In terms of early summer fishing action on Long Island, the West End usually heats up first, followed by the South Shore and mid-Long Island Sound ports before East End waters really catch fire.
That pattern seems to have held up this year as striped bass, bluefish, fluke and, most recently, black sea bass, have been tearing into baits and lures for quite some time in the waters from Moriches Inlet west to Jones Inlet on the South Shore, and from Port Jeff west to Hempstead Bay in Long Island Sound. Over the past two weeks, however, bigger fish have finally invaded the waters around Montauk and Orient points, and along both the North and South forks.
Montauk has seen the most marked improvement with a solid body of stripers up to 40 pounds now taking jigs, live baits and trolled parachute lures in the rips under the lighthouse. Fluke have also come alive with a surprising number of limit catches down the south side and a strong showing of doormats in the 7- to 8- pound class.
Over at Orient Point, stripers have been on the prowl both day and night in Plum Gut, the Sluiceway and The Race. The daytime action has centered around husky schoolies to 15 pounds smacking Storm Shads while bigger fish pushing up into the 30-pound class have fallen to bucktails or live eels after dark.
Fluke fishing here has been surprisingly solid, too, and some of the charter and open boats are running split trips with half a day spent chasing the linesiders and the other half targeting fluke or the porgy and sea bass that are also in great supply. All four species have now also made their way to Horton’s Point on North Fork. That action has been accessible only by boat as the bite remains in 30- to 50-foot depths.
Shinnecock is another area where the bass and fluke have come alive. Stripers have been fairly cooperative in the inlet on night tides for boaters drifting whole clams and surf casters tossing bucktails from the jetty rocks. Even better has been live-lining the bass under bunker pods in the ocean. Up inside the bay, catches of keeper fluke have been a regular occurrence in the East Cut and channels north of Ponquogue Bridge. Head out into the ocean to work around the artificial reef or any near-shore structure and you’ll add plenty of porgies and sea bass to the cooler.
Speaking of porgies, the schools inside Peconic Bay seemed to have re-grouped around Rodgers Rock, just southwest of Robins Island. Also in the area are small blues plus an occasional fluke, blowfish and weakfish.
It should be noted that the improvement in East End action hasn’t come at the expense of more western ports. On the North Shore, porgy fishing is red hot off most prominent points while fluking is decent in Smithtown Bay, outside of Huntington Harbor and around buoy 7 off Wading River. Stripers are still hanging just inside Northport Bay.
On the South Shore, fluke action has been only fair in Great South and Moriches bays but anglers working the near shore reefs and wrecks for sea bass and mixed-bag catches are heading home with plenty of tasty fillets.