05 Oct October 2009 Fishing Report – Steve McKenna
FISHING REPORT: OCTOBER ‘09 – Steve McKenna
If someone asked me to fish saltwater for only one month of the season it would be the 31 days of October. Hands down! The 10th month offers some great fishing and sometimes idyllic weather. Stripers and blues migrate through our area day and night feeding without caution. Blackfish are also on the move this month chewing up everything along the rocky coast in their trek out to deeper residence. False albacore do the same, making several last minute raids into southern Massachusetts and Rhode Island waters before heading south. Bluefin tuna are also often readily available around the New England region in all their normal haunts. The weather, well, it can be super with summer like temperatures but without the oppressive humidity. October also gives us sparkling clear nights with moderate temperatures which make either day or evening forays to the ocean a real pleasure, particularly if you fish the surf. Be careful though, particularly you boaters, the weather in October can get real nasty, which hinders boaters but makes for great daytime surf fishing conditions. If you want to catch stripers during the daylight hours, October is the absolute best time to do it, especially those dark, overcast cold days when the wind is coming from the northeast . It may be one of the only times when monster bass are easily accessible from the daylight surf. October is also the best time to bag that trophy you have tracked all season long. The four aforementioned species have been feeding all season long plus they are now binge feeding which makes them get bigger by the day.
Of all of my surf caught 40 pound striped bass, most of them have come in the fall. Now is the time to get that fish you have been dreaming about. And as stated, it’s just not bass that get huge. Bluefish fatten up to the point of explosion. My personal best blues have also come in October with 3 going 17 to 18 and a half pounds. I have seen some 20 pounders landed too during the 10th month. False albacore feed similarly, gorging themselves with all available bait. Fish much bigger then those from earlier this season can be caught this month. I am not a tautog fisherman but I work in a tackle shop and we are an official weigh station. Every October we weigh in several blackfish in excess of 12 pounds. And for you off shore guys, Bluefin tuna feast on this plethora of feed. Look for great action up around Stellwagon, Cape Cod Bay and off Chatham. Bait too is moving this month streaming by our coast by the millions. Both large and small bait are ubiquitous and where you find bait you will almost always find predators. Octobers sees adult and peanut (juvenile) menhaden, juvenile herring, mullet, squid, spearing, and sandeels throughout our area. All of this bait makes for some fine fishing. So, now it is up to you to get off the couch and forget about the Red Sox and the Patriots. You will have all winter to watch football and the highlights of the Sox getting beat in the Wild card playoffs. Now is the time to fish as there is only about six good weeks left and the first four are the best in my opinion. Plan on getting out as much as possible. I like to make at least fifteen trips. That’s every other day (night in my case) which usually gives me a better than average shot at a trophy. Also, don’t do anything different this month except move. Fish your spots but don’t linger too long. The fish are on the move and so should you. October is the beginning of the end and it really flies by. Make the best out of it and hopefully the following breakdown of what each species has to offer in October will assist you. Good Luck!
STRIPED BASS: Bass fishing is at its best in October. I have always done well this month particularly in southern Massachusetts and Narragansett. For some reason(s) both areas light up this month. Some other places, like Newport, seem to die out. Action in both Gansett and Westport kicks into high gear right from the start of the month. Look for big fish to be caught in both areas all month long. I would concentrate my efforts in both spots either by boat (day) and in the surf (night). Spots like the mouth of the Westport River, the Elizabeth Islands, the Vineyard, Gooseberry Island, the mouth of the Narrow River, the center wall, the entrance to the Great Salt pond, and Matunuck have given up bass well in to the 40’s every October to surf and boatman. I like to hit a location in Matunuck, R.I. as much as possible this month. The place I like to fish is called Deep Hole and it is October’s SPOT OF THE MONTH. Deep hole is located in South Kingstown , Rhode Island and can be easily accessed. Find R.I. Route 1 and take the Matunuck Beach road exit. Follow that road to the end and there will be a convenient parking lot directly in front of you. It is operated by the R.I. Department of Environmental Management. It is open all night and please, no sleeping in your vehicles. Also, keep noise to a minimum as there are nearby homes. The fishing spot is located directly in front of said parking area. Get suited up and walk to the left or east. You will see the “hole” just a short walk away. Try to time your trips there around two hours before low water and, of course, after dark for the best results. Fish the last of the dropping tide and the start of the incoming tide for about an hour or so. You will be wading out on a shallow rocky bar and fan casting towards the east and south east. Live eels, rigged eels, and all types of plugs will work here in October. I won’t even talk about wind and moon