Despite some windy weather that made it tough for small boaters to get out this past week, local fishing maintained mid-summer form. Snappers continue to please at the docks, small fluke abound in the bays and harbors and mixed-bag catches remain the best bet for taking home a big pile of fillets.
Fluke anglers on both sides of Long Island continue to catch plenty of fish per trip but are finding only one out of 10 large enough to creel. Still, if you want to bend a rod with the tasty flatfish, a light-tackle approach using chartreuse bucktails is a fun route to try in shallow waters.
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On the mixed-bag front, action has ranged from steady to super depending on the day and location, with plenty of fish available on ocean reefs as well as any mussel-covered bump in Long Island Sound.
"We're seeing a fine mix of sea bass, porgies, triggerfish, ling and fluke each day," said Capt. Neil Delanoy of the Captree open boat Laura Lee. "One out of every half-dozen fish is a keeper and squid, spearing or Gulp! are all good baits."
Delanoy added that evening mixed-bag trips have been especially productive of late since the porgies have been ravenous at dusk and the sea bass feed aggressively after dark.
On Long Island Sound, porgies have been the hot item in 20- to 40-foot depths off primary points west of Port Jefferson while sea bass pave rocky bottom from 30 feet on out.
"Sea bass action is crazy good right now," said Capt. Mike Boccio of the Orient Point-based Prime Time 3 and Jenglo, which have also managed fluke of 9.5, 12 and 14 pounds over the past two weeks.
If you think you have a South Shore doormat in the cards this weekend, consider entering The Great South Bay 2-Day Annual Fluke Tournament scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. Summer flatties caught between Jones Beach and Moriches Bay are eligible for cash and tackle prizes but you must enter by 9 Friday. Call Great South Bay Bait and Tackle in Lindenhurst (631- 226-2001) for details.
DEC battles ludwigia
There's always something interesting happening at your local freshwater hot spot. On Wednesday I stopped by the Peconic River at Edwards Avenue in Riverhead to find DEC personnel and volunteers hand-pulling ludwigia from the waters. Also called floating primrose, this invasive weed spreads out from the shore in such thick mats that it can prevent boats, kayaks and even waders from cutting through to open water.
"It really clogs up the waterway, hindering fishing and recreational use," DEC Regional Fisheries manager Charles Guthrie said. "We're trying to control it without using herbicides, but it's a tough battle."
Standing in knee-deep water and covered in mud as he tossed huge armfuls of tangled ludwigia weed mats into a waiting pickup truck, DEC marine technician John Luniewski, 28, of Hampton Bays, felt pretty good about the day's efforts.
"If it helps the ecosystem and the community, I'm happy to come out and get a little dirty," he said.
For information about DEC volunteer programs, to sign up for the DEC Angler Diary Cooperator program, or to find out about DEC-sponsored free fishing events, call Guthrie at 631-444-0280.