When it comes to the fall run in the Northeast, a good fisherman is ready and well prepared for the run when it happens. The well prepared angler isn’t caught short when the fish are biting, and he isn’t chasing beach reports, he is making the news. There is no question that you have to get out there as often as you can. Fishing along the east coast from the Cape to the Banks can blow wide open at any time. Will you be ready? Allow me to help.
September sets everything into motion- the temperatures begin to cool, the days are shorter, and for the average surf angler the action starts with the false albacore. This is a great opening act and, honestly, my favorite species. The stripers and bluefish soon follow, showing up in greater abundance in October and into November. The fish will be chasing all the different bait fall has to offer. The bays cool down at a faster rate than the ocean and this sends the bait out of the bay and into the surf. That’s
when you need to be there, locked and loaded, ready to have an epic fishing day.
During this time of the year daytime blitzes can pop up at anytime and being ready is essential. Being ready means when you pull onto a beach or into the parking lot your rods and reels are rigged and ready to go. It means your tackle bag already contains all the lures you envision needing for the bait you know will be present and the structure, water and tide you intend to fish. You don’t want to be tying knots and getting gear together when the fish are right in front of you exploding out of the water. Every angler has seen it, a blitz can disappear just as quickly as it popped up. The fish can disappear in a matter of seconds, moving offshore out of casting distance while you’re standing there rod in hand. It’s an empty feeling with no tight lines. It’s common sense, be prepared.
When it comes to lures this time of year- or anytime during the season- you need to know what types of bait are present in the water to have consistent success. The types of bait species will change as we get deeper into the fall, so you must be flexible with lure selection. Don’t assume what worked yesterday will work today. Obviously you can’t carry every lure you own to the beach, but if you put in the prep time, including reading and studying the bait migration patterns, you can adjust what you carry each time. There are also some tackle essentials you always want to have in your bag. These are mine, in no particular order: Bucktails, Darters for the nighttime, Bottle Plugs, Hogy soft plastics, Swim Shads, Needlefish, and Diamond Jigs. I don’t fish metals often, but they are still a “must” during the fall run. Why? It’s simple, by having these lures on hand, it increases my ability to match any profile of bait fish that is present in the water at any given time.
Being ready/being prepared for the fall run is also about having a back-up plan for
situations that could drastically alter your outing. Just like using the cloud to back-up your smartphone or maintaining an external hard drive to back-up your computer, the surf fisherman should “double down” on his key “systems”. Always have a backup rod on hand, ready to go. Your back up rod should be similar to the one you were planning to initially use and it should be rigged the same way- similar reel, same line etc. This will give you confidence and you will have the comfort of knowing if it is catching and something happens, you have a back-up with the same capabilities. When it comes to tackle you should have backups of each lure you plan to use in your tackle bag. It is logical that the lures you use consistently are those with which you are having good success. So, in the unlikely event you lose one (human error or a toothy bluefish), you will be able to get that same profile back in the water as quickly as possible without having to retreat to your truck or some base you establish way back down the beach.
In closing, I don’t believe you can ever over prepare for a day of fishing. You will definitely know you underprepared when the day ends with low catch totals. Being ready and well prepared will keep you on the water, and hopefully on the fish for longer periods of time, and the longer you have your baits in the water, the better the percentages that you will have success. Take actions that put you in the best position to catch fish each and every time you hit the water. Be prepared to strike at a moments notice. The more you do this, the more you will make the report instead of being the guy reading the report of someone else’s success. Enjoy the fall run and all it has to offer. You know it will be all too soon when we are stuck inside for the winter! Tight lines and Live the Passion!
Bernie Hoyt is from Aquebogue, Long Island. He is a NYS Certified Fishing Guide specializing in surfcasting with over 30 years experience fishing the legendary waters of Long Island. He is well known for his informative seminars at saltwater shows up and down the Atlantic seaboard. He offers trips all along the outer beaches and inlets of Long Island, as well as the Cape Cod Canal, Cuttyhunk, and other Northeast Striper locations. He is a team member for S&S Bucktails, ODM RODS, and KastKing as well as a long time member of the Long Island Beach Buggy Association and the Montauk Surfcasters Association. We are honored to have Bernie on our blogging team! You can contact Bernie on Facebook through Bernie Bass Surfcasting Services, on Instagram @Bernie_bass and through his website at www.Berniebass.com