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Dec 5, 2017 11:38 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Another Great Week Of December Fishing

Dec 5, 2017 11:38 AM

Fishing continued to be very good on a number of fronts this week, for boat-based and shore-bound anglers alike. Striped bass are still roaming the surf zone in large numbers, though not generally in large sizes. Blackfishing is just incredible, especially for those leaving from Montauk and plying the rocky bottoms off Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Black sea bass is equally red hot, and many a freezer is filling up each day with big white fillets and black-and-blue bass bodies destined for the winter frying pan.

And fishing in the offshore canyons remains a tempting target, with a fair number of large pelagics roaming the edges of the ancient Hudson River.

Catching striped bass from local beaches was just about as easy at it can get this past week. In fact, catching 30 or 40 striped bass from local beaches was just about as easy as it can get this past week. Surfcasters found voraciously hungry stripers just feet from dry sand in Quogue, Southampton Village, Bridgehampton and Wainscott nearly every day.

The only downside to the fishing was that most of the fish were exceedingly small, in the 10-to-20-inch size. But with seas flat, the fish were prime targets for fishing with small spinning tackle and fly rods.

There were “keepers” in the mix and a few fish that pushed 20 pounds for those who had the patience to filter though dozens of tiny fish until the bigger ones were able to get to a hook.

Though I have heard rumors of quality fish still being caught by Massachusetts and Rhode Island anglers, I think it’s a safe bet that the fish we’ve been catching are the rear guard of the striper migration, and with much colder weather in the forecast, these fish could be moving on in short order.

Blackfishing doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of winding down at all, however. Both the Shinnecock Reef and the wrecks and rocky shores reachable from Montauk have been absolutely stacked with big, hungry togs. The season closes next week, so if you are eager to pull on some of our region’s toughest and most difficult to catch species, now is the time to find a ride.

If you are looking for an easier target, or simply a larger bag of meat to feed your freezer, then finding a ride on any of the Montauk or Hampton Bays party boats to the offshore wrecks in search of sea bass is your ticket. The fishing has been incredible, and getting a limit of 10 big sea bass should basically be a sure thing.

There have been some cod, ling, weakfish, fluke, porgies, monkfish, pinfish, tilefish, bluefish and about 10 other species of wreck dwellers and migratory wanderers mixed in with the big biscuits, so every bite comes with the excitement of the unexpected.

Big-game fishermen also are looking forward to the rest of this month (and maybe even next month, if the weather doesn’t get too severe), with all signs pointing to a run of tuna that still has plenty of legs in it. A handful of boats went offshore this week and found summer species like yellowfin, bigeyes, albacore and swordfish roaming the edges of the continental shelf.

The big bluefin tuna that usually are the last to head south have yet to show themselves and still are being caught off Chatham, Massachusetts, so there could well be weeks of good fishing to come.

Duck and goose hunting is back up and running now, too, and the guys out east have had some good bluebill shooting—but there’s plenty of time for that, so I’m going fishing until New Year’s Eve.

Catch ’em up. See you out there.

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