12/07/14 12:00pm
12/07/2014 12:00 PM

Whenever we fish Long Island beaches in the fall and look at anglers fishing the suds, we always see one or more individuals slinging surface lures. In most cases, especially when there’s no “blitz” of diving birds and splashing bait, these folks would be better served casting tipped bucktails or tins. Yet they persist. Why? (more…)

09/23/14 6:00am
09/23/2014 6:00 AM
Nick Raynor of Riverhead at last year's snapper tournament. (Credit: Rachel Young, file)

Nick Raynor of Riverhead at last year’s snapper tournament. (Credit: Rachel Young, file)

The 17th annual Spanner Tournament along the Peconic River in downtown Riverhead is set for Sept. 27. Hosted by the Riverhead Town Recreation Department, the tournament’s goal is to get get more people into fishing while also raising money for the Riverhead Recreation Department Scholarship Fund.

The tournament is split into two divisions: adults (16&over) and youth (under-16). A rod and reel will be awarded to the first-place winner in each division. And trophies are handed out to the top three finishers in each division.

The first 100 people to register receive a free T-shirt. To pre-register, call 727-5744, ext. 0, visit the website at www.riverheadrecreation.com or go in person to the department at 55 Columbus Ave. in Riverhead.

The tournament begins at 11 a.m. On-site registration starts one hour earlier. The tournament runs until 3 p.m.

Anglers must supply their own rod & reel and bait.

There will also be a Chinese auction for prizes donated by local businesses, which starts at 3:15 p.m.

08/31/14 7:00am
08/31/2014 7:00 AM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO Surf fisherman at Iron Pier Beach on the Sound.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | Surf fisherman at Iron Pier Beach on the Sound.

Summer fishing in the area keeps living up to high expectations, according to recent reports. Capt. Dave Brennan of the Peconic Star out of Greenport was enthusiastic about the large numbers of sea bass, often running five or six pounds. Scup numbers are also good. Dave feels you have to find fish in new areas because many of the old mussel beds that concentrated fish in the traditional places have disappeared.

At WeGo Fishing in Southold, Alex mentioned plenty of keeper scup in the Peconics, especially in the Noyac area, where sea bass, “kingfish” (northern whiting) and weakfish can be found as well. Anglers fishing diamond jigs catch cocktail blues around Jessups Neck, and there are plenty of snappers in the bay.

Charlie Caraftis at Mattituck Fishing Station and Marina on Mattituck Creek explained that bass have been hard to find off Hortons Point but gorilla bluefish remain and are especially active as the sun rises. Chunking is often the method of choice. Sea bass outnumber scup inshore, with many nice fish in the four- to five-pound class. Not many anglers are bothering with fluke right now, but there was one six-pound weakfish noted, taken by an angler jigging for blues in deep water.

Bill Czech at Jamesport Bait and Tackle in Mattituck reported only spotty beach action, with blues and small bass off Cupsogue Beach and a few bass taken off Hortons on eels. Long Island Sound beaches have cocktail blues in some places early and late. Scup specialists often head east to Fishers Island or Block Island, but there was a shot of large porgies up to 17 inches around Buoy 17 last week.

Roses Grove and Nassau Point waters produce some weakfish in the 14- to 16-inch range and small pan-size kingfish abound along bay beaches as well. With bunker schools so tight to South Shore beaches, humpback whales and sharks have been seen close inshore. One fluke angler wound up with a thresher estimated at 150 pounds on the end of a rig, and makos have been taken regularly only 10 to 14 miles out.

08/17/14 7:00am
08/17/2014 7:00 AM

As a university instructor and professor, I’ve spent a lifetime teaching students the fine points of math, science and history. While teaching in schools can be challenging at times, it doesn’t compare with the teaching that guides and skippers do on a daily basis when sports step out of their cars or cabins to “go fishin.”  (more…)

06/29/14 6:00am
06/29/2014 6:00 AM
Grilled black sea bass and blackfish accompanied by saffron rice and asparagus. (Credit: John Ross, file)

Grilled black sea bass and blackfish accompanied by saffron rice and asparagus. (Credit: John Ross, file)

A good friend of ours who happens to be a terrific angler has often remarked that we’re foolish to “keep” fish for the table when all we have to do is head for a local market and choose wisely from the iced fish on display. He points out that such seafood is surely a lot cheaper and obtained with a lot less trouble, given the cost of travel and tackle (and boats).  (more…)

06/09/14 5:00am
06/09/2014 5:00 AM
Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

