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FLUKE ENTER THE GAME

Posted By Fred Golofaro, May 4, 2020
FLUKE ENTER THE GAME
Typical mixed bag during May in Peconic Bay.

Fluke may soon be competing with striped bass for the spotlight with this week’s opening of the summer flounder season. Good pre-season bycatch numbers have anglers anticipating one of the best opening months in years. Dropping water temperatures the past two weeks may have slowed the bass bite and delayed the weakfish and porgy bite, but this weekend’s warmer weather should help get back things on track.


On the East End, the last week of the ever so short blackfish season ended in grand style with easy and fast limits to anglers who put in the effort. The April action could be indicative of one heck of a fall season come October. Porgy fishing remains spotty due to cold water temperatures, however this week’s warming trend make the jumbo scup of the Peconic’s this week’s best bet as there are already loads of fish in the bay. Stripers are along the beaches on both sides of the Forks slamming plastics on leadhead jigs and swim shads. Tony Salerno, our East End columnist, played catch and release with fluke inside the Shinnecock Canal this week and released a pair of 26-inch flatties and one 27-incher over the course of three trips. He also had a pick of shorts and plenty of sea robins. Look for weakfish to make their presence known this week in the Canal.


Along the South Shore, school stripers continued to dominate reports in both Great South and Moriches bays but this week’s opening of fluke season will draw plenty of attention in their direction. Decent numbers of fluke have already been falling to bucktails and plastics meant for stripers and weakfish. Big blues showed up in Moriches Inlet and a few smaller choppers were reported in Great South Bay. Weakfish have yet to take hold, likely due to water temperatures that were still hovering in the 40s most of the week. A few scattered fish were reported but expect them to turn on as water temps hit the 50 degree mark. Flounder remain a challenge, but May has produced better results than April the past few seasons so there is still a shot at putting some flounder fillets on the table before the season closes.
To the west, bass remain the best game in town. Good action with mostly schoolies and an occasional keeper is being found around West End bridges and back bay areas. Bigger bass, some exceeding the 35-inch slot are coming from West Bank, the Great Kills area and Raritan Bay. Bluefish were taking bunker chunks on Staten Island and some flounder were caught on the Coney Island flats this week. Anglers who ventured outside, found a mix of short and keeper cod, along with good numbers of sea bass at the McAllister Grounds, and the Atlantic Beach and Hempstead reefs. No significant porgy catches were reported.


Up on the North Shore, good numbers of school bass and a decent number of keepers continue to come from places like the Upper Hudson River at Croton Point, the Orchard Beach Lagoon, the Whitestone and Throgs Neck Bridges, and most of the harbors and beaches along the North Shore. Porgies are on the inshore pieces and in some cases, better action was being found in the 40-foot range rather than shallower bay waters.


In the surf, school bass continue to dominate the surf scene but we are hearing of an increase in the numbers of fish falling into the 28 to 35-inch slot from some areas. Last week’s cool and rainy weather kept down water temperatures, especially on the East End, where the bite seemed most affected. Bluefish have made their way into our waters with fish reported from Staten Island, Jones Inlet and Moriches Inlet. Expect that action to spread quickly to other areas, perhaps by the time you are reading this. Weakfish are around but confirmed catches remain few, again a victim of the cool water temperatures. Fluke season is now open so be prepared with some smaller bucktails tipped with Gulp or FishBites. They are a nice fallback should bass and blues fail to cooperate.
 

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