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Doormat fluke highlight solid fishing action

A caught fluke is measured to see if

A caught fluke is measured to see if it is a keeper. (July 13, 2011) Credit: Steve Pfost

A wave of doormat fluke taken around Long Island over the past two weeks has summer flattie fans making fast plans to get out on the water knowing full well that something as simple as a ripple in the weather could reset the action back to ordinary levels.

The epicenter of this current doormat bite has been in Great South Bay between Fire Island Inlet and Fire Island Lighthouse, where roughly a dozen fluke exceeding 10 pounds have been caught this month. Ray Bartlett of Brightwaters is the current king of the doormats having weighed a 14-pounder at Saltwaters Tackle in West Islip last Friday. That fish inhaled a live peanut bunker, and the trophies taken by other anglers have swallowed similar offerings including live snapper blues and even bergalls.

Using large live baits measuring 6 to 8 inches in length makes a lot of sense at this time of year as they discourage strikes from smaller fish and certainly match the hatch as we head into late summer. It is a game plan that is most easy to execute from private vessels by local sharpies who can find the isolated deep pockets and unmarked cuts where the biggest fish lurk. Still, the Captree fleet hasn't missed out on the fluking fun. Dave Prilook, who skippers the open boat Captain Gillen, pointed to fast action with some very solid pool winners taken each day.

"We've been having a blast with short fluke keeping the rods bent and some very respectable doormats battling for top honors each day," Gillen said. "Mike Fiore of Sayville drilled our biggest fish this week, an 8.14-pound brute, but it has generally taken a 6- or 7-pounder to win the pool. Smelt have been the top bait with the last of the flood tide seeing the most and largest fish."

In western Long Island Sound, captain Chris Cullen has focused his City Island open boat Island Current on bottom fishing for porgies. While anchored around Eatons and Lloyds Necks, his fares have been treated to a mix of scup and sea bass weighing up to 3 pounds. Tim Caraftis at Caraftis Fishing Station in Port Jefferson echoed Cullen's report, adding that there are big porgies to be caught both inside and immediately outside Port Jefferson Harbor.

Out on the East End, captain Bob Ceglowski of the Captain Bob Fleet in Mattituck has been jigging blues along with some hefty stripers to 45 pounds on deepwater wrecks in Long Island Sound. Also jumping on the diamonds have been some doormat fluke to 8 pounds. Fluke action also reigns supreme right now at Montauk, where captain Jamie Quaresimo of the open boat Miss Montauk said anglers are limiting out daily with a substantial number of 3- to 6-pound fish and some real bruisers battling it out for the daily pool.

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