Fishing Guy: Bluefish on Fire at Shinnecock Inlet
Spring is here and with it, another fishing season has begun. With the water temperature staying relatively warm over the winter, the striped bass were here early this spring. This was a great start for many who fish the surf with slot-size fish and even oversized bass coming up with serious regularity.
That slot size (28”–35”) will be shortened to 28”–31” as of July 2 due to emergency regulation changes in order to preserve the species. I, for one, plan to enjoy the current size limit until the new regulations kick in, so get them while you can, folks.
Things were starting pretty slow out on the East End with the weather making it hard to get out and fish. As things started picking up, the striped bass were hitting on soft plastics mostly. Bucktails and SP minnows were working as the fish started to move in and now we have gator bluefish dominating the waters.
The blues have been crushing topwater poppers and cutting lines like crazy so bring plenty of extra lures. Diamond jigs have been getting it done as well so be sure to pack plenty of those for them yellow-eyed monsters. The bass hit on them too, so having a few diamond jigs of varying weights and colors in your bag is priceless.
Moving west, Shinnecock Inlet has been on fire for bluefish, with blitzes going down on the regular. Top water plugs have been killing it for blues during the day with some really nice bass being caught at night and early mornings on bucktails and soft plastics.
I prefer to go with a topwater lure or swim bait (SP minnow) when fishing jetties to keep from getting snagged on the bottom. Always be aware of where you are when fishing on the rocks. Make sure you have good footing wherever you are and be sure to know where you plan on landing a fish once you get it in close.
I like to find a place that’s easy enough to climb down and unhook my catch without causing any damage to the fish or myself.
Smith Point has seen some really nice bass coming through in the late night and early morning hours. SP minnows and bucktails are working well for stripers here. You have to get out early for the bass, but some are coming up during the day. Bluefish are getting hooked on diamond jigs and just about anything else you can throw at them. Some of the largest blues have been caught already this spring with the warmer waters and these fish are strong.
Pound for pound, bluefish are one the best fighting fish here on the island and people come from all over to get one on the line. Many people love to eat these fish but I find them to be a little too oily. I’ve heard that if you barbecue them, they’re delicious and I’m sure there’s a ton of great recipes.
Robert Moses had slot-sized bass early this spring, then cooled off for a little while before heating up again. There’s been a good number of quality striped bass caught already this spring of slot size, and quite a decent amount of oversized fish as well. Bucktails have been doing the job in the late night hours and soft plastics have been working for many anglers.
As the bluefish moved in, they’ve taken over the daytime bite, making the night time and twilight hours the best time for striped bass. This last new moon cycle has brought out some very large fish chasing large schools of baitfish.
Democrat Point had lots of big stripers early this spring much like most of the South Shore as a result of the warm winter. Many people got their keeper early this spring with the warmer waters yielding large numbers of big fish. Paddle tail soft plastics at night seem to work best for most but I’ve seen fish coming up on SP’s and various other lures.
So much of lure choice is based on matching the bait profile, but having confidence in the plug you’re throwing has a heck of a lot to do with the end result. Always keep that in mind when choosing what to throw.
The sunrise and sunset bites have been great for throwing topwater poppers but with so many big blues around, don’t get too attached to any of those lures, there’s a good chance that you may get cut off.
This spring still has a huge bite waiting for anyone looking to get out there and fish. With so many large fish and the water just a short drive away, it’s no wonder why again this year I’m seeing quite a few people out there who are new to the world of fishing and surfcasting.
Hopefully people are going to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website and getting all of the proper permits and licenses to be out there doing things the right way so we all can continue to enjoy fishing here on this beautiful island.
Catch ’em up, folks!