A tackle box. (Credit: Flickr/Viewoftheworld)
A few weeks ago we got a call from an editor to write a piece on scup, our favorite saltwater panfish, maybe our favorite fish, period. But the angle our friend wanted was not the typical one, e.g. porgies in the spring, porgies in the Peconics, etc. No, this was to be all about porgies on ultralight tackle.
What is really meant by “ultralight” tackle? What, in fact, distinguishes “ultralight” tackle from “light” tackle or “heavy” tackle, for that matter? (more…)
In our throwaway world, early spring can be depressing.
When we travel the highways of the Northeast, the snow-covered winter trash emerges in ugly profusion as the snow recedes. Where trash containers are ample, where pickups are frequent, as is the case in many interstate rest areas, you hardly notice the stuff. Where some officials closed rest areas and pulled collection bins out of parking areas along Route 81, by contrast, the scene resembles a Mumbai dumping area from Katherine Boo’s “Behind the Beautiful Forevers.” (more…)
This weather is for these birds in Jamesport. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)
As we write a late March column, it’s fun to look out a window and see blue sky. In the morning, on the way to work, I hear competing cardinals, and, upstate on weekends, the turkey flocks are out and about in our driveway, picking gravel and driving the dogs crazy.
The death of a family dog can be tough, even when anticipated. When our 14-year-old rescue Brittany, Bandit, (registered under “Becasse Bandit” — becasse is French for woodcock) had a severe stroke that left him paralyzed a week ago, it concluded a long period of circulatory problems. (more…)
Winter travel is indeed tricky for the outdoors person, especially if you’ve set up an extensive trip. Headed for the islands to do some tropical fishing? Headed for the Rockies for the ski trip of your dreams? There may be serious issues getting from here to there. (more…)
The calendar on our wall tells us the solstice is only seven weeks away. Spring training begins when pitchers and catchers report in three weeks! Yet, as each arctic front descends this month, such events seem far in the future. (more…)
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.
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.