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AROUND THE ISLAND: BEST BETS THIS WEEK

Here’s an insider’s look at what’s happening around the Island this week.
By Fred Golofaro  |  June 17, 2019
AROUND THE ISLAND: BEST BETS THIS WEEK
Sea bass season opens on Sunday, June 23, with a 15-inch minimum size and a 3-fish bag limit. The bag limit goes to 7 fish from September 1 to December 31.

Some big bass are settling into East End rips while to the west, some big bass continue to be pulled from bunker schools and trolled on Mojos and bunker spoons but not in the numbers of the last couple of weeks. Small bass continue to dominate the back-bay action. Blues are holding strong in Moriches and Shinnecock inlets, NY Bight and at Montauk, and weakfish are holding strong in Great South Bay and Noyack Bay. Porgies are filling buckets in many areas, including Montauk, Peconic Bay and Long Island Sound. Ling are thick on West End wrecks and everyone is anxiously awaiting Sunday’s opening of sea bass season. When the wind doesn’t blow, the bluefin tuna bite is on fire with fish being taken on the troll, jigging and on top waters.

EAST END: Short and sweet, striped bass will be this week’s best bet since both the waters of the North and South Forks are alive with stripers ranging from shorts to a whopping 50.08 pounds. Along the North Fork, Plum Gut and the Race are still loaded with small school fish, however there are many keepers to 25 plus pounds mixed with the smaller fish on day and night tides. Swim shads and bucktails on 3x3 rigs and diamond jigs work their charm during the day, while eels and dark colored bucktails on 3x3 rigs do it after dark. Along the South Fork, especially in the rips in front of the Montauk Point Lighthouse, the big bass are beginning to trickle in along with lots of maller keepers and schoolies. It’s nothing spectacular yet, but if memory serves me right, the big fish are showing up about two weeks early. Fluke fishing was a little tougher this week due to lots of wind most days. Once the winds take a break, fluking should bounce right back as there are plenty of big flatties waiting to be taken from the ocean waters from Shinnecock to the windmills off of Block Island. Inside the Peconic’s, fluke fishing remains strong in the area of Bug Light and the Oyster Factory with fish to 10 pounds reported. Porgy fishing remains excellent but did slip a notch or two this weekend due to the windy conditions and strong currents. As with fluke, a few days of calm weather should see the scup bounce back strong. Sea bass season opens this Sunday, which can’t come soon enough as every captain and angler are drooling to put some jumbo biscuits in the box.

SOUTH SHORE: This was a tough week for anglers with wind and rain keeping a lot of boats tied to the dock. The week was highlighted by weakfish at Ocean Beach where fish to 7 pounds were reported. The caveat however is timing. These fish are very sensitive to noise and boat traffic. They have been biting best in the early a.m., or at dusk. On the bass front, Mike Graniello drilled a 41 pounder, while a 43 was the largest we heard of out of Fire Island this week. The main body of big bass pushed east. Over in Moriches, the fluke bite improved on the incoming with your best bet the Buoy 14-15 area and the Elbow where anglers had fish to 27 inches. Both bays are still seeing a lot of blues, but they have downsized to mostly the 3 to 8 pound class. On the docks, blowfish, kingfish and crabs will please the young and old alike.

WEST END: Anglers had to suffer through a week of less than ideal weather with either too much rain or too much wind, and sometimes both. Wednesday was perhaps the best day for fishing in terms of conditions. Striper action is holding up well with fish to 40-pounds falling to bunker chunks or trolled Mojos and spoons. Bassing was also good in the back bays and at local bridges. At the bridges, clams and clam chum were the keys. Ling action has been good to excellent in quality and quantity on west end wrecks. The Hempstead Reef showed signs of life with some fluke, a few ling and sea bass, and quite a few dogfish. The McAllister Grounds seemed to have better numbers with a few more flatties, good amounts of ling and some sea bass. Fluke activity saw a slowdown in most areas. Don’t forget to drop by Comb’s Bait & Tackle and sign-up for the 25th Annual Duke of Fluke Tournament scheduled for Sunday, June 30th.

NORTH SHORE: Porgy action is rock solid, with Orchard Beach, Rye Playland, Glen Island and Execution Rock providing bucket filling catches. Heading east up the Sound, porgy action was solid at places like Cranes Neck, Old Field Point, Buoy 13 and Target Rock. Sandworms and bloodworms smacked the jumbos but clams worked well also. Bass fishing was pretty good overall, as more and larger fish continue to make their way through the Sound. The Whitestone Bridge, Cold Spring Harbor, the Obstruction buoy and Middle Grounds all produced fish for those trolling Mojos and those soaking bunker chunks.

OFFSHORE: There is a tremendous band of bluefin tuna that stretches from NJ to Cape Cod. Leave your inlet and head south until you see whales. They have been mainly holding between 20 and 30 fathoms. The early bite is insane, but they are giving themselves up to the troll as well. As the sun rises it’s mostly a surface bite on Ron Z, and small poppers. Some guys did well with jigs too. On the troll it’s been all Chatter Side Trackers and skirted ballyhoo combos. Checking with Terrafin, we’re still nice water south of the Dip. The warmer water at the Claw has pushed slightly closer to the 100-fathom line. On Wednesday Adam from Tuna Cartel slammed the fish early on top, and also had success on the troll.

SURF: A few quality bass came from Moriches and Shinnecock inlets this past week but the west side of Moriches is now inaccessible due to Burma Road being closed because of nesting plovers. The stretch of Outer Beach at Smith Point has also been reduced to a point between cuts 1 and 2. Closures are also in effect at Democrat Point so check with the park office (631-669-0449) before traveling from any distance. Bluefish, including god numbers of big ones, continue to entertain casters at the Smith Point Bridge and adjacent shorelines. There was good action there Saturday evening and early Sunday morning. Montauk has seen steady action with blues and bass for those willing to make the trek east. Other than some shots of cocktail blues in a few places, the north shore is again lacking any amount of blues, but we’re still hoping that will change.

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