That was some intense rain that fell heavily across the middle sections of Long Island on Wednesday. With more than 13 inches pouring down along stretches of the South Shore and 5 inches or more in some North Shore communities, the fish in our waters must have felt as if they were in a washing machine on the heavy-duty cycle. Now, some anglers are wondering if all the runoff will set back the fishing.
"We'll be all right with fluke, blues and sea bass this weekend," said an optimistic Kurt Koncelik at Willie K's Bait and Tackle in Bay Shore, "I would target ocean fluke or sea bass in 55-foot depths east of the Fire Island reef. If you want to stay inside Great South Bay, work a little east or west of Robert Moses bridge."
Koncelik had a chance to view both Jones and Fire Island Inlets Thursday morning. "Both were still discolored," he said, "so bring along some very bright bucktails or squid skirts."
Specifically, Koncelik suggested using zucchini-pattern squid skirts of yellow, orange, green and black to mimic baby sea robins. Bunker fillets, because of their pungent scent, should provide an edge as well.
"I would simply stay the course this weekend," said Jimmy Sommer at J&H Tackle in Oakdale. "Our waters are always messy following storms but they clear up after a few tidal changes. Try for fluke around buoy 15 in Moriches Bay with Berkley Gulp or local spearing and you should score some keepers."
Just before the storm, anglers working outside of Moriches Inlet discovered big blues stalking bunker pods about half-a-mile off the beach, and triggerfish had begun to bite regularly along the west jetty, according to Richie Mazanek at Dick's Bait and Tackle in Mastic Beach. There was also decent offshore action. Mike Barone and crew aboard the Senior Moments drilled a 218-pound thresher.
Of course, it wasn't just the South Shore that got hammered. "It was a monsoon here, too," said Mark McGowan at Cow Harbor Bait and Tackle in Northport, who recommended that North Shore anglers work the harbor mouths of Hempstead, Huntington, Port Jefferson and Mount Sinai harbors because the salinity is likely to be reduced in the back areas where runoff enters the estuaries. "You might also try off Caumsett Beach for fluke, blues and scup in 40-foot depths," McGowan said. "The beach along Sunken Meadow is worth a shot, too."
McGowan added that before a storm a "tremendous amount of bait" had pressed up along the North Shore beaches. "If we get a northwest wind for a day or two" he said, "those baitfish should push back up along the shore and reset the fishing. It might turn out to be quite good."
Here's an interesting new fishing contest to consider. The #IFISHNY Challenge is a statewide tournament in which anglers show off their prize largemouth and striped bass catches using the New York Fishing, Hunting & Wildlife application. The challenge, already underway, runs through Sept. 1 and is designed to showcase the best of New York's super sport fishing.
The DEC will award a free lifetime fishing license for the longest largemouth bass and the longest striper properly submitted. There are plenty of other great prizes up for grabs, too. Download the application at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/98107.html.