The long awaited fluke season kicked off Saturday and seemed to get off to a decent start in most quarters. Despite relatively cool water temperatures, anglers recorded a pleasing numbers of keepers from Reynolds Channel, and found decent action in Great South, Moriches, Shinnecock and Peconic bays. Long Island Sound waters, on the other hand, offered only a hint of glory to come with scattered tales of success from Huntington, Port Jefferson and Mattituck.
"We've had really solid fluke action in Reynolds Channel over the past few days," said Mark Keller at Bay Park Fishing Station in Oceanside. "On Thursday the vessel Hammertime, with Billy Tharos, Carl Licht and Jimmy Brennan, drilled big blues at Romar Shoals and then put away 10 keeper fluke between Atlantic Beach Bridge and the Lindell School on the way home."
As expected, the majority of doormat-sized summer flatties this week came from the Greenport area. Included were opening day brutes weighing 10.7 and 7.15 pounds taken by Ho Kook Han of Queens aboard the open boat Peconic Star, and a 10-pounder that fell to the Imperial Fishing Club on captain Rich Jensen's charter boat, Nancy Ann IV.
"We had pretty good fluke action all week long," Jensen said yesterday. "We're topping out around 6 pounds most days, but there are plenty of solid fish in the 3- to 4-pound class. After we pound the summer flatties, we usually run further up inside Peconic Bay and finish with some insane porgy action."
It was Jensen who also found the first keeper striped bass of the season for the Orient Point charter fleet. His customers decked a half-dozen legal linesiders on bucktails Wednesday evening.
Although fluke had center stage most of the week, it was bluefish that really put on a show. Slipping deep into the South Shore bays, Peconic Bay and especially Flanders Bay, they quickly located schools of bunker and tore up the scene. In some areas, the slammers swam so thick that anglers intent on summer flatties had to look elsewhere because they were sacrificing too many rigs. Peconic Bay has choppers ranging from 4 to 10 pounds hammering tins and poppers.
Jamaica, Shinnecock and Moriches bays, too, are inundated with the yellow-eyed monsters hitting poppers. In Great South Bay, however, bunker chunks fished on the bottom have sparked the action from docks and piers between Lindenhurst and Patchogue.
New York State fishing app
Looking for a place to fish, hunt, hike or view wildlife? Then check out the newly released "New York Fish & Wildlife" mobile application. This app provides up-to-date info for outdoors enthusiasts about fishing hot spots, species identification, boat launches, regulations, artificial reefs and more. Hunters can also find access points, check hunting seasons and see identification tips. Hikers will enjoy marking waypoints or using the "friend location" feature to keep track of family and companions along the trail. You can download it free at the Apple App Store, Google Play Store or pocketranger.com.