08/19/12 3:00am

The Prime Time III out of Orient by the Sea was “catching everything under the sun,” according to Capt. Mike Boccio on Monday morning. Scup numbers are up, and there are so many bluefish, they interfere with the bass fishing. Fishing for all bottom species is good, and there are more sea bass now. A few triggerfish still show up in catches along with an occasional six-pound summer flounder that comes up with the porgies.

Liz Caraftis at Charlie’s Mattituck Marina and Fishing Station explained that lots of small sea bass mix in with the local scup along Long Island Sound. Porgies, too, are mixed sizes with the largest fish now about 12 to 13 inches in length. The only fluke in the catch are shorts showing occasionally among the porgies. Blues are mixed sizes from cocktails to large fish, and no one has seen any weakfish of late.

Steven at WeGo Fishing on the Main Road in Southold termed the Peconic Bays “alive” with weakfish, blowfish, and “kingfish” (northern whiting). Action breaks out daily from Greenport all the way back to Roses Grove. Scup are everywhere; there are still cocktail blues at Jessups Neck while the best action for larger blues is in Plum Gut or Fishers Island Race.

Matt at the Rocky Point Fishing Stop has been bass fishing frequently with Capt. George Grosselfinger on the Second Chance out of Orient. They’ve been seeing a lot of teen-sized bass on the night shift with occasional large fish in the usual spots out east. Back west in the Shoreham area, there are some small bluefish to three pounds along the beaches, with bigger slammers to 10 pounds off Mount Sinai. Scup haunt the beaches along with the first blowfish seen in years. Abundant snappers are now three to five inches in size. Along the South Shore, the bays have lots of short fluke to 18 inches, with occasional keepers. Triggerfish are also common. Montauk has big bunker schools with consequent action on stripers. The best bass catches are on eels and scup (live baits). A few bluefish come from the Montauk surf as well.

08/12/12 3:00am

Warm water (84 degrees in Long Island Sound) hasn’t hurt the scup fishing according to Dave Brennan, skipper of the Peconic Star II out of Greenport. Overall, the fishing is O.K., says Dave, with porgies still available in good sizes and in all depths. Sometimes the pick is slower when certain drops don’t pan out or when tons of tiny sea bass interfere. Boat traffic and bad manners among boaters make some days challenging.

Kyle Baugher at Captain Marty’s Fishing Station in New Suffolk was impressed by continued summer action and figures this bodes well for the fall, too. Scup around Buoys 22 and 24, fish to 16 inches, and weaks to 25 inches off Roses Grove highlight the catches. In mixed bags are blowfish and “kingfish” (whiting), while both the North and South Race produce cocktail blues. Ted At We Go Fishing in Southold pointed out that summer weaks are also available off Shelter Island around South Ferry. A smattering of weakfish came from Long Island Sound off Greenport recently. Fishers Island Race continues to produce bass by day and night while Montauk seems to be “on fire” for stripers, fluke and sea bass.

A lengthy report came from Bill Czech at Jamesport Bait and Tackle in Mattituck. Czech calls the Peconic Bay action “the best we’ve had in 20 years,” suggesting that the weakfish in the hole between Nassau Point and Robins Island are often larger than expected for this time of year (up to five pounds). The Race and Plum Gut feature big blues to 12 pounds, and night bassing continues to hold up. Spot (members of the croaker family not usually seen north of New Jersey) show up in catches of scup and kingfish in the western Peconics, surprising DEC fisheries experts. One keeper fluke came from the Greenlawns, but Shinnecock is the place to go for summer flounder, especially Buoy 17, Pine Neck, and Buoy 7, the Basket area. Long Island Sound beaches continue to produce scup and nothing else.

Mark at the Rocky Point Fishing Stop mentioned local snappers and blue claw crabs as well as blues and bass in 80 feet of water. Just as they are at points east, scup are the big draw off the beach. Predators are absent among the schools of peanuts and large bunker spotted locally, and the South Shore beaches remain quiet, without any bait schools by day.

