If you’ve been in the ocean lately you know it’s hurricane warm, high 70s, a bit frightening for anyone who’s been around these parts for any length of time. It also means the Gulf Stream is making its presence known.
Not surprising then that pelagic migrators of all kinds, including mahimahi, billfish, and tuna, have appeared offshore. Late at night on Aug. 7, John Mazzella and crew slid into the Montauk Marine Basin dock with a big blue marlin. The scale was locked in the office, but the fish was estimated to weigh at least 800 pounds.
Last Thursday, the boat Mono Myth returned to the Star Island Yacht Club in Montauk with a 206-pound bigeye. The owner, Mike Goodwin, angler Grant Goodwin, and Max Goodwin caught and released five yellowfin tuna, and a blue marlin estimated to be at least 300 pounds.
The West Lake Marina reported that the Gotta Fly boat returned on Aug. 8 with a 144-pound yellowfin tuna and mahimahi up to 52 pounds. Two days earlier, the Michelle II brought back a 318-pound thresher. The crew had released a mako. The Michelle II was fishing less than 12 miles offshore. The Susie E charter boat out of West Lake also found a big thresher, a 317-pounder, last week in the same general area.
On Aug. 7, Harry Ellis of Montauk ventured to the outer edge of the Butterfish Hole (about 12 miles south of Montauk Point) on his Island Girl boat. He was armed with a six-foot Ugly Stick with a Penn 430 reel and light, six-pound test line. He was casting a three-quarter-ounce bucktail that a mahimahi found alluring.
“Every time I went to gaff it, it took off like a freight train. After about a half hour of fighting the fish, getting it up to the boat four times only to have it take off again, I was able to gaff it and pull it over the rail. It was one of the most fun fish I have caught so far,” Ellis said. The mahi weighed 16 pounds.
Closer to shore the fluke fishing sagged a bit following the low-pressure system and rain that pushed through over the weekend. Yesterday the fluke started to bite again, according to Scott Leonard at the Star Island Yacht Club. Leonard said there are striped bass aplenty in the rips off Montauk Point, and bluefish up to 15 pounds everywhere. He said the north side, Shagwong Point, Gin Beach, even inside the Montauk Harbor inlet were alive with blues.
Surfcasters are finally starting to find themselves within range of bluefish, and, according to Paulie’s Tackle Shop in downtown Montauk, casters continue to find big porgies casting hi/low rigs baited with clam strips just behind the shore break all along the south-facing sand beaches.
Porgy lovers can fill their coolers from the waters around Gardiner’s Island. Bring the soy sauce and wasabi for some porgy sushi alfresco.