Cuttyhunk Chronicles Part 3

I will be first to admit that I should not be considered a “big fish hunter”. I like catching fish from small fluke to sea robins to bass of all sizes. At one point in my life I chased every report, every big fish bite. I found out that most of my big fish came when I least expected it. I respect those who hunt for big fish, it takes a lot of preparation and dedication to commit to that. I don’t know if I am stubborn or old but if someone tells me 40’s are rolling in Montauk surf today first I will think about the traffic, then crowds. At the end I might go…with a camera. That is what I always wanted to do during those crazy years off Jersey bunker blitzes off the jetties. Or Cape Canal in previous years. Its my thing, something that I enjoy, capturing images of sport we love. The funny part of all this is that in years past, I would go to Montauk or south shore inlet with a mindset of avoiding smaller fish and trying to get a big fish. I am not sure how this changed over the years, but now I look at every cast as hope for a bump of any kind. Maybe because fisheries are in the toilet? Or maybe because my local spots in Jones Inlet, close to home have never been known as big fish spots? I have no idea, but I can tell you that an idea of celebrating a 50lb fish and giving a guy who caught a 49 a pat on the back drives me crazy! Absolutely crazy? Would you tell your kid “nice try” after he comes home with a test score of 99? Do you want to slit your wrist on your 40th birthday because sadly you are an old man because a date change? I think not


Anyway, what does this have to do with Cuttyhunk?


A lot. I don’t feel, current state of fisheries being what they are, that I have a good chance of catching a big fish regardless of where I fish. Montauk, Block, south shore inlets, sand, I am just happy to catch something. Any trip with a  bump is a success, after all I fooled a fish into hitting deer hair and pork rind! Yet, for some unknown reason, when I am at rock at Cuttyhunk I feel that next cast could be slammed by a giant fish. I cant explain why I feel that way, and its not a particular “spot” like other places. Anywhere on that island I feel the potential for a really big fish. Maybe its because of its storied history, maybe its because of what I’ve seen other catch with my own eyes, maybe its based on my personal experience. All I can say is that most of the bigger fish I’ve caught over the years I caught there. And yet I only spend few nights a year there.


Dealing with two years of consecutive skunk has been hard. But I was glad my guys were catching some fish. By the time third day rolled around the wind has shifted to hard NE. From limited experience I know that northeast can be hard to fish anywhere on the island except as west point where wind is in you back. The way island is positioned strong NE wind can make a big bow in your line, even in the coves. Ron from ZeeBaaS arrived on Saturday with his friends and we spent afternoon chatting. At some point Ray, Buoy Tom and Wetzel went to see the Cuttyhunk Fishing Club since Bill has never been there. I suggest if you ever go to Cuttyhunk stay there first and absorb all the history in that place. It turns out they have seen someone catch a “big fish” in the cove in town from the club (I believe the fish turned out to be 24 pounds). They all ran back to get their rods and went plugging. Wetzel said there was a lot of big shad in that area and that he was going to fish there tonight. Ray said he would join him. Everyone we spoke on island said they would love to fish southwest point BUT there are going to be so many people there, they are thinking of finding another place. Ron said “watch, so many people think southwest point will be crowded, no one will show up”. I doubt that to be true but I was also hoping he was going to be right. Because I was going there hell or high water. We also heard rumors of someone taking mid 30’s fish on a pencil so guys were already stroked. I on the other hand have not seen anything with stripes yet so all I wanted was a micro bass.


I have fished with nothing but bucktails this spring and caught crap load of blues but no bass. I did not start fishing till blues showed and bass were scarce in Jones Inlet. Funny thing is over the years I never even put bucktails in my bag when fishing Cuttyhunk. Maybe because when conditions allow I tend to use rigged eels almost exclusively. This time I did have few in my bag, a 1 1/2 ounce and a smaller 3/4 ounce Andrus bucktails. I wasn’t really planning on using them but they were already in the bag. I also borrowed a YoZuri mag darter from Tom in desperation. I know these smaller fish were hard to hook on SS darters but mag darter was just the ticket. You can tell that my confidence was in toilet as my guys were thinking big fish and I was thinking microbass…any bass


Around 6 PM Ray and Bill headed towards the inlet, Charlie was chilling and I am sure wondering if his shoulder was going to make it trough one more night. Tom and Boggie were spread on the couch napping after another great dinner. I was chilling with Charlie and contemplating what to do. There really wasn’t any concrete plan set for us, we kind of fly by the seat of our pants. Around 7 pm, I donned a wetsuit and started walking. Sleeping beauties were still sprawled on couch and I did not wanted to bother them. I was going to run into them latter but I needed to get on the rock I wanted and I figured even if I have to sit on it for few hours its better than sitting in house.


For you that are Montauk guys, you’ll probably be scratching your head at that statement. No, not getting a spot early but sitting on the rock. At Cuttyhunk, if you can swim to specific rocks (and there is a lot of them) you can comfortably hang out on them for a whole tide and then some. Some are as big as cars and others as a bus. You can sit and let the feet dangle in the water, not worrying you will get knocked down by a wave. Heck, some of them have holes drilled into them , remains of old “bass stands” where you can place your rods into freeing your hands…you know to shot a selfie for your fb page.


After exactly 22 minutes walk, I got off the path and onto the rocks. I looked left. Nobody there. Looked Right, no one there either. Perfect. But the tide was much lower than I anticipated, which is probably why no one was here. I was hot and sweaty from walking, so after taking a sip of water I  jumped into the cool ocean and walked to the rock. Yup, tide was so low, where I usually have to swim the last ten yards of so, I could just walk to it. But because the tide was low I had a hard time getting on the rock. Eventually I placed the rod on the rock and managed to get myself up with two hands.

Once on the rock I unhooked my bag from my belt, took out a Redfin and clipped to TA clip.

The sunset was about half an hour away and I wished there were anglers here so I could snap some pictures as the sky looked gorgeous. My reasoning was that this spot, if it was going to produce, wont came alive until about 10 pm. But sometimes the fish get active at sunset and besides, after staying in the house all day, I  was just happy to be casting. The fact that my elbow has not hurt this spring was AWESOME even with the fact that I now have a  screwed shoulder rotator but that was something that was easier to deal with then tendonitis.


I cast the Redfin few times and it came back in a straight line, not surprisingly considering I was not expecting current to be moving before 10. Off all the spots I fished here, this is the only one that was heavily depended on moving water. The rest of the coves, fish seems to move in and out and you need a decent amount of luck to run into them. That is why I will fish any rock at any time there, because you truly never know when will these fish show up in coves. I do not have enough experience to create a detailed plan based on tides. However, this spot needs current to come alive, as I have never done anything here without a nice rip.


On a third cast I decided to cast slightly parallel to beach and about ten yards from the rock there was a big explosion as bass grabbed it and was now trashing on the surface. Damn, that felt good!!! I let him run a bit, enjoying every moment of it. I slid it on the rock and he looked to be about 13 pounds or so. Yes, the fing skunk was gone and all was right in my world. Now I can get mugged in few minutes and not care. Few casts latter I took a microbass on Redfin and then it just got quiet. The sun has set, and I sat on the rock, giving my shoulder a rest. I took a camera and took my version of a “selfie” by placing a camera on timer and on the edge of the rock. Then trying to grab it before wave washes it into abyss of bubble weed.


Then all the hell broke lose and not only here but all over the island, with multiple 20’s, few 40’s and few big fished that came unbuttoned.


stay tuned

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