As much as I love the Montauk fall blitz, my true love is sightfishing the flats on the eastern end of Long Island. I have spent most of my life living in East Hampton and, in turn, I have been fishing here for more than 25 years.
Shallow-water sightfishing is the most challenging fishing and the most rewarding.
The communication with your client has to be totally in sync, and there is an unspoken bond of trust between the angler and guide.
My clients at this time of year are a special group of people, anglers who appreciate the beauty of the Hamptons from a naturalist's eye and, more important, they are patient and caring.
The "flats" are really shallow-water shorelines, sandbars, effluents and river mouths that are prolific on the bay side of Long Island.
The possibilities are practically limitless for finding striped bass in very skinny water. Fishing on the lower end of the tide with plenty of sunlight from May till August is the best scenario.
Hunting stripers on the flats satisfies my latent barbarian urges, concurrently folding in my love and respect for nature, by trying to handle and gently release my quarry.
Contrary to the beliefs of many, all you really need is an 8- to 9-weight rod, with a floating or intermediate line and an assortment of flies.
Knowing what fly to throw is important. Look around to see what is in the water, then match it; if you can't see anything, throw a really small pattern, like a 1- to 2 inch sand eel or epoxy fly.
Sometimes the bass are on huge bunker baitfish, so throwing a large pattern will be deadly. Remember to let the fish eat the fly and pause in between strips.
If it weren't for the sightfishing, I would probably be on my third career by now.
But every April when the soil starts to thaw and the Amelanchier begin to bloom, and the shad are running up the coast and the bunker are migrating through the bay, my senses sharpen and I am once again lured in to the hunt, like a call from nature.