2008-10-24 / Columnists

Rockaway Outdoors/Tales From The Wheelhouse

By Captain Vinnie Calabro

The stiff winds didn't stop local fishermen from venturing out this past weekend, and those persistent enough scratched out a catch here and there. I switched locations for a few tides and fished a bit to the east for a few days out of Fire Island and a few out of Jones, then Debbs inlet. My observations were this plenty of bunker schools to the east; especially around the Captree Bridge area and surrounding beaches. Also mixed in were some shad, which many of the locals were jigging around the vicinity of the Sore Thumb.

I personally didn't have any note worthy catches; however I did see some decent fish landed by both surfcasters and boaters. Granted I was new to the area and was feeling my way around.

In my opinion, it is an area that should be watched, especially if you are in the hunt for big fish before the run hits Rockaway and the surrounding areas by us. Keep in mind that it is easily accessible with numerous boat ramps, good piers and shore points.

It is a big bay on the inside easily navigated by the state channel, which has a considerable amount of structure in the form of bridges that all I'm certain have their moments.

With the winds the way they were this past weekend, it provided a break in the sea and wind enabling many to fish.

Friends fishing Jones Inlet had some decent bass on both clams and drifting live eels. Also Debbs and the AB Bridge had some fish too. I'm talking stripers with some blues mixed in, but keep in mind that blackfish and sea bass were also caught on the structures by those targeting them.

Back home in the Rockaways, I received some varying reports. The bars and shoals east of Breezy saw some fish, as well as a few picked by those working the clam boats.

The bunker seemed almost impossible to find on a regular basis and I traveled the beaches from Debbs to Riis Park and didn't see them as I did a week ago. It's fall and the fish are on the move. Also, the intermittent winds at times made locating the schools a little more difficult.

On Tuesday, my boat fished locally here back home off the Rockaways. Fishing down the beach, there was quite a fleet working the clam boats. And as you can guess, after trying some drops in the bay, we wined up out among them.

Captain Eddie Parker was at the helm and he had his anglers limit out on stripers up to eighteen pounds. Not bad, considering the winds and sea conditions. Usually this time of year when baitfish is scarce, especially after the easterly winds we've had the fish go on a clam feed.

The clam beds off the beach really get chewed up; in essence providing a never-ending supply of clam chum. Hey it's the old trout fishermen mantra "match the hatch." Hopefully the winds will back down by enabling us to get a good shot at the fish.

Other related outdoor stuff is the fact that bow hunters started climbing into their tree stands this past weekend. My friends didn't fare too well only seeing a doe or two. However they seem to be optimistic, almost giddy, as the cold eather moves in.

Oh well to each his own . . .

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