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LI Fishing Report

This month’s feature fish is the shark. Please keep in mind there are several new shark regulations for 2018. First, a mako now must measure 83 inches to be kept. Second, you must use non-stainless steel, non-offset circle hooks. Finally, along with your HMS permit (which you must obtain to fish for sharks) you must obtain a shark endorsement, which requires completion of an online shark identification and fishing regulation training course. Sharks can be taken on the troll. However, I would only suggest trolling for sharks if you have absolutely no drift. The best way to fish for sharks is drifting for them. Shark fishing can be very boring followed by moments of pure excitement. I personally think people put way too much effort into shark fishing. The very first time my wife and I went shark fishing we caught 2 blues, a brown and a small mako. I usually bring about 15-20 shark rigs, 2 cans of chum and either use mackerel, false albie filets or bluefish filets. You can chunk with just about any type of fish if you like, but it’s not a must. A few more items that are a must are wire cutters, balloons and a heavy-duty pair of gloves to protect your hands from getting cut on the wire leader. It’s nice not to have to run 30-40 miles offshore. I usually shark along the 20-fathom line out of either Moriches or Fire Island. If you venture out looking for sharks, make sure you have a spinning rod set up in case a few mahi mahi come into your chum slick. You can also catch thresher sharks around all the bunker that are found along the south shore. I have to admit, it’s pretty awesome watching a thresher shark use its tail to “whip” a pod of bunker. Before you kill a mako or thresher please make sure you will consume what you harvest. Don’t just put a shark on a scale and then in the dumpster. Sharking can be very enjoyable especially if you just keep things simple. One last thing…please make sure you know the difference between a mako and a great white shark. There is a huge fine if you kill a great white. Warm water brings in the pelagics… The offshore season is in full effect come July. White marlin, blue marlin, wahoo, mahi mahi, bigeye, albacore and yellowfin tuna are found in the warm waters of the Gulf Stream. If you can’t travel 80-100 miles offshore it doesn’t mean you can’t find some of these pelagics in closer. There is a good chance, especially early in July, that you will find bluefin tuna along the 30 and 40 fathom lines. You will also begin to see mahi in as close as 10 miles. If you have your heart set on catching a mahi you will greatly increase your chances if you head out with a live well filled with small live baits such as mullet, peanut bunker or snappers. Towards the end of the month yellowfin tuna and white/blue marlin can often be found much closer than having to run to the edge. Bottom fishing… Throughout the month of July, you will be able to take three black seabass per person. They must be a minimum of 15 inches. If you are looking for seabass you may need to try to find a few unknown rocks or wrecks. The big fish inshore get picked over very quickly. If the bite is on ditch the clams and try using a diamond jig. A diamond jig will help you cull out the small fish. If you are black seabass fishing you are probably getting some of your baits stolen by porgies. If you want to take a few home, try using a smaller hook. Their mouths are nowhere near the size of a black seabass. Before you load the cooler up with meat, keep in mind that someone needs to filet all those fish. Once again take what you are going to eat. Ocean fluke fishing is usually as hot as the July sun. I love being able to shut the engines off and just drift around the ocean looking for fluke. I don’t have to worry about hitting a buoy, another boat or a bridge. By the middle of the month south shore rivers, canals and creeks should be loaded with snappers. Catch a few and try “dead-sticking” them while you are drifting in the ocean. If you can locate squid on your fish-finder stop the boat and set-up right, there. If you can’t find the squid make sure you fish all types of structure (wrecks, rocks and contours on the ocean bottom). I have to be honest. I keep trying some of these “latest and greatest” ways to catch fluke but I always seem to catch more with just an old school hi-lo rig with squid and spearing. Towards the end of the month don’t be afraid to head a little deeper looking for big doormats. I caught one of my biggest striped bass in early July on a bunker pod. Your chance at a bass will close quickly. These bass will continue to migrate to cooler waters farther up north. Personally, I wouldn’t waste any time looking for bass in the bay in July. It’s the ocean or fish for something different. Kids out on the water… The first time I had a few young kids on my boat it wasn’t anything like how I thought it would be. I was shocked at how scared kids could be when a live fish comes on board. I was also shocked at just how short a 6-year old’s attention span is. Even though we were catching fish they were more interested in the color of the lures. So, if you want to introduce your kids to boating/fishing here are two great ways to do it. First, like I mentioned above, snapper blues begin to invade the bays estuaries in July. I have a few nephews that are very excited to use their rods I got them for Christmas. There is no better way to introduce kids to fishing than catching a few snappers. The other thing that they are excited to do is to go crabbing. Using a bunker or chicken leg on a hand line doesn’t seem to be really popular in New York like it is in New Jersey. You may be surprised at just how much they will love catching crabs this way. When it comes to kids and boats try not to force things. Make sure the weather is nice. A rough day on the water will cause them to not want to go again. If you think one of your kids or another young family member may be your future fishing buddy take things slow and always be positive.

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