It's hard to believe fluke season ends Sunday. Where did the summer go? Although catches were varied across the Island in recent weeks, the summer flatties seem to be closing strong.
Montauk has seen a generous number of 4- to 6-pound fluke come over the rails this week, along with tons of porgies and sea bass. Striper fishing has also been respectable here. The ocean waters off Moriches and Shinnecock and Fire Island inlets, meanwhile, have provided decent fluking, some bass on night tides, and scattered encounters with false albacore.
On the North Shore, super scup action has been the rule from Northport east in 30-foot depths. Further west, off Hempstead, Port Washington and Cold Spring harbors, blues rule the seas while bonito and an occasional Spanish mackerel serve as intriguing diversions.
Surprisingly, some of the best fluke scores lately have come from the West End. With just three more days left in the season, Bill Witchy of Comb's Bait and Tackle in Amityville weighed one of the biggest fluke of the year Thursday morning. Richard Arnold of Massapequa was the angler and his doormat checked in at an impressive 13.42 pounds. Taken between the third Wantagh Bridge and the Jones Beach fishing piers, it fell for a white, 2-ounce Terminator rig bought at the shop and baited with squid and spearing.
Anglers fishing aboard the Freeport-based Starstream also had a good fluke week. Dwight Stewart of Freeport, in fact, drilled pool winners on both Tuesday and Wednesday, with the latter fish topping eight pounds. Plenty of sea bass have been mixed with 3- to 4-pound fluke on the boat's recent trips.
Are you ready for bow season?
Fluke season may be almost over but archery season for white-tailed deer is only two weeks away. Are you ready for the Oct. 1 opening?
"You aren't if you haven't had your bow tuned yet," said Jared Schneider of Smith Point Archery in Patchogue (smithpointarchery.com.) "Sure, you need to be scouting and practicing, but you also need to make sure your arrows will fly true."
According to Schneider, many archers wax their bow strings, adjust their sights and give their bow a once-over before the season but having a pro check it out is still a good idea.
"We spot little things average archers miss, Schneider said. "If something is even slightly out of tune, we'll find it, adjust it and get you on the right path."
Lack of maintenance is something that Schneider's team frequently uncovers. Most archers, for example, fail to replace their bow strings often enough.
"You need to replace them every three years at least," he said. "After that, the elasticity fades and they can break at any moment. You might get a couple more years -- or you might get one more shot."
As for practice, Schneider said that "Nothing comes for free in this world." That means the more time you spend shooting, the better your results. There is a caveat to this logic, however: You need to learn how to shoot correctly so you aren't practicing mistakes.
"Get a lesson," Schneider said. "Even if you think you are pretty good, a pro instructor can make you better. When a big buck finally steps into your shooting lane, you don't want to leave anything to chance."