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Hermine’s aftermath tricky for anglers

This satellite image shows Hurricane Hermine approaching Florida

This satellite image shows Hurricane Hermine approaching Florida from the Gulf of Mexico. Credit: NOAA

It may not have had the dramatic impact expected in our area, but you can bet the residual effects of what was once Hurricane Hermine will have anglers scratching their heads a bit for the next few days. As the heavy heave that roiled waters along both the South Shore beaches and Long Island Sound finally subsides, the hope is fishing action will be as solid as before the near miss.

It’s likely that the further anglers head offshore the more things will have changed. For starters, there was a pretty good bite of yellowfin and bigeye tuna underway at Hudson Canyon leading into the weekend. With water temperatures up above 80 degrees, the fish finally had set up with a degree of reliability and bigger boats were finding the run well worthwhile. The north winds as the storm departed, however, pulled in cooler water from New England, making it likely the reset button will have to be pressed when it comes to pinpointing tuna prospects.

“You have no idea what it will be like in the canyons following a storm like that,” said Richie Rosenkranz at Woodcleft Fishing Station in Freeport. “So you might as well head right out to where you last caught tuna and start trolling from there. If you don’t connect right away, troll toward the first decent break on your water temperature charts because that is where the bait is most likely to stack up. If you don’t have productive GPS numbers from last week to start with, try the 100-Square area of Hudson Canyon. That’s a spot that usually produces pretty well this time of year.”

On the nearshore and inshore scene, schools of scup and sea bass were so thick before the storm that they are likely to rebound by the weekend. In fact, it’s possible you may find the fishing for these species even better as the combination of little fishing pressure and cooler water should make them hold tighter around the better known wrecks and bottom pieces. Already, the bite has picked up in Long Island Sound near prominent points like Prospect, Matinicock, Cranes Neck, Hortons Point and Rocky Point.

Fluke, for me at least, always have been an enigma after serious late summer or early fall storms. Just before the seas grew rough, the action with summer flatties was still hot at Montauk, improving in the ocean off Shinnecock, decent around the South Shore inlets, and solid to the west at Ambrose Channel. Since the storm, initial reports have been quite mixed.

Whether that’s because the fish have moved a bit or there simply haven’t been enough boats sailing to focus in on the flatfish schools remains to be seen. If fishing inside the bays or Long Island Sound, start your search around channel edges. If heading out to the ocean, slide out 10 to 20 feet deeper than on your last successful trip and work back toward shallower water if the bite doesn’t materialize.

“Don’t overlook the obvious,” said John Mantione at J&J Sports in Patchogue, “Following that shoreline pounding surf action with bass and blues will probably pick up, and if it’s dinner you want, hit the nearest dock for blue crabs and snappers. Hermine didn’t seem to have much effect on them at all.”


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