conditions here as I would highly recommend to you to just go fishing as much as you can no matter what the wind is doing or what phase the moon is in. It is the fall and anything can happen. Just fish Deep Hole or your favorite location as much as humanly possible. Another great method to use at Deep Hole or any other spot this autumn is an artificial which I have been using for the last two months with unbelievable success. It is so productive that I am making it my TIP OF THE MONTH for October. Listen, if you want to catch stripers and blues this month please try the wooden plugs made by Kevin Gledhill of The Sharp-Eyed Lure company, formerly Hand Carved Lures of New York. Just by accident I started using these fantastic striper plugs in late July ’09 and haven’t put them down since. Kevin produces a wooden, metal lip swimmer which is a lot like the 5, 6, and 7 inch plastic Rebel, Redfin, or Bomber. In my opinion it has a much better action than its plastic cousin because it is made out of wood. All of Kevin’s plugs have a nice slow wobbling motion instead of the tight wiggle of the plastic jobs. Kevin’s creations also cast better, and swim deeper and truer than any plastic swimmer out there. They also swim great in current like you find in outflows or inlets. The only drawback is Sharp Eyed plugs are pricey, starting at about 20 bucks for a 5-6 inch model and up to 35 dollars for the 7 inch versions. But they are well worth it. They are much more durable than plastic and certainly won’t crack or even bust in half when hit by a big fish. Weights vary from ½ oz. to well over 2 oz. He makes a variety of colors and will do custom paint work on request. His plugs are truly works of art and most importantly catch bass, both small and large. So far I have taken stripers up to 25 pounds on his plugs. I like them so much I will probably never buy another Redfin for the rest of my life. Give one a try this fall. You will catch on the Sharp-eye! That’s it for bass in October. Get out there and fish. They will be out of our area soon.
BLUEFISH: Like stripers, expect some giant blue fish this month. Also, expect the best action of the year too. Schools of rampaging blues will be molesting bait from the Cape Cod Canal to Watch Hill. Boaters should just look for diving and wheeling gulls and cast under them. Or troll umbrellas or parachutes and hold on. BTW, trolling parachute jigs and pork rind is a highly successful method of putting fall stripers in the boat too. After dark, surf fisherman should find some pods or even lone giant blues prowling inshore rocks and inlets searching for big meals like bunker and mullet. If blues show up put the eels away and try large swimmers or needlefish plugs. Always stay in an area that has blues. More often than not, striped bass will show up right after the blues split. I have seen it happen many, many times. Remember, big bass swim with big blues.
FALSE ALBACORE: I would concentrate on the albies during the first two weeks of the month. After that the weather will cause them to split to warmer digs. But, until then, look for great action. Albacore can pop up just about anywhere in our region. Just today, I heard they were crashing the bait in close to shore at Monahan’s dock in Narragansett. Boaters should cruise around looking for obvious activity. It will be bass, blues, false albies, or all three. The #1 Deadly Dick with bright green tape on one side has been the hot lure for them this season. Shore anglers should cast those lures around the West Wall in Matunuck and along the rocky shoreline between Black point and the aforementioned Monahan’s. They have a habit of showing up there every October.
SCUP: Season closed 9-25-09
BLACKFISH: Crabs are the # 1 bait for white chinners at this time of the year. All of the successful ‘tog fisherman that I know also advise to use chum pots too. Boaters should look around submerged rock piles which dot the bottom of our area. Surf fisherman should use the crabs too all along the rocky shore lines of southern MA. and R.I. from Little Compton to Narragansett. Large fish will be taken in the lower Narragansett Bay also.
BLUEFIN TUNA: Again, I am not a Tuna guy but my boss, Capt. Jack Sprengal, is and I talk to him a lot so I can successfully, or at least try, to give fishing advice about them. He teaches me that this time of the year can be excellent with Bluefin averaging between 100 and 200 pounds feeding actively around the waters near Cape Cod. You see, they , like the other species mentioned in this report, are getting ready for a long swim also so they need to fuel up. Boaters should be mindful of the weather before heading up north to Stellwagon Bank and Cape Cod Bay. Jack tells me that the method he likes to use for these sized tuna is with stand up type spinning gear rated for 65 to 80 pound braided line. It is amazing that they can tame such a powerful fish with such gear. Typically, this tuna fleet uses 6 foot, beefed up spinning rods with reels like the Fin-Nor 8500 or 9500 capable of holding 4 to 500 yards of 65 to 80 pound Power Pro or Sufix braided line. Jack said that the white 12 inch rigged Sluggo is one of the best artificial baits to throw at these monster fish. If you are interested in learning more about how to gear up for these fish stop by the Saltwater Edge or ask a question on the Edge Angling forums anytime.
That’s it for October. It is THE best month to fish in my opinion. So get out there and sample what the fabulous fall has to offer. It will soon be Thanksgiving and we will be cursing the days (or nights) we found an excuse not to go fishing in October.