By Tom Schlichter
We’ll it’s finally here: October! Bring on the blitzes!
Whether you are looking for primo bottom action around mussel beds, boulder fields or wrecks, chasing false albacore down the center of Long Island Sound, or hoping to cash in on the bass and bluefish runs that close out the season each year, now is the time to drop everything and head out on the water armed to the gills to cover every possibility.
“You’re really in line for some great October fishing action if you happen to be a Freedom Boat Club member,” says Gaige Simon, Freedom Boat Club’s sales manager for its six Long Island franchises. “That because one of the biggest benefits of being a member is that once you join, you can take a boat out of any of our facilities across the country. Locally, that gives you plenty of options with two Freedom Boat Clubs on Long Island’s South Shore and four more on the North Shore. Basically, we have the fish surrounded. No matter what you want to target, there’s a Freedom Boat Club within a reasonable run.”
Indeed, Long Island’s Freedom Boat Club Freeport and Lindenhurst locations provide access to Jones Inlet and Fire Island Inlet, respectively. These cuts and their surrounding bay and ocean waters see terrific bottom fishing with porgy, sea bass and even blackfish on local wrecks. They also play host to massive schools of bunker and various smaller baitfish like sand eels, spearing, peanut bunker and the like which are heading ever southward and drawing marauding schools of stripers and bluefish in their wake.
At the same time, Long Island Sound should see similar smokin’ action with scup and sea bass off just about any point, false albacore racing along after rain bait, and choppers and linesiders pursuing adult bunker, baby bunker, juvenile porgies and just about anything else that will fit in their maws.
“All you have to do if you are a Freedom Boat Club Member,” explains Simon, “is let us know you’ll be heading out and show up at the dock. We’ll have the boat you want all gassed up and ready to go. You step aboard, turn the key and head for the fish – it’s as easy as that. There’s a full electronics package on every vessel we offer to help you find your way and zero in on the action. At the end of the day you pull up to the dock, hand the keys to the attendant, and head on home. You don’t even need to clean the boat. That’s all part of the deal. It’s like boat ownership without the hassles.”
If you are unfamiliar with Freedom Boat Clubs, they operate a total of 16 locations within our Coastal Angler coverage area where you can join-up, be your own captain and head out on your own schedule to find the best fishing or on-the-water adventures. Become a member at one Freedom Boat Club location and you have access to the boats at all 180-plus Freedom Boat Clubs across the country – including over 150 vessels between Long Island, Connecticut and the Rhody coast alone. Freedom Boat Club has also recently opened several European locations for members to utilize at no additional cost!
With October here, club members are set up well for cashing in on the fall run. While there are several styles of boats available at each location including dual console, center console and pontoon models, Simon recommends taking either the 24-foot Key West or 24-foot Cobia center consoles for October adventures. “These are ideal,” he says, “because they are big and fast enough to get around quickly and handle the occasional choppy day. They are serious fishing machines with live wells, lots of rod holders and plenty of range.”
As for where Simon expects the best action to be this month, he says it’s tough to beat the Eaton’s Neck Triangle area in Long Island Sound. “You’ll find just about everything there because the bottom is really varied,” he chuckles. “There are three peaks within the triangle area that force baitfish to stack up as the tide pushes them around and that really excites the opportunistic predator species. It’s just an ideal fishing situation, especially with all the baitfish trying to find their way out of Long Island Sound at this point in the season.”
According to Simon, false albacore are still a viable possibility during early October but you’ll have to run a little further east each week to pin them down. Target the little tunny with Deadly Dicks, Panther Martin 1-ounce Big Fin Paddle Tails (www.panthermartin.com) or Hogy Lures Epoxy Jigs. The stripers and blues, notes Simon, will respond to diamond jigs or bunker chunks fished on the bottom around buoy 11B, the OB buoy and the E-can right off the Eatons Neck Coast Guard Station. If using the chunks, Simon suggests you employ as much weight as possible to hold bottom. “You want to fish vertically with no slack in the line for the bass and blues,” he states. “Six ounces of lead may be enough, but there’s nothing wrong with using eight- to 12-ounce sinkers if necessary to keep your bait anchored in place.”
Blackfish, too, are on the October menu. These tasty, spirited battlers are true structure lovers so you’ll want to use your electronics to find a piece of structure or rock bottom over which to anchor. Tempt them with Asian or green crabs on a standard bottom rig or try a 1- to 3-ounce blackfish jig tipped with a single small crab or a quarter of crab body with the top shell and legs removed.
Of course, if you still need some scup fillets, any of the nearby points should produce well in 30-foot depths but Cranes Neck is probably most dependable. Anchor up, get a chum pot filled with ground clam over the side and fish on the early or late stages of the tide. You should have no problem catching your limit before the day is out.
“Both our Northport and Port Jefferson franchises are within easy reach of The Triangle,” sums up Simon. “The boats are ready and waiting. All you have to do is make the call.”