When it comes to catching doormat fluke during the summer, it’s tough to beat the waters off Montauk. Over recent years, late July and August have produced some outstanding action south and east of The Point. This year, the big-fish action seems to be starting early.
“We had a banner trip today,” said an elated Capt. Jamie Quaresimo on Wednesday of the open boat Miss Montauk.
It would be hard to argue that assessment since Quaresimo’s fares limited out on summer flatties by 10:30 a.m. According to the skipper, nearly every angler caught a fluke in the 6- to 8-pound class. The pool fish was 10 pounds — but there were nine others big enough to contend for the prize money!
“We had perfect conditions,” said Quaresimo, “so I could make pin-point drops and drift exactly where we wanted to go. Out here, catching doormats is all about getting the right drift. Too fast and your baits rise off the bottom. Too slow and you don’t cover enough ground.”
Captain Ron Lajda ran his Orient Point charter vessel Coyote to Montauk to try for fluke at a spot called Frisbees on Independence Day. Fishing in 75-foot depths, he couldn’t have made a better choice.
“I fished with my 13-year old son, John,” the proud father said, “and we iced nine keepers to 5 pounds — plus a huge doormat that John caught. It weighed 12.4 pounds several hours later when we placed it on the scale at WeGo Fishing Station in Southold.”
John’s big flattie ate a bucktail tipped with a Gulp! Swimming Mullet in 75 feet of water.
“It felt heavy when it first hit,” said John Lajda, “but it didn’t fight hard until half-way up to the boat. When I first saw its head in the water, I couldn’t believe the size! Even after it was in the net, it took a while to realize I actually decked it.”
Like Quaresimo, Lajda attributed the big fish action to favorable drifting conditions. “We were moving at .8 to .11 knots — that’s absolutely perfect for fishing at Montauk. There is also a lot of squid in the area now and that always seems to bring out the big ones.”
Huntington has been the other big fluke hot spot this year and Jimmy Schneider’s open boat Capt. James Joseph II has been right in the mix. Over the past two weeks his fares have boated doormats weighing 11.75 pounds and 10.5 pounds, plus several in the 7- to 9-pound class. That’s true trophy status for this part of Long Island Sound.
“We’ve had big fish in 50- to 70-foot depths off Huntington, and as deep as 80 feet off Oyster Bay,” said Schneider. “It’s been really good fishing with some big black sea bass mixed into the catches. With the full moon coming up, you’ll need to work those deep slopes now on the slower stages of the tide.”
There are squid off Huntington at the moment, too. But Schneider noted cleaning table autopsies on the doormats showed each one had as many as six 1- to 2-inch porgies in its stomach.
“It looks like it was a great spawning year for scup,” said Schneider. “You can bet those big fluke are taking full advantage of it.”