Long Island anglers have not let some dreary weather keep them from seeking out newly arriving striped bass. While the hunt remains picky on the East End, the central South Shore, West End and western Long Island Sound have begun to come alive with bigger fish.
The best of the action is still firmly anchored in the western Long Island Sound. Draw a line from Sands Point across to Hart Island and look for bunker schools between there and Throgs Neck Bridge. Husky schoolies have been stalking the big baitfish here for a couple of weeks but bigger fish to 30 pounds recently moved in and they are inhaling live bunker snagged and dropped back into the baitfish pods.
That’s not to say the linesiders aren’t feeding in other areas. Occasional keepers are being picked from inside Manhasset Bay and Hempstead Harbor, but it appears schoolies still rule the flats as you move east to Cold Spring, Huntington, Port Jefferson and Mount Sinai harbors. These smaller fish have been hitting 4-inch swim shads and 5-inch swimming plugs.
On the south side, most serious West End boats are still running to Raritan Bay for keeper bass and a shot at winter flounder. That trek should be ending soon as there are now some decent bass up inside South Oyster Bay, at Jones Beach and Robert Moses state parks, inside Fire Island Inlet under the Robert Moses Bridge, and around Shinnecock Inlet. Whole clams have been the best bait for these fish, although at least a few have fallen to tins, pencil poppers and thin-profile soft plastics.
On the East End, school bass are still hit-and-miss in tidal waters. One creek has them . . . the next might not. There are, however, a few keeper bass quietly falling to soft plastics up inside Quogue Canal. With tons of bunker flooding into Flanders Bay, the action around the mouth of the Peconic River and Indian Island County Park will likely erupt with the next significant warm spell.
Bluefish are making the rounds, too. Some to 10 pounds have surprised anglers working the South Shore inlets and beaches, as well as the waters of Great South Bay. Paul Graniello of J&J Sports in Patchogue noted large blues were caught by the shop’s customers in recent days, most falling to cut bunker fished right on the bottom.
Register for Kayak Fishing Classic
The extremely popular Kayak Fishing Classic at Jamaica Bay is slated for May 18 through May 21, with Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn the tournament base. There is no on-site registration this year so all contestants must pre-register (go to CaptainKayak.com). Entry fees are $110 until midnight Sunday, then increase to $130. The contest also serves as a qualifier for the Hobie Fishing World Championship 7.
Book on fly fishing
If you need a little help catching trout on the fly, check out Tom McCoy’s new book: “How To Improve Your Fly Fishing & Catching”. It offers 30 tips — think of them as reminders — for increasing your score. It’s an enjoyable read and recommended for new and intermediate fly-casters. You can find it on Amazon.com for $12.99 in paperback or $3.99 for your Kindle. Visit tomsfishingstories.com for more information.