Despite plenty of hot weather and summertime boat traffic, action with summer flounder, striped bass and porgies continues to shine. Better still, whoppers keep showing up.
On the fluke front, action is rolling now in ocean waters with limit catches of four keepers in the 3- to 5-pound class not at all uncommon. Surprising, however, has been the excellent overall catches and steady pick of big fish coming from inside the bays. Joey Bud was on Jamaica Bay fishing aboard the open boat Captain Mike II on Independence Day when he drilled an 11.4-pound doormat, one of four keepers he took on bucktails during a morning half-day trip.
A 12-pound fluke was also taken in Great South Bay early in the week. These big fish, plus a few more in the 7- to 8-pound class, have complemented a steady stream of 4- to 6-pounders taken from each of the South Shore bays over the past two weeks.
Fluking has been solid, too, in Long Island Sound, with flatfish to 5 pounds falling to bucktails tipped with spearing inside Smithtown Bay, off "The Stacks" in Huntington, along the edges of Mount Misery Shoal out of Port Jefferson, and in 30-foot depths between Riverhead and Mattituck.
Not to be outdone by the bottom loving flatfish, big striped bass continued to feed with fury out of Montauk and Orient points on live eels and trolled parachute lures, while action to the west rebounded with big fish hot in pursuit of bunker schools outside of Rockaway, Fire Island, Moriches and Shinnecock inlets.
For the most part, the bunker have been in smallish pods with a few big fish following each school. That means that anglers working these areas need to show a little discretion and courtesy as they approach, being careful not to crowd the smaller pods or break them apart with a loud and fast approach. If there is already a boat or two on the scene, look for a fresh pod that you can have to yourself.
While most anglers have been snagging bunker and live-lining them right on the spot, those tossing large popping plugs have also scored well and it's hard to beat the excitement of a surface strike from a charging 30- or 40-pound bass hell-bent on destroying your lure. Try this at daybreak for best results.
As for the porgies, they currently coat the bottom of Long Island Sound outside of Huntington and Port Jefferson harbors. Anglers renting skiffs out of Caraftis Fishing Station, or boarding the open boat Captain James Joseph, have done particularly well with much of the action off of Cranes Neck and Eatons Neck. Keepers have outnumbered shorts at both locations with top fish for many approaching the 3-pound mark.
Porgies can be pulled from South Shore wrecks where they mix with plenty of black sea bass and triggerfish. You won't be disappointed on the artificial wrecks outside of Jones, Fire Island and Shinnecock inlets. Between the forks, porgies are still in good supply at Robins Island.