Those hefty stripers that started showing up under schools of bunker along Long Island’s South Shore two weeks ago spent the better part of the past week spreading east. In what had been the hottest striper action of the young season, anglers snagging bunker and live-lining them back into the baitfish schools found plenty of cows in the 30- to 40-pound class ready and willing. Some even connected with bigger fish.
“The action with stripers had been terrific!’ said Jose Santiago at Saltwaters Bait and Tackle in West Islip. “Until the wind started to blow a couple of days ago, we were seeing a lot of fish pushing 40 pounds. We even weighed a 60 pounder. Most of the action has been in 30- to 50-foot depths, about 2 miles off the beach and a little east of Fire Island Inlet. Hopefully those fish will still be on the bunker pods when the wind dies down over the next few days.”
Capt. Ken Higgins of the Captree open boat Captree Pride confirmed the hot striper action and added that bluefish have also been plentiful on the boat’s evening trips. “There are bass under bunker from Sheepshead Bay to Moriches,” said Higgins, “with some topping 50 pounds.” Higgins’ bass trips are booked full for Friday and Saturday but he does have a few open spots for Sunday. Call 631-404-6817 for reservations.
“It’s been nice to see some of the bigger bass spread east,” said Bill Falco at Chasing Tails Bait and Tackle in Oakdale. “Anglers working outside of New Inlet hit plenty of big fish before the wind picked up on Wednesday. The best of the action has been under bunker in 30- to 60-foot depths with the fish getting bigger as you go deeper.”
How big were some of the stripers Falco weighed this week? Joe Lore of Oakdale put one on the scales at 58.8 pounds while Kelly Hahn, another Oakdale resident, weighed a 51-pound, 8-ounce brute. Falco mentioned that a few big fluke in the 20- to 24-inch class, along with some solid weakfish, have been inhaling white bucktails tipped with pink shine Gulp! between Ocean Beach and Fire Island Lighthouse on outgoing tides.
While anglers further east have also been concentrating on the bass, Chet Wilcox at B & B Bait and Tackle in Center Moriches said some anglers fishing between New Inlet and Shinnecock Inlet got a little more than they bargained for.
“We had several anglers hook bluefin tuna to 150 pounds on striper trolling gear within 100 yards of the beach!” said Wilcox. “Of course, all of those fish broke off some after completely stripping the line from angler’s reels.”
While the South Shore bass have been a big attraction, a solid bite of mixed keepers and school bass has also developed off Orient Point, and in Long Island Sound off of Huntington where the Capt. James Joseph Fleet has been in on the fun.
Porgy fishing remains in prime form with full limits the norm in Peconic Bay aboard the Prime Time fleet out of Orient Point. The fluke bite remains sluggish in most areas, but you might catch a limit out at Montauk, and the Prime Time III saw Bill Hub of Mattituck drill an 11.62-pound doormat earlier today (Thursday.)