The long awaited fluke season kicked off on Tuesday and despite the mid-week start quite a fleet assembled in some of the early-season hot spots like Greenport, Huntington Bay and Fire Island Inlet. Overall, catches seemed decent; a good sign considering the cool, 52-degree water temperature and hawkish winds that greeted the flatfish faithful.
At Greenport, a fleet of nearly 70 boats could be seen drifting for the summer flatties off Claudio’s Restaurant with another armada assembled off the Greenlawns. The morning got off to a slow start but those who fished into the afternoon found improving action around the change of tide. Many managed a couple of keepers and a few connected with doormats in the 6- to 8-pound class.
Nobody, however, outscored Capt. James Foley on the open boat Hampton Lady. Sailing across from Shinnecock Bay, he worked the Greenlawns to put Austin Destatnick of the Bronx and Jason Walters of Holbrook on twin 10-pounders. Both fish hit Spro bucktails tipped with Berkley Gulp! Ryan Markham from White Water Outfitters in Hampton Bays and friends also put together a nice catch. They tallied 10 keepers for five anglers on squid strips and spearing combos, also off the Greenlawns.
In terms of enjoying a flat-out fluking slugfest, it would be hard to beat the action enjoyed by Joey Leggio, Pete Lamba and Dean Jelic. After powering out of Huntington Harbor, they drifted in 20-foot depths adjacent to Asharoken Beach and found the fish chewing on Spro Bucktails tipped with Gulp!
“It was non-stop action,” related Leggio, “We caught at least 60 fluke with 30 being over the legal limit (18 inches). We kept our creel of five each and tossed the rest back. All we had to do was drop our bucktails to the bottom, give the lure a wiggle and set the hook.”
Farther west, anglers had to work harder for their fillets but some decent hauls were made out of Shinnecock, Great South, Moriches and South Oyster Bay. The better scores in each of these areas came from shallow bay waters of four to six feet deep. As with the North Shore action, bucktails tipped with Berkley Gulp! had the edge over real bait.
Porgy fishing is also hot out of Greenport right now. Eddie McCrae of Wyandanch sailed Thursday aboard the charter boat Fin Chaser II and said the fishing was on fire.
“We had a ton of jumbos,” he said. “I caught my limit and topped it off with a 4 1⁄2 -pounder. You can bet I’m going back for more [Friday].”
Harrison wins Jamaica Bay tourney
Eric Harrison went into The Jamaica Bay Kayak Classic last weekend with a simple game plan. He figured he would have little trouble catching a qualifying striper and bluefish, so he would key on decking an elusive weakfish. “I spent over six hours on Saturday jigging around bait balls looking specifically for weakfish before getting a bite,” he said. “But it turned out to be a 30 1⁄2 -inch tide runner.”
That trophy, combined with 29 1⁄2 -inch bluefish and 24-inch striper, assured the Arlington, MA angler the top spot among 314 competitors in the tourney’s Grand Slam Division (longest cumulative length of a weakfish, striped bass and bluefish.) The ultimate prize: A trip to compete this December in the Hobie Fishing World Championship. Nate Matthews and Elias Vaisberg tied for big fish honors, each catching a 41-inch striper on live bunker.