by Capt. Steve Byrne
You can't get there from here. I was reminded of those lyrics from REM on Saturday morning, when I stopped by a long neglected surf spot. I was disappointed to find the wooden bulkhead falling apart; that bulkhead used to provide access to my fishing spot. Turns out, you can't get there from here anymore.
I settled for a less desirable casting perch and spent half an hour exercising my right arm. My plan was to catch some stripers and then go help out at the kids fishing event with the Fishermen's Conservation Association
. On Saturday we held the second of two annual events, this one reserved for autistic children, in coordination with the Grace Foundation
and Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro. I cut short my fishing time and headed over to the kids event early.
The kids braved windy conditions and while the fishing wasn't stellar, they did come up with a wide variety of local species including blowfish, porgies, bluefish, sea robins and small sea bass. I may have left out a couple. There are enough volunteers to match up with every family, so the kids get rods, reels, tackle boxes, tackle & t-shirts, and the volunteers show them how to catch fish so they can come back and enjoy more fishing trips in the days ahead.
Sunday morning I took a different approach to the spot I couldn't get to on Saturday, and I released five schoolie bass in half an hour. A beautiful way to start the day, and catching fish from the shore was something I hadn't done in a while. It felt good.
The amount and variety of bait in the Bight is amazing. Peanut bunker, mullet, butterfish and a few other species whose names escape me are all around in big numbers.
Bluefish are feeding on everything in sight, albies are popping up all over the place to feed on rainfish, weakies are taking peanuts and stripers are taking small jigs - as I confirmed this morning.
It looks like things are setting up for a classic fall run. The bass I caught this morning were holding tight to a row of big boulders. I used a quarter-ounce jighead with a 4-inch soft plastic body. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that you will only catch small fish this way. I have logged plenty of fish in the mid-twenties on these little jigs. It's a safe bet that you will find bass on any structure that has current and bait in the area.
Halfway through September, the full run is on and will be over before we know it. Let's load up some fresh line, sharpen our hooks and check our drag; we can definitely get there from here.