by Capt. Johnny Luchka
Until a predator and bait-fish pattern is established at this time of year while fishing off a boat or kayak for example, it makes sense to bring an assortment of rod and reel combos as well as an assortment of lures and soft plastics if live bait is not your game.
Typically my lures are an assortment of deep divers like Stretch and Yo-Zuri's that range in 8-50ft depth ratings with the predominant colors being black over silver, blue mackerel,and gold. Soft plastics attached to an assortment of jig heads from 1/2 ounce to 4 ounces are typical on my boat. An assortment of Gulp! and Hogy lures in yellow, white, and amber cover a wide array of baits that are present which are peanut bunker, rainfish, sand-eels and mullet. These search baits when tossed or trolled on marks off your fish-finder or under diving birds should determine the interest of Albies, Bonito, Bluefish, and of course Striped Bass.
Braided lines prevail in these situations as they troll much better and while tossing soft plastics the smaller diameter increases sink rate and there is also less drag and wind resistance when casting to breaking fish.
Search baits like lures and soft plastics including metals should be a main stay on any vessel as the fall fishery can be unpredictable so why not be prepared to cover your bases. This Striper was trolled up off Montauk on this Yo-Zuri jointed plug and once we marked the area where fish were staged, we proceed to drop weighted soft plastics into the area for some additional Bass before the tide slacked out and the bite died off. We moved off to another area with our search baits in hand to start the routine over once again.