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There are a lot of reasons to be optimistic about the June prospects for a number of key species.
By Fred Golofaro  |  June 1, 2020
Peconic Bay is seeing a nice run of weakfish. This one was caught aboard the open boat Shinnecock Star on the weekend.

As May fades and we slip into June, there are some real encouraging signs for a number of key species around the Island. Weakfish, which have been dragging their heels getting started, made up for their late start during the waning days of May in both Great South and Peconic bays. Always unpredictable, we suspected after last season’s excellent showing of yellowfins in the 2 to 4-pound class with some 5 and 6 pounders in the mix, that we would see mostly 3 to 5 pounders this season with some fish pushing 7 or 8 pounds. If the initial showing of fish is any indication, so much for our expectations. Capt. John Paduano of Premium Charters/Bucktails got on the fish in Peconic Bay this past week and found large numbers of weaks averaging 6 pounds with some topping the 10-pound mark. He and Bobby Antici teamed up on Friday and bucktailed nearly three dozen of these fish apiece. The day before, he and Lynnie Savino tallied a bunch to 10 pounds. I joined him on Saturday for some fast action before boat traffic turned the bite off. Lanny Molnar at Molnars Landing in Hampton Bays weighed a 15-pound tiderunner for one customer. In Great South Bay, the waters along Ocean Beach to Point O’ Woods began producing some decent weakfish action on fish to 8-plus pounds. There has also been a showing of weaks in a couple of the harbors on the North Shore. It’s looking like things are shaping up for a repeat of last season’s excellent run which carried through much of the summer and into the fall in Great South Bay.

Good numbers of school bass continue to cruise the Islands bays, harbors and surf. This week saw a noticeable increase in the number of quality fish being reported, including a 55-inch cow released in the Montauk surf by Skip Dippold at sunset last Wednesday. The fish took a Super Strike Little Neck Popper. Other quality fish were trolled in the Sound and on the South Shore on bunker spoons and Mojos. While the numbers of big bass overall are down, the large numbers of schoolies provide some encouragement for the future, while keeping rods bent for the present.

Bluefish had been mostly missing in action the past few seasons, especially during the summer and fall months. Even the spring runs were becoming shorter in duration with widely scattered action. Over the past week or two, blues of all sizes have inundated many areas around the Island. That was evident at Jessups on Saturday afternoon where it was impossible to get a jig down to the bottom without it being attacked by a bluefish. The good news is the blues are spread from the far west end of the Island and Brooklyn to Montauk, and the length of the North Shore.

Blowfish returned last season in numbers not seen since the 1960s. This season is starting to look like a repeat of last year’s abundance. The puffers are a perfect target for families, novices and youngsters, and are available at many local docks and piers. To ensure some fast action, whether you are fishing from a boat or dock, dropping a chum pot and clam chum over the side should draw plenty of blowfish to your spot.

What can we say about porgies? They have become a sure bet for boat and shore anglers alike for several years and this season is no different. Like the blues, they are pretty much everywhere around the Island, from one end of the Sound to the other, in most bays and on inshore reefs and wrecks.

Fluke fishing got off to a slow start around most of the Island with below normal water temperatures playing a role according to most experts. This past weekend saw a definite improvement in many areas, and it looks like the keeper to short ration is better than it has been the past few seasons. Warmer weather this week and into the weekend should help boost water temperatures and further improve the fluke bite.

On the offshore scene, bluefin tuna produced plenty of excitement in May with a surprise inshore run of giant bluefin beating up anglers and tackle. That category was shut down but smaller bluefin were providing action into the last weekend of May. Lots of captains are hoping for a repeat of last season’s excellent run this year, and so far it looks like we are off to a good start.

Needless to say, the opening of Long Island’s for-hire fleet is a real bright spot, especially for those anglers who rely on party and charter boats to feed their fishing addiction. Hopefully, New York City boats will be able to join the scene in the very near future.