Stripers still are making their way across the Island, bluefish are at the inlets and porgy catches are now hitting full stride. Still, it will be all hands on deck for the opening of fluke season come Tuesday.
By now, the tasty summer flatties are inside the South Shore bays and well established in the waters of western Long Island Sound. With plenty of bait around we could see an explosive start to the action. This year’s regulations allow anglers a five fish limit and minimum size of 18 inches.
If you are looking to score with a fluke of doormat proportions, Greenport is probably your best bet for opening week. “We are primed here for a good start,” said Steve Sponza at Wego Bait and Tackle in Southold. “We’ve been getting reports of nice-sized fluke caught and released by porgy fishermen over the past week. The squid arrived here over the past few days, too; that’s perfect timing. Bait up with a single spearing and strip of squid and drift right off Greenport in Peconic Bay.”
Capt. Joe Tangle on the King Cod, a Center Moriches six-passenger open/charter boat, also was expecting a strong start to fluke season. “It’s going to be good right out the gate,” he said. “The water temperature in Moriches Bay is a suitable 55 degrees and commercial anglers have been scoring well for a couple of weeks.”
Tangle figures the best action will be in the back waters where tidal creeks pour into the open bay. There, the current will be warm on a dropping tide, which should trigger the bite. Don’t oversize your bait for these first fluke, however, he suggested. Instead, fish with 15-pound test line, light bucktails and small teasers that can match tiny grass shrimp and juvenile sand eels.
“We are ready to go,” said Capt. Bryan Sorice of the Island Princess, an open boat sailing out of Captree. “We haven’t seen many fluke in our striper by-catches so far, but there is plenty of peanut bunker, sand eels and spearing around so we are hopeful for a solid start.”
Sorice expects the initial flurry of action to start around the Robert Moses Bridge. During the past few days the squid have arrived there, prompting the skipper to suggest anglers bring along white bucktails to match the hatch. Like Tangle, he suggested 15-pound test gear as being perfect for the season opener.”
Further to the west, Bobby Turturello at Causeway Bait and Tackle in Wantagh knew that commercial anglers were catching plenty of fluke up inside South Oyster Bay. “Start your search around Swift Creek and the Meadowbrook Bridge and fish on a dropping tide,” he suggested. “For bait, use bucktails tipped with spearing and add a 4-inch Gulp! Swimming Mullet as a teaser.”
Fluke action should also get off to a good start on the North Shore, especially in the Huntington and Smithtown Bay areas. Mark McGowan of Cow Harbor Bait and Tackle in Northport knew that some local anglers have already tested the waters while playing a little catch-and-release.
“There is plenty of bait in the water already,” McGowan said. “So start your search close to shore, hit the shallows around Huntington Bay and concentrate your efforts on the prominent sandbars between Eatons Neck and Centerport.