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Catches should improve with the weather

Between the wind, rain and cooler-than-expected temperatures over the past two weeks, you can’t blame local anglers for feeling a little bit under the weather. Hopefully that will change this weekend as fair skies and warming winds from the west and south are expected to accompany some long awaited sunshine.

The improvement on the weather front couldn’t come at a better time. Despite less than stellar conditions, there has been steady improvement in catches of a variety of species over the past few days, especially for anglers casting from shore.

Those using clams, sea worms and squid strips at Shinnecock Canal, for example, have seen an interesting mix of porgies, kingfish, blowfish, fluke and winter flounder. Blowfish, bluefish, school bass and an occasional fluke have all been on the menu from the Captree piers.

The Jones Beach Piers, meanwhile, have produced a mix of blowfish and school stripers. Action with the puffers, in fact, has been so good that Capt. Ed Walsh of Jones Beach Bait and Tackle will be hosting the First Annual Bob Feather Blowfish Tournament on Saturday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. There will be first, second and third place prizes for both kids and adults with an entry fee of $15.

“It’s been really good considering how few blowfish we’ve seen in recent years,” said Walsh. “I dropped a line after work on Wednesday and had 15 in an hour. Some I released but several weighed up to pound which makes for some good eating.”

At Saltwaters Tackle in West Islip, Mike McGee also noted that mixed bag action on Great South Bay has been worth the effort. “There are some nice winter flounder in Dickerson’s Channel taking worms and clams, weakfish are hitting lead heads tipped with sandworms off Ocean Beach, and schoolie stripers are mixing with 8- to 10 pound blues on the north side of the bay from Lindenhurst to Smiths Point Bridge,” he said. “Most of the bass and blues have fallen to poppers.”

On the North Shore, Phil McGowan of Cow Harbor Bait and Tackle noted an uptick in the number of school stripers being caught on swim shads and small poppers inside Northport Bay, with a few bigger fish in the 10- to 15-pound class patrolling Cold Spring Harbor. Fluke action has remained spotty, he noted, but some “massive” scup have now taken up residence in 20- to 30-foot depths off Target Rock.

“Some of the best action with school stripers this season is underway in Shinnecock and Peconic bays,” revealed Jeff Lomonaco at Whitewater Outfitters in Hampton Bays. Porgies remain stacked up off of Jessup Neck, he added, and the fluke bite has improved to “decent” over the past few days.

By now it would be fair to expect bigger stripers to be showing under bunker schools off the South Shore but that has yet to develop. There are, however, some solid linesiders to 36 pounds being trolled around Jessup Neck and in the South Ferry area of eastern Peconic Bay, noted Steve Sponza from Wego Bait and Tackle in Southold.

“Porgy action is still red hot on the Middle Grounds,” Sponza added, “and the first big blues arrived on Thursday (today). Looks like the fishing might finally be ready to pop.”

It’s about time.

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