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On the Water: Better Weather, Please

Thu, 07/06/2023 - 10:10
Max Diamond, 11, came all the way from Boulder, Colo., to catch and release this smooth dogfish at Gardiner’s Island on a recent trip on his uncle’s boat out of Sag Harbor.
Joel Fisher

The July Fourth holiday has come and gone. Personally, it’s kind of hard to believe, as the weather we have experienced the past few weeks or so has been rather dour and dank.

Smoke emanating from the wildfires in Canada (which has now, amazingly, made its way to Europe) has not helped. Perfect days to lounge at the ocean beach or wet a fishing line have been rather scarce.

“The weather has been pretty lousy,” remarked Ken Morse, the longtime owner of Tight Lines Tackle, when I bumped into him at the Cove Deli in Sag Harbor late last week. On a side note, Carlos and his crew at the deli make the best egg sandwiches around. Inside tip: Order that sandwich with fried kielbasa. It will quickly make a cloudy day feel sunny.

“Whether it’s been the thunderstorms, showers, haze, clouds, rip currents, fog, or wind, there have been less people fishing,” added Morse. “It has really affected my business, too. We need some better weather.”

According to the experts, the long-range weather patterns indicate that the rest of summer here will bring normal temperatures and rainfall, but weather projections are never a guarantee.

Given the extreme temperatures that the South and Midwest have experienced over the past few weeks, I probably shouldn’t complain. I personally like colder weather. Trust me, I did not attend college in Buffalo for the warmth and sunshine.

I sympathize with Morse. It’s a short season for many business owners on the East End who rely on good weather, especially those who fish and sell bait and tackle. He needs a break.

For those who have ventured out on the water in recent days, the farther east you travel, the sweeter the fishing.

“Definitely, the better fishing has been out at Montauk,” Morse said on Monday morning. “The bass fishing remains solid and there are acres and acres of bluefish between 10 and 18 pounds roaming around. Sea bass, porgy, and fluke are being caught out there in greater quantities too.” He also heard that catches of yellowfin tuna have increased when anglers were able to get safely out.

Morse lamented the fact that the bite near Sag Harbor has been a struggle of late. “Even the weakfish reports in Noyac Bay have dropped off, and Jessup’s Neck has been quiet too.”

Morse did take advantage of a few hours of down time to get in some quality time with his daughter fishing from Cow Neck, where they were greeted by undersize blowfish, porgies, and even a blackfish. “The fishing wasn’t overly exciting, but we had a great time at least,” he smiled. “And even small snappers have already shown up too.”

Out at Paulie’s Tackle Shop in downtown Montauk, the owner Paul Apostolides said that the surf fishing has had “its ups and downs of late, but some nice stripers can still be had on the north and south sides of Montauk.”

On a side note, Brandon Sausele still leads the Montauk SurfMasters striped bass tournament with his 51-pound striper caught and released two weeks ago. The popular contest concludes on July 9, and sign-ups are still being accepted at Paulie’s Tackle Shop. Large bass are still lurking about close to shore. It is not over until it’s over.

“There are still a good number of bass in the rips for boaters, but more bluefish have shown up in recent days,” he added. Apostolides noted that “the fluke fishing has picked up nicely too.” He said that spots south of the Lighthouse, including Cartwright, Frisbees

and Rocky Hill, have witnessed the best action lately.

Due to a prior commitment, I missed a recent fluke trip with some Sag Harbor buddies on the Oh Brother! where Capt. Rob Aaronson has manned the helm for many decades. The group of six ground out a nice catch of fluke with a healthy smattering of red hake also taken on baited hook and line. I hope to make the next outing.

Other party boats like the Miss Montauk II, Montauk Star, Ebb Tide II, and the Lazybones have also done well chasing the popular flatfish in recent days.

Back to the west, Sebastian Gorgone at Mrs. Sam’s Bait and Tackle in East Hampton said that blowfish have shown up in “nice quantities” in Three Mile Harbor. “Fluke fishing has improved a bit and the bass and blues are still running well out at Montauk.” Gorgone added that reports from the ocean surf have been scarce because of the rougher than normal conditions.

On a final note, don’t forget to set out a trap or two for some tasty blue-claw crabs. Now that my lobster traps are on dry land, I’ve enjoyed a very bountiful harvest of blue claws right at my dock. Crab meat is hard to beat.

Fingers crossed for improved weather.


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


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