Capt. Mike Hogan reported that Matt Rissell and crew enjoyed an epic night in the hole earlier this week, with Hogy Pro Tails producing about 50 fish, with a dozen bass between 28 and 36-inches, with stripers below 25-inches, and several 15-pound bluefish. What the fish are feeding on isn’t clear, but at this time of year there are typically large schools of peanut bunker, small sea herring, silversides, and sand eels around.
The hours between dusk and dawn are also prime eeling time, but with large bluefish in good numbers, it can make for an expensive trip, as the choppers love to shorten snakes. If you end up with a chopped up eel, keep feeding it back to the fish and set hard when the rat-a-tat-tat is felt and hope that the hook is set in the corner of the mouth. Big bluefish might not be as highly sought after as bass, but they provide a much more lively experience, particularly when you have to land them.
Down along the islands, there are plenty of schoolies in around the rocks that will take smaller, walk-the-dog plugs such as Rebel Jumpin’ Minnows, Heddon Zara Spooks, or MirrOlures, with some bluefish mixed in, but if you are looking for larger fish, then white or yellow pencil poppers, stickbaits, and metal lip swimmers are the way to go if you prefer plugging.
Ten-inch bone or bubblegum Hogy’s are a great choice for working the rocks if you prefer artificials as opposed to live eels, but Phil Stanton reported that he has been able to produce at least a few lower 30-inch bass on each of his trips around the islands, even during daylight hours.
Unpredictability is the key word right now around our local archipelago, but the turn of the tide is a good time to target activity in Robinson’s and Quick’s, with Tom Boerning reporting that he ran into some schools of big bluefish pushing bait in Quick’s on Tuesday morning and also managed a 36-inch bass. With the winds kicking up even more than usual in the afternoon this week, getting an early start, and that means before first light, is a good idea.