The weather just does not want to let up this summer. The 4th of July saw some windy and sporty conditions. A week later tropical storm Elsa did a drive-by Long Island. Thankfully, it was a fast-moving weak storm by the time it hit us. But it did limit the number of fishable days. But when the weather cooperated so did the fish! Sea bass opened with a bang. Just about any wreck or rock pile around the island holds black sea bass. Striped bass slowed down but the Montauk rips were a sure bet. Fluking was steady with the action leaving the bays and relocating to the ocean towards the end of the month. Porgies seem to be everywhere. Bluefish are still around but they too left the bays and are scattered all over the ocean beaches and the Long Island Sound. Weakfish known as tide runners did not disappoint. For the most part, targeting them across channels and drop-offs inside the bays with a moving tide produced well. New to the mix were scattered reports of blowfish. Snappers and peanut bunker dominated the bays and dock areas. Offshore yellowfin and bigeye tuna started hitting the decks with more regularity. The bluefin tuna bite slowed as it felt like they pushed east. A good number
of “unders” stayed behind to keep anglers busy. Nice to hear that the Block Island wind farm was holding fish as there is a great deal of concern and speculation on how these farms affect fishing. Shark fishing slowed as the waters warmed, but threshers and makos have been caught around bunker pods.
August expects to see more exotic pelagic fish as the sea surface temps rise more mahi and triggerfish will take refuge under buoys, or any floating debris or weed lines. We may even hear of wahoo in the same areas. The further offshore you go white marlin will start to become available. As you make your way to the edge blue marlin and sword fishing will heat up. Sword fishing was hot early this season and is expected to continue as commercial demand is still weak. On the shark front, some of the warmer species like brown and tiger sharks will show up.
Offshore: July 2021 did not disappoint. The storms that pushed through meant captains had to carefully pick and choose the best weather windows to fish. It also stirred things up which meant each trip started out searching for bait and relocating the schools. Mahi-mahi showed up in good numbers. Any floating debris or weed line was a sure sign that mahi would be present. Any lobster pots or buoys too. Popping and jigging worked well. When these fish turned finicky, fresh chunk baits and live peanut bunker turned them back on. These fish are great, eating, exciting to catch, and have a quick reproductive cycle which equals healthy stocks. Like last year large yellowfin and bluefin tuna took up residence at the Tiple Wreck area. Trolling, jigging, and popping made easy work of these fish. When a large fleet was present the fish would push down. This is when it was time to jig, chunk, and live line peanut bunker. A little to south the Hudson Canyon was still producing tilefish with occasional swordfish mixed in. The tuna bite was very hit or miss. Further east from the Tails to Atlantis there was a hot bite of small to medium bigeye tuna (100-175 pounds). When you found them, it did not matter what you trolled, your spread would get covered up. Landing 3-6 fish at a time was commonplace.
Montauk: Viking Fleet: Capt. JR reported great trips in July on the Viking Star. Sea bass and porgies were coming over the rail all month long. Lots of action on every trip. They also had some real quality fluke in the mix to top things off. Whale watching trips are back: Here is a page from their logbook; Humpback and short-beaked common dolphins! It was the perfect day to get on the water, escape the heat, and look for whales and dolphins. The visibility was good, as were the seas and we headed out to the SSE. It was an hour before we found our first blows from a humpback whale. We traveled with this whale as it searched for food over the next 75 minutes and 2 nautical miles, sometimes being down for 7-8 minutes. This was a young humpback and one we had not seen before, our 139th different humpback off Montauk since 2009. On our way back, we encountered a rambunctious pod of 30 short-beaked common dolphins! 1 humpback whale 30 short-beaked common dolphins 1 thresher shark 40 Cory’s shearwaters 20 great shearwaters 15 Wilson’s storm petrels. Mother Nature at her best.
Shinnecock: Hampton Lady has had constant action sea bass, scup, ling and even had a small cod. The ocean fluking has been off the charts. Slow drifting bucktails and or sand eel squid combs were very productive. Like Montauk, they reported seeing whales and dolphins in 80 feet of water. The Shinnecock Star stayed in the bay in early July. No reason to venture further with 5–7-pound fish winning the daily pool each day. Skinny water fluking is a blast on ultra-lite tackle.
Moriches: The Rossie Big Red stayed dialed in on monster fluke for July. Their evening trips did exceptionally well. Fish On II out of Wind Swept also did well with the summer flatties. Again, finding most of the action in the bay.
Fire Island: Laura Lee fleet has been truly doing an amazing job with mixed bag fishing. You never know what you will see and or catch out there. Here is an insane report from a day in early July; Today’s 7 AM trip had 25 anglers. They caught 325 sea bass, KEEPING A FULL BOAT LIMIT; 11 porgies; 7 ling and 2 blackfish. Today’s 8 am trip had 11 fishermen. They caught 34 fluke, 40 sea robins, and 10 cape Sharks. Today’s 1 PM trip caught 255 big sea bass KEEPING A FULL BOAT LIMIT, 12 porgies, 47 mackerel, 6 red hake, and 1 ocean pout. Today’s 2 PM trip caught 35 fluke, 35 sea robins, 1 Atlantic trumpetfish, and 26 cape sharks.
Port Jefferson: Celtic Quest continued to see quality fishing throughout the month. Porgie trips have had nonstop action. Had to work a little harder for fluke and striped bass. But plenty of quality fish made their way over the rails.
Huntington: Marc from Cow Harbor Bait and Tackle mentioned the striped bass fishing has been epic this month. From Cold Spring Harbor to Huntington and out at the triangle. A large new body of bluefish invaded the area to provide plenty of action on every trip. Pencil poppers and jigs have been both working well. Fluking has been steady with some very decent fish being caught. Porgies have been plentiful and are a great trip saver on a slow day.
We are so lucky to live on an island that provides us so many choices when it comes to fishing. We have many options of species and how to catch them. Surfcasting, charter boat, head boat, docks, jetties, all provide us excellent opportunities to enjoy such a great sport and a quality fresh meal with the family. If you’re new to sport seek the advice of your local bait and tackle shop. Jump on a party boat, or charter one of the many boats available. Just remember safety first. Respect Mother Nature and the weather. Understand there are risks involved too. Conditions can change at the drop of a hat. Accidents happen. Just be prepared, wear a personal floatation device PFD. The inflatable options are so lightweight it’s barely noticeable. Alcohol and sun do not mix, save the beer for the BBQ. Enjoy your time on the water and be safe!