11/29/12 8:00am
11/29/2012 8:00 AM

BETH YOUNG PHOTO | Charlie Manwaring of Southold Fish Market with a fresh batch of Peconic Bay scallops.

Scallop season didn’t begin with its usual bang the first Monday in November thanks to Hurricane Sandy, but fish markets and restaurant menus are stocked with the cold-weather shellfish in time for the holidays.

Before the hurricane, scientists who study bay scallops had been finding many empty shells, known as “cluckers,” in scallop grounds that had promised a bumper crop.

Then, when the hurricane hit, the state DEC pushed off opening day to Nov. 13 due to potential water contamination because of the storm’s flood tide. Many areas in the eastern Peconics were opened sooner after the DEC determined that the water was clean, and the few scallopers who ventured out found plenty of live scallops among the empty shells.

But Phillip Tocci, Riverhead’s “Clam Man” who runs a shellfish stand on the north side of Route 58, said many baymen have told him they’re having trouble selling the scallops they have, because of public concern over whether they’re safe to eat.

“The water is fine. The scallops are fine,” he said this week. “I have people asking constantly ‘Is the water all right? Are the scallops all right?’ The public is not after them like they usually are.”

Mr. Tocci added that many seafood restaurants were damaged in the storm, putting a dent in the wholesale accounts baymen rely on.

He said he hasn’t been catching his limit of 10 bushels of scallops per day, but he has been pulling in enough to meet the market demand.

Southold Fish Market owner Charlie Manwaring said Tuesday that, while there was a big scallop die-off due to unknown causes earlier this year, there are plenty of scallops still in the water.

“Certain areas were closed after the hurricane, so not everyone was in one area opening week,” he said. “They’re doing really well in certain areas. It’s just hit or miss. I think we’ll have them right through to March 31,” the official end of the season.

Mr. Manwaring said baymen are seeing “tons of bugs,” or baby scallops, which will reach harvest size next year.

He said the retail price this week is about $17 per pound, down from $19 when the season opened, although he expects the price to rise again as the supply thins out later in the season.

“Some areas just opened up, so we have a little more product,” he said.

Mr. Manwaring said baymen were lucky that many of this year’s scallops were in deep water, since they are often thrown up on shore by hurricane surges if they are in shallow water.

He said the boats belonging to the 15 to 20 baymen he buys scallops from were also safe during the storm.

“We really got lucky out here,” he said.

Recreational scalloper Ed Densieski of Riverhead missed the first few days of the season, which opened in some local waters on the day of the nor’easter that hit shortly after the hurricane.

“It was nasty,” he said. “A lot of people didn’t go opening day.”

Mr. Densieski said it appears there was a scallop die-off in Cutchogue Harbor and that by the time he got to the scalloping grounds off the Orient Causeway on Nov. 10, “a lot of it was picked through” and he didn’t find any.

“There was definitely some die-off this year, but in some spots they were huge. They were the size of marshmallows,” he said, declining to disclose where he found them.

“If you want to put the time in, you’ll get some,” he said.

byoung@timesreview.com

11/09/12 6:00am
11/09/2012 6:00 AM

TIM GANNON FILE PHOTO | A view across the bays from Strong’s Marine in Flanders as the hurricane was moving on shore last Monday.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation announced Thursday some shellfishing areas around Long Island have been reopened.

The DEC had initially closed shellfishing area on Oct. 29, the morning Hurricane Sandy first touched our shores, through Nov. 13.

The following areas in Southold Town have been reopened: All the normally certified shellfish lands in Flanders Bay, Great Peconic Bay, Little Peconic Bay, Cutchogue Harbor and Hog Neck Bay lying westerly of the Cedar Beach Point. In addition, all the normally certified areas along the northern shore of Fishers Island, including Hay Harbor, West Harbor and East Harbor, have been reopened.

Over in Southampton Town,  all the normally certified shellfish lands in Moriches Bay, Narrow Bay, Flanders Bay, Great Peconic Bay and Little Peconic Bay lying westerly of the northern most point of Jessups Neck,

All the normally certified shellfish lands in Flanders Bay located in Riverhead Town has also been reopened to shellfishing.

DEC officials said all enclosed creeks, harbors, coves and tributaries in Riverhead Town, as well as along the south shore of Southold Town and the north shore of Southampton Town remain closed for the harvest of shellfish and bay scallops through Nov. 13.

