Despite a wind that wouldn't quit at midweek, fluke action showed marked improvement across Long Island in recent days, especially in Montauk and along the North Shore. Bluefish action is a solid bet with plenty of choppers at the South Shore inlets while porgies remain all the rage in Peconics.
Nowhere has the uptick in the fluke scores been more pronounced than at Montauk, where limit catches have been common and a surprising number of doormats to 10 pounds have fallen to anglers working the south side in 40- to 50-foot depths. North Shore fluke fans, drifting east of Huntington and outside of Port Jeff Harbor, have also seen better catches, with many taking home a couple of keepers as an influx of squid, plus some sand eels trigger the bite.
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Sea bass regulations
NYS DEC is currently accepting public comments on proposed changes to recreational black sea bass regulations. The proposed changes are needed to keep New York consistent with the coast-wide fisheries management plan for summer flounder, scup and black sea bass. A 33-percent harvest reduction is required by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC).
The proposed sea bass changes include an increase in minimum size from 13 to 14 inches, and an increase in the possession limit during the months of November and December only, from eight fish to 10 fish. The open season dates will remain July 15 through December 31.
Weaknesses in the current stock assessment caused federal scientists to exercise extreme caution in recommending annual harvest limits. As a result, for the third year in a row, New York, along with other states in the ASMFC's northern region (New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts) must reduce the black sea bass harvest despite an apparent abundance of fish. According to the DEC, a new stock assessment by the ASMFC in 2016 will be more robust and should provide basis for relief in 2017. You have until June 29 to email comments to FW.Marine@dec.ny.gov.
The overcautious approach with black sea bass by fisheries managers points out the need to support reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act (House bill HR-1335) now pending in the House of Representatives and up for a vote as early as next week.
"Reauthorizing Magnuson-Stevens, with the current amendments being proposed for the bill, will allow local communities the flexibility to adjust their fisheries management plans according to the best available scientific information while still factoring in both commerce and conservation," said John Mantione, spokesman for the New York Fishing Tackle Trade Association.
"There are more black sea bass in our waters now than anyone can remember. It's a shame we can't target them until halfway through the summer season."
Congrats to Gillen family
A great time was had by all while fluke fishing and enjoying an evening tide aboard the open boat Capt. Gillen II last Friday. The trip was a celebration for Patrick Gillen and his extended family, former mates and regular customers, commemorating 60 years of family operation out of Captree State Park.