It always amazes me how unpredictable local fishing can be, even in the heat of summer. Just when you think the bite is ready to settle into a pattern, one species or another tosses a curve. This week, weakfish stepped up to the plate.
"There's been some major weakfish action from the deep slopes right off Centerport on over to the mouth of Lloyd Harbor," said captain James Schneider of the Huntington-based James Joseph Fleet when we spoke on Wednesday night. "The weaks are stacked thick beneath aggressive bay blues and they are smacking diamond jigs worked slowly beneath the little choppers. Look for diving sea birds -- they give away the feeding blues -- and you'll find the weakfish underneath."
Although there is plenty in the way of peanut bunker, small snappers and assorted rain bait to keep both the weaks and blues interested, make your move quickly. Weakfish are known for being skittish and it's anyone's guess how long this bite might continue. The waters of Peconic Bay, off Cutchogue Harbor and Robins Island, is another weakfish hot spot.
But there are plenty of other species on the feed.
"All that bait has also attracted some larger fluke to the area," Schneider said. "We've been sacrificing some tackle to catch them over rocky bottom on the reef outside the harbor."
On one private charter this week, Schneider's fares tallied 30 keepers, retaining their limit and letting the rest go with most of the summer flatties weighing between 3 and 7 pounds. Those fish, he said, were packed to the gills with small snappers and butterfish.
Porgy fishing is in full swing now in Long Island Sound and coming off the recent full moon, catches should only improve in the next few days. Cranes Neck and Oldfield Point have been reasonably productive, but you'll find bigger scup on the Middle Grounds. That's also where the Port Jefferson open boat Celtic Quest has been pounding bluefish on diamond jigs. Look for the north and south rips to hold the biggest choppers.
On the South Shore, Great South Bay continues to be exceptionally productive on the fluke front. Both the Island Princess and Captree Princess reported fantastic action. The top of incoming water has produced the best but when the prime tide isn't available, a run out to the ocean allows anglers to continue picking fluke while also adding sea bass, porgies and triggerfish to the cooler. Nearly identical action can be found in both Moriches and Shinnecock Bays.
On the North Fork, porgy fishing out of Greenport and Orient is still red hot with captain Dave Brennan of the open boat Peconic Star II recording scup to a whopping 19 inches this week while most passengers limited out. Stripers remain available day and night for anglers working bucktails in Plum Gut or The Race, according to captain Bob Rocchetta of Rainbow Charters in Orient Point.