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Captain Jim Levison's Double Haul Charters

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Montauk Point Lighthouse - Photo by Captain Jim Levison

The waters off Montauk Point Lighthouse remain one of the top saltwater fishing areas on the East Coast

Below you'll find several years worth of fishing reports directly from Montauk Point on New York's Long Island.
2004 Season
Although I was off in Russia and England on a photo shoot for a good part of June, Spring 2004 was very good for large bass at Montauk and good sight fishing around the shallows of Gardiners and Peconic Bays. Some very big spring bass were caught on the south side of Montauk both on top and using sink lines. Although summer is our busiest tourist month out here on the east end of Long island fishing slows down as we get into the later part. 2004's fall run saw an very nice early start with stable weather and lots of albies (averaging 8lb this year) Starting Sept. 6th. Sept. turned out to be an excellent month with very good bass and false albacore blitzes happening on an almost daily basis. Although the blitzes this year may not have been quite as spectacular as last year they were more consistent. For the first time in the six years I have been guiding here at Montauk Sept. turned out to be a better month than Oct. Although Oct. had some excellent individual days overall Sept. fished better.Wind got nasty thru a good part of Oct. into mid Nov. keeping us off the water for days at a time. Starting mid Nov. thru mid Dec. we had some of the BEST fishing of the season. Our large baits (herring and tinker mackerel) showed up in good numbers resulting in bass of 15-25 lbs being caught right thru mid Dec. There is nothing more exciting than seeing dozens of large gannets dive bombing into schools of herring competing with big bass for this nutritious bait. Weather was mild. As last year almost to the day very large blue fin tuna (over 100lb) showed up on the south side of Montauk. Although anglers had shots I did not hear of ant hookups this year. This later part of the season with less boat traffic and bigger fish is fast becoming my favorite part of the year.


2003 Season Synopsis
The fall run got off to a late start this year with the first real consistent false albacore fishing starting around Sept.22. Lots of wind thru the first three weeks of Sept. kept most of the boats at Montauk off the water. My theory is that the bad weather did not permit the predominate fall bait, small bay anchovies , to ball up in the Hugh numbers that are necessary for are really big albie and bass blitzes to take off. Starting in late Sept. and continuing thru the third week of Oct. we had outstanding albie, bass and blue fishing. Some days were real good some days extraordinary. Oct. 9th and 14 were biblical in terms of massive albacore and bass blitzes all day long, even thru the slack part of the tide! Hugh numbers of fished gorged themselves on millions of anchovies. Usual patterns like Mikkleson epoxy flies and small white deceivers and crease flies were all killers. Once again bad wind the last ten days in Oct. brought this part of the fall run to an early close. Starting in mid Nov and last till the end of the month we had good size bass on larger baits as well as very large blue fish up to 15lb. This is a great time of year with fewer boats on the water, lots of bait and hungry fish looking to bulk up for the winter. We had a special treat starting Nov. 20th with small groups of large blue fin tuna showing up from a half mile off the south side of Montauk to five miles out. A few fish in the 80lb range were landed by lucky anglers. Once again bad weather shut us down a bit early this season.


2002 Season Synopsis
Our fishing season started early out on the east end of Long Island due to the unusually warm winter we had in 2002. With warmer than normal water temperatures striped bass and bluefish moved into our waters from Gardiners Bay to Montauk about ten days to two weeks earlier than we normally see them. Very large bluefish were taken during mid May in the shallow waters of Gardiners Bay. June into July produced good numbers of stripers sight cast to on the flats surrounding Gardiners Island as well as the surrounding shallow waters. Montauk produced some nice bass during this period into summer but many old timers thought this early season in Montauk was not up to its normal numbers of fish seen and caught in previous years. Late August brought the first decent run of Atlantic bonito to Montauk in a few years. If you found yourself in the right spot at the right time you had fly caught bonito. Although never even remotely as plentiful as our false albacore run some anglers managed to put a half dozen bonito in the boat on a good day.
The first week of September began our annual fall run. The first few days of the month produced heavy rains but by the 5th of September I had anglers putting numerous albies as well as striped bass to 17 lb in the boat. The fall continued to produce right through the end of October with the last week of September thru the first week of October being peak. Albies averaged seven to nine pounds this year considerably bigger than the 2001 season. Most guides had clients who put double digit albies on board this year. This fall season also produced huge blitzes of bass starting in early Sept and continuing periodically throughout the season. There were days the fish were so thick around the boat I had to cut the engine for fear of killing fish. You could actually reach out ant pet them at times! (Watch out for the spiky dorsal fin if you try it.) Most anglers who experienced this phenomenon would at times put the rod down and watch in amazement. Mid October brought some nasty nor'easters with winds that kept all of us off the water for eight straight days. November saw some large bass (20+lb) move in to eat bunker and herring but we did not see the great numbers of striped bass like we did during the 2001season. Bad weather also limited time on the water in November and December.
All in all it 2002 was a very good fishing season. Spectacular fishing sessions mixed with bad weather, wonderful Indian summer days with fish from dawn to sunset to days when we could not get out of the inlet because of five foot seas. Of course, anything can happen.That's just the way it is at Montauk Point in the fall.  I hope to see you out here this coming season - when the weather is great and the fish are hungry!

