The week leading up to Independence Day is often a good one for Long Island's fluke and porgy fans, and that pattern is setting up again this year.
To be sure, fluking hasn't been red hot in most areas, but it has offered steady action with seasoned anglers easily catching two or three keepers and quite a few 4-pound mini-doormats reported. The top spots continue to be Smithtown Bay, Mattituck, Shinnecock and Montauk, but action on Moriches Bay also perked up this week and the Captree Fleet saw improved catches both inside Fire Island Inlet and on the ocean. On Thursday, both the Laura Lee and Captree Pride hauled aboard pool winners in the 6- to 7-pound class.
Fluke scores have also been on the upswing out of Point Lookout where yesterday the open boat Super Hawk stayed inside the bay and culled enough summer keepers to send most anglers home with dinner. "Those using light tackle and constantly bouncing their bait or jigs seriously out-produce those dragging heavy weights on the bottom,'' Capt. Steve Kearney said. "It's amazing what a difference a more lifelike presentation can make. We put a 7-pounder on the deck today.''
Kearney also noted that porgy fishing on the West End ocean reefs has been "furious,'' with plenty of big scup loading coolers on evening trips.
Speaking of scup, as porgies are also called, action in shallow water remains solid across the North Shore. Over the past two weeks, the porgies have also moved in tight to the beach where anglers are catching them off rocky shores from Huntington east to the North Fork. Clams have been the top bait, but bucktails worked on light spinning gear and tipped with short pennants of squid have accounted for some scup measuring to 18 inches long. The peak of the bite has been about two hours before darkness.
Mention fisheries management to any serious Long Island angler and you are bound to get an earful about how things need to change. Most, however, will agree that regulation is slowly moving in a better direction with decision-making based on more reliable data and both fisheries managers and politicians seemingly more responsive to the concerns of the entire fishing community.
One proponent for change who has really made a difference recently is Capt. Anthony DiLernia, who last year was instrumental in easing the restrictions on fluke fishing for New York anglers.
Last week, DiLernia was reappointed to a three-year seat on the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council (MAFMC) with strong bipartisan support from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley). He also received backing from important local fishing organizations, including the New York Sportfishing Federation and New York Fishing Tackle Trade Association. That's a significant win for New York anglers.
Said DiLernia in a statement: "To start this next term, I'll be focusing my efforts on improving black sea bass management, continuing regional management for fluke, monitoring proposed new regulations for bluefish, and developing a plan to manage recreational deep-water bottom-fish including blueline tilefish and assorted wreckfish.''