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NY FLUKE REGS AND PORGY OPENER

As we approach the fifth month, the fishing scene is finally taking shape with several popular inshore species vying for attention.
By Fred Golofaro  |  April 24, 2017
NY FLUKE REGS AND PORGY OPENER
This big striper was part of some excellent action inside Jamaica Bay on April 23rd.

With New York’s fluke regulations set, the opening of porgy season taking effect on May 1st, building numbers of stripers, and the arrival of blues and weakfish in our waters, the 2017 season is finally taking shape. The fluke regulations per Option Five include a three fish bag limit with a minimum size of 19 inches. That’s up one inch over last season’s 18-inch size limit and down two fish from last season’s five fish bag. The big concern for most anglers, boat captains and tackle shop owners was the length of season, and Option Five provided the best scenario, with the same number of days and a season identical to last year. The glitch was that Option Five met the 30-percent reduction required for overfishing, but not the 41 percent reduction when the penalty for overfishing was added into the equation. The ASMFC’s technical committee eventually accepted Option Five and that allowed New York to lock in the current regulations.

The May 1st opening to scup season allows anglers to take advantage of the excellent fishery for jumbo porgies that occurs each spring on the East End. Boats from the North and South forks, Montauk and even Connecticut and Rhode Island settle into Peconic and Gardiners bays during May to take advantage of this fishing, which also sees blues, weakfish and fluke mix into the action. Unfortunately, the best of the fluke fishing in these waters is over by the time the season opens on the 17th, but some quality fluke are still available later in the month. Porgy season runs through December 31 with a 10-inch minimum size and 30 fish bag limit. Between September 1 and October 31 the party/charter boat bag increases to 45 fish.

It appears we are on the verge of a solid striped bass season. Fishing has been red hot on many days in Raritan Bay, Ambrose Channel and most recently in Jamaica Bay. The Hudson River fishery has also gotten off to a strong start. Large numbers of small stripers made early appearances along South Fork beaches and at Ditch Plains in Montauk, as strong year classes from the Chesapeake in 2011 and 2015, and from the Hudson in 2014 and 2015 appear to be giving the fishery a much needed boost.

Bluefish catches have already been confirmed around several parts of the Island and large numbers of blues invaded Staten Island on Sunday. It’s likely that the main schools of blues will show up along the South Shore before this week is out.

There are also positive signs on the weakfish front, and this could be a season that sees the yellowfins around in catchable numbers. Central Jersey is currently seeing good numbers of weakfish, and in our home waters, weakfish catches were reported from Fire Island Inlet, Jamaica Bay, some of the North Fork creeks and also in South Fork fish traps. There were good numbers of weaks in places like Peconic and Noyack bays last summer, but the return of these fish the following season is always a crap shoot. Let’s hope this season comes up a seven.

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