John Skinner is the author of Fishing the Bucktail and A Season on the Edge. He’s the creator of the fishing log software FishersLog. He’s a consistent producer of trophy striped bass and holds the current New York State false albacore record.
I fish Long Island Sound between Shoreham and Northville, and until last Sunday (6/8), things were looking pretty bleak on the fluke front, for me anyway. On 6/7 I saw a glimmer of hope with a small patch, like maybe 100 yards square, of sandeels with some small fluke underneath. They were way in near the beach as opposed to the buoy line ledge that I normally fish. The following morning the sandeel school looked to be about a mile long judging by the terns and bluefish. I caught fluke, but they were small. I had been out for a couple of hours with only one keeper to show for it when my daughter called to let me know I could pick her up on a local beach so she could get in a little fishing between graduating Princeton and going off to Grad School in Michigan next month. "I have one keeper. If we can get just one more we'll have enough for fish tacos, but it's easier said than done," was my report. I headed for a different patch of birds and we put down on the mother lode - of searobins. I noted we were high on the shoal at only 11 feet of water and immediately picked up and cruised north waiting for the inevitable dropoff. I was in an area devoid of GPS marks on my fishfinder because I was not used to fishing there. When we stopped the boat in 17 feet of water and put down, my daughter immediately pulled a "big short". Given how things were going, it was good enough to mark it on the GPS. 90 minutes later we had our full limit of 10 fluke, including a 6-pounder. We're always jigging with Gulp, and this time they seemed to show a preference for the Gulp shrimp. The boat ended up caked with regurgitated sandeels - a beautiful sight. I took off from work the next day, ran back to the spot, and found almost nothing. Glassing to the east I spotted the birds and found nonstop fluke action underneath. When that fizzled I looked west to see some birds back where my daughter and I had them the previous day, maybe a quarter-mile away. Now it was lock and load. With all I needed in the cooler, I recorded the catch and release drift in the video below. The action couldn't be much faster paced. As good as that fishing was, there was nothing at all in that spot this weekend (6/14,15), but we did find them elsewhere. These fish are moving. Look for the birds, or head to your favorite structure and look for the bait on the fishfinder if the birds aren't around. Fishing is often like the weather. If you don't like it, just wait a while. It will change.