07/14/12 3:00am
07/14/2012 3:00 AM

Capt. Dave Brennan on the Peconic Star out of Greenport was enthusiastic about the scup fishing this month. Usually you wait for August for the better fishing with fish difficult to find in July. Not this year, though fish are in somewhat different spots. Some of the jumbos are spectacular, 18 to 19 inches! There are plenty of bluefish around, but blues are not yet a nuisance.

Liz Caraftis at Charlie’s Mattituck Marina on Mattituck Creek said there were plenty of scup in mixed sizes everywhere from the Northville Pipeline to Hortons Point. The biggest fish, jumbos to 15 and 16 inches, can be found in 40 to 45 feet of water. Bass fishing off Hortons continues to be quite good on chunks and live eels, even during daylight hours. Fish over 40 inches, including one 45-pounder, were reported. Summer flounder are all shorts. Hortons Point also has its share of large bluefish.

Linda Czech at Jamesport Bait and Tackle in Mattituck told us beaches were quiet. Excellent striped bass fishing still continues by night in Plum Gut and Fishers Island Race while a new wave of smaller summer flounder seems to have moved into the area around Gardiners Island. Stan Hentschel at the Rocky Point Fishing Stop also spoke of good fluke numbers but sub-legal fish. The overall porgy fishing close to the beaches and in boats impressed him. Snappers in four-inch sizes are showing along Long Island Sound, and blues from cocktails to slammers are also in the area. If you find them, keeper stripers are in up to 70-foot depths now.

Our final report came from Captain Marty’s Fishing Station in New Suffolk where porgies and weakfish are principal attractions. Scup are west of Robins Island while the weaks, fish to 24 inches, are taken on high-low rigs off Roses Grove. Porgy sizes have declined somewhat in recent days, and short fluke have pushed into the area near Jessups Neck. Cocktail bluefish can be found in both the North and South Race around Robins Island and off Jessups. In the latter zone, anglers should try diamond jigs to four ounces.

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

The Fourth of July week looked awfully good for fishing, all the way from the Peconic Bays to Fishers. At Captain Marty’s Fishing Station in New Suffolk there were lots of scup, fish to 16 inches, around Robins Island. Blowfish and kingfish (northern whiting) were in the mix as well. Most bluefish are still in the Jessups Neck area with some cocktails in the North and South Race. Weakfish to 22 inches are consistently taken by porgy anglers using clams (for scup) or bucktails. Suggestion: Try Roses Grove or Buoy 22.

Nighttime bass fishing during the period around the Fourth of July impressed Bob Haase at Orient by the Sea Marina. Ramp traffic has picked up thanks to scup action, and specialists return daily with catches of bluefish anywhere from three pounds to slammer sizes. Steven at WeGo Fishing on the Main Road in Southold advises serious scup anglers to chum rather than pick fish on the drift. Rocky Point and Trumans Beach areas are excellent as well as Plum Island and slack water in the Gut. He described the night bite of striped bass as an “ebb, not flood” situation. Gardiners Island has the steadiest fluke fishing for specialists working Eastern Plains Point, not the Ruins, with a recent 9.65-pounder weighed at the shop.

On a busy Tuesday, Bill Czech at Jamesport Bait and Tackle Shop in Mattituck told us that scup were everywhere in the Mattituck-Southold area, with favorite spots from Mattituck Inlet back to the Pipeline. The best fish still approach 16 inches. In the Peconic Bays, Czech likes Buoy 22 for porgies, and advises anglers who pursue summer weakfish to try little tins or bucktails. Except for a few larger fluke near Bug Light, keeper summer flounder are hard to find in the Peconics, with smaller fish making up all but a few percent of the catch. Long Island Sound beaches are relatively quiet save for cocktail blues.

Stan Hentschel at the Rocky Point Fishing Stop figures that most keeper fluke in the western area have dispersed with shorts now dominant. Bluefish are sporadic, and boat fishing is best now for both blues and stripers with larger bass in 70-foot depths. A two-day shot of weakfish, four to six pounds, and the sight of scup anglers catching kingfish and blowfish made the week interesting. Triggerfish are already numerous off the South Shore.

