If you've been saving a vacation day or two in the hopes of tying into a real doormat fluke, the next calm day would probably be as good as any. Big fluke, many weighing six pounds or more, began to bite in the waters of Peconic Bay off Greenport and Shelter Island last Friday. The action has rewarded several anglers with the summer flattie of a lifetime.
"The fluke fishing is pretty good -- a steady pick -- but it's in search of monsters that anglers come to Greenport," said Captain Dave Brennan of open boat Peconic Star Express. "Our anglers have put together a decent number of limit catches over the past week and just about every day has seen at least one really big fish slide over the rail. The number of doormats taken by the East End fleet has been outstanding."
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Indeed, it has. Included in the mix have been at least four fish topping ten pounds, plus another half-dozen or so in the 9-pound class and a dozen more exceeding seven pounds. Breaking the ten-pound barrier this week were John Vanek, John McCreary, David Johnson and Woody Worth. At 10.9 pounds, Johnson's fluke is the largest reported this season but it should be noted Vanek's brute is the sixth double-digit fluke he has decked over the years. His secret: a six-inch long, dark colored strip bait paired with two pennants of squid. Spearing and squid combos, whole squid, and fluke balls paired with sea robin strips has also accounted for a substantial number of big fish.
Mixed with the East End doormats have been huge porgies -- one angler earlier this week caught a double-header that tallied 7.5 pounds -- a few weakfish and plenty of ravenous blues. Buoy 17 has been the hot spot for porgies while Roses Grove has the edge with weaks.
Although the vast majority of bragging sized fluke have been caught between the forks, both the South Shore bays and Long Island Sound waters have also produced plenty of action with a decent number of keepers mixed into the catches. Solid scores have come from the Captree Fleet and anglers working Fire Island Inlet, Moriches Inlet and Reynolds Channel. That last spot is where the Point Lookout open boat Super Hawk has done quite well. Jamaica Bay has given up quite a few keeper fluke, along with a mix of bass, blues and weakfish.
Anglers probing North Shore waters off of Huntington, Port Jefferson and Mattituck have seen fairly steady action with fluke to five or six pounds. In the first two instances, some keepers are being caught inside the harbors on rising tides with additional keepers favoring ebbing tides in 30-foot depths outside the harbors. Stripers have been hitting well in this area, too. The charter vessel Captain James Joseph III has used bucktails to garner limit catches of linesiders weighing 15 to 28 pounds.
Also of note over the past week has been a solid bite of weakfish inside Great South Bay, particularly in West Channel, Dickersons Channel and off Ocean Beach where jelly worms have been the ticket. Blowfish have also begun to show at the Jones Beach piers.