Westward Ho to the Finale

Cue the Fat Lady. It’s Over!

The pilgrims did it on the Mayflower.  American pioneers did it in covered wagons. Now Long Island surfcasters are doing it in their Patagonia waders. 

Moving west.

No one comes east to fish the Montauk fall striper run anymore.  Or at least, not by comparison to past years. The days of sustained weeks- or even months-long runs of migrating bass, slashing and attacking bait in the east-end surf, fattening up for their journey south, seem like a dream from the past. For most of this decade, bass blitzes of that sort have been more memory than reality.

This November, weary of reeling in dinks in the south fork surf, more and more, the Faithful plied the south shore beaches “up island.”  Robert Moses State Park, Fire Island National Seashore. Gilgo, Tobay and Jones beaches.

MISTER NOVEMBER: Verizon Charlie hooking up in the surf, “up island.”

One late November Monday—a mild, unseasonably temperate morning—Billy Black, Verizon Charlie and local sharpie, Big Babylon Bob converged for a surfcasting session at Robert Moses. It proved to be a fish-filled day. The tide was just beginning to ebb as the sun peeked above the horizon. The trio was into fish almost immediately. As the sun climbed higher, they  moved further west along the beach on a tip: Bigger fish and more fish in the waters closer to the Democrat Point inlet, which are more turbulent.  Better to stir up the sand eels that were breakfast to the schoolie bass they found.  

BIG MEN, LITTLE FISH: Babylon Bob and Billy Black nailing runts two at a time at Robert Moses State Park.

At first, the fish were in the 22 to 24 inch range.  With the move, they became more plentiful—Big Babylon Bob had three on successive casts initially—and larger.  They scored many doubles. The fish approached LeeBob size. Then VC nailed the holy grail, the fish we sought but was mostly absent this entire season. A 28-inch striper swallowed his homemade feather fly teaser.  An elusive keeper bass was his to savor.

KEEPER MEISTER: Said Verizon Charlie: “If keepers blitz in the surf, I will be there…” And he was.

VC doesn’t keep fish for the table. So you might think that to him, a keeper is no different than any other of the dozens—literally— of fish he had that day,  or the hundreds—yes, he counts them—he’s had all season.  But a keen observer knows the secret behind the smile on his usually stoic Teutonic face. As the fat lady warmed up her pipes, VC was perhaps the most entertained person on the beach.

Hats off to VC. Somebody had to catch one. Couldn’t have happened to a better fisherman.  They left them biting at 1030am.  Cue the fat lady…………..

4 Responses to “Westward Ho to the Finale”

  1. Johanna says:

    Well written, Fred. You sense or humor comes shining through. I see these fishermen when I walk juxtaposed against the beauty of the shore. Now I know exactly what they’re up to because I did wonder why they were not out in a boat somewhere. lol

  2. JudyJudyJudy says:

    Uncle Freddie,
    May you have an oceanful of keepers next season . . . all of these wee pipsqueaks grown up and dying to be the first on your line!
    Merry Christmas from Santa Barbara,
    XO’s, Judy and Bruce

  3. Kathy says:

    Sorry the season was somewhat disappointing. Maybe next year will be better. Glad some of your friends had a memorable morning. As usual I enjoy the reports and the accompanying pictures that keep the fishtails so interesting. Thanks, Fred.

  4. Felix says:

    Not to worry, Fred, fish or no fish the RHG will be there next year as always. If we catch a few it will be a bonus!

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