06/18/12 3:00am
06/18/2012 3:00 AM

Local writer Tom Schlichter figures that the best bets on the North Fork are open boat fluke aboard the Captain Bob out of Mattituck Inlet or the bass off Orient for myriad party and charter boats. Shoreline fishing on Long Island Sound is pretty quiet, although scup action is everywhere.

Capt. Dave Brennan, who skippers the Peconic Star and the Peconic Star Express out of Greenport expected to be shifting to porgies at the time of this writing. In the last days of his fluke excursions, he was regularly seeing fish over nine pounds. Post-spawn weakfish also showed up recently, fish in the four-to-eight-pound class, a very good sign for the future.

Charlie Caraftis at Charlie’s Mattituck Marina on Mattituck Creek is coming off a terrific scup run with many fish in the 17-inch class over the weekend. There were not a lot of keeper summer flounder in the near inshore, but one porgy angler had a 25-inch fluke over the weekend. Around mid-May, Caraftis was surprised by the number of four-to-five-pound weaks in his catches. Small bluefish are also quite abundant. Beach stripers are quiet now, but boats fishing Hortons are producing some bass day and night. Back west, the Caraftis Fishing Station in Port Jefferson had lots of sub-legal fluke and schoolie stripers on tap off Buoy 11, working on sand eels.

Bill Czech at Jamesport Bait and Tackle in Mattituck detailed catches of the largest jumbo scup we had heard about in recent times. Fish of 20, 21-1/2, and 24 inches were measured at the shop. Finally, Stan Hentschel at the Rocky Point Fishing Stop liked the local porgy action and was impressed by the blowfish (puffers) along the beaches. Fluke tend to be short, smaller than those taken farther east. Bass were not plentiful with occasional keepers and better fish outside the shoal areas. South shore beaches were also quiet, with bass schools working on bunker in 50 feet of water, although Montauk appears to have a reasonable run,

06/12/12 2:00am
06/12/2012 2:00 AM

Capt. George Grosselfinger, who runs the Second Chance charter out of Orient by the Sea, called to say that boats are doing very, very well on nice stripers to 40 pounds, especially at night. Grosselfinger expressed disappointment with the early-season beaches for bass, but there was simply no bait on the beach in April, although the boats did well.

Capt. Rich Jensen, getting ready for a night bass trip on the Nancy Ann in Orient, had an excellent day on a scup trip. He told us that bassing is a little better than last year; it’s a good sign that there are lots of smaller fish around, too. The second run of fluke seems to have arrived off Gardiners Island with many keepers in the 21-22-inch range and pools over six pounds. Jensen wonders if the first run actually went through before the season opened.

Steven at WeGo Fishing on the Main Road in Southold felt that the Long Island Sound bite on fluke was also good now. For scup, the best Sound action was off Rocky Point, East Marion. Beach fishing is best along South Shore beaches while the Race and Plum Gut are tops for boaters pursuing bass. Steven has weighed three linesiders around 38 pounds at the shop in recent days. Jessups Neck is loaded with small “cocktail” blues to three pounds.

Phil Loria at Captain Marty’s Fishing Station in New Suffolk is seeing abundant porgies, but the sizes have dropped considerably in the last weeks. The best scup posted this season was an 18 1/2-inch silver platter. One bright spot was a showing of weakfish in the 22-23-inch class west of Robins Island. Fluke are plentiful, but all are sub-legal, 18-19-inch fish.

Stan Hentschel at the Rocky Point Fishing Stop was happy now that Shoreham has opened its beaches to fishing although the $25 fee for entry is steeper than expected. There was excellent fishing in the area, with some bass to 30 pounds and good fluke fishing. The Captain Bob, sailing from Mattituck Inlet, reported summer flounder to eight pounds, and scup to three and a half pounds have graced the shop scales in recent weeks as well.

01/09/12 7:00am
01/09/2012 7:00 AM

CORNELL COOPERATIVE EXTENSION FILE PHOTO | With an eelgrass project now abandoned in a section of Hallock's Bay in Orient, the spot will open back up to fishermen.

