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Blues, porgies chomping as fishermen await fluke opener

Many fishing clubs plan several open boat trips

Many fishing clubs plan several open boat trips during the year for saltwater species such as striped bass, fluke or scup. These happy anglers connected to bring in some porgies aboard the Capt. Bob out of Mattituck in August 2013. Credit: Tom Schlichter

If you've put off making that first fishing trip of the season until the action heats up, wait no longer. With sunny skies for most of the past week, the full spring lineup is batting around as anglers drop their lines into the strike zone. Porgies now rule the Peconics, bluefish are tearing up the South Shore and school stripers reign supreme in North Shore harbors. Add Opening Day of fluke season to the menu Sunday and the table is set with a fun range of options.

"Porgy fishing is outstanding around Robins Island on Peconic Bay," said Steve Sponzia at WeGo Fishing Bait and Tackle in Southold Thursday morning. "I had a couple of guys out today that came back with full limits in less than three hours. They used clams for bait and every porgy they creeled looked to be over 2 pounds."

At Silly Lily Fishing Station in East Moriches, Gary Grunseich said there was action with blues, along with scattered reports of school stripers caught and released by anglers hoping for winter flounder. Still, he seemed most excited about the prospects for fluke starting Sunday.

"A fair number of fluke have already been caught by accident and then released," Grunseich said. "Figure your best luck in the early season will come at the start of outgoing tide far from the inlet. Try near Smiths Point to the west or, around buoy 33 to the east."

Along the South Shore, bluefish, stripers and the prospect of fluke fishing have anglers making plans.

"It's been 'bluefish city' around here," said Captain Walter Czekak of the Captree open boat Fish Finder II. "Our day trips have produced choppers to 13 pounds with the fish slamming Bass Assassins, jigs and even poppers. The action has been mostly inside Great South Bay and Fire Island inlet, so we haven't been making ocean runs. Our evening trips have also seen plenty of blues, plus school bass, a few keeper stripers and an occasional weakfish."

Czekak plans to begin fluke fishing on day trips starting Sunday, but he'll stay with the choppers and linesiders on the evening excursions. He suspects fluke catches will also get off to a nice start since anglers have already caught and released several to 6 pounds while targeting bass and blues.

On the West End, Capt. Steve Kearney of the Point Lookout open boat Super Hawk was also looking forward to the opening of fluke season. "Local pin-hookers are catching pretty well already," he said, "so it looks like we will have a good start. Try around Meadowbrook Bridge, in the back of Long Creek or in Baldwin Bay. And don't pass up diving birds that appear to be working over bluefish if you are strictly looking for fluke. Oftentimes, the summer flatties are on the bottom right under the choppers."

Over on the North Shore, action with school bass and a few bluefish remain the highlights. Most have come from inside the harbors with Hempstead, Cold Spring, Huntington, Port Jefferson and Mount Sinai all producing an occasional keeper, plus schoolies to 26 inches. There also were a surprising number of winter flounder reported from the Huntington Bay and Duck Island area. If fluke are your target Sunday, Smithtown Bay is the traditional early season hot spot.

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