A dose of east wind and dropping temperatures may have stirred up the waters around Long Island heading into the weekend, but they did nothing to cool off the excellent bottom-fishing anglers have been enjoying along both the North and South shores.
“We’re catching plenty of porgies right now,” said Captain Dave Brennan of the Greenport open boat Peconic Star. “We are finding them in several different locations with some drops just 35 feet to the bottom and others over 100 feet deep. Most of the scup have ranged between 11 and 15 inches and they have all been eating clam baits.”
Aboard the Orient open boat Prime Time 3, Capt. Mike Boccio noted that blackfishing had been decent but it improved significantly Wednesday when the crew tried a few new spots. All six anglers aboard limited out with top honors going to Jason Rotkamp as he tallied lunkers weighing 6, 8, 9 and 11 pounds. Green crabs were the bait of choice.
Bottom fishermen on the South Shore are still working hard to separate keeper ‘tog from the shorts, but Eric Kim of Port Washington figured things out aboard the Shinnecock open boat Hampton Lady last Saturday. He drilled a 14.5-pound bulldog on a green crab. “We’ve had a few 8-pounders on the boat Friday, too,” said skipper James Foley, who said the action has centered around Shinnecock Reef.
Shore-based anglers have also scored well along the South Shore. There are still some snappers to be had at the various docks between Patchogue and Oakdale, plus some weakfish taking squid strips, said Pablo Salinas at J & J Sports in Patchogue. Farther west, you’ll have all you can handle with porgies, weakfish and an occasional kingfish or blackfish at the Jones Beach piers. Most will be too short to keep but the fast-paced action is perfect for fishing with kids.
The bottom of Long Island Sound is still holding plenty of life, too. “We’re dropping down our lines with clam baits on the hook and reeling up whatever bites,” said Capt. Jimmy Schneider of the Huntington based open boat Capt. James Joseph II. “You name it, we’ve caught it in the past week: Porgies, weakfish, sea bass, blackfish, blues and stripers. We even released a few winter flounder (out of season).”
Stripers have been hit and miss around Long Island for the most part in recent weeks. South Shore surfcasters are taking a few on poppers in the early morning between Shinnecock and Moriches. With the sun high in the sky tins have been the top lures while sharpies fishing after dark have favored bucktails. Most of the linesiders have been in the schoolie to 15-pound class.
There are also some keeper linesiders beginning to slide into the back bays and harbors along the North Shore. According to Carmine Petrone of The Camp-Site Sports Shop in Huntington Station, fly-casters using poppers, epoxy minnows and Deceiver patterns have scored best.
Of course the striper action continues at Montauk. Live eels have accounted for the most keepers on both day and night tides around the lighthouse. Early in the week Al Ballaglio, fishing aboard the charter vessel Double Header, decked a 44-pounder as the crew of six limited out. The cow bass was officially weighed at West Lake Marina.