It’s been an interesting week on the local fishing front. That hot shot of big stripers chasing bunker along the South Shore from Jones to Moriches inlets cooled off considerably as rainy, windy weather rolled in to town. At the same time, North Shore bass action improved significantly from Hempstead Harbor all the way east to Orient Point.
“We’ve had the stripers real good in the Huntington area,” said Capt. Jimmy Schneider of the Huntington-based James Joseph Fleet. Schneider has been working the bass with his six-pack charter boat while targeting fluke with his open boat.
“It seems like the bass fishing really catches fire a day or two before and after heavy wind and rains. Wednesday, we used bunker chunks and diamond jigs over ledges for non-stop action, keeping a limit and returning the rest. The bass are keying on mix of sand eels, butterfish and bunker and when you look on the fish-finder you see them packed beneath the boat.”
On the fluke front, Schneider’s fares have also been scoring well and while many have looked east to Montauk and the Peconics for a shot at doormats, the James Joseph II has already put three fish over 10 pounds on deck this year, including a 13-pounder last week and an 11-pounder this week. On Saturday, Tom Mazur of Glenn Cove took a 6-3/4-pounder to win the Nassau Police Angler’s Charity Fluke Tournament — an Island-wide contest with over 180 entrants.
“North Shore fluke right now are anywhere from a few yards off the beach to about 15 feet deep,” said Schneider. “They’re focused on sand eels so target them with small, ¾-ounce bucktails tipped with 4-inch pink, white or chartreuse Berkley Gulp! grubs."
Porgy fishing is still red hot in most areas. For Long Island Sound anglers, any point between Peacock and Matinecock should see some action. “We’ve seen some really nice scup taking clams in recent days,” said Blaize Rufino at Duffy’s Bait and Tackle in Glenwood Landing. “There have also been stripers inside Hempstead Harbor around the breakwater. Try trolling mojo rigs for the bass.”
To the east, Peconic Bay is still giving up plenty of big porgies, said Capt. Dave Brennan of the Greenport open boat, Peconic Star. Brennan’s fares have pulled big “pork chops” up inside Peconic bay in 40- to 50-foot depths. “We’ve had a surprising number of nice weakfish mixed in, too,” said the skipper. “Worms and clam have been the best baits for the scup while weaks to 7 pounds have strongly preferred the clams.”
As for the South Shore action, while a few fluke are being taken in Great South Bay, Jones Inlet and Reynolds Channel, the best bet right now is local wreck fishing. “On the calmer days,” said Capt. Steve Kearney of the Point Lookout open boat Super Hawk, “we’ve been heading to the ocean and loading up on ling. If you want to put a pile of tasty fillets in the cooler, you should have no trouble at all.”
You’ll also, no doubt, catch plenty of black sea bass which, unfortunately, still have to be returned until June 23. “I can’t wait for the black sea bass season to finally open,” said Kearney. “From what we’ve seen so far, it’s sure to be a good one.”