Fishing Report: The bite begins...

Fri, 06/22/2018 - 8:45am
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Unseasonable weather and cooler water has made the start of the 2018 season a little slower than normal. 

However, we can report the island fishing has turned the corner the week leading up to Father’s Day. This is the week fishermen can have nights of catching a dozen fish or more. That’s the case this year with reports from around the island of bass up to 39 inches caught from the surf. A New Jersey Fly Fishing Club that made its annual visit to the island reports one of the best years of fishing at Charleston Beach and the Coast Guard Channel. The best fishing has been at dusk and dawn, with fish feeding on small sand eels. Flies of choice have been small 2 inch sand eel patterns that stand out from the bait balls — use white, yellow, or lime colors. Surfcasters, both local and visiting, have reported fish from Southwest Point to Golden Grove, with the focus on the top of the outgoing tide. Most have had luck with needlefish plugs and swimmers such as the SP Minnow.

Boat fishing has seen an eclectic mix of untargeted species. Capt. Matt King on the Hula Dog had a customer reel in a pollock at the north end of the island. And Capt. Hank Hewitt had a nice cod caught on Harley on the southwest corner. Both species like the cooler waters, but are rarely caught in less than 20 feet of water. These fish are excellent to eat and unusual to catch in June. The fluke bite was very good in the deep holes four miles south of the island. One Point Judith report recorded a fluke over 13 pounds caught early in the week. There are plenty of big black seabass but, unfortunately, the season is closed until June 24. Once the season opens, the bag limit is three per person. Striped bass is open, however, at one fish (longer than 28 inches) per person. Fish up to 32 inches are the best to eat if you choose to keep one. There are plenty of schoolie-sized fish, with the occasional fish over 28 inches. 

Jamie Johnston had a nice 18- to 20-pound fish on the south side fishing with Keith Stover. These small fish should have their bigger relatives arrive in the next week or two. Last year on June 16, a 60-plus-pound bass was caught and released next to several 30- and 40-pound fish on the Jessica Kate with Capt. Chris Willi. With all the big bass reported in the waters in New York and New Jersey, it’s only days away from those fish coming up to visit. 

Catch ‘em up!