May 03, 2006
Impatiently Waiting For Fluke
It was finally official when the D.E.C. announced the much-awaited ruling on fluke, also known as summer flounder in our region. Nobody could predict what the final decision would be, but finding out that you can now keep four fluke that measure 18-inches in length was not as bad as some expected. Actually, a lot of anglers were quite happy with the recent announcement.
Recreational anglers may now fish for these wonderfully delicious flatfish from May 6 through September 12. While fluke fishermen and women impatiently have waited for the previous April 29 opener, they have been forced to put up with the ruling and wait until Saturday to go after a doormat. Perhaps that one-week wait will be beneficial not only to the fish, but also to Long Island anglers.
Steve at WeGo Fishing Bait and Tackle in Southold revealed a funny story about how hard he and Anthony had worked to secure a ton of fresh bunker, squid, and spearing from our local waters. Anticipating that this past Monday would be the first day for fluke, they were more than ready, having worked round the clock. Having heard that this Saturday would bring the summer flounder fishing into the legal, real world, they switched gears and began packing everything up for the freezer.
As Steve said, "With the new regulations this year for fluke, it feels like the longest week of the year." WeGo will be open this Saturday at 4:30 a.m. for the official start to fluke frenzy. He invites fishermen and women to be there early for a cup of coffee as they purchase their bait, and listen to his sage advice about where and when to drop that hook.
WeGo also reported that local anglers have been catching bluefish along with the striped bass that have been hooked on diamond jigs near Jessups. While the bass aren't yet the monsters one can find later in the season, many were in the 28-31 inch range. Steve mentioned that schoolie bass have been seen in all the creeks and was elated to find out that the newest ruling involving porgies was that their starting season had been moved up to June 1.
If you need bunker, now is the time to stock up on it at WeGo. This official weigh-in station is a Southold tradition and they can help to put you "on the fish," while assisting you with bait that has been secured from our local waters. They will also have an official website in the near future.
The Greenport docks have been a buzz of activity in the gathering of squid. For those who think that squid are best pulled from the water around dusk, think again! As we speak, there are numerous anglers fishing for these creatures and reeling them in by daylight with success on almost every cast. If you find yourself at this location, speak to the experienced "squidders" who are gathering bait for the season.
Linda and Bill at Jamesport Bait and Tackle also reported that the quantity and quality of squid off Greenport was impressive. They had heard that striped bass fishing was picking up off Jessups and under the #105 bridge in Riverhead. Their shop is open daily, but call in advance for specific hours.
In regard to the D.E.C. fluke regulations, Linda said, "It could have been much worse, especially when they were talking about only being able to keep one fish at a possible 19-inches. We'll just take what we get. It's kind of like a savings account. If you keep taking out, you'll have nothing left."
Posted reports from the Noreast.com website noted that the blackfish action on board the Celtic Quest was good on Sunday, with 22 keepers coming over the rails. The previous day, anglers aboard the Capt. Mark out of Montauk had 41 keeper blackfish to 10 pounds, with a similar amount of shorts that were returned to the water.
A recent report was logged in by a member and frequent contributor to the Noreast.com website, discussing the presence of mackerel just outside the Shinnecock Inlet in about 100-feet of water. What made me laugh was the comment made in answer to the mackerel sighting, as it was sagely on-target: "With the lack of reports from the print media you would have thought they [mackerel] were extinct. Thanks for the heads up."
As a journalist and thus a member of the print media, please record it as duly noted that the actuality of mackerel in our local waters does exist. Since I mentioned that the porgy season had been moved up a whole month, anglers can and should begin to anticipate their opener.
It will begin on June 1 and close on October 31. The 10- inch length limit will stay in place and there will be a 25-fish bag limit. The exception to this ruling involves anglers who fish on party boats and licensed charters from September 1 through October 31, as they may take home 60 keepers during this time period.
So anglers, be sure to visit your local bait and tackle shops and be out there on Saturday for the fluke opener.
Good Fishin' to all of you!