June started the 2020 season off with a bang. Striped bass fishermen were shocked getting spooled by giant Bluefin tuna close to shore. Most of the action took place in 50-100 feet of water just outside of Debs inlet. It only lasted a few weeks, and just as the North East met their metric ton quota the fish seemed to simultaneously move on. Plenty of 50 pound bass were caught in this cooler water too. As the water temperatures rose the south shore started to see sharks move in. Captain Ray Fasano of “Fintastic” boated a nice 200 pound mako. The fish was caught along the 20 fathom line south of Fire Island. On board was Luke Germanakos, Rich Quartuccio, and Scott Koontz. As the water continued to climb into the mid-sixties the Bluefin moved into their regular haunts along the 20 and 30 fathom curves. The most consistent fishing is around: The Resor, Bacardi, Linda Triple wrecks and Coimbria. The Bluefin are responding to the troll (ballyhoo and side trackers in purple are hot) but be ready to switch to jig and pop fishing as we approach July. The name of the game for 2020 is bait. There is so much bait all over the bays, inlets and offshore that this promises to be an exceptional season. Huge bunker schools are already holding bass along the south shore. Sand eels and squid are in abundance. I have even heard that mackerel are present a few miles off the beach. This is a great sign as it will attract and hold all sorts of species.
Near shore fishing was slow to start. There have been some decent fluke being caught, however the numbers of fish caught has been lower. Weakfish showed up in their usual spots through out the bays. The Long Island Sound has been consistently producing some decent fluke and it appears as the bluefish are back this year mixing in with the bass. Trolling umbrella rigs, spoons, and or mojos have all been productive. Fluke have been responding to drifting the classic spearing squid combo, and sand eels have also worked.
July we will continue to see water temperatures rise. Expect fluking and striped bass fishing to strengthen and remain strong on both shores. Bluefin will work their way to the butterfish hole, Coxes ledge and the Horns south of Montauk. Hopefully the warm water eddy that has been producing at Tom’s canyon will keep rolling towards the Hudson. I personally took an early season ride to the Tails and Dip. There is already plenty of life; whales, dolphin and bait. All we need know is for some hungry tuna to appear. The midshore tuna bite around 30 fathoms should start to see mahi mahi, yellowfin and white marlin mixed in with the bluefin. With Covid fears subsiding and restrictions starting to lift expect to see plenty of tournament fishing in July.
Remember you can’t catch them at the dock, get out there and soak a line.