I have been visiting family in NY this month and was able to try diving somewhere new, for a change. Montauk is a fishing/beach town on the southern tip of Long Island. Quite a drive from where my family lives, but well worth the drive if for the diving.
I went out twice while I was there, the first time was for striped bass. I went with Chris Miller, a local to Montauk. Vlad and Pete came along as well. Pete had a new camera setup, I will try to get some of the underwater photos from him.
I had dove in New Jersey before so I kind of was prepared for the conditions in Montauk. I borrowed a 7mm top from Chris and frankly was not hot in it. The surface visibility was less then 5 feet, like someone could be right next to me in the water and you can’t see them.
The first place we went Chris marked a school of bass and I jumped in with a 75cm. As soon as I got close to the bottom I could hear the booming sound as I spooked fish in the school. When I hit bottom the vis opened up to close 15-20 feet. It was really clear I think. I was just surrounded by striped bass. There where dozens of 30 lbs + fish swimming around me. I saw a big one in the distance but could not get anywhere near close enough for that little gun, at least by my estimate.
I called for the boat and had them throw me a 130cm and went back down looking for that big fish. Vlad jumped in and stoned a 47 pounder first dive. Pete jumped in and shot a 40 pounder. They had told me to wait and shoot the big bass but there was so many and it was hard to tell which one is bigger. They all look big when they are swimming at you but then they turn and they are the same size as all the other fish. You are now only allowed one bass a day in NY so You don’t want to blow it on a little one.
When we reset the drift, Chris told me that some times the schools just disappear. After that the next dive I pulled the trigger, better to have a small bass then no bass. I actually thought the one I was lining up on was bigger but it wasn’t but it was still a 30# fish. That was it: in like 2 seconds we had the limit of bass.
The next trip we went on was for blackfish which are I think I related to the hogfish we have in Florida. These are smaller fish and are as about as hard to shoot as hogfish. We dove in shallower dirty water for these fish with the vis on the bottom being closer to 7-10 feet. You pretty much just go and lay on the bottom and wait and next thing you know there is blackfish, triggerfish and porgies appearing out of the murk.
I shot a bunch of fish, which is fun to me.