With the weather trying to decide if it wants to be late spring or midsummer, fishing action has been in a state of flux. String together a few stable days of hot temperatures and both fluke and bluefish feed with abandon. During cooling trends, stripers and bluefish usually pick up their pace.
One way to smooth out your catches and ensure you put a few fillets on ice is to hedge your bets by preparing to target more than one species whenever you decide to head out. Gearing up for fluke with porgies as a backup is one idea. Both can be found throughout Long Island Sound and inside Peconic Bay. Out at Montauk and Orient Point, many anglers sail combo trips for fluke and stripers to increase their chances of success this time of year.
Along the South Shore, the dual species approach can be more tricky as the stripers and blues inside the bays are now feeding best at dawn and dusk and the better fluke catches are out in ocean waters. Come June 27, however, when black sea bass season finally opens, fluke and sea bass will make a great combo from most ports.
Inside South Oyster, Great South, Moriches and Shinnecock bays, where fluke are the usual target, school blues are probably the best second option at the moment. These can be taken on small tins or poppers, most reliably around bridges and inlets.
While fluke action in particular has been up and down depending on the port, there have been some very respectable fish landed on both the North and South shores of late. Last Thursday, Huntington Angler Club member John Dicke caught a 12 1⁄2-pounder off Eatons Neck and weighed it at Hi-Hook Bait and Tackle in Huntington. On Sunday, Chet Green collected a 14-pound, 33 1⁄2-inch brute that he caught in the State Channel near Pole 17 on Zacks Bay. That doormat, weighed at Combs Bait and Tackle in Amityville, ate a small bucktail tipped with a single spearing proving that even big fish occasionally want a tiny snack.
Striper action remains solid in western Long Island Sound, although most of the better catches are now on chunked bunker fished after dark. There are also some cows pushing up into the 40-pound class being caught on bunker spoons and Mojo rigs off the western South Shore. If you are willing to make the run to Montauk, the rips are teeming with teen-sized stripers during the day and fish to 40 pounds after dark.
Free freshwater fishing clinics
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will present a free freshwater fishing clinic at Deep Pond (Schiff Scout Reservation) in Wading River on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Geared toward anglers age 10 and older, education stations will focus on fish identification, casting techniques, regulations and stewardship practices. Fishing will follow after instruction. Contact 631-444-0283 for more information.
On Thursday, June 29, the Town of Islip and DEC will co-sponsor a free Freshwater Fishing Clinic at Knapp’s Lake in Brookwood Hall Park, Islip. Preregistration is required for this event. Contact 631-224-5430 to sign up.
Freshwater fishing licenses are not required for either free fishing clinic and loaner rods and bait will be available, although participants are welcome to bring their own fishing gear.