3:00 p.m. I checked into my luxurious room at the Harborside Motel.
4:30 p.m. I got to the lighthouse and started my pre-night tides scouting. I worked my way about a mile into the South side, scouting boulders, drops and currents while making a mental note for wading at high tide. August fishing is tough, but the advantages are no crowds and a trophy fish if your ducks are all in a line. Since it was my first night out there, it was basically a shot in the dark (literally).
10:00 p.m. After a run back into town for some eats, I returned to the point and geared up. My setup goes something like this: shorts, fishing shirt – usually an old tackle shop shirt or something of the like with a history of mojo (with thermal undershirt) long socks, ankle support braces (braces I once used in basketball – the support they add while hiking over miles of bowling ball-sized rocks is irreplaceable), wader belt with built in back support, wading boots, korkers (ducttapped on boots) NRS semi drytop, waterproof watch with compass and tide chart, aquaskins medium plug bag stocked with 3.5 oz needles and SS darters – with knife and water bottle attached, 10 foot St. Croix rod paired with my beloved VanStaal, lucky fishing hat and red waterproof head lamp, whistle and cellphone packed away in waterproof bag, just incase something goes wrong. I swear I try to only bring the essentials eventhough sometimes feel more like a paratrooper than a surf fisherman.
10:30 p.m. After FINALLY getting all my gear on, I had to hit the bathroom.. never fails.
11:00 p.m. I made my way to the first spot I scouted earlier, a nice flat rock about 50 yards out in the surf. I have plenty of extreme fishing under my belt, but this would be the first time I climbed onto a rock on the south side of Montauk at night and all alone. I slowly made my way through the bouldered surf zone, with the added support of my rod as a wading stick (have to love the VS). The water was about waist deep at my spot, with the rock around chest level. "Simple" you may think... I patiently timed the waves and tried to climb the rock like a ladder, but no dice. My next try was to "military crawl" up the rock on my belly, and roll to my feet. It sounded good in theory anyway. I made it to the top, rolled quickly onto my back when I heard a loud WOOOOSHing sound. White water rushed over my shoulders, picked me up and tossed my back in the drink. I rolled around and got my footing, and gave out a laugh thinking how rediculous I must look. My third try was basically throwing myself on the rock with a bear hug. Although it wasn't pretty, it worked a charm, and standing ontop of my rock with waves breaking over my feet, I was finally doing it... finally rock-hopping the south side of M!
11:00 p.m. - 4:00 a.m. I worked my way about 2 miles South, stopping at each fishy point. My plan was to plug the rips entering and leaving each cove. In doing this, I thought (and imagined) if I wanted a shot at a trophy, my best chance would be at these ambush points, where small bait, snapper blues and small weakies washed around as they traveled into the coves.
About a mile into my hike, I hook up with a decent fish on a Gags 9" needle, olive over white, but drop her after a few seconds. The fishing was tough, but it was exactly what I expected August Montauk to be. A lot of hard work with a chance of a big payoff. I had the water to myself with the perfect tide on a beautiful night. It was exactly where I wanted to be. I dug through my plug bag and pulled out a black over chartreuse SS darter (I once worked with a fishing photographer that said "It aint no use if it aint chartreuse). Repeating this line out loud I tied her onto my 80lb mono leader. Second cast, BAM I'm hooked up onto something heavy. I smiled from ear to ear as my face was getting slapped with water splashing off my reel from the spin of my drag screaming. Finally, a good fish. Maybe a 30 lber... definitely not a fourty, but I hope AT LEAST a thirty. I reminded myself... "concentrate moron" and got back into my groove. BIG bass love structure and I was standing on a rock, in the middle of a boulder field. It was no time to make assumptions. After a 100-odd yard run, I was fighting my trophy like a pro, pressuring myself to stay on top and not give up an inch. I would say around maybe 2 minutes into the fight, I felt a few headshakes and a tail-slapping jump... DAMMIT.. BLUEFISH. The jump gave it away. So much for my first quality bass in Montauk. I was now hooked up with a crazed yellow-eyed demon. The tug of war continued for about 10 minutes, and ended with a BIG gator blue at my feet.
The rest of the night was all blues, without a bass in sight. I threw the towel around 4:30 a.m. and returned to my hotel for some R & R. My back was burning, and my hands were bleeding. Just another night as a surfcaster.
A medium size blue with a darter problem:
Coming up next... Night 2