Storm fishing

I just had to call in dead at work on Thursday and Friday. The forecast looked so enticing, 25 mph northeast wind gusting to 35, rain, 6 to 9 foot waves….. I could barely sleep the night before. Actually I did not sleep at all. My plan was to head to Montauk on Thursday after work but I could hold it out that long, so Wednesday afternoon after work I was on my way with Silver Fox


I have not fished much this year for myriad of reasons but if you called me and told me you found giant bass on bunker schools and they were talking pencil poppers I would be mildly interested. I only tossed a plug once this year at Cuttyhunk in May due to my fear of blowing out my elbow again. I been fishing nothing but bucktails and I got VERY proficient in catching nothing this year……………..back to Montauk. You can call me, tell me about a bite, guarantee me some big fish and I probably would try to come to document it with camera. You tell me that the winds are out of northeast and all I will catch are rats…and I would be on my way before you can say “Got pork rind”


I cant explain but playing a part in the incredible show Mother Nature puts on is exhilarating and borders almost on verge of insanity. I feel so alive and pumped up, just like a bass when you hook in that highly oxygenated water. It goes berserk……… I cant explain but to say that I never feel more alive then staring at hard northeast in the teeth when rain is coming down sideways, where it stings your face and you keep firing your bucktails into the frothy mess. I know I am weird that way. I have other hang ups besides that like you cant get me out of the wetsuit in Cuttyhunk. There are very few rocks I wont swim to , few which take a good twenty minutes to half an hour to get to. Montauk? I don’t think I wore a wetsuit in Montauk in at least ten years or so.


For the life of me I cant understand few wetsuiters who think they sucked God’s brains when they barge in water like bulls only to get pummeled by waves in few seconds. Every time they leave with tails between their legs. Every time. There is time to impress those around you by getting ahead of us old farts and cutting out our casting lanes, but during nor’easter we actually do care if you get hurt. Its one of those rare times we don’t want to hurt you ourselves. So grow up and be a man and fish like the rest of us, with an idea of going home to your family in one piece. Wetsuits are an awesome fishing tool but it seems like they make some amongst us go a little too adventurous. Or maybe I am just getting old


Thursday morning I awoke to stinging rain and rocking NE wind in the parking lot of Montauk State Park. I wanted to get into water just at false dawn although as I found out later, I should have fished in the dark. The water has built up over night and waves were powerful but easily fishable……if you used a bucktails of right size of course. I loaded the TA pouch with 6 bucktails and few leaders, grabbed a CTS Vapor trail and ZB 27 and off I went. I found few guys already perched on few rocks under the bluffs while UPS Rich was walking out a low teen size bass out of the water. Promising I told myself.

Few minutes later I fired up my first cast, quickly took in all my slack line and was immediately greeting by a bump on which I set a hook.

God, I love to fish in this crazy weather

On first eight casts I hooked eight fish. Unfortunately if you put them all on scale together they barely would crack 30 pounds. Small, tiny, rats, November bass, call them what you want but this was in no way “normal”. Unless this is new normal?

After 8th fish in the row the action shuts down complexly. Now this was weird, there was still few hours of prime tide left yet the fish vacated the premises. You cant catch what’s not there so I checked the south side. Not much doing there so I returned to the north side and made few hundred more casts on last of the incoming in gorgeous looking white water for nothing. Supposedly fish were there in the dark. I just got onto tail end.


Around 10 am , knowing that my camera skills are useless in a pouring rain and seeing that everyone just about gave up on casting I walked deeeeeep into south side as our resident Montauk expert Bill Wetzel likes to call it. I fished the reef on dropping tide and there looked to be no blue water in sight. The whole reef was one frothy mess of waves colliding and rushing towards me. The dropping tide, pushed by NE winds was moving water over the reef so fast, I was afraid that I might get swept in the cove as I waded to the first rock. But that water begged to be fished !

Of course once you finally get your ass beaten by the ocean and you finally get on a rock, you see an even BETTER rock right ahead of you. Its maddening. I cast for an hour in best looking water I’ve seen in years and nothing. On the way to South Side I ran into SJ Rod Guru Lou Caruso who was walking out. I think he told me he had one rat all morning. I thought of this after I made a cast after cast after cast. Then I said, screw this, I am making ten more casts and I am out of here. Its going to take me at least an hour to get to my truck and then get something to eat.

First seven casts were as productive as a hundred or so before but on the eight cast I managed to entice a schoolie to eat it. Ok, now I got to make few more casts. In the next hour I managed 8 more fish, seven tiny, tiny stripers and then I hooked into a fish I could not budge. The water was spilling so fast over the reef that once you hooked a 5 pounder in the cove, it felt like you had a twenty pounder. My first impression was that I snagged the fish in the back as I could not make any headway with line retrieval


part II coming up

3 comments on “Storm fishing

  1. coryn

    awesome so far. I hope the experience is good this weekend. i haven’t fished all year, and I am itch’n to get out. keep the good work coming.

  2. Dan Buglione

    Hey Zeno,

    Love the write-ups and video clips on SJ. This was a great piece on fishing big water (bigger swells, NE winds, sideways rain), which has frequently been the primary fishing condition documented with regards to Montauk. Obviously this is because these are the most productive conditions for bass, but I was wondering what the flip side is like– when the water gets flatter after a storm. I find that there are times during any given tide when the incoming water reaches a nearly slack tide-level of depth (and speed of movement) and that this is frequently when some bigger bass make their move to clean up on the remnants of a school of bait left by aggressive schoolies/snappers during the first part of the incoming tide. Is there any similar analogy to be made to fishing calm waters right after a storm subsides, or is one’s best bet in this time to bide time until the next set of strong NE winds come through?


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