Catch date: Not Specified

Story date:12/16/2016 8:13:00 PM

Location:Long Island NY

Species:Bass, Striped

Spring time-I set two major goals this season that consisted of bait fishing a lot more. I felt like I could’ve done better in 2015 if I used bait ( completely out of my comfort zone) when the conditions called for it instead of limiting myself to lures only…have to give them what they want. I also set might sight on catching a striped bass in the 20lbs class because for the three seasons I’ve been fishing for stripers I just haven’t broken into the class just yet. The first trip of the season with Joe but neither of us had bait. We both skunked at both locations. However, I saw one angler at each location leaving with 15lbs fish…on bait. I spent my next three trips bait fishing with no success. I consulted two of the best guys I know are doing well using bait.

Lou and V both confirmed my setup was in order, and I just have to put myself in the presence of big fish to get the job done. I continued to fish lures, and bait for a few weeks without any fish landed. Avi and I put a master plan together one night. Avi left it up to me to decide where we will fish for the night based on the three places he just finished recon on. That night I caught my first fish of the season…personal best fish too! We spent the remainder of the spring bait fishing, and snagging and drop. I did much better bait fishing catching a fish almost every week while Avi was shining bright with his weighted treble hook.

Summer time-This summer was HOT in both the temperature and fish…if you traveled that is. I got into a few small fish close to home but it seemed like the larger fish skipped my area to set up good out east. I made my first trip to the Cape Cod Canal for the first time of the season meeting up with AL, Rob, Julius, Angel, and troy We all left with at least one fish landed but it wasn’t the kind of bite we were looking for. My next few trips to the canal were night and day differences. I was able to land a 41.5” bass that should’ve easily put me into that 30lbs class but I was robbed. That fish only weighed 22lbs and took the spot for my personal best length fish.

I spent just about three to four nights a week fishing Montauk this season. That’s where I seem to catch up to all the blue fish that just never showed up in the spots I normally catch them. I was a part of one bluefish bite that lasted the whole day…I quit at the eighth hour when I went five cast without a hooked fish, and my arms could no longer fight them…The Guppy Pencil is a work of art in my eyes. It seemed like each time I was getting into an epic bite the Guppy was the only plug catching. I became attached to it not wanting to loose with all the battle scars/plug mojo on that thing. I was even able to take my four-year-old daughter fishing for the first time…She’s an Antoine for sure! In 2017 she will be with me more often.

Fall time-This fall was one I will never forget. Lou, Joe, Steve, Reagan, V and I were dialed in on fish throughout right up until the end of the season like the true cow hunters we are. When the False Albacore showed up Lou and I had them for a day. After so many seasons trying I finally caught quite a few albies eight landed, and five dropped. They were so thick many anglers continued to catch them for weeks. After that trip, I had no desire to fish for them, and my attention turned right back to stripers! The Northeaster we had in October was the most memorable bite I was a part of. Lou was there to get 98% of it on video with his GoPro and made some nice clips of the night time action leaving the daytime bites out to keep the integrity of the many spots we hit during that wonderful time to fish Montauk.

As the bait, and fish began to migrate west we were in hot pursuit. I've had a few really frustrating nights due to the fact that my friends would catch fish 30lbs and up during the hours I couldn't join them. I would go to the same spot later that evening hoping to finally get into the 30's but many times I would catch but no 30's...I was still happy to be catching keepers but my beloved 30 plus kept leading me on. There was one trip I was able to catch my personal best weight bluefish that was 18-20lbs, and a cookie cutter bass while many went to NJ. We waited a week for our second attempt at these migratory fish.

When the fish crossed over to NJ things seemed to both speed up, and slow down. If you were not there when the fish were going nuts you just missed them trying to get in on that bite. I was fortunate enough to get in on a few NJ bites with Lou but nothing like what took place on Thanksgiving, and the first wave before that...hope to change that in 2017. I've been known to chase stripers from MA to VA just like any Cow hunter should when time and conditions permit it. This is not just a hobby for me. It's more of a lifestyle. I've fished double the time of my 2015 season, and have caught easily double the amount of fish so what does that tell you? You have to be out there!

As of now, only one goal is in order for 2017 but who knows what this offseason will bring us as we get ready for the next striper season... Stay Bent!

Shaka Antoine

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