With summer in midseason right now and hot, humid conditions the rule rather than the exception, some local anglers might fear the dreaded summer doldrums are fast approaching. That wouldn't match up with catches in recent days, as fluke, porgies, black sea bass and even stripers continue to please on the inshore scene.
One serious hot spot for inshore action has been Moriches Bay where "Big Dave" Roys at Silly Lily Fishing Station in East Moriches noted very solid fluke catches, both in quantity and quality. "The best scores," he said, "are coming from the channel edges south and north of buoy 15 but there are also keepers back in Harts Cove."
Moriches Bay has also quietly given up a decent number of stripers to 20 pounds on clam baits at buoy 21 and in the West Cut. Yet another good bet here is triggerfish. A nice set of the toothy critters is riding the buoy chains along the main channel and small pieces of clam or squid are all you need to tempt these tough-skinned but fine-tasting brawlers.
Farther west, some super fluke fishing has developed in 50- to 70-foot depths outside of Jones Inlet. Captain Mike Barnett of the Freeport charter vessel Codfather termed the action "excellent!" and noted his full-day trips are seeing limit catches more often than not. The Captain Lou Fleet from Freeport had similar luck on Wednesday with solid catches around the boat.
Improving ocean action for fluke also seems to be the theme out of Fire Island Inlet, although there is no shortage of summer flatties inside the bay between the Coast Guard Station and Robert Moses Bridge. Inside, spearing and squid combos or bucktails tipped with squid are working well. In the ocean depths, give the edge to long strips of squid or sea robin belly.
Also solid along virtually the entire South Shore has been black sea bass action. Those concentrating their efforts on the ocean reefs are picking plenty of shorts, but also taking home a fair share of fillets with three-pound fish not uncommon and four-pounders winning open boat pools from the West End right on out to Shinnecock and Peconic Bay. Sharpies can occasionally fill their limit throughout this stretch, but five to ten keepers with a few ling and porgies mixed in is more the average.
On the North Shore, captain Chris Cullen of the Island Current Fleet in City Island has been banging away at mixed-bag catches of porgies, sea bass and fluke with most anglers taking home at least one full bucket of fish. "We've found the bigger sea bass and scup in deeper water, usually between 50 and 60 feet," said Cullen. "Our best scores have come near Matinecock Point, Willets Point and across the Sound off Norwalk. The action has been really solid."
At Caraftis Fishing Station in Port Jefferson, Tim Caraftis agreed that mixed-bag action has been the fail-safe on Long Island Sound of late. "Oldfield Point and Crane Neck have produced very well," he said, "but there are also plenty of blues and some fluke in Smithtown Bay -- and stripers have been in and out of Port Jefferson Harbor. A few anglers using live bunker drilled linesiders weighing up to 43 pounds this week."