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Jun 11, 2019 10:08 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Tuna Crash The Canyons And Inshore Grounds

Brad Allecia, Billy O'Sullivan and Jesse Allecia show off the fruits of a trip to the edge of the continental shelf last week.
Jun 11, 2019 10:50 AM

On the South Fork, it’s been a pretty inconsistent start to the fishing season thus far.Fluke fishing has been a tough slog this month. The bite in the bays has faded out, and the ocean runs have fish but it’s hardly a slam job. The Montauk boats seem to be doing the best, so it might be worth the long run on a calm day if you are champing at the bit to find some flatties.

Black sea bass have been a heartbreaking pest on the best fluking grounds, since the season for them doesn’t open for another 10 days. (See last week’s rant about the unfair position New York is put in by federal regulations.)

One thing I’ve noticed from talking to friends and watching social media is that there has been a flurry of monkfish caught by fluke fishermen fishing the ocean runs in the last couple of weeks. Something must be drawing the monks in a little closer to shore than normal—something to do with the movements of squid, I suppose.

There are fair numbers of striped bass in residence now, mostly in deeper waters. The smattering of trophy-sized fish that mixed in a few weeks ago has mostly faded from the scene in favor of the mostly shorts and small keepers and a 20-pounder or two here and there.

But trolling wire off Montauk and Shelter Island is producing fish, and we can hope that what has become a late June/early July movement of large fish eastward along the South Shore will happen any day. As of this weekend, the big schools of bunker and the large stripers on them hadn’t gotten past western Fire Island yet.

Surf fishing has been spotty, with mostly schoolie-sized fish within casting distance from shore. The arrival of some larger fish in the Montauk area gives hope of there being some better fish in the suds for those willing to do some walking and creeping.

If you’re shorebound and looking for some fish to take home for dinner, your best bet is probably going to be working the tips of local jetties for porgies, although keepers might still be kind of hard to come by with the fish still on the spawning beds.

The offshore scene came alive in the last 10 days or so, both in day-trip range and out at the continental shelf. The 30-fathom curve has schoolie bluefins up to about 100 pounds popping up here and there and accessible to small boats on a nice day.

The canyons have had what might even be called a “hot bite” at times, with a rare mix of yellowfin, bigeye and bluefin tuna all inhabiting the same waters, thanks to clashing bodies of cold and warm waters.

Lots of cool, rainy weather this week probably isn’t going to spark any major changes in the fishing action, but, hopefully, just the natural progression will have fish moving into a new pattern.

Catch ’em up. See you out there.

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