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ENTER FLUKE, BLUES, SCUP AND WEAKS

The first weekend of May brings with it the promise that bluefish, weakfish and porgies will be worth targeting, with fluke added to the menu beginning with Monday’s May 4th season opener.

By Fred Golofaro  |  April 27, 2020
ENTER FLUKE, BLUES, SCUP AND WEAKS
Many anglers are anticipating a better than average opening to fluke season with a higher percentage of fish exceeding the 19-inch minimum size limit.

Stripers continue to dominate the fishing scene in the Long Island/Metro NY area but that is about to change big time. Blackfish will be off the menu after Thursday, but by next week, anglers will have a whole new set of targets to choose from. The first weekend of May brings with it the promise that bluefish, weakfish and porgies will be worth targeting, with fluke added to the menu beginning with Monday’s May 4th season opener. Adding to this weekend’s expectations is a weather forecast calling for sun and temperatures in the 60s both days.

All four of these species are already on our doorstep. Bluefish have found their way into North Jersey waters and a few of the yellow eyes have already been reported in our waters. The best bluefish action in recent years has been the spring run so many folks are expecting more of the same.

The first few weakfish have already been boated in Great South Bay and they are turning up in the nets of commercial fishermen on the South Shore and East End. Water temperatures are key to turning on the yellowfins and the raising of bay waters by a few degrees to that 50 degree mark should do the trick. Last season saw the best run of weakfish in Great South Bay since the 1970s, raising hope that we are on the verge of an extended period of good fishing.

Porgies remain at a very high level of abundance and there is no reason not to expect the same excellent action they have provided in recent years. Some were already being caught in April from Long Island Sound and East End beaches, and on inshore reefs along the South Shore (there is no longer a closed season on scup). Many anglers will be looking to kick off the spring run in Peconic Bay this weekend.

Fluke have been roaming our waters since mid-April and there is good reason to believe that the first month of this season should see some of the best fluking in a number of years. Quite a few summer flatties have been reported by anglers targeting stripers and weakfish, and a good percentage of them would have qualified as keepers if the season had been open. With dragger effort reduced due to coronavirus related issues, more fluke making the swim from their offshore wintering grounds should be making their way into our inshore waters.

For those intent on some fresh flounder fillets, the first month of the season has been a tough grind, but the pattern in recent years has seen the better catches being made in May. Blowfish have also been on the comeback trail and last season saw very good catches in many areas. There is a good chance that if you are dunking baits for flounder, you could end up with some “chicken of the sea” on your dinner menu.

And that good fishing for striped bass should only get better during May as more quality fish, and those falling into the new 28 to 35-inch slot settle into our waters. The abundance of bunker should also be attracting some real quality fish so remember to handle them gently and get them back into the water as quickly as possible.

May is a great time for fishing our waters and the opportunity to catch multiple species on any given trip is always there. Some of the best light tackle fishing of the season is available in our bays this month, with stripers, weakfish, fluke, blues and even porgies, all susceptible to the same offerings of a lead head or bucktail tipped with Gulp or FishBites.

So that access to our launch ramps, marinas, piers and beaches remains available during the coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic, it is important that we all continue to practice social distancing, wear face masks or other coverings, and avoid gathering in groups. It would be horrible to lose access to our boats and shorelines, especially during a time when so many people rely on fishing to return some form of normalcy to their lives.