What a difference a week makes! Before May 1, if you looked at the 2014 summer flounder (“fluke”) regulations, you saw a minimum size limit of 19 inches, a four-fish bag limit, and a season that ran from May 1 through Sept. 29. If you looked at the situation after May 1, you were surprised to see the bag limit had been extended to five fish, the minimum size limit dropped an inch to 18 inches, and the season chopped at both ends, running from May 17 to Sept. 21. What happened?  (more…)

05/25/14 9:00am
05/25/2014 9:00 AM
A tackle box. (Credit: Flickr/Viewoftheworld)

A tackle box. (Credit: Flickr/Viewoftheworld)

A few weeks ago we got a call from an editor to write a piece on scup, our favorite saltwater panfish, maybe our favorite fish, period. But the angle our friend wanted was not the typical one, e.g. porgies in the spring, porgies in the Peconics, etc. No, this was to be all about porgies on ultralight tackle.

What is really meant by “ultralight” tackle? What, in fact, distinguishes “ultralight” tackle from “light” tackle or “heavy” tackle, for that matter?  (more…)

02/03/14 5:38pm
02/03/2014 5:38 PM

The calendar on our wall tells us the solstice is only seven weeks away. Spring training begins when pitchers and catchers report in three weeks! Yet, as each arctic front descends this month, such events seem far in the future. Still, the coming weeks offer seasonal opportunities for our local outdoors persons: check the gear, look through the catalogs online or in print (which still miraculously exist), and check out what sports shops or local outdoor shows have to offer. (more…)

09/24/13 6:05pm
09/24/2013 6:05 PM
KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Contestants in the Little Merfolk Contest participate in the parade at the Greenport Maritime Festival Saturday.

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Contestants in the Little Merfolk Contest participate in the parade at the Greenport Maritime Festival Saturday.

For the first time this year, the Greenport Maritime Festival hosted a “Little Merfolk” contest featuring several dozen children between the ages of 5 and 12 dressed as mermaids.

Seven-year-old Kaitlyn Heath of Southold won Best in Show for her seashell encrusted creation. Other winners included Claire McKenzie, 5, for Most Creative costume, Olivia Kennedy, 11, for Best Use of Seashells and Arielle Rothman, 11, for Best Organic/Handmade costume.

Area youth also competed in a snapper derby fishing contest during the festival. The winners were:

Ages 8 and under

1st place — Chase Horne  —  6.7 oz.

2nd place — Ben Amadio  — 3.9 oz.

3rd place — Andrew Larson —  3.4 oz.

Ages 9 to 16

1st place — Ally Boyle — 5.8 oz.

2nd place — Anthony Pennachio — 5.2 oz.

3rd place — Aniah Thompson — 4.5 oz.

WEGO Fishing in Southold provided great prizes for the kids, including spinning snapper poles, a variety of snapper lures and poppers, and t-shirts.

07/08/13 3:00pm
07/08/2013 3:00 PM
Striped bass on Long Island

MELANIE DROZD PHOTO | A striped bass pulled recently from Peconic Bay.

A New York Senate bill to extend the striped bass season by two weeks went belly-up after it failed to make it through an Assembly committee.

The Senate bill, which was approved in May, would have allowed fishermen to harvest striped bass until Dec. 31 of each year, adding another 16 days to the season.

Senator Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) sponsored the bill, and initially proposed to have the season extended to Jan. 15 of each year.

The bill states that extending the season “will help create jobs, boost the Long Island economy, and ensure that quotas can be reached even if affected by natural causes.”

But the bill did not make it out of the state Assembly’s environmental conservation committee, government officials said.

William Young, president of the New York Coalition for Recreational Fishing, a preservation lobby, said the striped bass stock is in decline and that extending the season would threaten the fish.

His group sent letters to assemblymen and senators, urging them to let the bill die.

“The signs are that [the bass population] is not going in the right direction,” he said. “That’s up and down the coast, not just one area.”

A status update of the striped bass stock hasn’t been completed since 2011, said Mike Waine, a coordinator with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which helps to set fishing quotas for commercial operations to protect fish populations.

The commission will complete its latest assessment later this year and release the results in the fall, Mr. Waine said.

Mr. Young said it would be unwise to change fishing regulations without knowing the latest information on the striped bass stock.

“Right now is not the time to do it, there’s a question mark,” he said. “Right now is the time to wait and see what’s coming down the road.”

But Bonnie Brady, executive director of the Long Island Commercial Fishing Association, said the bill would have helped fishermen meet their quotas, even if stormy weather or other conditions prevented them from getting out to fish.

“[Unfilled quotas are] money that’s gone, basically out to sea,” she said.

The regulations were put in place to protect the bass when their population plummeted in the 1980s. Now the stock has been rebuilt, Ms. Brady said.

“It’d be nice if the regulations would come into the 21st century like the fishermen have,” she said.

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