Montauk…by Bill Wetzel

Recently I was asked this question in the Surf Rats Ball and I thought it might be of interest for the readers of the SCJ blog.
“I usually schedule 2 trips back east. One during September and one in October. I spend most of the time in Montauk. Which dates would you prefer fishing Montauk and why. September 12-26 or October 5-18?”
September 12-26 or October 5-18?
Planning a trip is a difficult thing as it is impossible to predict a bite. However since it has been my job to help people plan trips for the past 17 or so years I will give you my thoughts. First let’s look at your September dates. You have a full moon on the 9th and the new on the 24th. First the white bait should be in full force after the moon of the 9th as it usually begins in late August. About 4 or 5 years ago I would have said that you have an excellent chance of blitz fishing any time after this first moon of September, however the fishing truly seems to be on a decline and despite massive amounts of white bait in the suds at this time the chance of blitz fishing has declined. However, if you do not have a major weather system swing through you should be able to target some resident cows around the full moon. Lots of snappers should be around and if you’re willing to do the work you may hook into a fish of a lifetime. By the new moon we should have plenty of mullet, and a possible migration of juvi weakfish, although I believe that will happen during the next moon. The striper migrators should be there in full force at this time, however if the past 4 or five years are any indication it will be mostly be a night bite, barring a nor’easter which would mean excellent day time fishing as well. Remember there is always a chance of masses blitzes this time of year, as they have been a consistent phenomenon, at least for the past 32 years ( except for the past 4 or 5 years) since I have been fishing there.
10/8 Full moon and 10/23 new moon.
You might think that you will miss the new moon of October if you plan on coming this time of year. Indeed you will, but you will be there on the full for October. The fact that this is a full in early October makes it very likable for me. The water should still be warm probably around 60 degrees, and with this moon there should be a push of even more bait coming out of the bays. I suspect that if we see a run of juvi weakfish it will happen on this moon. On calm bright nights the white bait should be in the surf mixed with snappers, mullet and hopefully the juvi weaks. You usually will not find the white bait in the surf on darker nights. That to me adds up to some great fishing. I would not count on the day bites, but keep a close eye out as they could happen at any time, but remember even the blitzes are based on tides. Getting into them consistently is not idiot fishing like some think. I know you are not going to be there on 10/24 but I suspect that that weekend should be one of the best for Montauks fall run. We usually get a quick cool at that time of year combined with the moon it can be fantastic.
In conclusion, in the eighties I would have told you late October – Late November as being the best times for the Montauk fall run. In the 90’s up until 4 or 5 years ago I would have said, mid-September – mid October. Based on the last few years I would take the October dates, however that September new moon could be bad ass!!


Bill Wetzel is what we like to call “The Hardest Working Guide in the Surf”. A quintessential Montauk Regular Bill works hard at teaching his clients the secrets of Montauk coves and consistently puts them on the fish. No wonder most of his customers come back for more year after year. Bill also runs a Surf Rats ball, Subscribers only forum at There he exchanges ideas with his subscribers and of course, logs each and every one of his trips for all to read. Check it out at


4 comments on “Montauk…by Bill Wetzel

  1. Staktup

    Nice articleas usual, Bill. That can’t be a pic of a bass you caught though- I see a TA clip attached to the line!

  2. Joe GaNun

    I went out with Bill very early in the Mtk season. We put a skunk on unless you count small bluefish. Bill not only talks about where you are at that moment and what to do but also adds a seasonal comment dimension, as well as making other useful specific points about areas you may not be fishing right now but “when we have white bait in the surf, that cove over there , etc”
    I went home and wrote everything I could remember down while looking at Google Earth. It was a very dark night and at one spot on the north side I had no idea we were on a point. I would move it up on the bucket list and move the trip to Majorca to position 26.


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