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May means stripers, blues, weakfish, porgies, fluke, flounder and even out of season sea bass, for Long Island, Metro New York anglers.
By Fred Golofaro  |  May 8, 2017
Big blues raiding the South Shore's mainland docks has become an annual event. Photo courtesy J&J Sports in Patchogue.

What is not to like about May? It finally feels like spring – you might even get to go barefoot before the end of the month. Nearly all of our most popular inshore species arrive on the scene and before you know it, we face the dilemma of having to decide which species we want to target. This is prime time for light tackle anglers, with the spring run of blues, stripers and to a lesser degree weakfish, creating numerous opportunities in our South Shore bays from Jamaica Bay to Shinnecock and the Peconics. And if it’s skinny water flats fishing you like, there are guides at the ready to put you on the fish.

Party boat fans also have the opportunity to reap a smorgasbord of species in May. Right now in the Peconics on any given day, you might be targeting porgies, but could easily find a weakfish, blue, striper, sea bass or fluke on the end of your line. While sea bass will be catch and release until the season opens on June 27th (current regs), you will be able to add fluke to your cooler once that season opens on the 17th. To the west, party and charter boat anglers are seeing a mix of stripers, blues and some weakfish, depending on the day. Some charter captains are even mixing in a little flounder fishing with their striper trips.

Shore-bound anglers are also the beneficiaries of this influx of species into our waters during the fifth month. Talk about a smorgasbord – how about the report I received from Capt. John Paduano who annually makes it a point to time the arrival of many of these species as they pass through the Shinnecock Canal. On Sunday afternoon (May 7), in just a few hours time, he was able to jig up over a dozen stripers to 30 inches, nine weakfish from 4 to 7 pounds, more than 20 fluke, including half a dozen keepers, four bluefish and some sea robins. Normally tjhis time of year, his catch might have also included some sea bass and large porgies.

And then there’s the crazy bluefish action from mainland docks and shorelines along the South Shore which has become an annual May event, where blues, many of them from 10 to 15 pounds, have been crushing top water plugs and sucking down bunker chunks. For many surfcasters, the spring fishing in May and June has become more consistent and predictable than the traditional fall run. Similar action has taken place inside all of the South Shore inlets from Shinnecock to Rockaway, with stripers also part of the act when the blues allow the bass a piece of the action.

Up on the North Shore, the variety of species and their abundance may be a little longer coming as the fish make their way around the Island and the Sound continues to warm, but the opportunities quickly build as the month progresses. There has been some pretty good flounder fishing, particularly in the western Sound and then again in the Stony Brook area. Porgies are now entering the picture for sinker bouncers, striper action is rapidly spreading east, and before long, fluke will we be settled into the waters off of Mattituck, Smithtown Bay and points west. Some weaks have already been reported in places like Manhasset Bay, so look for them to make a showing off Mattinecock Point before the month closes out.

If you have been caught with your boat still in shrink wrap, or your waders still hanging in the basement, shame on you. It’s time to reap the benefits of May fishing on Long Island, and it just might be some of the best fishing you do all season.

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