There's been no shortage of noise this year concerning big stripers. The season got off to a hot start this spring with bass exploding on bunker schools in western Long Island Sound, but in recent weeks local anglers have been feeling a bit jealous as word of goliath-sized bass taken off Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts echoed down the coast. As many as a dozen linesiders tipped the scales at 50 pounds or more during this flurry, including a 70-pounder taken from the Connecticut side of eastern Long Island Sound.

Now it looks as if some of that big fish action may be shifting back our way. During the past two weeks, at least eight bass topping 50 pounds hit the deck at Montauk, and several anglers reported encountering huge schools of stripers weighing 30 to 40 pounds trekking east of Moriches Inlet late last week.

"It's hard to say exactly why the big fish are here at The End," said T.J. Jordan at Gone Fishing Marina in Montauk, where several whoppers have hit the scales. "Traditionally, June's full moon brings up the cows but we are well past that now and the action has continued unabated. With the next full moon about a week away, this would probably be a good week to think about catching a trophy. You've got to take advantage of them while they're here."

"Here" means mostly in the rips at such famous Montauk striper hot spots as The Elbow, The Extension, Pollack Rip and Caswells, the last of which is also a popular spot for spear fishing. Live eels and legal-size porgies have accounted for much of the action on the slower stages of the tide, while wire line trolling with parachute lures, umbrella rigs and single, large tube lures have done the job when the current pushes at full steam.

Although Montauk may hold the biggest bass at the moment, there is still plenty of fast action with stripers at other ports. Bass in the 10- to 20-pound class continue to ambush bunker schools in western Long Island Sound around Execution Rock and outside Huntington Harbor. Even better has been the chunking and trolling action inside the Eaton's Neck Triangle.

Bottom action remains solid

While it's easy for anglers to get caught up in "bass mania" when the big ones are around, fluke, porgy and sea bass fans also have been enjoying some solid innings. On the South Shore, larger fluke, including a few in the 6- to 7-pound class, have begun to show in 35- to 45-foot depths off Fire Island, Moriches and Shinnecock Inlets, but a fair number of keepers and summer flatties to 4 pounds also can be found in Great South, Moriches and Shinnecock bays. Squid strips have been the top offering in ocean waters, while bucktails tipped with spearing have worked in the shallows. South Shore sea bass, porgy and triggerfish action is still reliable on local wrecks.

On the North Shore, fluke action is still productive with a fair number of mini-doormats to 6 pounds coming from deep water between Huntington and Port Jefferson, especially around buoys 13 and 15.



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