• By Capt. Kirk Fay

LI Fishing Report

Feature fish of the month… This month’s feature fish is the mahi mahi, aka dolphinfish. I prefer to call them mahi mahi because when you tell most people that you caught dolphin you then have to explain that you aren’t referring to “Flipper.” Most New Yorkers have no idea that during the summer months these electric colored tasty acrobats invade our waters. By far mahi are my favorite fish to catch. I actually leave the dock targeting them. I will admit that in order to find mahi quite often you need to be lucky. Luck often comes in the form of floating debris when you are targeting mahi. Logs, pallets, buckets, sargassum weeds to name a few things that will hold mahi. It all depends on how long the debris has been floating for. The longer the better. Time allows growth to occur. If you don’t paint the bottom of your boat think about all the growth that occurs. The growth is food for forage fish which in turn attract larger predators like mahi. Even though mahi eat an enormous amount of food there are times that they have lock-jaw. If you really want to put the odds in your favor don’t leave the dock without live bait. During the month of August, rivers, canals and creeks on the south shore are loaded with mullet, snappers and peanut bunker. If you can’t get the live stuff make sure you have some squid on board. If you find blue water and water temperatures in the 70’s there is a good chance that mahi are close by. If you haven’t spotted any floating debris it’s time to put out a trolling spread. You can keep it as simple as four rods. I like to troll around six knots. If you do plan on trolling I suggest that you clear all other lines if you hook up with a mahi. Unlike tuna that dive deep once they are hooked mahi usually stay on the surface which causes them to tangle lines left in the water. So if you decide to head out looking for mahi keep your eyes peeled for any floating debris. You don’t need to travel that far if the conditions are right. I have caught mahi fishing for fluke on the Moriches Reef. Here is what’s biting… Offshore should be teaming with fish. Everything from swordfish to marlin to bigeye tuna. If you find yourself out on the edge don’t overlook the idea of daytime chunking. Our friends to the south seem to be very successful chunking in the middle of the day. If you have trouble catching tuna make sure you save the trip by hitting a few lobster buoys and putting some mahi in the box. If you plan on shark fishing during the month of August it gets difficult trying to find a mako or thresher to take home. With the warm water, you are more likely to catch hammerheads and tiger sharks. Not edible but pretty cool to see. Remember don’t run deep, the 20-fathom line will most likely be far enough to bend a rod. If you do come across a mako please keep in mind that they must measure 83 inches to keep. I saw on a fishing website in June a man and his son standing next to their mako on a scale. I have no problem with that except the gentleman mentioned the fished measured 71 inches! Inshore it’s all about fluke. This is the time of the year where fluke begin to leave the bays and start to migrate into the ocean. Fish big baits like mackerel strips, whole squids or live snappers. Always concentrate your efforts around a structure. Cholera Bank is a great place to fluke with its rocky bottom. A little further to the east the Wallcott Wreck is another great spot that holds big doormats. If you don’t want to run that deep then head to your local reef. Sea bass are still around but you may have trouble finding keepers inshore as most known spots have been picked over. If you can get out a little deeper you will have no problem putting your three fish limit in the box. Don’t worry if you don’t have bait on board. Gulp works just as well. If you really want a little more action try diamond jigging for big sea bass. Usually, sea bass and porgies go hand and hand. If you are looking for porgies make sure your hooks are smaller than just using a sea bass rig. Using clams will get them every time. If you are looking for bass I suggest you head east. The August full moon usually yields monster size bass around Montauk. The area also holds plenty of big bluefish. In the bay, you will still find plenty of keeper fluke. I really like fishing a two bucktail rig. The same premise as a Hi-Lo rig but you use a heavier bucktail on the bottom and a very light one on top. I like to make the rig bounce quickly with short twitches of the wrist. Tip the bucktails with Gulp, squid or spearing. Another fish that makes fine table fare are triggerfish. Underneath their tough skin is very white flaky meat. You can catch them underneath most south shore bridges. Use small hooks and clams. You will also encounter plenty of sea bass and porgies. It’s a great way to introduce kids to fishing. During the month of August weakfish begin to show up again. These fish are usually smaller than the ones that show up in the spring. However, during the last few years, there have been plenty of five and six pound fish that have been caught. Keep your lures small. There is no need to run around the bay looking for live bait. When these fish show up they are usually in big schools which keep them aggressive when it comes to eating. Gulp is a great alternative to live bait. Once you have located these fish make sure you are using light gear. No more than 20-pound test. In fact, I like to use 10-15 pound test. Your drag should be loose. Remember these fish get their names because of their weak mouths. If you plan on bringing a weakfish home to eat make sure you get it on ice as quickly as possible. The meat is on the mushy side. New Boat… I purchased a 31T Cape Horn this spring. The boat is amazing. The ride is dry, smooth and efficient. I recently went offshore to look for some tuna. From dock to dock I traveled 208 miles. The boat burned only 120 gallons. That equates to getting 1.73mpg. It was a 14 hour trip. When the boat was on plane it was traveling 37-40mph. If you are looking for a new boat and you love to fish make sure you check out Cape Horn Boats. There is a great dealer right here on the Island. Scott Shane at Montauk Yacht Sales will treat you right. Let him know that Captain Kirk sent you over to see him. You won’t be disappointed.

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