Our Fragile Long Island Sound Fishery

george

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Dec 19, 2018
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From everything I've seen reported and heard first-hand, the 2019 fluke season inside of the Long Island Sound has been dismal to say the least. I kept on thinking that it was early, temps were low, I wasn't seeing a lot of bait. But I kept the hope that it would come alive any day now. At the same time I can remember when Charlie “Flatfish” Burke would like clockwork bag a double digit right in Smithtown Bay. It was always the first week of May.

It very well could still come alive, but there have been many obvious indicators signaling that things may be changing in the sound. I first became concerned when I heard draggers weren’t finding enough fish. Then party boats in the region stopped targeting them. That has been an indicator everywhere from Sheepshead to Captree to Moriches and Montauk. If there aren’t enough fish for an open boat to catch them, then the fishery is changing.

When I was a child fishing these same waters, - 50 years ago - there were no fluke. Or if there were we didn’t know about them. It was all about flounder, blowfish, weakfish and of course the great blackfishing. We also had great clamming and blueclaws were abundant. Let's not forget the huge run of mackerel we would get each year. The only one left of those is blackfish. Not to mention the demise of the lobsters.

Sure sharpies are finding fluke, just as sharpies did in the late 70’s and 80’s with striped bass. But there has undoubtedly been fewer and fewer fluke making it into the sound.
 

Roccus7

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Dec 22, 2018
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May also want to mention that in our "Formative Years" there was also no sea bass in the Sound to mention, AND a bluefish over 5 lbs was a MONSTER!!
 

poorrichard

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Jan 17, 2019
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Agreed. The sound has been very "quiet" so far this year. Not that last year was all that great either. Enjoyed your comments about years back. I have been fishing the Port Jeff area since the Mid 80's and it has slowly declined every year. I remember the Mack attacks in May and June. No macks in the last 20 years. The blue fishing has also declined. Used to jig big blues at B 11 all season. Now few and far between.

Fluke has been slow this year. It seems we did not get the second wave of fish like we did in years past. Mid June would see another body of Fluke come down the beach from the east. Last year they hit Orient and Montauk and stayed there. Still time for another body of fluke to make its way here. Very optimistic until proved wrong.

Fishing is cyclical. Maybe that is part of what is going on here. We had a few blue claws here the last few years. Caught a few blowfish last year too. Maybe things will improve after Mondays full moon
 
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BennyV

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Dec 21, 2018
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Fluke fishing this year was beyond dismal. I work on a boat that prides itself as one of the few full-time flunking boats in the Sound and guess what, we’re going to start porgy fishing. This is the earliest switch I can remember in the 8 years since I’ve been working there.

For the most part fishing for the dreaded porgy is the only fishery that’s left. Pardon me for saying this but I hope this year is a fluke. Bass fishing never really materialized and neither has fluke fishing. Hopefully it’s just an off year and not an ongoing trend.
 
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live bait

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Dec 20, 2018
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I have to agree with the above. On Wednesday of this week I spent the entire tide east of the Mattituck Inlet. The plan was to try for a striper, then fluke fish, ended the day with one very short fluke to show for 6hrs of floating. Tried most of the spots that had produced in the past, & some new bottom as well. Very disappointing. Guess I'll push a little further east & explore.
John
 
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holty

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Dec 20, 2018
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I have been fishing the triangle and points east and west since the 60's. Everything George wrote in his initial post is right on. In the past 5 to 10 years good early spring catches seemed to fade away as the season progressed with each year worse than the last. I keep trying though thinking the next trip it will turn on. It is all extremely discouraging but I will be motoring out the Huntington inlet early in the morning to give it another shot.

regards Holty
 

BennyV

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From what I hear the guys on the North Shore are not doing much and running towards mattituck to try and put a catch together. Still no great shakes.

Better off drifting humps and rock piles for sea bass
 

live bait

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Dec 20, 2018
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Every fluke trip this year has had sea bass as a by catch. I trailer the boat & normally stay away from the ramps on the weekend but I’ll make an exception next Sunday. John
 
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Koz

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Dec 26, 2018
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I've been fishing Smithtown Bay, Nissy, and SBH since I was a kid. I've been seriously fishing the area for 40+ years. (I'm a tad younger than George ;) )

Things come, things go. Like George mentioned growing up there were no fluke anywhere around here. I guess I started targeting them about 20 years ago, before many in the area did.