- Jim

March, 2002

2001 Season Synopsis

Mark Sedotti with a fine Herring run caught 25 pound bass.

Mark Sedotti with a fine Herring run caught 25 pound bass.

Last season saw another productive year at Montauk. The spring season saw very good flats fishing off Gardiners Island and an excellent spring run of striped bass off of Montauk. Some bass in excess of 20 lbs. we fly caught off Montauk's south side from June through early July. Blue fish blitzes were not as heavy as we had seen during the prior season. The big rips of Long Island Sound between Montauk and Connecticut were wonderful fisheries during the warm summer months. Bass and blue fish were constant producers during this period. Our annual albacore run got underway in early September only to be interrupted by the terrible events of 9/11. Many anglers came out in the weeks following for some well deserved R&R. They were treated to a very good albacore season that lasted until the last week of October. Albies this year averaged six to eight pounds with good numbers reaching that magic double digit figure.

Although the bass blitzes up top were not as heavy as we experienced during the 2000 season, we were treated an incredible herring run that occurred the first two weeks of December. Stripers in excess of 25 lbs were taken on the fly and it was rare during this period that we took any stripers that were less than "keepers". Based on the unusually warm weather we had this winter we hope our season starts early this year. Please keep posted for the start of the season as I will post weekly reports through the entire season.


September 26, 2001

Montauk has continued to do what we expect Montauk to do this time of year. Albacore continue to be the flyrodders first choice. Fish averaging 7lbs with many larger are being caught on both the north and south sides of Montauk as well as around the north side of Gardiners Island. Bass have been blitzing close to shore, mostly on the south shore of Montauk. Large schools of hundreds of fish (up to mid 30 inch range) have been right up to the beaches and rock shoreline giving shore anglers lucky enough to be in the right spot great shots. Bluefish continue to reek havoc mixing in all over the place cutting off hooked up fish as well as devouring large amounts of nice flies! Weekends have been crowded but everyone seems to be getting along well. Some windy and wet weather this past week but it has now settled down. 



August 27, 2001    

Get to know stripers like this up close and personal!

Big bluefish are all around this fishery during fall

We are coming off the summer doldrums of the last two weeks of August. If there is a slack time

out here it occurs then. Bass and bluefishing continued to be good up in the big rips of Long Island Sound during the heat of the last two weeks. Bluefish in good numbers are starting to hammer bait in Montauk and as I write this report (August 27), large false albacore have been sighted and fished to at Montauk. When the first waves are spotted more fish arrive over the next few weeks as more bait (bay anchovies), arrives.

Peak fishing for albies (albacore), is generally from the second week in September thru the middle of October. Please note: I have a four page article out in current issue (October, 2001) of Saltwater Fly Fishing magazine on fall fishing at Montauk. For those who have never fished out here it's a good primer on the fall run. Enjoy. Also note: We host a Celebrity Redbone Tournament September 20-21 when upwards of thirty five guided boats will be on the water. Anglers planning on coming to Montauk should probably plan around it.


July 3, 2001

Although our weather here in Eastern Long Island has been erratic in June ranging from hot and humid to fall like conditions the fishing has been consistent. The flats in Gardiners Bay have produced nice sight fishing to lots of stripers from 22" up to some good fish in the low 30" range. The bluefish have been chomping on pods of 2"-3" sand eels. Lots of cocktail blues in the 3lb range this year but some bigger fish mixed in some going to 36".

The rips of Long Island Sound (see Nick Curcione's Article in Nov/Dec 2000 issue of Fly Fishing in Saltwaters on this area), have been producing some very good bass fishing with hundreds of terns hovering over schools of 24" to 28" bass on good days. Montauk has been fishing very well this past June right into early July. First light (4:45 a.m.), has been excellent most days.

On July 2 a client took a 40", 23lb striper on a small flash fly. We have been using an assortment of lines from floaters to 400grain sinkers with both small and large flies. Water temperatures have dropped back down to 61 degrees after a large front moved thru on June 30. Montauk should remain great for striped bass and Gardiners should really turn on this summer with lots of bluefish.

The big rips of Long Island Sound are great summer producers. Bluefish are a great way for the beginning saltwater flyfisher to get started. Get the fly near them and they eat it! Keep an eye out for the October issue of Saltwater Flyfishing magazine. I will have an article there about the great fishing we experience in Montauk in the fall.

Captain Jim Levison's Double Haul Charters
1125 Millstone Road  Sag Harbor, NY 11963
631-725-1412 - Cell 917-714-3222