By Angelo Peluso
As we move into late summer, fishing has hit peak strides throughout the entirety of the Long Island Sound. Despite the sweltering heat that often accompanies August, the eighth month of the year contains National Smile Week, and if you play your fishing cards right you just might smile broadly while finding some of the best local fish of the year.
August brings many surprises along the North Shore of Long Island. Many anglers take time off during the often scorching days of late summer, relenting to the call of the beach and BBQs. But succumbing to the myth of the dog days is a big mistake. August brings with it numerous and exciting fishing opportunities. The cool depths of the Long Island Sound and abundant bait can keep fishing vibrant and at times hectic. This is especially true of the central regions of the Sound where, striped bass, bluefish, fluke, porgies and seas bass can be caught with a high degree of regularity.
Water quality in the Long Island Sound is at its finest along the central portions of the North Shore. The month, named in honor of Augustus Caesar, also brings with it the strong possibility of visitations by some highly anticipated pelagic species: Atlantic bonito, little tunny and Spanish mackerel. With conducive bait and water conditions, those highly coveted light tackle gamesters should show in numbers sufficient to warrant expanded time on the water. All significant recreational species are in season and several ocean-roaming species visit local waters.
Summer flounder, also called fluke, have been in abundance and will continue to be caught through to the season’s end on Sept. 21. Although it appears at times that anglers need to weed through dozens upon dozens of undersized fluke and sea robins to be rewarded with a limit of keeper summer flounder, bigger fish are still around and patience pays dividends. August usually also witnesses some of the largest striped bass catches of the season. Nighttime moon tides and drifted eels will typically relinquish some of the finer specimens of bass. While some of the largest bass will succumb to large natural baits, casting artificial lures early and late in the day will yield bass.
All the other popular summer game fish species will also continue to remain along the North Shore: bluefish, scup and sea bass. Bluefish have been prolific, but beginning in July, larger pods of marauding “choppers” began moving inshore to feast on snappers. That predation pattern should continue through August and into the fall. This is a great time to cast large top-water plugs to snag what just might be the largest bluefish of the year. Porgy, aka scup, fishing is now as hot as the weather. There are lots of these tasty scup around, but finding the jumbo porgies will take some searching in deeper water. At this time of year, smaller scup can be found well inshore and often well within reach of shore anglers fishing around jetties, rock groins, boulders and other structures. Porgies are the most democratic fish that swim in the Sound, and they can be caught by just about anyone who fishes for them. If you’d like a little different kind of fun with porgies, try feeding them small artificial baits. Scent-infused plastic lures work wonders on porgies, as do small flies. Sea bass will also present themselves this month. To date, there have been some impressive catches of quality sea bass, and those results should continue for the remainder of the season. Deep water structure is the key to this form of bass fishing. So get out there and have a great, safe month on the water. The fish will be waiting.