Fluke fishing has been pretty good across Long Island for most of the spring, with a respectable number of limit catches and quite a few doormats reported. The big surprise, however, is that most anglers have been catching their limits in bay and sound waters. Inshore ocean waters, where the larger fluke tend to hang out most years, haven't yet produced as expected.
"That may be changing," said captain Neil Delanoy of the Captree open boat Laura Lee. "On Wednesday, we had our first real solid fluke haul from outside of Fire Island Inlet with 50 fluke [a dozen keepers] for 20 anglers. All the action was in 50-foot depths. I think it's a sign ocean fluking is ready to perk up."
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Delanoy may be onto something with his suspicion as the Montauk fleet and private boaters working the West End McAllister Grounds have also seen an increase in keepers taken from ocean waters. Still, you might not want to give up on the bay fishing just yet. The Shinnecock Bay flats continue to give up mini-doormats to 6 pounds with steady action in four to eight feet of water for those using bucktail and teaser combos. Smithtown Bay, on the North Shore, also has relinquished some keepers, and a mix of summer flatties and small bluefish have been entertaining anglers casting jigs, tins and bunker chunks from the beach at Sunken Meadow State Park.
Anglers fishing from the shore in Great South Bay between Oakdale and Bellport also have scored well, catching a mix of kingfish, fluke, bluefish and stripers on cut bunker and clam baits.
"Supervisor Ed Romaine and the Town of Brookhaven have done a good job of putting the waterfront back together here," said John Mantione at J & J Bait and Tackle in Patchogue, "and I think that anglers may be benefiting somewhat from the new inlet on Fire Island that was opened by Hurricane Sandy. The water here used to have to make its way to Moriches or Fire Island inlet to escape the bay but now we see fresh, cool, ocean water with every rising tide. I think that might be helping to improve the bite inside the bay."
Storm debris a concern
A 30-foot-long dock piling; an eight-foot section of floating dock; an 80-foot long tree trunk; a large cooler. If you guessed "Things seen floating in Long Island Sound over the past week," you are correct.
As we pass the summer solstice, debris from the aftermath of superstorm Sandy remains a concern for boat captains. Some pieces that have washed up on shore are reclaimed when winds or high tides push up the beach. Often waterlogged, larger items can ride mostly below the surface with just a few inches exposed. With new moon tides headed our way next week, skippers are advised to be diligent while under power. If possible, keep a spotter on your bow as you cruise.
Grand opening for Orvis
There's a new store opening this week that local outdoors enthusiasts, especially fly fishing fans, might want to check out. The Westbury Orvis retail store (www.orvis.com/westbury) at 934 Old Country Road, Garden City, will celebrate its grand opening today through Sunday with giveaways, a drawing for a $1000 gift card, live entertainment and refreshments.