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Bruiser Bass

By Kastking | 24 August 2018 | 0 Comments

Bruiser Bass

By Capt. Tom Mikoleski, Grand Slam Charters, Montauk, NY


Every dedicated striped bass angler loves to tangle down and dirtywith the bruisers of the species.  Along the length of Long Island the time to cash in on big bass varies from month to month and locale to locale.  Let’s face it, if you know where to be when the big cows are swimming by, then the odds of encountering a slob of a striper tilt exponentially in your favor.

Many striper hounds that stalk the waters off Long Island, New York’s East End believe that the primo time to be on the water is during the fall months.  True, September to November can be great producers of stripers, but there is an equalizer in effect during this stage of the season, the weather.  Battling weather front after weather front and can shut down the angling for days at a time. When this occurs the migration continues, and with it could go the targets of your obsession for the remainder of the season. To avoid getting shut out by weather I’d recommend fishing the summer months as much as possible.   The pleasant conditions alone will give you more chances to be on the water when huge bass are in the area prowling for a meal.

I looked backed at the dates that have produced epic sized bass off our East End and the two months that jump off the page might surprise a few anglers.  Let’s begin with the Big Kahuna of all East End striped bass, which is the 76-pounder caught by Capt. Bob Rocchetta.  This huge striper inhaled a live eel in the wee hours of the morning on July 17, 1981.   Two years later on July 26, 1983, another famed East End sharpie, Captain John Alberda, landed a Moby striper of 69-pounds.  A few years back, Captain Jimmy George, of the Nicole Marie, swam one of his homemade spoons past the snout of another 69-pounder during August of 2004.  On July 4, of 2008, Capt Phil Kess of the Fishy Business positioned his craft expertly enough so one of his anglers was able to sling a bunker chunk within passing distance of a stalking 70-pound striped bass. The current world record bass of 81-pounds was caught off Connecticut by angler Greg Myerson on an August evening in 2011.  Now, I realize these are only five fish, but what you must take into account is that these are not just any five fish, these are all exceptional fish and the fact is they were all landed during the height of the summer season, July and August.


Why are these months so productive for huge stripers the East End?  Simply put it has to do with striped bass’ seasonal migrations, preferred water temperatures, and bait availability.  A great majority of the stripers we catch off Long Island come from either the Chesapeake Bay or Hudson River stocks.  Big cows spawn in these two bodies of waters from March to May, and once this deed is done they begin to migrate along the east coast feeding heavily along the way. Much of these migrating bass will end up habituating between New Jersey and Massachusetts.  And right dab in the middle of this zone is the cool, bait filled waters of the East End.   A simple timeline of travel suggests that the most of the bigger bass will find themselves in our area during July and August.  So, if the bruiser bass are here doesn’t it behoove you, the enthusiastic striped bass angler, to also be there? Makes sense to me.

Now let’s face, it tangling with any striped bass over 50-pounds is a rare occurrence, so the likely hood of you tangling with a 60 or 70-pound beast is like winning the lottery, but “You got to be in it to win it”.  During the summer big stripers will be swimming somewhere off the East End, and who knows, if the fishing stars align just right, then you could be the angler that gets blessed with an encounter with a legendary sized striper.

How can one improve their odds?

  • Number-1, be on the water during the summer new and full moon periods.  On these moon periods you get about 7-days when the current will be moving at an accelerated rate.  During these times of increased tidal flow striped bass of all sizes will be feeding more heavily, and this goes double for the really big girls.  I prefer to fish on night tides as the aura and mystique associated with this type of angling always gets my juices flowing.  However, many big bass are caught during the day, so really, the choice is yours, but fish those moon tides hard.
  • Number-2, when it comes to catching big bass natural large baits have long been consistent producers of trophy sized bass.  Yes, you can catch huge fish by throwing bucktails, working swimming plugs, or as Capt. Jimmy George did, trolling a large spoon.  If you manage to catch a cow bass on an artificial, I tip my hat to you because you have really accomplished something special.  But, we are looking to increase our odds, so as a means to that end — go with the “meat.”  Live eels, live bunker (or chunks from fresh dead bunker), and live porgies have long been the holy trinity of big bass producers, and nothing is going to happen soon to change this fact.
  • Number-3, concentrate your efforts in historically productive big bass areas.  On Long Island we are blessed to have two areas that are both magnets for big striped bass.  These areas are Orient and Montauk Points.  In addition, within relatively short boat rides from these two legendary areas lay two more destinations that are also fabled producers of huge bass, and they are Block and Fisher’s Island.

If you have no knowledge of these areas then the odds of you getting the job done on your own diminishes greatly.  However, fear not because there are many professional captains in theses area that can put you right in the sweet spot of the striper migration, and give you a chance at hooking up with the striper of a lifetime.

I realize many out there prefer to do it alone and more power to you, but if you choose this route follow this simple credo and the fishing gods just might smile upon you.  Fish with all your stamina and means around the summer moon periods, and when it comes to fooling a great predator like a trophy striper it is hard to beat the “meat.”

— © Tom Mikoleski

Captain Tom is the successful fishing charter captain of the Grand Slam (www.MontaukStriperFishing.com   516-457-5298) who sails out of Montauk, NY for trophy striped bass, doormat fluke, jumbo porgies, humpback sea bass, and monster sharks. If you liked this article, and want to learn more about striped bass fishing techniques, check out Captain Tom’s first book Bass Buff — A Striper Fishing Obsession Guide at www.BassBuff.com.



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