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Jul 1, 2019 10:48 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

The Summer Fishing Season Is Upon Us

Jul 1, 2019 11:08 AM

Welcome to the heat of summer, literally and figuratively.The crowds are here on land, and starting this week, I think we can expect to really start noticing them on the water, as well. With temperatures getting steamy (no late-June scorching again this year, thank goodness) the fish are starting to move into summer patterns. This makes some fish, like fluke, easier to catch, but a lot of others more difficult as they become largely nocturnal feeders.

For the casual fisherman looking to put a meal or two on ice, a little mixed bag fishing for fluke, black sea bass and porgies is going to be your best bet. If you have a boat, finding the fleet out of either port shouldn’t be difficult. If you don’t have a boat, there are party boats that will give a you a ride to the hottest spots for about $100, or less if you grab a ticket on a half-day boat.

For the more hardcore, there are big striped bass migrating east along the South Fork and both surfcasters and boat fishermen are catching them out of Shinnecock and Montauk. Unless you stumble upon a school of bunker with fish under them, you are mostly going to have to be working the night tides to catch these fish.

If you do catch a big striped bass, please release it if it is over 42 or 44 inches long. And please, please, please, take the time to revive the fish rather than just dumping it back in the water. Large fish exhaust themselves and with waters getting warm, they do not bounce back easily. Holding the fish in the water until it is able to shake itself free from your grasp—which can take a few minutes sometimes—will greatly improve its chances of survival.

There are plenty of striped bass roaming the ocean surf as well and just about any structure—which in beach terms just means anything out of the ordinary in terms of how the sand is arranged—will probably have a striper or two in residence.

The best shot at these fish will mostly be early morning and late evening but there are fish to be had in the middle of the day. Tossing small minnow lures or bucktails, or flies, will get the job done, or if you are more into a lazy day at the beach, a clam belly soaked in the surf will certainly attract bites from a number of species.

It’s going to be a busy few days on the water this week, so gird yourself for boat wakes, jet-ski harassment and unqualified captains galore. Let’s be safe out there.

Catch ’em up. See you out there.

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