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HOT SUMMER ACTION AND SEA BASS OPENER

Posted By Fred Golofaro, June 22, 2020
HOT SUMMER ACTION AND SEA BASS OPENER
Nicole Cook with a brace of fine fluke she pulled from Peconic Bay on the weekend. Fluke action has improved dramatically around many parts of the Island.

The big news this week is the anxiously awaited opening of sea bass season this Tuesday, June 23rd. Lots of other species will be competing with them for attention as fluke fishing has finally taken off around most of the Island, and big stripers are on the bunker schools along the South Shore and thick in Montauk’s rips. Porgies remain perpetually good pretty much everywhere, weakfish are thick in the Peconics and bluefish have shown no sign of letting up along much of the Island’s shoreline. Offshore, bluefin tuna action is as hot as it gets, and when you get your fill of them you can take advantage of some good sharking.

On the East End, cow bass have arrived in most of the rips that surround the waters of Montauk Point. And to be quite honest, I cannot help but cringe at the thought of all the large females that will not survive being released. In any case, there are plenty of slot size fish and schoolies around to make stripers this week’s best bet. Aside from Montauk, the North Fork and Southampton are chock full of stripers. Not many big bass, but enough keepers and school fish to make for plenty of light tackle fun. Porgy fishing is a remarkably close second and as close to a guarantee as they come with many medium to jumbo scup pushing close to 4-pounds on both Forks and in between the Forks. Just incredible. Black sea bass season is open as of Tuesday and are mingling well with the porgies which bodes well with a three fish per man creel per day. Fluke fishing has improved along Montauk’s south side this week as well as by Shelter Island, especially by the Green Lawns, while the rest of the East End seems to be on life support for some odd reason. Nonetheless, the Montauk charter boats are doing quite well with summer flatties to 9-pounds with a double-digit fish here and there including an 11.11-pound monster taken aboard the Orient based charter boat Fishy Business on Friday. I must emphasize that the proper conditions are paramount to put together a good catch of fluke. Bluefish continue to mix in with stripers, weakfish, porgies, and fluke. Bottom line, the choppers are everywhere attacking baits targeting all the given species. Anglers specifically targeting the yellow eye monsters are catching all they want by following the gulls and terns. Blue claw crabs are beginning to show inside the Peconic’s, however please be advised that you now need a Southampton Shellfish Permit to harvest the crabs, which is being strictly enforced.

Along the South Shore, everyone is looking forward to Tuesday’s sea bass opening. All indicators are pointing to a great opener and good action on size and numbers. Clams, squid and jigs will all put a few fish on the end of your line. Heading out on your own boat? Check out the charts and find some smaller pieces that may not get that much attention. Another good option this week is the big bass bite for great catch and release action in the ocean on the bunker pods. I cannot stress the importance of snagging a bunker, and then re-hooking with a circle hook to ensure a safe and healthy release of fish outside the slot size. Fluke action is good the last of the in and first of the out with fish in the 4 to 6 pound class fairly common for anglers dunking bucktails tipped with Gulp or standard spearing and squid strips. If you want big fluke, give a spoon a try ahead of your standard fluke rig. For dock fun, crabbing with a piece of bunker is a blast, and if you drop a baited hook with clam, a few blowfish might come calling too.

To the west, bass action has been super solid. Clam bellies are scoring in the State Channel and local bridges. Outside the inlets bass are feasting on bunker pods and the chopper blues have joined in. Mojos and bunker spoons are hammering bass to 50-pounds and the action is very good in the 40 to 50-ft. depths near the Rockaways. Fluking has improved in all respects. The numbers and size are really growing stronger. Check Massapequa Cove, the Wantaghs, the East/West Channel, the inlets at Fire Island and Jones and the back bays. Fish to 9-pounds have been drilled. Stay with the basics of spearing and squid as they outfished Gulp during the week. Weakfish are hanging out in the early morning at Massapequa Cove, Copiague Hole and Gilgo. Use sandworms if you can get them, or go with Bass Assassins. Based on all the reports concerning the local reefs and wrecks, sea bass season should open with a bang at the Hempstead Reef, McAllister Grounds and Cholera.

Up on the North Shore, many anglers experienced a good week of fishing. Schoolie and keeper bass were found at buoy 32a, outside Oyster Bay, off Tappan Beach, the Middle Grounds and buoy 9. Bass were hitting Mojos at the Middle Grounds, but in other areas bunker chunks provided solid action. Fluke activity was okay but all sources agreed it is definitely improving. Good action was seen at Matinecock Point, the areas west of Port Jeff, Ashroken and the Nissequogue River. Stick with the basics of spearing, squid, bucktails and Gulp. Some of the fluke spots saw some weakfish action. Porgies continued their winning ways at Old Field Point, Cranes Neck, the western Sound and Oyster Bay. Take clams and worms with you as the scup have shown a tendency to be finicky.

In the surf, much of the Island saw some decent action if this week’s reports are any indication. Along the South Fork, bunker have drawn some big bass within casting range, while in other areas, good numbers of sand eels are fueling the action for bass and blues as cooler than normal ocean water temperatures seem to be keeping sand eels inshore later than usual. School bass continue to make up the bulk of the striper action but there have been increasing numbers of better quality fish being reported from the North and South shores, Montauk and Peconic Bay. Some good news to temper bad news on the access front. State Parks announced late Friday that the West End Two Work Dock (Construction Dock) area and the West End Two Parking field were opening up to fishermen on Saturday morning with 24 hour access for those with Sportfishing and Beach Vehicle permits. On the negative side, Demo was closed down entirely due to a plover nest east of the drive-on along the oceanfront. State Parks is currently trying to work out some access with Fish & Wildlife and NYDEC. Access at Smith Point is also severely compromised by plovers. This issue rears its ugly head every season and changes need to be implemented to protect these threatened birds in a way that does not shut down our beaches. Thousands of residents are deprived of the use of park lands designated for recreational use by the current policies set forth by Fish & Wildlife. That has to end. On Thursday night, Mike Addeo, and Andrew and Anthony Biscardi fished the Fire Island Inlet area on the first of the outgoing. From 8:30 into dark, they managed ten blues between them up to 6 or 7 pounds. Friday morning they headed east to Montauk’s sand beaches. Fishing from 4:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. on the last of the incoming, they found decent action with bass and blues, the best of it during the first hour. The bass were taking SP Minnows and the bluefish fell to poppers. The blues ranged from cocktails to 7 pounds, and the bass to 26 inches. Heard from a couple of casters that the Robert Moses oceanfront saw a decent pick of bass and blues this week. On Wednesday morning, blues in the 4 to 5-pound class were taking metals and poppers, while SP Minnows produced some school bass. On Thursday morning, an A17 produced several bass, including a slot fish with a stomach stuffed with sand eels. In full daylight Friday morning, an A17 produced a 39-inch bass estimated at 25 pounds.
 

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