It's Cow Time

When word comes that the cows have come home, Montauk Point, the easternmost tip of Long island, New York, is the finest place to get in on the hot bite. Our first stop was to hop aboard Captain Ron Onorato's (516-835-4910) 29-foot sportfisherman. The program for late-afternoon and evening stripers was to feed them some live porgies and eels. Here, Onorato gets ready to flip a porgie into the baitwell.
The technique involves three-quarters touch and technique and one-quarter luck. The touch, which Onorato is explaining here, is to bounce the bottom with your porgie rig and when you feel the bite, resist the urge to set the hook. Rather, let the fish run with the bait for several moments before reeling tight. Our crew had a hard time with that part. Ron had us hard onto fish, but we only managed to boat one. I lost two stud cows right at the boat.
Next, it was up to Captain Steve Withuen of Top Hook Charters (631-368-1315) to get us into fish. The longtime Montauk veteran (shown here with his lucky dragonfly) opted to parachute jig until the tide turned when we switched to bunker chunking.
7/0 Mustad circle hooks were the weapons of the day.
This throwback striper fell to a parachute jig.
Frozen bunker a.k.a. menhaden, are chunked in preparation for our program changed. With the boat on anchor near a rip, chunks are occasionally chummed in order to set up a feeding slick. Bigger hunks are rigged with no weights to the circle hooks and drifted back behind the boat 100 to 150 feet.
I was fortunate to pounce on the first bouncing rod when this decent-sized fish inhaled a bunker chunk. Our first mate, Butch, gets ready to toss this good eater in the fishbox.
Small fish are netted while bigger fish that we did not want to release were gaffed.
Morten Bilet from Esca Global (escaglobal.com) fishing lights jumps on a rod.
Bilet bows to a cow.
It's pretty difficult to avoid catching bluefish when targeting stripers. This blue fell for a parachute jig tipped with an Esca-brand lure light.

The big bass are in and Montauk Point is where to take 'em!