Long Island Fishing Report – May 27th, 2016
Overall, the fishing was excellent for stripers and bluefish. The inshore and offshore saltwater temperatures have reached the high 50s, creating ideal conditions for striped bass and bluefish. The stripers have worked their way east to Montauk Point. The large schools of bunker that have resided throughout the winter are providing the big bait necessary for the large stripers. Bluefish traditionally follow just behind the stripers in their north and east movement and are now being caught throughout the reporting area.
South Shore surf anglers enjoyed very good action on 8- to 12-pound bluefish. These blues are the typical ones that arrive in the spring – long, lean and hungry. In the ocean surf bunker chunks was the top bait. Anglers fishing poppers at first light or in the late afternoon, as well as those casting bucktails or tins later in the morning reported that small schools of blues would swim by, often without any surface disturbance, they would catch a few and then the action slowed until the next school arrived. These were fast-moving fish.
These same blues have worked their ways into the South Shore bays and anglers have reported similar action. But in the shallower and calmer water, they have been easier to find under flocks of birds or chasing bait to the surface. These big blues provided excellent action for flyrodders and light-tackle anglers fishing the back bays on kayaks, with Jamaica Bay particularly hot.
Striped bass have been mixed in with the bluefish. The action has been more predictable as the stripers are continuing to settle into their spring pattern and anglers can focus on their traditional areas. Anglers clam chumming the South Shore inlet bars and bridges on an outgoing tide reported excellent action on stripers to 20 pounds, with the occasional 30-pound plus striper mixed in. During the incoming tides, the better action was on the bridges and in the inlets drifting live or chunked bunker. Deeper into the bays and in the North Shore harbors where the water is around 60 degrees, the striper action has been excellent, with most fish between 5 and 8 pounds. As expected, there was the mix of bluefish with the stripers. Most of the inshore stripers were caught on bucktails fished in the deeper channels and holes, as well as on small swimmers, tins, poppers and flies on the shallow flats.
The winter flounder season is open until May 30. The fishing has been steadily improving on both shores as the flounder have been responding to the warm water. The fishing is not great but better than in past seasons, with more and more anglers reporting catching their 2-fish limit. The traditional mussel, bloodworm and clam baits fished in a chum slick of clams and crushed mussels were the best bets.
A lot of fluke have been reported caught and released on the flounder baits, which is a good indicator as the season opened May 17. Traditionally there has been an excellent early bite in the back bays and harbors on large fluke, those fish in the 5- to 8-pound class, and all indicators are that that will happen this season.
The porgy season is open, with excellent reports coming out of Montauk Point, Orient Point and throughout the Peconic Bays around Jessups. Anglers were typically catching their limits of 30 fish, with many around the 3-pound mark. Clam strips were the top bait. The past few seasons have offered excellent porgy fishing, and if the start of the season is any indicator I would expect it to be another excellent season. A good number of sea bass and blackfish were caught and released by anglers targeting porgies as their seasons are closed.
The weakfish bite was improving, with fish moving into their traditional haunts in improved numbers over the last few seasons, with fish to 8 pounds not uncommon. The bite was best in the early morning in both the Great South Bay around Ocean Beach, in the Quogue Canal and in The Peconics. Small bucktails tipped with squid strips or pork rinds, as well as plastic baits, including Jelly Worms, have accounted for most of the fish. Whole sandworms drifted just off the bottom have also produced quality fish.
A few boats continued to target cod and pollock on the ocean wrecks in water 120 feet and deeper. Most of the open boats targeting these fish are now switching over to target fluke. There have been no reports of sharks as of late, but I expect that to change soon as they are usually right behind the schools of bluefish and June is usually an excellent blue shark month.
The freshwater fishing was excellent for all species. Anglers were reporting largemouth bass, crappies, yellow perch and bluegills throughout the Island. Small lures, worms, grubs, PowerBaits and flies are all producing. There were still plenty of trout being caught.