Striped bass season begins; weakfish starting to show.

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By the time you read this, the first keeper striped bass of the year will probably be nestled in a bed of ice in someone’s cooler.

The water isn’t very warm, but, hopefully, the nice weather and the schools of bait moving into the area almost daily will have drawn some stripers with them.

There was a good bite of stripers on the Hudson River last week. That means the breeders have started to push north toward their spawning grounds above the tidal zone. The ones that don’t spawn, or think they can spawn around here, should be showing up in our bays.

There’s certainly enough bait for them to eat. The bunker schools are getting bigger by the day, according to the commercial guys, and there are lots of minnows in the marshes already. Shinnecock has a few and Shelter Island, too, so Moriches, Three Mile Harbor and Lake Montauk should have some schools forming that haven’t shown themselves yet.

As expected, the Southampton Town Trustees cut open the seapoose at Mecox Bay on Monday afternoon, which is excellent timing for striped bass anglers. There’s probably tons of alewives waiting to get in there and plenty of crabs, minnows and fluke waiting to get out. If there’s any bass around, they should show themselves at the cut right quick. The bay is super high so, if the winds stay down, we could get a long shot of running water. Two years ago, the last time we had a mild winter, opening day at the cut was the hot spot.

The first weakfish of the year were taken out of the Shinnecock Canal and Coecles Harbor over the weekend. They were mostly tiny little fish, 2- or 3-pounders, but are a good sign that the bodies of predator fish are getting closer.

Flounder fishing seems to have fizzled after the few fish that were taken opening weekend. A handful of keepers came out of the Shinnecock and Quogue canals this week and one that I heard of from Lake Montauk. One.

A few of the commercial guys are saying they’re seeing big piles of fluke in just 160 feet of water. Hopefully the feds or state will get their ducks in a row soon and maybe we can get a May 1 opener (don’t mean to get your hopes up; that would probably take a miracle).

Cod fishing is still slow. Lots of ding-a-lings and small cods, but the bite hasn’t fired up again yet. Mike Potts put a few in the boat last week. Need a storm to get them ornery again.

Sounds like there are a few mackerel, very few, moving north from down off New Jersey. We’ll see if we get any kind of play out of that. Been a long time since the fleets of recreational boats that used to hound them in April and May have found much of a reason to make the run. There was that great January run in early ’06 when all the whales and dolphin swam into the bays, but not much sign of the Bostonians since then.

Time to get wet, folks.

Catch ’em up. See you out there.

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