DEC officials said it will continue to conduct shoreline assessments and collect water samples for bacteriological testing.  Other shellfishing areas will reopen based on those test results.

A recorded message advising harvesters of the status of these shellfish areas is available by calling (631) 444-0480. To speak with someone about shellfishing closures, call (631) 444-0475 during normal business hours.  Additional information about temporary closures is available on DEC’s website at: www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7765.html.

10/03/12 12:04pm
10/03/2012 12:04 PM

COURTESY PHOTO | Lunkerville host Mike de Avila, left, and producer Shannon Goldman film at the Riverhead fish passage last month.

The North Fork is set to grace the small screen once again this week.

“Lunkerville,” a fishing show aired in the U.S. and Canada to roughly 88 million homes, will air an episode featuring local fishing in Cutchogue and other North Fork locations starting Friday night.

The show’s crew spent several days last month filming and fishing on and around the North Fork.

“This week’s show has plenty of North Fork in it,” said producer and Cutchogue resident Shannon Goldman. “In addition to fishing in Cutchogue we shot segments at Jamesport Bait and Tackle in Mattituck and the Ace Hardware in Southold.”

The episode will air on the World Fishing Network, Channel 465 for Cablevision customers at 10:30 p.m. Friday. The episode will be aired  several more times over the next two weeks, according to the station’s schedule.

The show will later air in February on the NBC Sports channel, Mr. Goldman said.

Mr. Goldman said the television show also filmed at the fish passage in Riverhead last month as a way to highlight the “community effort” it took to get the project done.

That segment will be featured in a different episode that will be aired in two to three weeks, he said.

“We couldn’t fit it all into one show,” Mr. Goldman said.

See below for a full list of the air times for the North Fork themed episode of “Lunkerville.” All episodes will be aired on WFN, channel 465:

  • Friday 10/5 | 10:30 – 11 p.m.
  • Saturday 10/6 | 6:30. – 7 a.m.
  • Saturday 10/6 | 2:30 – 3 p.m.
  • Wednesday 10/10 | 6:30 – 7 p.m.
  • Thursday 10/11 | 2:30 – 3 a.m.
  • Thursday 10/11 | 10:30 – 11 a.m.
  • Friday 10/12 | 10:30 – 11 p.m.
  • Saturday 10/13 | 6:30 – 7 a.m.
  • Saturday 10/13 | 2:30 – 3 p.m.

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated the episode would begin airing Wednesday night. The schedule provided was incorrect, and the episode will be first aired this Friday.

09/09/12 12:00pm
09/09/2012 12:00 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Liam Hansen, 7, of Wading River fishes with his father Mark on the town’s floating dock during the 15th annual Riverhead Snapper Tournament.

More than 150 children and adults participated in the Riverhead Recreation Department’s 15th annual Snapper Tournament held on the Peconic Riverfront Saturday.

The event is designed to get children “hooked” on fishing and to raise money for the recreation department’s youth scholarship fund.

There were 18 fish caught, with sizes ranging from 7 to 9 and 1/8 inches.

All the winners received a trophy and the first place winners received a fishing rod and reel donated by Warren’s Tackle Center of Aquebogue and West Marine of Riverhead. After the winners were announced there was a Chinese Auction with items donated by local merchants. Free hot dogs and soda were donated by the Flanders Men’s Club.

The youth winners were: First place, Ryan Zaleski of Riverhead; second place, Christina Gigante of Lindenhurst; and third place saw two winners, Ava Gradischer of Wading River and Mikayla Nirrengarten.

The adult winners were: First place, Al Raynor of Eastport; second place, James Zaleski of Riverhead; and third place, Don Visek of Aquebogue.

Emily Smitheimer, 12, of Stony Brook, brought a stool from home.

Renee and Joe Dragotto of Middle Island came up empty-handed.

Dalton Lucas, 11, of Jamesport showed off his catch — just under 8 and 3/4 inches.

Recreation Department staff member and tournament director Colleen Eastwood (far right) with winners (back row) Al Raynor of Eastport, Don Visek of Aquebogue, (front row) Ava Gradischer of Wading River, Christina Gigante of Lindenhurst, James Zaleski of Riverhead (holding for his dad Jim) and Ryan Zaleski of Riverhead.

08/19/12 3:00am
08/19/2012 3:00 AM

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
08/12/2012 3:00 AM

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
08/07/2012 3:00 AM

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.

07/22/12 3:00am
07/22/2012 3:00 AM

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.