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There is probably no better time to rack up some points for the Dream Boat Challenge than right now on Peconic Bay.

By Fred Golofaro  |  May 13, 2019
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Catching a Dream Boat weakfish like this 8 pounder decked by Paula Pruessen on the Shinnecock Star is a real possibility.

If you are a Fisherman subscriber and are itching to get on the board of the Dream Boat Challenge, you should really be making tracks to get in on the mixed bag action taking place inside the Peconics. Why? Porgies into the 3 and 4-pound class, weakfish to 8 and 9 pounds, fluke into the double digits, some of the biggest sea robins of the year, and you may even stumble across a gator sized bluefish. Sea bass are there too but unfortunately that season does not open until June 23rd.

Getting on the bay is easy since a number of East End open and charter boats focus on this fishery in May. Several leave their home ports for a month or more to take advantage of this excellent spring fishery. East End residents from Riverhead and Southold townships who trailer their own boat have a couple of resident only launch ramps at their disposal. Unfortunately for non-residents, a proposed state ramp in Southold has been languishing on the drawing board for a couple of years. Port of Egypt no longer offers a daily ramp fee but does have a costly monthy fee that ranges from $250 to $400 a month depending on whether you want to include parking or not. Orient by the Sea Marina is an option as they do have a daily charge for the use of their ramp, but it is a longer run to the fishing grounds.

If you go the party boat route, light spinning tackle is the way to go. A 6 to 6-1/2-foot rod matched to a 2500 or 300 size reel spooled with 10 or 12-pound test braid will put more fish in the boat over the long haul, especially on those days when the bite might be off a bit. Pack a selection of plain leadheads and bucktails ranging from ½ to 1-1/2 ounces and bring along a healthy selection of Gulp. All of the species mentioned above will readily take Gulp. If you want to switch off to natural bait, it will be provided by the boat.

While you can land a doormat on light spinning gear, you might want to bring along a baitcasting outfit with a little more backbone but still keep it on the light side with no more than 20-pound test braid. And if you really want to target a doormat, think about adding a whole squid or strip baits from porgies or bluefish to the terminal end. This outfit will also come in handy if the opportunity to diamond jig some blues or weakfish presents itself, so include a few diamond jigs (007, A17, A27) with tubes in your bag.

Bring along a cooler and ice to keep your potential Dream Boat entries from drying up and losing weight. It’s also a good idea to bring along a decent hand scale to make sure your fish meets the minimum weight requirement for entry and is worth the extra effort of weighing it in. Check the weigh station list at www.thefisherman.com or in the magazine so you know where to take your entry when you get off the boat. And if you are not already a Fisherman subscriber, you can subscribe online or by calling 631-345-5200 and you will be eligible to enter the Dream Boat Challenge for a chance to win a fully rigged 23-foot Steiger Craft as well as many other great prizes.

Open Boats Fishing Peconic Bay

Prime Time: 631-323-2618

Peconic Star Express: 631-875-2631

Fin Chaser: 516-643-0940

Shinnecock Star: 631-728-4563

Celtic Quest: 631-928-3926

Nancy Ann: 631-774-5580 (Sailing open some days.)

Fishy Business: 516-316-6967 (Sailing open some days.)