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Posted By Fred Golofaro, May 11, 2020
Blowfish arrived in good numbers this week. That’s really good news, especially for those looking to stay close to home by fishing local docks and piers.

Despite a week that included heavy doses of wind, record setting cold temperatures and a fair amount of rain, there were some positive developments on the fishing front. Fluke are a viable target all around the Island, porgies are big and plentiful and settling into their typical spring haunts, and blues are spread out and not around in the numbers we would like, but they are on the increase. A few nice weakfish were weighed in out east and yellowfin numbers should only improve over the next week or so. Blowfish have arrived in big numbers in Great South Bay with many anglers, especially the dock crowd, hoping for a repeat of last season’s action. Lots of small stripers with a few more slot fish in the mix seem to be in every corner of the Island. Big fish continue to be hard to come by except in the far western reaches of our region.

It looks like we are in for a much better stretch of weather beginning Wednesday as winds drop off and temperatures settle into the 60s with a fair amount of sunshine. The combination should help boost water temps and trigger improved action for most of the aforementioned species. That combination should draw plenty of anglers out of hiding so remember to practice social distancing and wear a face covering (gaitors are great option) when around other people at marinas, launch ramps, piers and beaches. With warm weather and the height of fishing season upon us, the last thing we want is the loss of access due to a resurgence of coronavirus. We all need to do our part.

On the East End, the start of fluke season last week was mostly disappointing except for Thursday where boats fishing Montauk’s south side in 50 to 60 feet of water found fluke galore. Problem was, most of the fish were in the 17 and 18-inch range. Another notable area was Shinnecock Canal and bay on the outgoing tide. Unfortunately for the second week in a row, the scup have their winter jackets on and working on spawning rather than eating. Warming waters this week should fire up the Peconic Bay fishery. Scup are stacked in places such as Rogers Rock, the east side of Robins Island and especially abundant in the waters surrounding Jessup Neck and towards the west by Roses Grove and Cows Point. The annual spring run of big fluke by Shelter Island has been slow to start, however that too will wake up shortly. There are loads of squid in the area which means the big fluke should be right behind them. Along the Sound, small stripers continue to dominate the fishing scene with an occasional keeper going into the box here and there. The same goes for the South Fork beaches from Bridgehampton to Montauk Point. An abundance of small stripers are in the shallows along the back end of Montauk Harbor and inside Fort Pond Bay. Squid are also thick inside Fort Pond Bay. Some giant sea bass are already being taken from the shallow waters east of Mattituck Inlet. I hope the indigo beauties are being released. The only bluefish report I received came from Sag Harbor and it was of a single bluefish. That too is due to bust wide open at any time now. Editor's Note: Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, we regret to inform you that Sam’s Star Island’s 33rd Annual Shark Tournament has been canceled. The well-being of the SSIYC family and guests is of our utmost concern. We feel this is the responsible thing to do in response to the safety guidelines that have been recommended by the CDC and State and Federal Authorities. We hope that you and your families stay safe and healthy.

Along the South Shore, bad weather kept a lot of anglers off the water, but the few that did head out found small stripers in abundance. As for bluefish, some large choppers to 12 pounds were reported inside Great South Bay harassing bunker schools. Blues were also reported off of Bay Shore Marina. Most fluke reports came from the State Channel and there were also some reported on the Captree piers. Inshore reefs are holding small cod and porgies on the days boats can get outside. The weather definitely hurt the fishing this past week, but warmer temps this week should generate better results for fluke, weakfish and blues. On a positive note, blowfish are already turning up the heat and appeared in good numbers at some mainland docks, as well as Captree.

To the west, bass action remains solid for mostly schoolies in the back bays, local bridges, canals, the State Boat Channel, Meadowbrook Bridge and the Robert Moses Bridge. Bigger fish are to the west on West Bank and Raritan Bay. On the days boats can get outside, anglers continue to connect with cod on local reefs. Cold water temps slowed down the summer flattie bite but some keepers were reported from around the Jones Beach Fishing Piers and Jamaica Bay. In the bays, better fishing was being found in warmer shallower waters from 5 to 12 feet deep on bucktails, and spearing and squid combos. Blowfish are settled into the Sore Thumb Pocket along with a few flounder.

Up on the North Shore, bass refuse to yield their number one spot to any other species. They are abundant starting upriver and south to Stony Point, Croton Point Park, and JFK Park. On the Sound, you’ll find them at the City Island Bridge, Orchard Beach, Orchard Beach Lagoon and Rye Playland. In the Mid Island area, bass action was hot in Cold Spring Harbor, Manhasset Harbor and nearby waters. Buoys 9 and 11 also saw some good catches. Clams, worms, swimming plugs and soft plastics have all been effective. Porgies are settling in and fish to 3-pounds were taken in the Sound. Other areas to try included Orchard Beach section one, Little Neck Bay, Manhasset Bay, Rocky Point Beach, Old Field and Cranes Neck. Fluke are also making their presence felt and the fishing will only get better as water temps recover. Look for them at Asharoken Beach, Eatons Neck Lighthouse, the Old Pink House, the Brush Pile and Sand City. Spearing and squid combos or small bucktails tipped with Gulp are the way to go.

In the surf, this past week’s bizarre weather put a crimp in the action around many parts of the Island. Temperatures plummeted to record lows early Saturday morning with many areas down around the freezing mark. I was in Heckscher Park Saturday evening and got blasted by a snow squall that lasted about 15 minutes. Wind, rain, cold temperatures and extreme moon tides conspired to dirty up waters and keep effort down, yet there were some encouraging signs. A few more bluefish entered the scene in widely scattered locations around the Island. Fluke are now in play as of last Monday’s opening, and a few nice weakfish were weighed out east. Also, if you are looking to put the kids into some rod bending action, it looks like blowfish are picking up where they left off last season as good numbers of big puffers are already being reported from some areas. Even though the action was off this week according to most of those we spoke too, school bass continue to dominate the surf scene on both shores, and at both ends of the Island.


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