The bluefin tuna bite off Shinnecock continued to be the talk of the fishing scene this week, and just about anybody who has a seaworthy boat was heading for the horizon in hopes of bringing home some fresh sashimi. The tuna obliged most.Over the weekend, there was a circus of boats on the scene 180 feet above the wreck of the Coimbra, at least 30 on Saturday and 50 on Sunday, all trying to troll over about a half-mile-square area of ocean. The tuna didn’t seem to mind—they were distracted by their frantic feeding on clouds of big sandeels that were being balled up by thousands of dolphin and several dozen whales. It has been a display of pelagics not seen in these parts very often. If it holds up, there are real possibilities for some of the light-tackle fishing that they’ve been enjoying in Cape Cod Bay for the last several years. There also are reportedly some giants getting into the mix now: The Offshore Obsession had a fish estimated by the crew at more than 500 pounds rip the guides off some over-matched tackle just feet from the gaff.
Farther offshore, the big game fishing has been generally rather slow. Warm water is spread widely, with few temperature breaks, and bites of yellowfin are scattered widely throughout.
Hopefully, the fishing will pick up in time for the Shinnecock Marlin & Tuna Club’s 13th annual Hamptons Offshore Invitational in two weeks. If you haven’t seen the gorgeous 24-foot Everglades center console donated by White Water Marine that will be raffled off at the tournament awards dinner, check it out on County Road 39 near the Elks Lodge, then go buy a raffle ticket at White Water Outfitters—the proceeds go to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Long Island.
Inshore, the fishing is still steady as she goes. Fluking off Montauk and inside Shinnecock Bay is solid, with plenty of keepers to fill coolers on most trips. In Shinnecock, the bite seems to have shifted west of the Ponquogue Bridge or along the edges of the West Cut. Small bucktails tipped with shiners or squid are the trick. In Montauk, the bite is in deep water, 70 feet or more, so big sinkers are needed.
Small snappers have started to show up in the local creeks and harbors. It’s a couple of weeks till they’ll be the size you’ll want to fillet and drop in the skillet, but they’re the perfect size for live fluke baits right now.
Captain Scott at East End Bait & Tackle in Hampton Bays said that in addition to picking away at the tiny snappers, shorebound anglers are finding porgies at the north end of the Shinnecock Canal. The Ponquogue Bridge and the north end of the jetties on both sides of the Shinnecock Inlet also give casters a good shot at catching a fluke, either by soaking a three-way rig with ham-and-eggs or by bouncing a bucktail along with the current. A few triggerfish are showing up along the rocks and pilings now, too.
Catch ’em up. See you out there.