Bluefish came on like gangbusters over the past few days, exploding on the scene at the South Shore inlets, inside Peconic Bay and in Long Island Sound from Port Jefferson to Hempstead Harbor. The choppers had been making sporadic forays at most Long Island ports for over a month but the action became more consistent.
Not everyone is thrilled by the chopper invasion. Striped bass fanatics find the toothy, more aggressive blues tend to beat linesiders to lures and baits. Likewise, some believe bluefish can dampen a fluke or porgy bite, causing these species to lay low lest they become the target of bluefish aggression. That theory probably holds a fair amount of water as evidenced by the occasional fluke caught lacking a significant part of its tail, or the porgy chomped in half as it is reeled from the bottom.
While it is the aggressiveness of the bluefish that causes some fish species to sulk and others to bolt, it is this very trait that anglers find most noteworthy. Novices love blues for their pension to strike quickly and put up a great fight. Surf fishermen enjoy catching them along open beaches and in back bay waters where access is generally easy.
Fly fishermen use blues to sharpen presentation skills and fill the gaps between bass strikes on the flats while charter skippers count on choppers to save the day when more desirable target species take a breather.
Despite the blue's longstanding reputation as poor table fare, there is a contingent that loves the smaller 1- to 3-pound "cocktails."
You've got plenty of bluefish options this weekend. Evening tides have produced exceptionally well at Robert Moses Bridge and throughout the length of Fire Island Inlet, and the Captree fleet has done especially well using Bass Assassins. Jones, Debs, Moriches and Shinnecock Inlets have all seen better action in the early morning on tins and poppers cast from boats, and on bunker chunks fished from the shore.
On the North Shore, the blues have been mixed with stripers around bunker schools, and they are also setting up now in Smithtown Bay and at mid-Sound off Huntington, Port Jefferson and inside the Eatons Neck Triangle. Here the action has been mostly on bunker chunks and trolled umbrella rigs.
There are also plenty of blues on Long Island's East End, with the choppers swarming Flanders Bay and building their presence at Jessups Neck. Plum Gut and the rips off Montauk have tons of blues, too, these mixed with keeper stripers on bucktails, tins and trolled parachute lures.
The Jones Beach Iron Bill Memorial Flounder Derby is scheduled for Saturday, 8 a.m., at the Jones Beach Piers. Visit www.jonesbeachfishingstation.com . . . The Kayak Fishing Classic on Jamaica Bay runs Friday through Sunday. Register on-site at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn. Proceeds benefit Heroes on the Water and The Fisherman Magazine's Send a Kid Fishing programs. See www.captainkayak.com for details . . . The Freeport Tuna Club Yard Sale features everything fishing starting at 8 a.m. on Saturday. Call 516-523-1339 for more info.