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On the Water: Fishing Plans Upended

Wed, 05/03/2023 - 17:10
Capt. Savio Mizzi of Fishooker charters caught and released this striped bass off Montauk on a recent excursion.
Capt. Savio Mizzi

My recent travails of spending way too much time lying on my back in the hospital trying to unclog a stubborn major heart artery have also unfortunately altered my fishing season. And, to be frank, it’s not a total surprise.

My latest surgery last Thursday took nearly five hours. Given the length of the procedure, one would have automatically concluded that the job would have been completely done. Sadly, that was not the case.

Given the high levels of radiation and medicinal dye my body was exposed to during the procedure, it precluded the three surgeons in the operating room from inserting several plastic or metal stents that would have been necessary to finish the matter at hand. Still, they were able to bore a very narrow passageway allowing blood to flow back into that vital vein for the time being. It was a positive step.

Early next month, I will return to the hospital for my heart to finally be put completely back together with the aforementioned assortment of stents. Fingers are most certainly crossed.

As such, this medical conundrum has curbed many of my activities, including my daily game of tennis, as well as hauling and rebaiting my heavy lobster traps. For all practical purposes, my lobster season is officially over, almost before it even began.

Along with a litany of dos and don’ts, my cardiologist dutifully warned me that lifting anything over 10 pounds is forbidden.

That said, I will instead focus on trapping blue-claw crabs. Truth be told, I much prefer the taste of a blue-claw over lobster. Plus, I don’t have to travel an hour each way to the lobster grounds, as I can pretty much catch as many crabs as I want at my dock. The traps are nice and light too. My cardiologist will be happy to hear that. 

The water is still too chilly for the blue-claws to have risen out of the mud from their winterlong hibernation. By Memorial Day, enough should be scurrying about to be enjoyed as a tasty substitute for many months to come. Crab rolls will replace lobster rolls this summer. And that’s just fine.

Before the weekend blow that was mixed in with dense fog, the fishing scene was excellent in many locales. 

“The striped bass have arrived in Montauk,” said Capt. Rob Aaronson of the Montauk charter boat Oh Brother! Both diamond and bucktail jigs have been the lures of choice for the linesiders. 

“The porgy fishing has been terrific on the west side of Jessup’s Neck and plenty of weakfish have also been caught too,” reported Ken Morse at Tight Lines Tackle in Sag Harbor. Morse added that shore-bound anglers at Long Beach have also reeled in plentiful numbers of porgies that have reached up to 17 inches. That’s a hefty porgy by any measure.

As for striped bass, Morse said that the action in the bays has been excellent for those fishing from boat or shore. “There are plenty of shorts, but there are a few keepers being taken too,” he said. “Plus, a few large bluefish are beginning to come in.” Morse said that there have been some bluefish taken from the shore at Gerard Drive in Springs, as well as areas closer to Shinnecock. 

Fans of fluke rejoiced on Monday for opening day. Unfortunately, gusty southwest winds postponed any attempts to get out. However, once the seas settle, fluke will likely be found on the south side of Montauk, as well as areas in and around Shelter Island to the west.

Like to use fresh squid to catch your fluke, or to perhaps flash-fry some calamari? You are in luck, as schools of the popular cephalopod have shown up in Fort Pond Bay and near Greenport. So long as the bluefish stay away, the squid will stay. Catch ‘em up while you can.

And in a welcomed sight not seen in Sag Harbor since the early 1980s, a party boat resides at Long Wharf (albeit only until May 14). The Viking Starlight, which hails out of Montauk, is calling Sag Harbor its temporary home port to take advantage of the nearby excellent porgy fishing occurring in Noyac and Little Peconic Bays. 

On Sunday, Capt. Dave Marmeno of the Starlight put his fares onto a nice pile of fish. “We had nicer weather than Saturday with plenty of double headers today,” he observed. “There were also some weakfish and a couple of sea bass we had to throw back. Most people had no problem retaining their limits of 30 fish. Porgy fishing has started out great and it’s getting better.”

The Starlight departs at 6 a.m. and the fare is $110.


Fishing tips, observations, and photographs can be sent to [email protected]

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