Western Sound in August

The dog days of summer are here, but there’s still plenty of great fishing in our area for Fluke, Porgies, Bluefish and Stripers, but you’ll have to work for them.

Big Fluke usually come into our area this time of the year and can provide a great day of fishing. Always use the freshest bait available, buy local Spearing and Squid when you can as it will make a big difference when targeting these fish. Live bait will also attract “doormats”; I like to use Snappers (baby bluefish), they can easily be caught before you leave the dock and are lots of fun for the kids to catch. Put them in your live well and head out to your favorite spot. Your tackle should be light, I like to use a Medium 7’ spinning rod and braided line attached to three feet of 30 pound monofilament line. The mono line is easier to work with than braid when making all your connections.

Tie your sinker to end of mono, make a dropper loop about two inches above sinker and attach three feet of 30 pound Fluorocarbon leader with a snelled 4/0-5/0 Gamakatsu Octopus hook. Hook your Snapper in the mouth, drop it to the bottom and start drifting. Once you hook your fish, keep your rod tip up and reel, NO rod pumping, reel with steady pressure until your doormat is near the surface and ready to be netted, don’t lift your fish out of the water until it’s ready to be netted, Fluke have soft mouths and can be easily lost if you don’t use a net. The biggest Fluke (15 pounds plus) I ever saw was hooked near Steppingstone Lighthouse and lost because of the lack of a proper net!

Porgies are also abundant this time of year and can be caught using Clam or Sandworms as bait. CHUMMING is the key to successful Porgy fishing; buy plenty of frozen clam chum logs and a chum pot weighted with a brick or two to keep it on the bottom. Light tackle is all that is needed, Porgy fishing is a great way to get the kids involved; they fight hard and are usually plentiful enough to keep the kid’s attention for hours at a time. Remember to show the kids how to handle holding a Porgy as their dorsal fins are very sharp.

Big Bluefish should be around the Bunker schools, use Bunker chunks for bait with a wire leader ahead of your hook. Blues have very sharp teeth and will bite through Monofilament line easily, as well as anything else they can reach, including fingers. Drift through Bunker schools letting your line out without any weight until a big Blue grabs it, let the fish run a few feet than lock up your reel, set the hook and hold on tight. Bluefish are some of the best fighting fish in our area. If you intend to eat your Bluefish, bleed it out immediately and put in a cooler with ice. The bleeding will give you a nice white fillet and the ice will keep it fresh and firm until dinner, I would eat Bluefish the same day it’s caught as they spoil quickly.

Striped Bass are still around but are easier to find at nighttime because of the bright sunlight, heat, heavy boat traffic during the day. You can try plugging them at dawn or dusk with Pencil poppers or your favorite top water plug. A slow retrieve, twitching your plug to make it as life like as possible seems to work best, but try stopping your retrieve for a few seconds and then starting again. Mix it up, learn what works best for you and improve on it. Bunker will also work, just make sure it’s the freshest you can get, and anchor up and chunk. If you can only fish during the day and want to target stripers, fish in deeper water. You’ll mostly see a lot of schoolies, but there always can be a cow lurking nearby and you must be prepared.

Blue claw Crabs are also abundant at this time of the year, are a lot of fun to catch and eat. Buy a crab trap, bait it with fish racks or chicken legs, drop it to the bottom near a dock, and check it periodically for your dinner. Be careful handling these crabs because their claws are very strong and they don’t let go.

These crabs can be just boiled with Old Bay Seasoning until they turn red, let them cool and pick them apart to get their meat. It’s worth the effort!

Enjoy the summer; get your kids out on the water away from the computer games. If fishing is slow, find a safe place to go swimming or exploring the shoreline, there’s no telling what they may discover and what it may lead to.

Make it fun and they will want to go again; maybe even to take you fishing!