Rods and tackle boxes ready?
What’s biting? You need to look at the calendar — and the state Department of Environmental Conservation fishing guide.
Marine recreational anglers 16 years and older must register each year in New York’s free Recreational Marine Fishing Registry. More information can be found at dec.ny.gov.
APRIL AND MAY
Cod, pollock, ling, winter flounder and striped bass make up most of the haul in April, followed by fluke (summer flounder) and porgies as their respective seasons open during May. Bluefish, too, arrive in May, hot on bunker and invading inshore waters from west to east. Much of the early action is aboard party and charterboats but, as the season advances, private skippers and surf anglers join the fun.
Popular ports for spring catches include Babylon, Bay Shore, Center Moriches, Sheepshead Bay, Point Lookout, Island Park, Freeport, Captree State Park, Greenport, Port Jefferson, Mattituck, Orient Point, Montauk and Huntington. Among the favored bank and pier spots are the west shore of Little Neck Bay, Shinnecock Canal, Ponquogue Bridge (Hampton Bays), Green Island Fishing Pier (Wantagh) and the fishing piers in Captree, Robert Moses and Jones Beach state parks.
The summer flounder (fluke) season usually begins in mid-May. Anglers looking to score with doormat-sized trophies spend much of their time working waters around Greenport, Orient and Montauk. Fast action with generally smaller fluke awakens in South Shore bays and North Shore harbors as May rounds into June. May also sees the start of scup (porgy) action in Peconic Bay and weakfish catches in South Shore bays. Bluefish crash the party everywhere in May as well.
Scup, summer flounder, bluefish and striped bass are on the menu now. Most Montauk charter captains will pursue stripers or fluke. Greenport and Orient Point charters and open boats target porgies along with summer flatties and some weakfish. On the North Shore, super fluke fishing with slab-sized porgies is found on slopes and prominent points just a short boat ride from any port. Cocktail blues add to the fun. Anglers out of Captree State Park and throughout the South Shore bays target striped bass, summer flounder and weakfish, when plentiful. Porgies, fluke, slammer blues and an occasional weakfish or puffer should provide the bulk of the action in the Peconics. The inshore catch in Freeport and Sheepshead Bay usually centers on fluke, with occasional spurts of bluefish or stripers.
Bank and pier fishing along the South Shore focus on summer flounder, weakfish, blowfish and northern kingfish. Bluefish, kingfish and blowfish will join stripers and fluke to entertain the surf crowd. North Shore bank fishermen will take a mixed bag of striped bass, porgies and blues.
JULY AND AUGUST
Most anglers on Montauk boats will land fluke and porgies. Bluefish, striped bass, fluke and black sea bass provide the main support for both the private and charter fleets at most ports. Some tuna, mahi and shark will be taken on boats from Hampton Bays, Montauk, Center Moriches, Freeport, Point Lookout, Sheepshead Bay and Captree State Park. Fluke fishing continues throughout the South Shore bays. Porgies, northern kingfish, school weakfish and a few fluke dominate in the Peconics.
Boats from Sheepshead Bay, Freeport and some from Captree will be after bluefish, as will anglers on Port Jefferson and Mattituck boats. Blue crabs will be willing to take baits along the South Shore through October. Surf fishing on the South Shore and bank fishing on the North Shore will be similar to June except that striped bass now feed best at night.
Black sea bass season should open during this time but check the DEC website. Both the charter and open-boat fleets on the North Fork will concentrate on striped bass, porgies, black sea bass and tackle-busting blues.
Porgy fishing in Montauk and Mattituck usually is at its best this month. Striped bass also are more frequent from all ports. Bluefish and false albacore will be targeted out of North Shore ports. Anglers out of Captree State Park and Shinnecock Inlet will be taking a variety of species. Freeport and Sheepshead Bay anglers are often after tuna, but bluefish, striped bass and black sea bass remain the primary catches.