The offshore fishing was difficult of late due to high winds and rough seas. A few offshore tournaments were postponed due to the unfavorable conditions. Boats that did make it offshore reported good fishing for makos at the Linda and Yankee wrecks, along the 20-fathom line, in the Glory Hole, the Compass Rose and in 150 to 200 feet of water south of Montauk Point. Bigeye tuna to 180 pounds, a few small swordfish and large mako sharks were caught on chunks in Hudson Canyon during the overnight. Mahi were caught fishing near the lobster pot buoys and on small trolled lures.
Scott Jeffery at East End Bait and Tackle reported that there is a mix of hammerheads, makos, brown, blue and thresher sharks about 5 miles outside Shinnecock Inlet feeding on mackerel baits. While it is not uncommon to find sharks inside the 20-fathom line, especially threshers, this fishing has been unusually good.
The sea bass fishing on the South Shore artificial reefs and the Cholera Banks was good, with a fair amount of keeper sea bass caught. A few fluke and porgies were mixed in with the sea bass. Small sea bass were reported in all inshore areas, including the North Shore harbors and South Shore bays. Nearly all of these sea bass were below keeper size. The top bait was clams. Squid strips were a good second choice.
The best sea bass fishing occurred on the wrecks located in 90 to 120 feet of water. Two- to four-ounce diamond jigs accounted for keeper sea bass and some large bluefish. A few codfish, pollock, ling and red hake were reported caught on the deeper wrecks. The sea bass fishing off Montauk Point and in Block Island Sound was excellent. Limits of sea bass were reported by most boats, with fish to 6 pounds reported. This is the time of year that charter boats out of all areas are running long-range fishing trips for cod and jumbo sea bass. If interested, call ahead to reserve your spot.
Bluefish were reported attacking fluke baits, porgy baits and roaming the South Shore bays as well as the North Shore harbors. The blues ranged from 2-3 pounds and 5-8 pounds. Sharkers reporting bluefish between 15 and 20 pounds attacking baits meant for sharks. The bluefish action in the mid-Sound was very good for anglers fishing at night using diamond jigs and bunker chunks. The bluefish averaged 8 to 12 pounds. A few dogfish were caught with the blues.
Overall, the porgy fishing has been slower than it was during the past few seasons. The best porgy fishing was east of Gardiners Island, in Block Island Sound, off Shagwong Point and Orient Point. Good porgy fishing was reported in Long Island Sound, with the best fishing reported off Port Jefferson. Clams remained the best bait. Chumming heavily was the key to attracting and keeping the porgies biting.
Bob Rose at Bob’s Bait and Tackle reported that the fluke fishing was generally slow, with the majority of fluke shorts. The offshore fluke fishing was better than the inshore fishing, but still not great. The better fishing occurred at top of the incoming water. With the exception of a few short runs of good fluke fishing, this season has been slower when compared to the fishing during the past few seasons. The exception has been the fluke fishing in New York Bight, where many boats reported limiting out on fluke with the “big fish” being between 7 and 10 pounds.
Shore anglers reported a mix of sea bass, porgies, fluke, sea bass, bluefish and the occasional bonito on the South Shore beaches. On the North Shore, fluke, porgies and bluefish made up the bulk of the catch. Small plastic baits and bucktails worked on or near the bottom were the best producers. Flyrodders also did well fishing Clouser Minnows, Deceivers and poppers off the beaches for striped bass and bluefish.
Large triggerfish were caught off the South Shore inlet jetties and around the inlet bridges. Triggerfish were also caught on the South Shore artificial reefs and ocean wrecks.
The striped bass fishing was slow except for off Montauk and Orient points, where stripers to 20 pounds continued to be caught on live bait, diamond jigs and on parachute jigs and tubes trolled on wire line. There were few reports of stripers being caught from the South Shore surf or North Shore beaches. A few stripers continued to be caught while clam chumming the South Shore inlets as well as by anglers trolling umbrella rigs in the inlets.
Snappers have grown to around 5 inches long and were caught off docks, bulkheads, piers and off the beaches in all areas. Snapper poppers, Sidewinders, Kastmasters and spearing were the top choices. These snappers are hungry and are growing about an inch per week. Blowfish were also reported in the same areas as the snappers.
The blue crab fishing was excellent, with blue crabs being caught during the day in traps and killie ring from bulkheads and docks and off boats in all the South Shore bays. The nighttime crabbing was excellent on calm nights for boaters using spotlights and nets and good for those crabbing off the docks. The key to good crabbing was moving water.
Good carp fishing was reported in Southard’s Pond. Largemouth bass and panfish continued to cooperate in the deeper ponds and lakes. The best fishing was at first light and in the late afternoons.