Like the cavalry riding in to save the day, snapper blues and blue claw crabs have long been counted on to provide midsummer excitement from local docks around Long Island. Most years, this dynamic duo hits full stride just when it seems other favorites like fluke and stripers are beginning to fade from warm water temperatures and relentless fishing pressure.
“The snappers and blue crabs are right on time this year,” said Paul Graniello at J & J Sports in Patchogue on Thurs;day. “And they both seem to be in really good supply right now.”
Graniello notes that novice anglers and fishing families with young kids especially appreciate the fast-paced action. They enjoy the aggressiveness of the young blues, the ease of catching blue crabs in box traps or drop lines baited with chicken parts, and that both can be part of a delicious meal come day’s end.
“It doesn’t take much to join the fun,” Graniello said. “A light spinning setup, float, and some spearing is all you need to get started. You don’t even have to worry the tides since both crabs and snapper blues are active on any moving water.”
Right now, Great South Bay is offering super crabbing and snapper fishing just about anywhere between Massapequa Cove and the docks off West Sayville, Blue Point and Bellport. The Captree and Jones Beach piers are other easy access points. There also have been solid catches of blue claws and snappers in Shinnecock Canal.
On the North Shore, the baby blues are well established inside most harbors and are also cruising close to shore along open Sound beaches like Sunken Meadow, Cedar Beach and Crab Meadow.
As for bigger game, northeast winds at midweek took the edge off the super action with striped bass and fluke at Montauk. Hopefully, a swing back to southwest breezes will reignite that bite. In the meantime, fluking remains decent outside Shinnecock Inlet and solid out of Moriches, with a fair number of keepers plus occasional doormats in the 6- to -8-pound class in both areas. The bigger fish are generally coming from 70-foot depths in ocean waters.
“We’ve had a lot of fluke in Merrick Bay, too,” said Matt Barbaro at Causeway Bait and Tackle in Wantagh. “The fastest action has come from between the Meadowbrook and Wantagh bridges on 4-inch Gulp! Swimming Mullets.”
There are more keepers in the 4- to 8-pound class in ocean waters at the Cholera Banks and on the McAllister Grounds outside of Jones Inlet. There, however, you’ll want to use Gulp! 6-inch jigging grubs in pink shine or nuclear chicken patterns.
Of course, if you prefer to hedge your bets, a mixed-bag trip for porgies, sea bass and whatever else wants to bite is yet another option. Just about every party boat port on the North and South Shores has at least one vessel taking this route.
“Mixed bag action is another great way to introduce kids and novice anglers,” says Captain Steve Kearney of the Point Lookout open boat Super Hawk. “We’re dropping simple clam baits to the bottom on a high-low rig with a 5-ounce sinker and pulling up sea bass, porgies, triggerfish, fluke and even a few blowfish. It really is a ton of fun.”