Some of the most unique fishing opportunities happen in August. Warmer water temperatures welcome tropical and out of town visitors, some that are making their appearance more regular over the years and others that have some serious gps issues with gulfstream. Offshore fishing is in full swing with pelagics, and inshore holds plenty of shots to provide the perfect summer fresh caught dinner.
It’s been disappointing so far to have waited on the tuna bite. Unlike last year and the insane inshore giant bluefin bite, it’s yet to develop this season. It could though, and this would be the month for it. Those making the trip to the edge can expect to get into some tuna. Eric Collins at Hudson Point Marina has his ice machine working overtime to fill fish holds before many south shore anglers head out. On their returns catches have been consistent with plenty of Allisons, Big Eye, and yellowfin. Plenty of mahi caught around lobster pots and bull mahi on the troll have made it to the filet table.
Boats making a run from 40-140 miles out have also had the chance to change gears and break out lighter spin tackle for false albacore have popped up on occasion.
Jig and pop for tuna has gained more and more popularity year after year. Coimbra, Bacardi, and other near shore wrecks have been hot with yellowfin taken on poppers and jigs. Nomad poppers are hard to keep on the shelves of just about every tackle shop on the South Shore. Siren stick baits have had success as well. If you’re planning a trip for the first time this season don’t forget to check split rings and hooks to avoid unnecessary heartbreak.
Plenty of sharks have either collected the tuna tax or wreaked havoc on trolling spreads and set off false alarms for night chunking offshore. Those targeting sharks though are enjoying the abundance of bait closer to shore in the 1–20-mile range. In mid-July, stripers were pushed off the bunker pods from Jones Inlet to Shinnecock by threshers. They’re still around and close along with browns sharks and spinners.
After an unbelievable showing until the July full moon, warmer water temperatures and other species bullying them out, the striped bass bite has slowed significantly. Montauk and The Race still have a bit of a bite going on with slightly cooler water temps. Inlets from Breezy Point to Shinnecock are also holding fish. The bite is picky but there are some fish that will chew. Big bluefish are still roaming around and a good bet at sunset for some top water fun. If you’re on a smaller boat and looking for some fun topwater and soft plastic action, there is plenty of smaller baits in the back bays and marshy areas. First and last light is the best time for this and plenty of schoolie to slot size bass spend most of their time in the later summer months feeding in these areas.
The fluke bite this season all over the island has been somewhat disappointing to date. August has a real serious chance to change things though. The skinny water bite in the bays from the west side of Ponquogue bridge all the way west has produced some fish, but doormat hunters should play the odds and work deeper ocean water. I’m a true believer in 4-6’ gulp grubs and have been impressed with Fishbites. I do, however, have some secret weapons in the freezer. Snappers. With just a 3 fish bag limit, I have to stockpile. Years ago, I was introduced to using snappers for fluke. I’ve been rewarded with some nice doormats, and my son took first place in the local sea robin season long tournament! Use an extra-long leader off the three-way swivel when giving it a try.
Just one more month of the 3 fish bag limit on sea bass before increasing to 6 on September 1st. Not as many knotheads have been coming up as last year but there are some around. Without fail you’ll cross paths with some sea bass without targeting them while drifting for fluke. Three 16-inch fish won’t make much of a family meal, but black sea bass ceviche is a great appetizer for a fresh fluke dinner.
I mentioned some out of town visitors earlier on in the report. August is the best shot at these wacky catches. Typically, smaller exotic fish will be found when working structure near the inlets and bridges. While rare, some offshore fish from southern waters will blow the minds of near to mid shore anglers in the form of redfish, small marlin, and …. Well hopefully a really cool fishing story will be working its way around by the end of August.
Tight lines all! Catch ‘em up.