September 06, 2006

Gone Fishin'

Ernesto Can't Keep Anglers Away

As you recall, tropical storm Ernesto was expected to send us gale force winds and serious flooding and while a few power outages occurred, the worst damage took place far upIsland to our west in places like Merrick and Massapequa.

Prior to the moderate blow, Ken at White's Bait and Tackle in Greenport worked with his dad at Surf and Turf Charters to keep customers happy. Their last trip before the wind and rain session resulted in the James Pagano party limiting out on stripers to 23 pounds and giant blues to 15 pounds. It just proves what a great night bite in the Race can produce when we experience normal conditions.

Ken noted that all of the bottom churning which recently took place would probably keep visiting species like albacore out of reach. He mentioned that Spanish mackerel had been briefly sighted more than a week ago, but that fish prefers warmer water than the East End has been dealing with in the last few chilly-night weeks.

White's reported that scup had been keeping customers smiling almost everywhere. Some of the largest have been recently hooked in the early dawn hours off Shelter Island. Some good weakfish have been caught in locations near Robin's Island while a lot of youthful anglers fishing the railroad dock in Greenport have been slamming some great fish.

Bill at Jamesport Bait and Tackle in Mattituck reported nice striped bass on the western side of the Ponquogue Bridge, especially if you are chumming clam bait. He said that the porgy population in Peconic Bay was very visible and that snapper fishing had really gotten strong.

Jamesport Bait and Tackle had seen a lot of small blues and great schoolie bass running in thick schools between Horton's Point and Rocky Point while the cocktails were keeping all the kids happy along the western side of Mattituck Inlet and Bailey's Beach.

Vinny from Freddie's Bait and Tackle in Montauk reported that fishing has been really good with numerous stripers near the lighthouse as well as north and west of it. Bass were being hooked on bucktails and pencil poppers. Vinny had recent weigh-ins of a bass that tipped the scales in excess of 32 pounds.

Steve from East End Bait and Tackle in Hampton Bays reported that the fluke could easily be taken in the inlet in approximately 50 feet of water, sometimes less. There were schools of feeding snappers in the canal, while stripers were very dominant near the bridge and those fat scup were just about any place you dropped a hook.

George at Tight Lines in Shinnecock reported that bluefish were evident at Jessups while porgies ruled the Peconics. His advice was to chum heavily. He said that there were big schools of blues in the waters off the South Ferry and some great fluke to be had off Gardiners. According to George, "In the deeper water near the Ruins, there are fluke and sea bass, yet still no proven reports of false albacore."

The internet provided a plethora of recent fishing reports, all very positive in spite of the rather glum week. Sunday morning, just outside of Moriches Inlet, a private boater left at sunrise to see what their bait box of eels and clams could entice. The results were a 39 and 37-inch striped bass, grabbed early before the wind came up again to drive them back to shore.

On the North Fork, the Prime Time III had a week that saw solid porgy fishing and everyone should be reminded that now the bag limit on party and charters is 60 fish per person. Aboard the Brooklyn Girl out of Orient, one trip this week targeted three species and it all came together. They jigged blues and limited out on scup to an amazing 16 inches long. Some sea bass appeared in the mix in the 3-4 pound range, while the striped bass bite yielded a ton of keepers. The Black Rock (orientpointfishing.com) had several trips that all saw its customers limit out on large bass when the weather was right.

A private boater in Plum Gut this past Friday had a striper in excess of 32 pounds and more large scup than he could handle. Aboard the Orient Star, the crew of Creative Designs fished Pigeon's Rip, which was stacked up with blues of the biggest variety. When the tide changed, everyone bailed big porgies off Gull Island.

At Shinnecock, the Shinnecock Star set off on an early morning trip last Thursday for fluke which resulted in 20 keepers in the ocean near the Castle. There was a good showing of sea bass in the mix as well before the strong winds of Ernesto picked up.

The Viking Fleet out of Montauk recently took some islanders aboard a full day, Block Island fluke and sea bass trip and did well in spite of rough, bouncy weather and seas. Fluke to six pounds came over the rails with sea bass in the mix and a ton of really large scup. So anglers, even storms do not deter us from our appointed rounds.

Good Fishin' to all of you!

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