Striper management is crucial agenda for Atlantic states

Bill Dell surfcasts Sunken Meadow Beach searching for Bill Dell surfcasts Sunken Meadow Beach searching for Stripers and blue fish at sunset. (Nov. 5, 2009) Photo Credit: Joel Cairo

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The rumor mill was spinning hot and heavy this past week with word that New York State was not represented at the most recent Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (AFMSC) meetings held during the first and second week of August. The upcoming benchmark assessment for striped bass was on the agenda last week and it is this assessment, likely to be completed next spring, that will weigh heavily in determining how striper stocks will be managed over the next decade.

"This is the first step in striper management," said Dick Brame, Atlantic States coordinator for the Coastal Conservation Association, who attended the meeting as an observer. "It's where the committee examines the data and figures out what will go into the equation. It's from this data that management models are run. This is a chance for states to explain the data they have collected and how best to interpret it -- and the State of New York was not there. To have no representation at this meeting is absurd."

"We did participate in the meetings by webinar and by phone last week," said Emily DeSantis, a DEC spokesperson. "And this week, DEC Director of Marine Resources Jim Gilmore is at the meetings in person." Porgies big and plentiful

Monster scup continue to dominate the scene on Long Island Sound and out in Peconic Bay. Some have measured as long as 20 inches and weighed an honest 4 pounds. Still, even those huge humpbacks have a long way to go before busting the New York State record of 6 pounds, 4 ounces taken back in 1978.

Expect to find the best of the porgy action in 20- to 40-foot depths in Long Island Sound off prominent points like Matinecock, Cranes, Oldfield and Hortons. In the Peconics, try off the northwest corner of Robins Island, Jessups Neck or head farther east to Gardiners Island. If you want more of a mixed-bag flavor in your catches, work the near-shore ocean reefs and wrecks. South Shore anglers fishing those pieces have been enjoying a fine mix of sea bass, triggerfish, scup and fluke.

A wave of big fluke continues to wash over the gunwales of anglers fishing in the South Shore bays, as well as out at Montauk. Shorts continue to dominate most catches but, based on recent reports, your odds of connecting with a fluke that might break the 10-pound mark have never been better inside Jamaica, Great South, Moriches and Shinnecock bays.

All four areas have produced summer flatties ranging from 10 to 13 pounds over the past week. Quite a few 5- to 7-pound brutes have been recorded as well. Bucktails tipped with spearing has been the winning combination with buoy 15 in Moriches Bay, Fire Island Inlet and the Shinnecock flats just north of Shinnecock Inlet among the fluking hot spots. There has been an uptick in the number of big fluke caught at Montauk over the past two weeks. Email: outdoortom@optonline.net

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