A large section of Hallock’s Bay in Orient will soon be open to shellfishing, after an eelgrass restoration project there was abandoned by Cornell Cooperative Extension.

The Southold Town Trustees changed the town code to close about one-third of the bay to shellfishing five years ago when the study began, and last week the Town Board held a public hearing on changing the code again to re-open the section of the bay.

Chris Pickerell, who specializes in eelgrass habitat restoration for CCE, said his research group had tried several times to hand broadcast eelgrass seeds there. Each time, the grass grew strongly and steadily until the hot weather of mid-summer caused the young shoots to all die.

“It’s a function of lack of light, high summer water temperatures and issues relating to sediment texture,” he said. “All those things apply to Hallock’s Bay. We tried to plant it several times. It never worked in there.”

Mr. Pickerell said muddy bay bottoms like the one in Hallock’s Bay have proved to not be good places to grow eelgrass, and his research group is now planting only in sandy, cooler areas, including two successful beds in Greenport Harbor and off Paradise Point, as well as at several locations in Long Island Sound.

Mr. Pickerell said his group often hand broadcasts seeds before setting eelgrass transplants in an area, because the success of the hand broadcast seeds often gives them a better idea of whether the transplants will thrive there.

“We sometimes prospect with seeds,” he said. “We look for areas where they’ll take. We never found that spot in Hallock’s Bay.”

A public hearing to open the study area back up to shellfishing was held by the Southold Town Board on Jan. 3.


Read more about the re-opening of Hallock’s Bay in Thursday’s issue of The Suffolk Times.

11/27/11 10:00am
11/27/2011 10:00 AM

BETH YOUNG FILE PHOTO | Fishermen on the prowl for scallops in Orient Harbor on opening day of the current season.

Flukes and porgies are making a comeback in the Peconic Bays, and blowfish, once a rare sight here, have returned to the Peconic Estuary, says Peconic Baykeeper Kevin McAllister.

Mr. McAllister made the announcement in his annual report on the health of the bays, “Baywatch 2011,” released on Wednesday.

He cautioned, though, that the Great South, Moriches, Quantuck and Shinnecock bays were classified as impaired waters, due to reoccurring brown tide blooms which he attributed to excess nitrogen from residential sewage systems.

In recent years, Mr. McAllister has been leading the charge to enact proactive measures to restrict the amount of nitrogen released into ground and surface waters.

In the report, Mr. McAllister says that there has been some encouraging news this year on the health of eelgrass beds, as scientists from Cornell Cooperative Extension work on restoration efforts at Cedar Point in Southold and Orient Point.

Mr. McAllister also praised the recent completion of a fish ladder in Riverhead’s Grangebel Park, which opened 24 acres of spawning ground. He estimated that 50,000 alewives passed through the fish ladder this spring. He also said scallop and clam populations in the Peconic Estuary seem to be on the rise.

On the negative side,the report states that winter flounder stocks are at an all-time low, and weakfish, blackfish, butterfish and Atlantic menhaden are struggling. Bacterial pollution in the water is an ongoing issue, as are the threats of recurring algae blooms.

“Clean water should be a right, not a privilege,” Mr. McAllister said in an email accompanying the Baywatch report. “We must act now to reverse the environmental degradation of the past and promote new strategies and policies to protect water quality by strengthening clean water laws and holding polluters accountable.”

The full report is available here:

Baywatch 2011: Peconic Baykeeper’s Annual Report


11/23/11 3:00am
11/23/2011 3:00 AM

Going into the Thanksgiving weekend with our final report, action on tautog remains excellent. Aboard the Nancy Ann out of Orient by the Sea, Capt. Rich Jensen told us Monday that blackfish were still in water as shallow as 40 feet on some drops. When winds blew, fishing was up and down, and there were plenty of seals around for competition! Still, there were larger tautog showing plus the occasional keeper cod.

