Long Island anglers frequently speak of the "summer doldrums" as late July and August heat waves dull the local bite. But if you bet that last week's uncomfortable temperatures put the brakes on big fish catches you may have missed the boat. Offshore action remained red hot with shark, tuna and even blue marlin, while porgies, sea bass and keeper fluke catches continued solid on the inshore front.
For big-game seekers, the Coimbra wreck south of Moriches and Shinnecock inlets has reigned supreme. A huge mass of large sand eels there has attracted predator species with 30- to 60-pound class bluefin tuna typical, but some much bigger brutes also taken.
"On Sunday, we weighed a 227-pound bluefin at Jackson's Marina in Hampton Bays," said Gregg Desantis, owner of the 40-foot Barbaric. "We anticipated heavy boat traffic at the Coimbra so we started trolling before sunrise. That big one smashed a White Water Outfitters spreader bar with a rainbow-colored bird during pre-dawn light. The water was full of life with dolphins, whales and plenty of bait, so we figured there might be a big fish or two around.''
If there were indeed two, Oceanside charter skipper Nick Sevene must have gotten the other one -- an estimated 500-pound blue marlin that rose up behind his No Time and swallowed a blue/white Joey Schute lure tipped with a ballyhoo. The huge blue took a dozen spectacular jumps and nearly spooled the reel several times before surrendering to celebrity chef "Bravo Nader" Gebrin of Huntington and his deck mates Simon and Chris.
"That fish was long and wide," Sevene said. "It took two-and-a-half hours for us to touch its bill and let it go. The guys did a great job fighting it on a 50-pound class Shimano Tiagra reel with the drag locked tight."
With such heavy hitters in deep water, it would be easy to gloss over the latest inshore catches, but they've been steady, too. Sea bass wreck trips remain productive enough to send anglers home with a bag of filets while doormat fluke continue to surprise. Bluefish have been vicious in most quarters and snappers are now hitting along beaches and bulkheads.
"Coming off the full moon, we'll switch from fluke to porgies," said Capt. Jimmy Schneider of the Huntington-based open boat James Joseph II. "That action seems ready to burst open."
Schneider also reported plenty of school bass and a few keepers, plus blues and porgies, holed up in the rips of Eaton's Neck Triangle. His charter vessel, James Joseph III, had 36 stripers, 25 blues and a limit of scup on Wednesday.
Stripers remain the focal point at Orient Point and Montauk, but blues are dominating to the west along both the North and South Shores. Smithtown Bay, although stacked with the choppers, still has enough keeper fluke to hold the interest of sharpies.
On the South Shore, Mark Keller at Bayside Fishing Station said fluke fishing is fast-paced in 75-foot depths off Long Beach, but more keepers are available at Atlantic Beach Reef. Captree captains Walter Czekaj of the open boat Fishfinder II and Joe Vanderveldt of Jib VI found solid action with fluke, mostly inside Great South Bay. Both boats have seen 20 to 40 keepers per trip.