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Big fluke, snappers, sea bass lead hit parade

A file photo of fluke taken on Jan.

A file photo of fluke taken on Jan. 13, 2014. Photo Credit: Chris Ware

Fluke, snappers and black sea bass continue to be the focus for most local anglers and results of late have been mixed. As a general rule, catches to the east have had more and bigger fish on all fronts, with Montauk and Orient points your best bets. Still more western ports along the North and South shores have had their moments. That's especially true in the case of fluke at Captree, and snapper blues in just about any tidal creek.

"We hammered big fluke Wednesday morning," said Capt. Ken Higgins of the open boat Captree Pride. "Drifting just outside of Fire Island Inlet, we tallied 51 keepers with 20 weighing between 6 and 10 pounds."

Amazingly, that was just the morning trip. The afternoon venture resulted in another 31 keepers. The top offerings on both trips were 6-inch curly-tailed Gulp! grubs in white or "neon chicken" color patterns.

"Our morning drift was perfect with a light tide that made holding bottom easy while gentle winds from the north eased us along on a good course," Higgins said. "As long as the winds stay relatively light the tides look pretty good for the next few mornings."

Although centering on tiny fish by comparison, the action with snappers has been just as noteworthy. From the bulkheads of small tidal creeks to open water along both the Long Island Sound and South Shore bays, the little blues have begun to stretch the measuring tape between 6 and 8 inches.

"Our snapper blues are still running small but they are plentiful and getting bigger each week," said Maureen Davenport at Ralph's Fishing Station in Mount Sinai. "There are also some porgies and fluke being caught from the Cedar Beach fishing pier."

Other snapper fishing hot spots this week have included the Shinnecock Canal, Huntington Town Dock, Mattituck Inlet and Patchogue Dock.

Getting it done

Anyone who has toyed with the idea of catching a big fish on video knows how frustrating it can be. Everything has to go just right to even find the fish, much less wrestle one ashore without the line breaking or the fish simply slipping the hook.

Earlier this month, local fishing book author and video blogger John Skinner managed to put it all together. While filming a piece at Smiths Point Park about tempting fluke in the surf, he drilled a 7-pound, 8-ounce doormat and captured the entire encounter without missing a beat. Skinner was working a 3-inch Berkley Gulp! shrimp in just 2 feet of water when the big summer flattie inhaled his lure. You can catch the video, along with other informative fishing clips, on YouTube at "John Skinner Fishing."

Full-time local kayak fishing guide Elias Vaisberg ( is also known for coming up big when it counts. Last weekend he traveled to Winter Harbor, Massachusetts, to compete in the New England Kayak Fishing Striper Shootout. Battling nasty weather conditions in his 12-foot, 6-inch Hobie Outback, he took top honors with a 51-inch cow that fell for a 14-inch Hogy Jerkbait worked tightly against the beach.

"I had already burned through my live eels and figured I was going to finish third with a respectable 46-inch bass," Vaisberg said. "When the big one struck, I was actually surprised."

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