08/07/12 3:00am

We talked at length on Monday with Capt. Bob Ceglowski, skipper of the Captain Bob Fleet out of Mattituck Inlet. Ceglowski has been running combination trips for scup, sea bass, stripers and blues with quite a bit of success, despite warm Long Island Sound temperatures (up to 81 degrees in recent days). An abundance of stripers, some in the 18-to-24-pound class, up to nine keepers a day, and a blast of porgies last week have given anglers a lot to be happy with. Nevertheless, fishing can be “picky” at times, and the fade of fluke action since early July has been disappointing. Often the targeted fish are not in the usual places, and it may take 10 or more drops to produce limits of porgies.

Charlie Caraftis at Charlie’s Mattituck Fishing Station and Marina on Mattituck Creek noted action off Hortons on stripers to 20 pounds and “gorilla” bluefish in teen sizes. The largest scup taken by small craft fishing 30- to 40-foot depths are 14 to 15 inches in size. Anglers fishing on the drift pick up sea bass to 16 inches, and there are quite a few triggerfish around. One boat had six. A steady pick of weakfish to 21 inches makes a nice bonus.

Steven at WeGo Fishing in Southold explained that the Peconic porgy fishing was very good and that there were lots of summer weakfish available in the Noyac and Greenport areas. Some pods of summer flounder appeared recently off Trumans Beach, and scup action remains very good on the eastern Long Island Sound. Plum Gut and Fishers Island Race continue to produce nicely with bass on the ebb, both day and night, and bluefish by day. Chris at Captain Marty’s Fishing Station in New Suffolk described good catches of porgies — the best fish in that area are around 12 inches — and weakfish to 20 inches, particularly off Nassau Point, Buoy 22. Snappers and blue claw crabs continue to please locals around the docks.

Finally, from the Rocky Point Fishing Stop to the west comes a description of “the doldrums” off the beaches with hints of success only “in the middle of the night.” While there are still scup off local beaches, there are no predators working the bunker schools tight to the shores.

08/02/12 1:00am

There’s nothing much to say about traffic jams except they’re unavoidable. Anyone who heads from an urban zone for a holiday in “the country”, i.e. the wilderness of Suffolk, Putnam, Fairfield counties or points beyond, is familiar with jams and absolutely hates them. Even worse, of course, is the misery of the daily long-distance auto commuter who lacks transit alternatives.

The agony and the ecstasy of the LIE, Southern State, Northern State or the Bronx River, Sprain and the Hutch are familiar to pretty much all our readers, but the situation always seems most dire in the summer. In truth, when it comes to highways, summer is the third of three distinct seasons, especially farther north: “winter”, “mud”, and “road work!” And, although one can argue about appropriate levels of stimulus for the recovering U.S. economy, there’s lots of evidence for much of the stimulus going to infrastructure — particularly highways — in the summer of 2012.

It’s one thing to wax philosophical about roadwork, sitting at one’s desk, sipping an iced drink, and contemplating travel routes and schedules. It’s quite another to be out on the road, miles from anticipated bottlenecks (and when it comes to bottlenecks, anyone trying to exit Long Island knows full well what the term “island” really means) and have traffic suddenly come to a complete standstill. You haven’t seen any signs of roadwork, the traffic report “on the eights” hasn’t been updated on your road, and even the “twitterati” are not informed about this one.

And if those long haul truckers still carry CBs, you don’t, and you don’t remember the AM setting for highway information. How far ahead is the blockage? Are you temporarily stopped for a minor accident, a gaper’s block, or is it something more serious? Is it going to be three lanes into two, two lanes into one, or all lanes closed for blasting or for road crews to do a complete paving job over 15 miles? In the immortal words of those Apollo astronauts, “Houston, we have a problem!”

If you are aware of road work from previous trips or from weekday traffic reports, you can sometimes plan accordingly, altering schedule or route, but, most often, you are simply stuck, gazing at the dashboard, checking fuel and engine temperature. Better check blood pressure, too. There are really only three approaches at this point. Either you wait it out, force your way to an exit, or check possible alternate routes when you reach the very next exit ramp. Many will tell you that you simply have to tough it out and that you’ll never save any time by trying to escape, but this is a percentage thing. If traffic has come to a complete standstill and shows no sign of moving for 10 minutes or so, percentages in favor of hanging on begin to drop.

