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 did a casual beach trip a few evenings ago to test out a new Penn Regiment rod and was happy to connect with some bluefish. I didn't see any bait that evening, but there were big sandeels being picked from the western South Fork surf within easy casting range of shore on Saturday (17th). I was there to drift snappers for fluke from my kayak, and I had no trouble getting the bait with a sabiki rig the evening before in Riverhead. Lots of sandeels and snappers - definitely a nice sign for the months ahead. I'm also happy to see the bluefish because they do a nice job of keeping the bait close to shore. Plus I really enjoy catching the big ones from the beach. I had quite a surprise on that evening beach trip when a fox somehow figured out pretty quickly that I had just landed a fish, and the brazen creature wasn't shy about coming right over to see if it could have a taste! I'm so used to fox being skittish and bolting away. This one must have been pretty hungry. As those snappers keep growing and venturing into the ocean more, look for them to fuel some good plugging sessions over the next couple of weeks. I like the 1 1/2-ounce and 2 5/8-ounce Super Strike poppers in white when the fish are on snappers. They're a good match for the snapper profile, and cast like a bullet. Here's some video from the evening beach trip.