Posted by: socalsalty | June 9, 2011

Destination Report: Bay Shore, NY w/ Maybe Tonight Charters

Capt Paul Mandella

This is the first of what I hope will be many Destination Reports.  What about your trip to Austin, TX Salty?  That was a Gear Report.  The fact that it was freshwater and I didn’t catch anything doesn’t matter 😉

This week I visited New York City on business.  I got into town Sunday afternoon, was on a panel at a conference on Monday, had meetings Tuesday and Wednesday, and got to do some cool things like watch crazy Just Married couples in Times Square and ride the subway and Long Island RR during sweltering 94 deg / 67% humidity.  Good times.

As you might imagine, I was psyched to get out on the water on Thursday and connect with friend of the blog, Capt Paul Mandella, of Maybe Tonight Charters in Bay Shore, NY.  Capt. Paul was the first person I didn’t already know to comment on the blog.  He’s also a great guy, and knows how to get on the fish in his home waters off Long Island.

We started out from his slip just past 4am before it was light.  Because it was so hot yesterday and predicted to get hotter today, he wanted to get an earlier start for fear that the bait would head for deeper (thus cooler) waters and be hard to find (there’s not a bait dock to roll up to out here like at home).

Caught and fished bunker this way

Baiting Up: The target fish for the day were striped saltwater bass.  Skip told me that what we wanted to do was scan the surface for signs of bunker.  He said I’d hear “snapping” sounds when we found them.  I learned that the bunker could be found in thick schools, rippling the surface of the water (lucky it wasn’t windy).  The snapping was them agitating the water with both their heads and tails as they surfaced.  The more agitated, the better…a sign that they were being attacked by predators below.  Paul usually carries a throw net to scoop up bait, but he forgot it in his truck.  Instead, what we did was use large, weighted treble hooks (@ 1.5 oz), cast past the schools, and swing through the schools in an attempt to foul hook a fish.

Once hooked, just fish them that way, or pull them in and put them in the bait well.  I fished mine as is, while Paul worked on building our supply.  I managed to hook up using this method, but swung too early and lost the bite.  Paul counseled me to be patient and let them eat the fish.

The other method was to use the Captain Al rig, where a large hook was attached to a weight holder.  You poke a hole in the fish with the hook up thru the mouth to the top of the head, and then clip them there with the weight holder and the hook protruding upward.  From the terminal tackle, there’s an 18″ mono leader to a banana weight on a swivel, tied to the line.  Sink the weight to the bottom and let the bunker swim around impeded by the weight.

Victim of a bluefish attack

Fairly simple proposition, but I soon found out that there are these other fish called bluefish, who pounced on our baits, often before they could get to the bottom where big stripers lay in wait.  Like the seals at home, bluefish would take the whole fish…minus the hooked part…leaving you with just a hooked fish head.

SUCCESS!  Using the Captain Al rig, I got a big hit, waited, swung, and FISH ON.  I had a good 10-15 minute fight where we would get him close enough to see color, but then the fish would get a second, then third wind taking out more line before tiring out and getting taken.  It was a big striper.  Capt. Paul told me it was big enough to win most local tournaments, weighing in at 39 pounds!  What a thrill.

The rest of the day, I got one more school size linesider, maybe 10 lbs.  Capt Paul showed the blues he could take them if he wanted, getting one.  It was a great day.  There were several open party boats that we saw when we were out there.  I didn’t see anyone hooking up on them, and if they did, Paul said it would most likely be fluke (a slightly larger version of sand dabs).  I’ll go with Maybe Tonight.  If you make it out to NY, you should too.  Thanks Paul.  Tight Lines.

Salty, Capt Paul, and the big striper



  1. That’s a great fish! If I ever do start fishing saltwater I’m going to have to drive up north and see Capt. Paul!

    • I highly recommend it. Thanks for coming by Matt!

  2. OH BOY!!! That shirt of mine will NEVER be the same!!! 🙂

    It was great having you aboard Joe, glad you were able to connect a decent fish during your NY stay 🙂

    :::::patiently:::::::: waiting for the GoPro vids 🙂

    Tight lines…………… Paul

    • Now you’ll just have to rock it West Coast style with your Casta Design yellowtail shirt 😉 Thanks again Paul. An absolutely unforgettable day!

  3. Looks like a great trip Joe…congrats on that HUGE striper.

    • Thanks Austin! Got my pkg today. Stay tuned

  4. I am literally green. Jealousy, and lingering sea sickness from this weekend. I’ll get over the sea sickness…

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