Some five years back, we were headed out to Cape Cod for a spring weekend and road work was just getting started on I-90 and I-495 when traffic stopped about 40 minutes from the Bourne Bridge out to Cape Cod. We turned off the AC when the engine temperature began to rise, then we turned off the engine and opened windows enough to breathe; there was enough of a breeze to blow off most of the exhaust fumes. After 15 minutes, we checked a roadside mileage marker and realized that we were about a mile from an exit, so we took the chance and followed some other vehicles onto the shoulder and eventually out the exit onto an old state highway. After more than an hour, we got to the bridge and sailed through to our destination near Falmouth. Later than night we learned from TV news reports that the jam wasn’t due to road work at all, but to a tanker fire that tied up traffic for more than three hours!

If you want to get away from bad jams and gamble on side routes, better have some good road maps. This summer for instance, the major north-south interstate in western New York, Route I-81, has lots of projects going, everything from dynamite and asphalt, to shoulder reconstruction. Thanks to heavy truck traffic, it’s all needed. But after braving successive 10-mile single-lane closures and attendant half-hour stalls, I’ve looked at New York and Pennsylvania maps to check alternatives. Sure, if we could hit that nasty 100 miles from Syracuse past Wilkes-Barre in the wee small hours or long after dark, we’d be fine, but we can’t. So at this moment, I’m looking at the ancient route, US 11, as a nice direct way—except that it takes us right through Binghamton and Wilkes Barre-Scranton.

Before I lose my temper, stalled in traffic, and start on that kind of adventure to get around road work, I’ll consult our navigator, Janet. Then we’ll probably change drivers—and flip a coin!


07/22/12 3:00am

Steven at WeGo Fishing on Main Road in Southold told us scup action continues from Buoy 16 in Little Peconic Bay out to Noyac with cocktail blues numerous off Jessups Buoy 17. Long Island Sound porgy fishing is still excellent with bluefish out east. While there are some keeper fluke off Gardiners Island, better action can be found in Shinnecock Bay. Steven said the striper action on the morning ebb Monday was excellent out east with lots of throwbacks from the 20s into the 40s.

Charlie Caraftis at Charlie’s Mattituck Marina on Mattituck Creek liked the striper action before daybreak off Hortons Point on live eels. He has weighed some fish in the 40-pound class recently, too. Once daylight comes, large bluefish appear on the scene and chop up the eel baits. Anchoring and chunking will produce not only blues, but also the occasional sand shark to six feet in length. Scup fishing continues torrid from Iron Pier past Hortons Point, with the largest fish usually in more than 40 feet of water. There are some weakfish to 20 inches mixed with the porgies as well as triggerfish of around two pounds. The best scup of the week was a jumbo 21-inch fish, taken from shallow water and stuffed with mussels. A few small blues can be found early and late on local beaches.

Bill Czech at Jamesport Bait and Tackle in Mattituck liked the weakfish numbers around Nassau Point, Robins Island and in Roses Grove. Hi-lo porgy rigs seem to score pretty well. For Peconic scup, go to Buoys 22, 24 and 30 rather than Jessups Buoy 17. With warm bay temperatures (up to 82 degrees!), the incoming ocean water in Shinnecock Inlet produces the best fluke fishing, fish to 23 inches, but there are some good fish some two miles out in the ocean; sea bass can be found in the ocean mix, too. Montauk bassing is best for boats using baits while the beaches don’t seem to be producing at all.

Vinny at Camp Site Sports in Huntington Station filled us in regarding action to the west. South shore beaches are best for chunking now while the inlets are good for bucktailing by night. Bluefish range from cocktails to seven-pound choppers. Offshore sharking is quite good for blues with some threshers thrown in, and the tuna bite is now far offshore. The 40-to-80-pound tuna “close in” have dissipated.