The first time that I went to Montauk in October and saw a football field of striped bass, jumping out like frenzying piranhas, to eat bait fish, I was hooked. To the fisherman, that is called a 'blitz.' For over 3 decades, the 'blitzes' of striped bass have kept me coming back.

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I grew up surfcasting from the beach on Long Island's south shore and eventually matured into a 'rock-hopper,' one who wades into the water to stand on a bolder, in order to get closer to the fish. It's not the smartest thing that I do but the results back-up the actions. Below is a photo from a few years back when I was fishing some pretty treacherous rocks under the historic Montauk Lighthouse. In 2018 a Long Island man was washed away and died from the same spot.

Photo: Kim Voelker
Photo: Kim Voelker
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As I have gotten older and no longer have family living out there, my trips in October to Montauk are usually restricted to a 24 hour fishing 'blitz' of my own. I walk out to my favorite spots and surfcast for hours. I no longer climb down to dangerous places to get an advantage, nor do I wade waist-high into the water to climb on a rock. The visual of a distressed fish, leading a great white shark to my rock, surrounded by water, has tainted my sense of adventure. It's a joke.

Photo: Charlie Voelker
Photo: Charlie Voelker
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Prior to sunrise, I walked, about a mile-and-a-half, to my first spot with my headlamp illuminating my path. On the way, I passed four other fisherman that had been there for a few hours. I once again realized, I am just not that dedicated anymore but still determined to have fun! When I climbed upon my first rock, with the sun to my left, still lying behind the Atlantic Ocean waiting to rise, I felt at home. There was enough light now that I could see where my lure landed. Reeling in quickly to avoid weeds and rocks, the excitement of that first bite had my heart pounding...nothing.

Photo: Charlie Voelker
Photo: Charlie Voelker
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A few casts later, my first fish of the day! Fish on! Let's go! The first fish fight is always filled with excitement and anxiety. You want to land at least one to make the day worth while. Once that's done, the rest of the excursion is gravy. Within the first 30 minutes, the sun peaked over the horizon and I had 3 hook-ups and landed two fish, with one being pretty decent size of 27". All were released healthy. Minutes following my early triumphs, 3 large seals greeted me. Seals happen to be the 'kiss of surfcast-fishing death.' Knowing that fishing in that spot was over, I walked for another seven hours without a single bite. That was ok with me. That's fishing.

Photo: Charlie Voelker
Photo: Charlie Voelker
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Unfortunately, that 50-pound, dream-striper avoided me, once again. I guess I will have to keep coming back until we hook-up. So, many people ask why surfcasting? Isn't fishing easier on a boat? Well, yes it is and I guess that's the point. It's not about the fish itself, it's about the adventure. Tight-lines to all of you anglers.

Getty Images
Getty Images
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