The weather has started to warm up and we started to finally see the winter’s snowmelt. Water temps are starting to warm up as the days are getting longer and spring is around the corner. Lakes and shallow ponds have started to see the ice thaw and are now fishable from both land and small boat (canoe, kayak). Freshwater fishing has had some decent days. The main targets have been trout (brown and rainbow), white perch, and carp. There are many places to go, like local favorites; The Connetquot River, and Belmont Lake. The season is open year-round for catching trout. Bass is release only and will close in May. Fly fishing the Connetquot River is usually best using subsurface flies. Dry flies and others have worked, but remember to keep them small, and “match the hatch”. The Connetquot River is great due to its spring-fed warmer water that seems to get the action going. If you do decide to explore some freshwater fishing make sure you acquire the proper license.
Saltwater: Stay tuned for changes to striped bass regulations, specifically regarding circle hooks. These should all be finalized by opening day. The DEC encourages fishermen to monitor recreational fishing regulations for the most current information before going fishing @ https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7894.html. Be sure to also enroll in the annual Recreational Marine Fishing Registry before going fishing in New York’s Marine and Coastal District waters or when fishing in the Hudson River and its tributaries for “migratory fish of the sea” (which includes striped bass.) You can enroll in the registry online or by phone or by visiting a license issuing agent location. To enroll, go to DEC’s website @ https://www.dec.ny.gov/permits/6101.html.
A little off-shore; April saw good catches of cod, ling, pollock, hake, and sea bass on some of the south shore wrecks. Party boats sailing from Captree, Freeport, and Montauk have all been scoring well. Out of Captree Joe Tangel runs the King Cod an open boat 6 angler charters. He sails all year round, weather permitting. March saw the cod fishing pick up. He had many trips where anglers scored between 8 – 10 cod per person. As April rolls in they will add crabs to the bait selection to score with tog. The boat sails at 6:00 AM and reservations are a must. Another option is Captain Joe DeVito on the Laura Lee out of Captree https://www.captree.com/. They also require a reservation as they limit the boat to 25 anglers. They have had amazing mixed bag trips. Pollock, hake, cod, sea bass, porgies, and others all mixed in. Make a reservation and watch the weather and their website for cancelations and postponements. The weather can change on a dime and they put safety and comfort first. Later in April, we should start to see mackerel. Large schools will migrate thru as they head north. This is a great opportunity to acquire fresh local chunk baits for the upcoming shark and tuna season. Mackerel jigs consisting of multi-colored tubes usually do the trick. Substitute a diamond jig for the sinker as you never know when something larger may be mixed in or harassing the schools.
The north shore has had some decent reports of herring throughout April. Jigging sabiki rigs is the best method for these fish. They are great to freeze to use as bait and also make great table fare. Pickled herring is a traditional way to prepare and store this fish for consumption.
Striped Bass: some anglers have been having fun with the catch-and-release fishery on smaller school size fish in the back bay shallows. The recreational striped bass season starts on April 1 in the Hudson River and tributaries and on April 15 in marine waters. Size limits (slot fish) in marine waters, the recreational size is 28-35 inches total length and in the Hudson River the slot size is 18-28 inches total length. The possession limit is one fish per angler. If the fish is smaller than or greater than the slot limit it must be released.
In the spring when the water temperatures are still cool fish will often act lackadaisical and have lockjaw Try slowing your retrieve down with long pauses to entice your prey and allow him time to come after it. Big bass will not exert lots of energy to chase down a meal in the spring. If you’re jigging, slow the action down too to entice lethargic fish.
June tournament report, with covid concerns waning, looks like more tournaments may happen this summer. There will be special attention at captains’ meetings and weigh-ins to spread things out and keep personal space and social distance. This is a welcome sign of some resemblance of normalcy.
Moriches “Tuna Bluefin Beat Down” Saturday, June 12.2021 (rain date: Sunday, June 13th, 2021) Moriches Bay Marina, Captain’s meeting June 11th, 7-9:00 PM at the Mastic Beach Yacht Club located at 97 Riviera Dr, Mastic Beach, NY Boats 20-42 feet. Start from homeport at 2:00 AM, Must be at Mastic Beach Yacht Club by 6:00 PM for weigh-in. For more details call Steve @ 631-433-8562 or Rich @ 631-949-1549 this is a for-fun tournament not allowing green sticks and commercial type fishing.
Montauk Marine Basin will post shark tournament details on their website http://www.marinebasin.com/tournaments&key=010. It will be similar to last year’s tournament: There will be no live captains meeting, dinner gathering, or awards ceremony. Prizes will be handed out individually. The blue shark category has been eliminated to help reduce spectators on-premises and reduce the need for tournament staff. The entry fee is reduced to $1000.
Montauk’s Star Island Yacht Club and Marina Annual Shark Tournament. Last year it was canceled with the following announcement; Due to the Corona virus Pandemic, we regret to inform you that Sam’s Star Island’s 33rd Annual Shark Tournament has been canceled. The well-being of the SSIYC family and guests is of our utmost concern. We feel this is the responsible thing to do in response to the safety guidelines that have been recommended by the CDC and State and Federal Authorities. We hope that you and your families stay safe and healthy.
The decision for 2021 has yet to be made. Please check their website for changes and additional information @ https://www.starislandyc.com/shark-tournament-competition-montauk-long-island-ny/.
Be safe have fun and only take what you need and can personally enjoy. Save and maintain the resource!