc, you know you can always catch bass somewhere in Montauk, even in the heat of the summer.....
    That is becoming less and less the case now....

    I ask you this......
    If the bass fishing was consistently so good in Montauk, WHY have the boats shifted to the mixed bag charters?
    One reason put forth is that folks want other fish besides striped bass, and that other fish taste better......
    My response to that is this....
    People come from all over the world to fish Montauk for trophy striped bass...
    It's highly unlikely that they would come to Montauk to fish for "trophy porgies"






    **Isn't it more likely that the charter captains, noticing a decline in the overall numbers of bass, are now touting this "mixed bag fishing" as the perfect spin for the concept of "family fishing" so as to take the focus off the fact that they are in fact doing more poorly on the striped bass than they have been?


    Some facts to support this...
    1. I monitor the Montauk Charter boats obsessively. In the past 2 years, the average fish being reported from Montauk charter boats is in the low 20's, (at times other than the Spring and Fall blitzes) and some in the teens. The "big" fish are not being caught in the numbers of the past, even as recently as 5 years ago...and this is just for the boats..
    2. The overall size, and sheer numbers of the fish in the surf tournaments has been declining steadily...

  16. #16
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    As for the surf....
    Ask any old timer who fishes Montauk REGULARLY....the fish are not there like they used to be....and guys on the internet don't help it any by coming back from a Montauk trip and posting they had "epic fishing" when they had 3 or 4 hours of catching schoolie bass in the 24-28" class.....

    That ain't epic fishing by any means, and if you are really of the opinion that's epic, that tells me you haven't been fishing that long.....


    So....
    As of the last week,
    YES,there are fish in the surf in the daytime at Montauk.
    Yes, there are fish to be caught on the night tides....I've gotten reports of guys I know catching double digits of fish by experienced guys working those night tides.....

    But, those catches above aren't likely to be attained by the average fisherman. And should not be relied on as evidence that "they're catching in Montauk, they're catching in Montauk!!!!" "Run on up there, it's on!!!!!"


    The reason I created this thread is to try to illustrate to folks who don't know, that Montauk, the mecca of saltwater fishing, has had declining catches of larger fish for some years now...and to raise some possibilities of exactly why this could be happening...


    The distinction between the boat and surf fishing is important here....
    1. Many of the old timers will tell you that the surf fishermen get the "overflow" of bass and predators in the surf, during the spring and fall migrations.
    2. For places like NJ, we have had a shift in our surf fishing. It's gradually declined in the last 5 years. This could be because of a shift of striped bass to offshore migration on their way to Montauk and points North. However, if there is a shift in the quantity of fish caught in the surf at Montauk, this cannot be explained merely by referring to the offshore shift, as Montauk has always been in the center lane of the migration highway......
    3. Fish not being there in numbers for the surf guys, it's not an accident, late season, or merely a temperature thing....it's more likely than not, an indicator of an overall decline...
    4. I tend to be long-winded when I'm passionate about something....I hope this thread has been an education for some here, as I have tried to make it as interesting as possible...


    As always, please be aware that these are my opinions. Although there is strong anecdotal evidence backing my statements here, I would love to hear someone who has a different opinion, explain that opinion and tell us why...in this way we foster learning and awareness at a higher level.....

    Additionally, if any charter capts have logs to disprove what I'm suggesting here, IE if you have log books with striped bass catches documented to prove you are catching more bass, and bigger ones, than you were catching 10 years ago in Montauk, then by all means please share them with us....

    Thanks for reading, folks.

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    Thank you for your honesty.

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    Yes, There are no fish to be caught in the Montauk Surf. Last weekend! But Columbus Day Weekend - According to everyone I spoke to last weekend, the crowds fishing the beaches clobbered a ton of fish. Paulies girls said they almost ran out of everything in the store. The girl at the Montauk Bake Shop said the whole town smelled like fish. My weekend was a blur of wind, rain, and a ripping tide aong the southern beaches that took any lure, any weight EAST almost faster than you could turn towards the Point.

    Mike O, a visiting Brit with 15 years of fishing Montauk in two and three week bites, is the only one I know who caught a keeper (31" Striper). He's one of those wet suit craizies who thinks standing on a rock out front is the only way to catch fish. The other four Brits, myself and Mick and his wife all found no joy in the surf at MP last weekend.

