That run of big fluke which has been going on at Montauk all through August before spreading down along the South Shore from Shinnecock to Jones inlets continued unabated this past week. If you haven’t scored a doormat fluke yet this season, your chances have never been better.
“Ocean fluke fishing has been the best of the year,” said Capt. Joe Tangle, skipper of the Center Moriches-based charter boat King Cod. “Three of the past four days have seen full boat limits with a top fish of 9 pounds and plenty of doormats in the 6 – to 8-pound class.”
Tangle has been working deep for his patrons, fishing around reefs and rubble in 80- to 100-foot depths between Moriches and Fire Island inlets. The key to hooking up with pool contenders, he revealed, has been to skip the Berkley Gulp! artificial baits and feed the fish “real meat,” including long strip baits cut from snappers, sea robins, legal porgies or cocktail blues.
Of course, there’s often a shark in the slick when it comes fishing. With the big summer flatties feeding aggressively one to three miles off the beach, anglers may not be able to reach them this weekend. Tropical storm Florence, although still days away from possibly brushing the East Coast, is expected to push heavy seas across the region on Saturday, Sunday and early next week. That may mean the fleet will have to stay inside the bays to get the job done.
Fortunately, bay fishing for fluke has improved in recent weeks, too. Shorts are in good supply inside Great South and Moriches bays, along with enough legal fish to keep everyone interested, and Shinnecock Bay is giving up a steady if slow pick of keepers between Oakland’s Marina and northeast corner of the inlet.
On Long Island’s North Shore, porgies continue to pummel baits off Matinecock Point, Eatons Neck, Cranes Neck, Wading River and Horton’s Point. The current limits are 9 inches minimum length and 30 per angler. If you are fishing on a party or charter boat, however, you can keep 45 of the tasty silver panfish through October 31. After that, it’s back to 30 fish per angler for everyone until the season closes on December 31.
Between the Forks, weakfish have been the stars in Noyac Bay. Anglers using high-low rigs baited with squid strips have scored best. Since the daily limit for weakfish is one per person with a minimum size of 16 inches, this is mostly a catch and release game.
Snappers continue to feed ferociously at virtually every bay or harbor dock and creek with access to the water. They are also running incredibly strong at Shinnecock Canal.
Mark Your Calendars
The Fisherman’s Surf/Inshore Fishing Show and Seminar is slated for Wednesday evening, (September 12) at the Huntington Hilton (one quarter-mile south of the LIE on Route 110). More than 80 surf and inshore tackle manufacturers and retailers will be represented, with many vendors offering great deals to help get you prepared for the fall season. There’s also a full line of seminar speakers including Alberto Knie, Bill Wetzel, Matt Broderick and Capt. John Raguso. The first 600 attendees get goody bags. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for children age 16 and under. For more information, call 631-345-5200.