Long Island Fishing Report
If you like to fluke fish I suggest you spend some time contacting your elected officials. How does a 90 day season sound? Miserable, I agree. Along with a shortened season, the bag limits may drop to 2 fish and a keeper would also see a minimum of least a 1” increase in size. NY is looking at a minimum 30% reduction in the state’s fluke quota. On December 28th Senator Chuck Schumer said he will be requesting an emergency action by the Commerce Secretary to halt the quota reduction while an expedited fluke population assessment can be completed in 2017 and a review of the recreational landings data is instituted. Along with Senator Schumer’s commitment to fight for better fluke regulations for NY, on January 20th, just hours after Donald Trump was sworn in as our 45th president, the White House ordered an immediate freeze of pending regulations until they can be reviewed by the new administration. At this point we are going to need a lot of help if we hope to have anything that resembles 2016 fluke regulations. As for black seabass and porgy, it looks as if 2017 regulations will be very similar to 2016 regulations. Please keep in mind nothing is set in stone.
I live on a canal so I usually launch the boat mid to late March. There are two reasons why I splash the boat so early. First, I never want my mechanic to tell me that he can’t get my boat in the water for a few weeks because he is so busy. Second, quite often you can get some really nice water in late March and early April. With the boat being on land for 3 plus months I am all geared up to bend a rod. You can find some decent cod fishing on a bunch of wrecks that are well within reach. Along with cod you may also find yourself running into huge schools of herring and mackerel. Personally I don’t eat herring or mackerel however, I do use both for bait throughout the year. We use a mackerel rig or a sabiki rig which are incredibly simple but very effective. If you like to save a few bucks and catch your own bait, I will let you in on a little secret.
Several times during the year we see some pretty big storms. These storms will cause a lot of beach erosion. However, there is one silver lining to these powerful storms. Huge Skimmer clams, which are also referred to as Sea Clams; I have personally witnessed thousands of them washed up on the beach. So many that even when the seagulls take their cut, there are still plenty left over for some resourceful fisherman. If you plan on checking out your local ocean beaches I suggest you bring a couple of items. Bring a bucket, large one gallon zip lock bags, a knife and a rag. Because these clams are so large, you will fit a lot more in the bucket if you shuck them as you go. After you are done gathering and shucking your clams, take the shucked clams and place them in zip lock bags. Before storing in the freezer, sprinkle a generous amount of salt on the clams. This will help them firm up and stay on the hook much longer. If you don’t have a bait freezer in your shed or garage, hopefully you can sneak them into the freezer in your house without the wife seeing.
With Striped bass season opening next month on Long Island, if you have any plans on upgrading your boat’s electronics, now is the time. Two years ago I went to the boat show at the Javits Center. I wasn’t there to look at the boats; I was looking to possibly upgrade my electronics. Right off the bat, I was amazed at how advanced multifunctional displays (MFD) and radars had become in such a short period of time. To be honest, I didn’t believe some of the images that I was looking at on various units. I couldn’t take my eyes off of what some manufacturers referred to as “downvision.” The screen shots were amazing but all the information was over whelming. I didn’t buy anything at the show. I went home and started to do my own research.
I settled on a Raymarine e127. The unit is a hybrid touch screen with rotary Unicontroller keypad. I also had a new Raymarine Digital HD color radar installed. I can’t say enough good things about the company that installed the unit - CMI Electronics - they did an awesome job. It turns out that the owner has the same unit that I have on his 26’ Regulator. I picked up the boat after the installation and I quickly put it to work. On my way home I headed to the Robert Moses Bridge. I couldn’t believe the detail. I drove around the bridge going in and out of the abutments marking what I thought would be great black fishing spots. However, those spots would have to wait as it was April, and it was time for stripers.
The next day I awoke and headed to one of my favorite striped bass spots. I was shocked when I looked at my screen (see attached picture). I had no idea that a sunken sailboat would turn out to be the structure that I had been marking the last few years. Before I upgraded my electronics that sailboat looked as if it was a school of fish or bait. I’m such a believer in my electronics, if I don’t see fish, I will move to another spot. I have caught so many more fish since the upgrade. With the new equipment a lot of the pieces of the puzzle came together. I have a bunch of screen shots that emphasize the old saying find the bait and you will find the fish (see attached photo). I also have a bunch of screen shots that show fish hiding in holes and around structure.
Ever since I upgraded I started to really broaden my search to find fish. I’m shocked at some of the locations that I now fish. There are a lot more fish in our South Shore back bays then most people realize. Because I fish a lot at night I also upgraded my radar. The new radar is capable of doing so many different functions. I don’t ask for a lot out of my radar, however there is one function I don’t think I could live without. It can be difficult to determine which way a boat on your radar is moving, especially in fog where running lights are not visible. The radar that I now run has a function that will place a blue line behind the boats that appear on your radar that are formed from a boats wake, indicating which direction they are moving. Really cool and really helpful.