    I hope they will connect before they head back across the pond in early November. You too Mick. I'm back "Down the Shore" and will be giving the North End Beaches (Sandy Hook to Asbury Park) and the Shrewsbury and Navesink Rivers my best shot. We are hearing about a little bass action
    and the water is turning cooler.

    We have had mullet pods schooling south along the beaches for more than a month with very little predation evident. The cooler nights should move other bait species out of the tribs and on around the tip of Sandy Hook. November has always been the best month to connect with fish inside and outside, from Sandy Hook and then along the Jersey Shore beaches.

    Montauk is the East End and its beaches face South. Sandy Hook is the North End and its beaches face East. Montauk responds well to N and NE winds, and the Jersey Shore responds best to West and Southwest winds. The East End and the North End are just short of 200 miles apart. Four hours in the dark of night, using Staten Island, the Brooklyn Beltway and Sunrise highway.

    I did it last weekend on 25.3 gallons round trip. Atlantic Highlands to Montauk and back without a fill up. My 5.3 L, GMC pick up has a 26 gallon tank and the fill up in NJ cost 83.20 at 3.25 a gallon when I got home on Monday. Add the GSP, OBC and VN road &bridge tolls and your looking at a $100.00 bill to roll either way. My low fuel light came on as I entered NJ on the Outer Bridge Crossing from SI.

    Mick I'll call you when the large ones arrive. We have a sandwich shop here in Highland, NJ, that has a breakfast burrito for $4.00 that will make you knees go weak and put your weight loss program on hold.

    You East Enders have my condollences on the $4.00 a gallon gas prices.
    Last edited by RJC; 10-21-2011 at 09:21 AM. Reason: word correction

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    Bass are on the decline this is how the crash started last time and there are millions more guy's fishing for them now. Dr. Lubchenco with Nobama's blessing , closing down almost ever thing else has all head boats pursuing them in the spring and fall. We need new regulations ASAP.

    Pay attention to what history has taught us or be prepared to relive it again

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    Quote Originally Posted by finchaser View Post
    Bass are on the decline this is how the crash started last time and there are millions more guy's fishing for them now. Dr. Lubchenco with Nobama's blessing , closing down almost ever thing else has all head boats pursuing them in the spring and fall. We need new regulations ASAP.
    finchaser Striped bass are not endangered. The red flag number for us to become concerned is 37.5 million. The species is currently in excess of 60 million. A moritorium was declared in 1985 when the coastal assessment hit a mere 5 million striped bass. ASFMC was created to turn that number around. in 1996 by use of a coast wide approach and lengh limit enforcement the stock estimate was declared fully recovered at 40 million fish.

    The striped bass assessment committee is meeting in 2 weeks to make decisions on striped bass technical committee recommendations for management of the species. One of the most important decisions that will be made will be a to implement harvest restrictions on known striped bass spawning grounds in the Albamarle Sound/Roanoke River, Chesapeake Bay tributaries and the hudson River by 50% or more. A move in that direction in the Hudson River will derectly impact recreational fishing on the Hudson from March to June, 2012. It won't affect head boat or commercial fishing because there hasn't been any of that kind of activity in the freshwater tidal portion of the Hudson River north of Bear Mountian in 4 decades.

    Trying to make headboats the enemy is a waste of time and effort. They are not the enemy and their customers are folks like us.

    Trying to tie the can to Obama's tail on fishing issues is pure pie in the sky political smearing. I don't like him or his policies, but I exercise my comments on his record on a political forum and not a fishing forum.

    I am what you would call a conservative, old white man who hasn't voted democrat since I voted an absentee ballot for John F. Kennedy in November, 1960. I was sitting in the belly of a US Navy LPH Carrier off the coast of Siagon, RVN while there was a SVN Paratroops coup attempt going on. My Marine battalion was the Assualt BLT for Fleet Marine Force, Pacific at the time. The SVN Navy and Marines put the coup down in a week, so we didn't have to go in and kick paratrooper *** that week. The dems haven't put up anyone qualified since JFK. JMHO.
    Last edited by RJC; 10-21-2011 at 03:22 PM. Reason: spelling corrections

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