Jensen told us Capt. Mike Boccio had taken the Prime Time 3 to Montauk on Monday to liveline herring for bass with excellent results, too. The Prime Time has split charters on blackfish or bass, booking on Saturday upcoming, and then from Monday through Friday, Dec. 2. Call (323) 2618 for reservations. Capt. Dave Brennan on the Peconic Star II out of Greenport will be sailing Friday through Sunday after an excellent weekend that saw seven or eight fish over five pounds every day and pool fish of seven and a half pounds or better. Brennan also sees some cod in the mix along with occasional sea bass.

Phil Loria at Captain Marty’s Fishing Station in New Suffolk explained how enterprising anglers launching small boats could find blackfish in the sheltered area off the Brickyard in Southold now; he saw one seven-pounder from that spot over the weekend. Late-season tries for bass in the Peconics, trolling with wire, were unsuccessful, however. Bill Czech at Jamesport Bait and Tackle in Mattituck told us beaches were still alive with small bass plus a few keepers; best bet was a tipped bucktail in green/white pattern. Bait also produced at times, and there were tautog to be taken on drops off Mulford and Rocky Point. A hopeful sign for the spring was the presence of lots of small flounder in the traps this month.

At the Rocky Point Fishing Stop, Stan Hentschel saw small school bass taken on bucktails and curly tails and suggested anglers stay with the beaches all the way from Cranes Neck to Mulford. With tautog still as shallow as 30 feet in his area, it was not surprising that big scup were occasionally caught as well. Vinnie at Camp Site Sports liked the herring run at Montauk but was disappointed that only one quick shot of bass was reported off Robert Moses. South Shore surf has been tough, but anglers could catch occasionally on the North Shore if they put in enough time. Jersey beaches, on the other hand, had good action.

11/15/11 7:55am
11/15/2011 7:55 AM
Long Island fishing

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Ed Densieski of Riverhead harvests scallops in Orient Harbor last Monday. A plan to replenish bay scallops is among economic revitalization recommendations of the Long Island Regional Development Council.

Many regions throughout the U.S. have a cooperatively owned place where farmers can freeze their crops for easier shipping and long-term storage.

But not on Long Island.

That’s why a plan for a cooperatively owned agriculture freezer at Calverton Enterprise Park, as well as a plan to replenish bay scallops, are among 13 recommendations by the Long Island Regional Development Council, which has applied for $40 million in state aid to help pursue some of the ideas.

The island is vying to be one of four New York regions to receive a $25 million state grant and $15 million in tax credits. The remaining six regions will share $40 million, for a total of $200 million in state assistance. The state’s winners will be announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo in mid-December.

“The idea is to create a cold storage facility, for the farmers, owned cooperatively and run by Cornell Cooperative Extension,” said council board member and North Fork farm owner, Paulette Satur of Satur Farms in Cutchogue.

Ms. Satur said the lack of a cooling facility makes it difficult for Long Island farmers to compete nationally due in part to U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations.

“Things need to be done in a professional manner,” she explained. “And these facilities are very expensive.”

She said the plan, dubbed an “agripark,” is based on similar models in Hawaii and in other states, adding that it is in the development stage.

Both Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter and Councilman John Dunleavy approached the council at a meeting in October to stress the need for development at EPCAL, according to the meeting’s minutes.

The scallop replenishment plan, Ms. Satur said, would be modeled after the oyster restoration plan implemented several years ago and would include a large-scale feeding program.

Both those initiatives came from the suggestion of the Long Island Regional Economic Council’s natural assets committee, which Ms. Satur is a part of, she said.

The 10 New York state regional councils have been charged by the governor with identifying opportunities and projects that are best positioned to create jobs, according to the council’s website.

“The regional council approach is a shift to a community-based, performance-driven model for economic development and job creations,” said Austin Shafran, a spokesperson for Empire State Development, the primary state agency for economic development.

If the money is awarded to Long Island, the council would then decide how to divvy the money among the projects.

Other Island-wide projects that the council is seeking funding for include a Ronkonkoma-MacArthur Airport Transit Hub, sewer improvements for Hempstead Village and a plan to graduate more engineering majors from Long Island universities.

Officials said the projects would create a combined 42,421 jobs for Long Island.