The back to school migration may be about to commence but local fishing is still in full summer mode. That’s especially true of the bottom action as sea bass, porgy, triggerfish and fluke continue to dominate catches across Long Island.
“It’s been really good,” said Capt. Steve Kearney of the Point Lookout open boat Super Hawk, speaking of the bottom-fishing west of Jones Inlet. “We are seeing tons of action every day with keepers mixed among the smaller fish that have rods bending throughout each trip.”
Kearney’s crew has targeted a mix of species with scup and sea bass being the daily mainstays, fluke winning most of the pools, and triggers, ling plus and occasional bluefish adding extra spice. On Monday, boat regular Reza Ahmed of Dix Hills took the pool with a 10-pound doormat.
“Most summers see bottom-fishing slow down in the second half of August, but not this year,” said the skipper. “Catches have been amazingly consistent and should get even better as the fall approaches.”
That’s a great forecast for parents hoping to get their kids out for an extra day or two on the water before school starts — or for anyone wanting to introduce a friend or family member to the fishing game. “We’ve enjoyed watching the kids and novice anglers have a ball over the past few weeks,” Kearney said. “We’re fishing in just 50-to-80-foot depths you don’t need heavy tackle to get in on the fun. We’re using a 5-ounce sinker and a simple high-low rig baited with Gulp! clam or squid. Get your hooks down to the bottom, jig them a little bit, and get ready to set the hook because the bites often come fast.
For the fluke fleet, action has been pretty steady in most areas with Montauk and the 50–70-foot depths outside of Fire Island Inlet still the hot spots for doormats. Shinnecock Inlet, Moriches Bay and the North Shore stretch between Huntington and Port Jefferson are also producing solid keepers for anglers putting in sufficient time on the water.
Additionally, there has been improvement in the fluke action inside Reynolds Channel of late. That’s where Rick Verga drilled a 30-inch, 10-pound doormat a week ago Tuesday aboard the Nicky G. That brute was taken opposite the Lindell School in Long Beach and weighed at Andy’s Marine Service in Island Park. It’s at least the third double-digit flattie to come from that area this summer.
One of the better doormat fluke baits this August has been whole, fresh-caught peanut bunker. Capt. Ray Peres of the Huntington based charter vessel Freedom, however, has been dragging long, thin strips of adult bunker to put a hurt on keepers in the Eatons Neck area.
“I’ve been drifting the west slope between the Obstruction Buoy and Buoy 13 with pretty consistent success,” he revealed.
For big porgies, the kind you brag about without reservation, Peres recommends North Shore anglers look deeper than usual. “Fish around structure in 80-foot depths and you’ll catch some that are really worth filleting,” he advised.
If you haven’t had your fill of snappers as yet, the juvenile bluefish are still swarming along most Long Island Sound Beaches, at South Shore Docks, Shinnecock Canal, and the mouths of tidal creeks throughout the Peconic Estuary.