What a difference a few days can make. While many anglers were hopeful that solid inshore bottom-fishing action with fluke, sea bass and porgies would bounce back following the intense storms of last week, it took several days for the fishing gods to press the reset button. By Wednesday, however, catches seemed to be mostly back on track.
"We've had steady mixed-bag fishing under perfect conditions for getting the family out before school starts up again," said Capt. Steve Kearney of the Point Lookout open boat Super Hawk. "Sea bass are making up most of the catch, but there have been some triggerfish as well -- and the morning bite often sees a few blowfish. We're fishing less than 45 minutes from the dock and it only takes five ounces of lead to hold bottom, so it's been a lot of fun for everyone."
It takes more sinker weight to get down deep while drifting for fluke outside of Jones Inlet, but the effort has been worthwhile, according to Capt. Mike Wasserman of the Captain Lou Fleet in Freeport. He's been working local wrecks in 55 feet of water slightly southwest of Jones Inlet.
"We're catching big fluke right now," Wasserman said. "Wednesday saw an 8-pound pool winner and 15 fish over 5 pounds. Both tides are producing well as long as the drift settles in at between 1 and 1.5 knots."
The Captree Fleet has also enjoyed some solid action over the past few days with sea bass, triggerfish and fluke the main targets, and school blues putting in an occasional appearance. The open boat Jib IV has seen an interesting mix while working inside Great South Bay and out in nearby ocean waters. Capt. Patrick Stryska of the Captree Princess has followed a similar route to drill between 25 and 40 keeper fluke a day, plus sea bass and a few choppers.
"When we fish inside Great South Bay, it's only 10 minutes from the dock, but our ocean trips have been close to home, too," Stryska added.
Over on the North Shore, Capt. James Schneider of the Huntington open boat Capt. James Joseph II said his customers have been seeing plenty of sea bass to 31/2 pounds, plus some fluke.
"We've been fishing around buoys 11 and 13," Schneider said. "Right now, the sea bass and summer flatties are both keying on anchovies, so if you are heading out on your own, look for the bait and you'll find the predators."
Capt. Mike Boccio on the Prime Time 3 out of Orient Point has also been keying on the super mixed-bag fishing of late summer. "We've had solid sea bass and porgy fishing between Plum Gut and Fishers Island from 35 feet to as deep as 130 feet," he said. "That's some range for this time of year."
Surf fishing show
The Fisherman Magazine's Annual Surf Fishing Show and Seminar is scheduled for Sept. 11, at the Huntington Hilton (south of the LIE on Route 110). The show features more than 50 surf fishing-related tackle manufacturers, ongoing seminars, workshops, goodie bags, a free raffle and high-end tackle prizes. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and $15 for children 16 and under. Call 631-345-5200 for more info.