Bunkermania!

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The bunker put on quite a show this week, both in life and in death.As they had been for most of the last 10 days, big schools of bunker continued pushing along the shoreline this week, harassed almost incessantly by big (and getting bigger) bluefish. Fish over 20 pounds have not been uncommon, and almost every fish is now in the 15-pound range.

Some stripers finally made some sustained appearances on Saturday and Sunday, with reports of a handful of large fish taken in Southampton on Sunday afternoon.

A huge slug of bunker—hundreds of thousands of them, if not millions—found its way into the trough of the surf in Southampton Village, with bluefish and even some whales hot on their tails. At dawn on Sunday, they stacked like cordwood, rolling over each other and getting dumped onto the sand with each wave. The bluefish gorged on them in some places, but for the most part the bunker just hung in the wash safely behind the sandbar for three tides.

Then there was the Shinnecock Canal.

Whether it was bunker from the Peconics that came through the locks and then retreated to avoid bluefish, or whether they were chased into the canal from Shinnecock Bay, the number of bunker overwhelmed the capacity of the water to supply them with oxygen and, like we’ve seen in other places, we ended up with dead bunker so thick that not a square inch of water was visible in the canal from the locks to the docks of Jackson’s Marina. Mother Nature works in strange ways. The canal will be coughing up bunker carcasses for days, I’m sure, and I am glad I don’t have a boat in one of the marinas at the south end.

Other strange sightings this week: a whale in Moriches Bay, and at least one sturgeon caught by a bucktailer working the Shinnecock jetties.

Bunker were the stars of the show for the fishing this week, but there were other critters getting eaten as well. Butterfish, spots and baby weakfish were all in the mix, as well some sandeels and bay anchovies.

Those targeting blackfish are still finding great fishing outside Shinnecock and on the rock piles south of Montauk. We had a couple of chilly nights, but water temperatures won’t be dropping too much this week, so I wouldn’t expect that fishing to be showing any signs of slowing.

Catch ’em up. See you out there.

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