'The bluefish are in and they are tearing the place apart!"
That was the description of chopper action on Long Island Sound over the past few days, according to Capt. James Schneider of the Huntington open boat, Capt. James Joseph II.
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Although most anglers have focused on padding the freezer with porgy and sea bass fillets in recent weeks, the big blues slipped into mid-Sound waters between Huntington and Port Jefferson. The action has increased dramatically from day to day with the toothy predators running 8 to 17 pounds.
"It's only going to get better," said Schneider, noting that the 'gators have been tearing into pods of 6-inch peanut bunker. "These blues have been so vicious that we've burned though a year's worth of diamond jigs in the past three weeks. On one drift alone we lost a full gross of jigs so we've added a top-shot of 60-pound test leader to our reels. That's helped cut the losses."
Schneider's fares have been using diamond jigs to score, but some private boaters have enjoyed super top-water action with popping plugs. The flashpoint for all the action has been immediately west of buoy 15 in 80 to 160 feet of water over open bottom. Roaming among the blues have been plenty of porpoise, the sighting of which adds to the fun.
"The 'gators aren't hard to spot," Schneider said. "Just keep looking for flocks of diving birds or rough patches of water that signal the presence of bunker. The blues should be right underneath the baitfish schools."
To be sure, Schneider has seen an amazing week of fishing. His daily trips for scup and sea bass continue to bring solid results, the bluefish trips have been wild, and he just returned from a Capt. James Joseph nine-man, two-day crew trip aboard the Montauk charter vessel Viking Fivestar that witnessed remarkable offshore action.
With Capt. Steven Forsberg Jr. at the helm, Schneider's charter ran to 80-degree water 140 miles due east of Montauk and the bite was hot. They jigged many bigeye tuna to 160 pounds, decked several yellowfin to 125 pounds, drilled numerous mahi and added a 4-pound tripletail.
"And that wasn't even the best of it," said Schneider, laughing. "We also had a huge blue marlin swallow a bigeye being brought to the boat. It hung on for a bit and then spit the tuna back out. A second marlin in the 500-pound class also struck while the boat was on the troll, but it managed to get free while the crew worked to get the rod out of the holder."
Schneider and crew may have had an awesome time offshore, but tuna catches have been inconsistent. Mark Keller at Bay Park Fishing Station in Oceanside did know of some mostly small yellowfin at the Bacardi Wreck, plus occasional bigeyes and longfin albacore in Hudson Canyon. Most of his regulars, however, have been hitting the inshore scene looking for sea bass and porgies at Atlantic Beach Reef and the scattered wrecks in 100-foot depths.
Those wrecks are in the same area where the Capt. Lou Fleet in Freeport has been catching well of late. Capt. Anthony Gillespie, in fact, called the bottom fishing "super." He generally takes a conservative view of fish counts, so you can bet the bite is solid.