We all know the boom days. I think it is changing again.

While I have been fairly successful catching fluke this year I've had to work MUCH harder at putting together a catch. The first wave had the bigger fish (and squid), second wave,,, still waiting. I've been catching, but 3-1/2 pounds at best. Number of shorts is down too. The time it is taking to put together a catch is at least doubled it feels like to me.

I did see an osprey with a short fluke last week.

I only went outside the bay to Port Jeff twice this year. One keeper, not much life. Bait in the water is spotty at best.

Been looking for bunker in large pods, having trouble locating them. Four years ago we watched about a hundred or more dolphins (broken off into teams of 10-20) corral the abundant bunker and feast on them. That went on for about a week. They were sighted (not by myself) for the next two years doing the same thing. Last year they did not show that I know of.
7114

In 2012 the seabass exploded. There were thousands, and thousands of these little critters stealing bait for the past few years.

7113

So far this year many seem to have made it to a very nice size! I've caught more seabass than fluke this year, a couple of nice ones too. Hopefully they don't all disappear on Sunday!
7117
 
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holty

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Dec 20, 2018
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Two short fluke and about a dozen birds yesterday morning 6-10am fishing my go to waypoints in the triangle and Asharoken. Only other bent rods I saw were from sea robins. Made a drift within eyesight of the packed James Joseph and those long-handled nets never moved. Newsday had an article about the good quality of the sounds waters on Friday . I agree the waters of the mid sound seem very good. So to those in the know......why is this happening? Are there fish in the eastern sound? Those nice fat seabass I was throwing back two weeks ago were gone as well. Frustrated in Huntington

regards Holty
 

george

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I had pushed this post to Facebook and I was attacked by numerous so called fisherman in the know and they all accused me of not knowing what I was talking about. They said the sound was loaded with fluke and that there were plenty of lobsters around.

I have managed to catch a few keepers but from what I can see that second wave never made it and the first one was dismal at best.

When boats are running from Pt. Jeff to Mattituck to put a catch together you Know something is up.

It's July and we're targeting sea bass in the sound. When was the last time you've seen that?
 
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live bait

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Dec 20, 2018
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I try & get the boat wet 2-3 times a week, so far I'm up to two keepers. I will admit that since the sea bass fishing has been so good I haven't made many fluke drifts as of late.
John
 
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holty

New Angler
Dec 20, 2018
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So I had a brief reprieve Saturday morning from my fluking frustrations. Fishing the very last of the outgoing on one of my go to's at Lloyd's Point I culled through a handful of shorts and birds when my white 2oz skirted bucktail with a 6" salmon gulp grub got slammed. The fished weighed 7lbs 14 oz at High Hook B&T. To make it sweeter it took 1st place in the fluke division in a contest between four local fishing clubs. The only downer is there was only one other keeper fluke weighed in.

regards Holty











regards n Holty
 
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Roccus7

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Dec 22, 2018
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I had pushed this post to Facebook and I was attacked by numerous so called fisherman in the know and they all accused me of not knowing what I was talking about. They said the sound was loaded with fluke and that there were plenty of lobsters around.
George, George, George, trying to get an intelligent discussion going on Facebook? You should know better.

My old compadres, one in Smithtown, the other in Mattituck are singing the blues too. Smithtown one is enjoying time with friends catching birds, but no keeper fluke and the Mattituck one nailed a 6 lb fluke after a 3 week void. Not a good situation.
 
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AllHands

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Dec 21, 2018
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Same here with the fluke this season. The worse I’ve had since I moved my boat up to the sound from the bay. Thankfully the seabass have cooperated.
 

SORTIE

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I have been fishing the triangle and points east and west since the 60's. Everything George wrote in his initial post is right on.
I used to run to Triangle at night in my Fortier 26 all the time nearly twenty years ago, but fuel got expensive and I started to limit my trips to local waters. Some big bass have been pulled out of the Greenwich harbors, but not by me :(. I keep fishing Cormorant Reef, which should hold lazy bass, with no result. When I fish, it's usually at night - unless I'm taking someone's son out for some bluefish action (in which case I don't bother with eels)
 
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