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On the Water: Heat on the Water

Thu, 06/27/2024 - 10:42
Steve and Dona Alfuso caught this combo of black sea bass, left, and striped bass on a trip on Sunday with Capt. Savio Mizzi of Fishooker Charters out of Montauk.
Capt. Savio Mizzi

The extended heat wave we recently experienced kind of zapped my energy and enthusiasm to get on the Rock Water and wet a fishing line. I don’t enjoy hot weather.

I tend to wilt under the hot glare of the summer sun. Standing at nearly six and a half feet tall, the heat can be debilitating at times. It was one of the main reasons I went to college in Buffalo and not the University of Miami. I’d be more than comfortable to reside in an igloo year round.

The high temperatures and jungle-like humidity, along with negligible wind, also made for some tough games on the tennis court. On one morning alone, I dropped seven pounds despite drinking a copious amount of water between games. After 90 minutes of play, I was exhausted and a bit woozy to boot.

That said, I had to ignore the sultry conditions, as the other day I needed to check on my lobster traps off to the east. I usually venture out every seven to 10 days. But there was no break in the heat. I had to bite the bullet and sweat it out, since I haul all my traps by hand. It’s a strenuous workout even in cool weather.

When I untied my dock lines in Sag Harbor Cove, I noticed the water temperature was already 75 degrees on the fish finder. A few days earlier it was 70. The heat wave had truly taken hold.

By the time I neared Plum Island, the water temperature was a much cooler 63 degrees. The slight breeze that brushed my face was most welcoming. Still, after an hour of checking and rebaiting my 15 traps, I was totally drenched in sweat and pooped out.

The catch itself, thankfully, was surprisingly good. The hard work and sweat paid off. The lobsters have been in shed mode the past few weeks and are now hungry for a meal, as their new shells begin to harden around them. A nice platter of steamed lobster was enjoyed that night. Cold lobster rolls followed the next day.

The lobster season in my management area will close on Sept. 8. Hopefully the catch will remain decent until then. However, I will try to time my outings on the water when the temperatures are not as challenging.

Many anglers were thrilled that the season for black sea bass finally opened on Sunday. Folks are now allowed to keep three fish a day over 16.5 inches. From Sept. 1 until the end of the year, they will be able to retain six.

As for striped bass, they are still running strong out at Montauk.

“The bass fishing has been incredible,” said Capt. Savio Mizzi of Fishooker Charters. “It’s been nonstop action on jigs and bucktails.” Mizzi, who specializes in light-tackle angling, has put his patrons on bass that have weighed upward of 50 pounds in recent days not far from the Montauk Lighthouse. Bluefish have also been in the mix.

Over at Mrs. Sam’s Bait and Tackle in East Hampton, the owner, Sebastian Gorgone, was smiling broadly on Sunday afternoon when he talked about the fine fishing going in his neighborhood.

“Fishing has been really good on a number of fronts,” he said. “Blues are still running around Gerard Drive and at Louse Point and some nice catches of fluke are coming from Cedar Point and the Accabonac area. Large porgies can still be had at Lion Head Rock too.”

Gorgone added that striped bass can be taken off the ocean beaches. “Those fishing eels at night are scoring with some big fish. But during the day, bucktails and diamond jigs with a small teaser above have been the hot ticket.”

Working westward, Ken Morse at Tight Lines Tackle in Southampton and at 53 Bay Street in Sag Harbor was especially enthused about the fluke fishing, despite the overly tropical weather.

“Fluke fishing has been excellent all around Shelter Island,” he said. “Anywhere from Mashomack, Cedar Point, Bug Light, and the Greenlawns has seen fish up to 26 inches. Plenty of limits have been taken.”

Morse added that the action for porgies and weakfish has been “so-so” but confirmed that striped bass remain extremely cooperative at Montauk. He added the those on the hunt for blue-claw crabs have seen some solid results in various local creeks and harbors.


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


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