It's not often you'll find Long Island's angling fraternity to be in nearly complete agreement, but with fluke, porgy, striped bass, weakfish and bluefish all feeding heavily as we head into Memorial Day weekend, one of the most common phrases being heard around the docks is: "Fishing is really good!"
"Porgy action couldn't be better right now, striper catches are excellent, and the fluke bite is solid from Peconic Bay on out to Orient Point," said Captain Mike Boccio of the Orient charter boat Prime Time 3. "We've been limiting out on stripers using bucktails and diamond jigs -- and all it takes is an hour before passengers begin to cry 'Enough!' with the porgies. The scup fishing right now is the best I've ever seen with some jumbos stretching the tape to 19 inches and beyond."
South Shore waters have also seen solid catches on a daily basis. "We have been banging fluke in the State Channel, catching bluefish, bass and weakfish from Robert Moses Bridge to Ocean Beach on evening trips, and seeing a mix of sea bass, plus ling and even a few cod on local wreck trips," said Captain Neil Delanoy of the Captree open boat Laura Lee. For the weakfish, 6-inch purple or red jelly worms have produced best, added Captain Jim Davidson, who also pilots the boat.
"No doubt, it's been real good here," said Walter Czekaj of Captree's Fishfinder II. "Pool-winning fluke have averaged 4 to 6 pounds, and we've had stripers to 26 pounds along with weakfish to 8 pounds on evening trips. Use white Bass Assassins or 007 diamond jigs for the bass, pink 5-inch Fin-S-Fish for the weaks, and pink bucktail and teaser combos for the fluke."
Anglers targeting the summer flatties also have scored quite well in the West End bays. Freeport's Captain Lou Fleet and the Point Lookout open boat Super Hawk have been working Reynolds Channel, Skow Creek, Long Creek, the Lido Golf Course, the Meadowbrook bridges, plus back bay flats, to send most anglers home with a pile of fillets and sharpies with full limits. Anglers on both vessels have scored best when using light tackle and small bucktails to match the size of the grass shrimp and baby herring the fluke have been spitting up. It may sound gross, but tip a bucktail with a piece of these baits if your catch happens to cough up a couple in good condition and you can't go wrong.
Not to be outdone, especially on the fluke front, North Shore waters continue to come alive. Heading into the weekend many boaters were reporting limit catches of fluke taken off Port Washington, Mamaroneck, Port Jefferson and Mount Sinai. Farther east, off Wading River, Riverhead and Hortons Point, fishing was slower but a decent number of keepers fell between 4 and 7 pounds.
Porgy action, too, has been smokin' on Long Island Sound with the best catches taken in 30-foot depths off prominent points. Eatons Point and Cranes Neck, perennial porgy hot spots, are two great starting points for prospectors.
Surfcasters hoping to get on the beach and test the suds for bass and blues will be happy to know that Robert Moses State Park reopened earlier this week, including its four-wheel drive access.