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Apr 27, 2016 9:49 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Big Weakfish, First Keeper Stripers Caught In Peconics And Montauk

Gussie Segarra of Southampton caught this 14-pound weakfish this past Sunday SCOTT JEFFREY
Apr 27, 2016 9:49 AM

This is the time of year that really tests the skills and dedication (okay, and luck) of a fisherman in these parts. There is some good fishing to be had, but you can’t just go to any old spot and toss any old thing and expect to catch fish, or fish worth noting anyway.

This past week has seen a number of nice fish, both stripers and weakfish, come up on local shores, but those who prowl the darkest hours and have found the spots where the few fish that are here are holding, are outpacing the field by a lot.

As it is every year, the first push of weakfish can be short and sweet and give up some quality fish. Great kudos to Gussie Segarra for releasing the 14-pound weakfish he landed on Sunday evening at the old Fence, and the sharpies who were there also put some good digits in the weakfish column of their Hamptons Surf Club annual tournament entry.

It’s perhaps a little counterintuitive that fish like bass are most active at night and in the very early morning at this time of year, because with water temperatures still cold one might think that they would be cruising the shallows in the afternoon when waters are the warmest. And they may well be, but for a fish looking for a meal, midday at this time of year is not like the cool midday hours of the fall. The water in spring is so crystal clear that once the sun gets high in the sky it’s very difficult for a predator fish to conceal itself on the prowl or lying in wait for a baitfish to swim by. Only the depths of night and the low angled light of morning provide the cover they need.

Next week’s opener of the porgy season is in line for a hot start. Pound trap fishermen in Gardiners and the Peconics were pleasantly surprised by good numbers of plump little porkers the first nights they dropped their nets, so the little choppers appear to have gotten the memo about this year’s early opener.

Even the fluke season, still a few weeks away, is looking up already. The other night a striper fisherman prowling the dark shores of Peconic Bay found a flapping instead of a flopping on the end of his string: a fat little fluke that ate a swimming plug sweeping over a rock pile.

The big bass are heading into the Hudson to spawn—and getting slaughtered by New Jersey and western Long Island fishermen along the way, unfortunately—but there should be more and more of the non-spawners moving into our waters this week. And the hordes of yellow-eyed munch machines are heading this way also, like an army of orcs ravaging a countryside. The first few cocktails made their way into Shinnecock in the last few days, so by next week I think we can expect to be done fishing with soft plastics for a while.

Catch ’em up. See you out there.

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