Grab those fishing poles before school starts
It's hard to believe, but those big yellow buses soon will be rumbling down local streets. While that doesn't signal an end to summer fishing, it does provide a point to consider whether you've squeezed in enough innings on the water this season. This is especially true if introducing kids to fishing was a primary point on your warm-weather to-do list. If you are still playing catch-up in this regard, there are a few specific trips that can help you cover a lot of ground before the business of school and extracurricular activities resume.
Consider bay fluke fishing, for example. It has been red hot from Jones Inlet east to Shinnecock and the bite is likely to continue strong well into September. Because it takes place in calm waters and anglers can use light tackle and bucktails to tempt their catch, this trip is a favorite of kids and adults alike. With a solid shot of keepers among a multitude of shorts, you'll likely keep a fish or two for dinner while also getting to teach the value of catch-and-release fishing to your flatfish protege. If you don't have your own boat, start with a half-day party boat trip and double-down if things go well. Time your outing to match an incoming tide and let the fun begin.
Porgy and sea bass fishing also has been super this year in Long Island Sound and Peconic Bay, where the scup dominate catches, and on the near shore ocean wrecks outside the South Shore inlets, where sea bass rule. This is pure bottom fishing with squid or clam for bait and it is ideal for intermediate anglers as well as anyone looking to fill the cooler. Slightly heavier rods, reels and weights are used in this instance than are favored on the bay fluke trips, but the quantity of fish collected can be outstanding, and you'll likely encounter a few triggerfish, fluke and bluefish as well.
If you want to keep things really simple and closer to home, consider a trip to the local dock and target snappers. The diminutive bluefish measure 6 to 10 inches long now, and they strike with a passion. All you need is a light spinning outfit and a snapper popper lure tipped with spearing, or a float rig that suspends the bait 2 or 3 feet beneath the surface. These rigs are inexpensive and can be purchased at any tackle shop where, by the way, you can also get firsthand information on nearby places to wet a line.
Snapper fishing has launched the careers of many Long Island anglers, and with the action now shifting into high gear, late August isn't too late to introduce a new generation to angling fun. For added excitement, enter the Jones Beach Kid's Snapper Tournament on Saturday, Aug. 25, and Sunday, Aug. 26. Call 631-559-5938 for details. Hunters, get ready
The approach of September also means that hunting season isn't far off. The opening of Long Island's bow season for white-tailed deer is just a little more than six weeks away and hunting licenses are already on sale. If you are new to hunting, you'll need to take a hunting safety course before getting a license. Visit the DEC's website for a listing of courses: www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9191.html.