Moon tides, high heat, flat seas some days and stiff breezes on others — Mother Nature has certainly served up a full plate of variables recently but that hasn’t stopped the fish from biting. If anything, the action has improved at most ports with late-summer favorites like triggerfish and small snappers now joining the usual cast of characters.
Striper fishing in particular has exceeded expectations. Montauk remains the top draw with bass to 40 pounds falling for live eels, spot or legal-sized porgies at The Elbow on the flood tide and Great Eastern on the ebb.
“Come prepared with different baits,” advised Capt. Lou Rosado from the tackle shop at Star Island Yacht Club, “The bass switch from one favorite to another just about every day.”
There are also some linesiders to be had in the surf. These, however, have mostly fallen to bucktail and eel fishermen working Shinnecock and Moriches inlets at night.
Montauk also continues to shine brightest for big fluke, although there is some potential competition on this front. Both the charter and party boat fleet are seeing plenty of doormats in the 6- to 9-pound class pulled from between the inner Cartwright Grounds and the Rock Hill area.
Squid and spearing combos work fine for keepers but squid and smelt account for more doormats. Many of the biggest fluke have fallen to live spot. Use these baitfish if you can find a source and have deep pockets — the current market price is $7 apiece.
While there seem to be fewer trophy fluke along the South Shore, the action both inside and outside of Shinnecock, Moriches and Fire Island inlets has been on the upswing. Both private and open boats out of all three inlets are seeing solid action and a reasonable expectation of catching some keepers. The Captree Fleet, in particular, has witnessed improved action at the top of incoming water and start of the ebb. There are also plenty of sea bass and scup on the near-shore wrecks in this area.
Those heading out of Jones and Debs inlets have also seen solid scores with fluke, sea bass and porgies. Capt. Bob Schmitt of Sea Rogue charters in Freeport reports the summer flatties have really turned on in ocean waters at Cholera Banks and the Middle Grounds. Cull through the shorts and you might come away with a limit catch. The Capt. Lou Fleet has been on top of the summer flatties as well.
Farther west in the New York Bight, especially Ambrose Channel, anglers making the run have been rewarded with a generous number of 4- to 6-pound mini-doormats. There has also been decent fluke action on the North Shore out of Huntington and Port Jefferson, mostly along ledges in 40- to 50-foot depths.
If you are still on the hunt for porgy and sea bass fillets, a steady pick can be found from shore at Sunken Meadow. Private boaters will do fine off any prominent North Shore point while open boat fans can’t go wrong with Captree’s Laura Lee and Captree Pride, or the Super Hawk out of Point Lookout.
“The porgy and sea bass fishing is easy right now,” added Capt Dave Brennan of the open boat Peconic Star in Greenport. “The bottom is paved with fish between Gardiners Island and the Montauk grounds.”