With summer's heat, a hurricane sliding by offshore plus peak boating season underway, you can bet local fish stocks are a little stressed right now. So it's a good idea to stack as many factors as possible in your favor when heading out in piscatorial pursuit.
Top of the list should be fishing during cool incoming tides. Cloudy days offer an edge, too, as they keep the sun's rays from sending predators scurrying for deeper water. Getting out at daybreak should also be a prime directive for those who work areas that see heavy boat traffic.
Of course, it's hard to get all the stars to align with precious free time, so focusing on at least one of these elements is a good idea. If you can't plan a trip with optimal conditions, the best advice is to head out anyway because you can't catch many fish staying at home.
Local forecast"Incoming water is your best bet for fishing Long Island's South Shore bays,'' said Tom Doheny at Scottie's Fishing Station in Point Lookout. "Fluke action remains pretty good in the West and Middle bays sectors of Hempstead Bay. Some 12- to 14-inch bluefish -- the perfect eating size -- have also made the scene. Offshore, West End anglers are still connecting with big threshers anywhere from the bunker pods off Lido Beach out to 40 miles offshore. Run 23 miles due south of Jones Inlet to hit the center of the shark action.''
Fluke catches have also been good in Great South Bay, especially inside Fire Island Inlet where doormats to 10 pounds have been caught over the past two weeks. "We've seen a lot of keepers in the 4- to 5-pound class caught on small snappers,'' said Brenden Rutigliano at Captree Bait and Tackle, "but even more impressive have been the stripers crashing bunker pods outside the inlet. We weighed at least 50 bass to 55 pounds over the past two weeks. We also still have some weakfish around. They've been smacking four-inch Pink Gulp! Swimming Mullets up tight to Robert Moses Bridge.''
Both Moriches and Shinnecock bays continue to see solid scores with fluke, both at the inlets and in 40-foot depths. "We've also had stripers taking live clams after dark at the inlet and Ponquogue Bridge,'' said Steve Jeffrey at East End Bait and Tackle in Hampton Bays. There are a few scattered bunker pods about a mile off of each inlet. Find the big baitfish and the bass will be nearby.
Out on Peconic Bay, porgies remain in good supply around Robins Island, Jessup's Neck and off the Greenlawns. Fluke seem to have rebounded between Greenport and Bug Light. Squid and spearing have been the ticket with the action best around the top of incoming water.
Looking to the North Shore, porgy action remains solid in 24- to 32-foot depths off Glen Cove, around the Eaton's Neck Brush Pile, and all the way east to Mattituck in 24- to 32-foot depths. Fluke action has been mixed with decent catches one day, less action the next and most keepers coming from 20-foot depths. A few stripers are also being caught in the Eatons Neck area on cut bunker fished during incoming tides.