Some anglers in the know have been tight-lipped on the subject, but rumors of big fish in local waters keep circulating and many are proving to be true. Better still, the trophies taken have involved a wide variety of species including stripers, blues, fluke, winter flounder and jumbo porgies.
You might suspect with all this lunker action that fishing pressure would be heavy, but that hasn't been the case. Many local open boats are sailing with small crowds. That leaves plenty of elbow room along the rail and guarantees a lot of attention from the crew -- but it certainly doesn't bode well for the industry in the long run.
Charter boat traffic seems to be off as many skippers still have open dates or at least open slots for anglers looking to split the cost of a trip. Even the private boat fleet seems to be trailing traditional participation levels with a surprising number of boat owners having delayed launching their vessels, a clear reflection of the economic fog that has yet to lift from our area.
Hopefully, this will begin to change with the holiday weekend as anglers realize that big fish action is usually fleeting and scramble to get in on the fun.
But back to those trophy fish. Stripers to 30 pounds have been chasing bunker schools in western Long Island Sound; fish to 40 pounds are patrolling ocean waters off the South Shore; and some real cows have been decked at Orient Point. Top striper of the week was undoubtedly the 52-pounder taken near Orient Point aboard Black Rock Sport Fishing Charters on Tuesday morning. More big linesiders are likely around as some real brutes were taken from nearby Connecticut waters over the past week.
One, decked in eastern Long Island Sound by Blaine Anderson aboard Anderson Charters tipped the scales at a whopping 74.5 pounds.
The search for doormat fluke continues off Greenport and Montauk with a 9.5 pounder decked on the Greenport open boat Peconic Star, and fish of 9 pounds and 12.5 pounds, respectively, caught aboard the Montauk boats Ebb Tide and Marlin VI. Action inside Shinnecock Bay picked up, too, with quite a few keepers falling to bucktails. The most explosive fluke fishing on Long Island this week occurred between Port Jefferson and Mount Sinai, with tons of summer flatties to 5 pounds coming from Mount Misery Shoal. While shorts dominated here, many anglers limited out.
If you've yet to take a crack at winter flounder this spring, you had better get to it because the season comes to a close on Thursday. The surprise run of big blackbacks outside of Fire Island Inlet is still underway and several boats in the Captree Fleet continue to run split trips targeting both winter flatties and fluke. There is also some solid winter flounder action in Moriches Bay at Buoy 15 on clam and worm baits.
Chicks close road
The entire beachfront off-road area at Robert Moses State Park has been closed to 4-wheel-drive vehicles, effective immediately, after the discovery of recently hatched piping plover chicks. The north side access road remains open and additional access will be opened to allow vehicles to park in the old stockpile area.