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Fluke popular while we all wait for blues

Catches of our summer favorite, fluke, are on the rise in the eastern part of the Sound but not all are enjoying a day with keepers or a doormat. Stripers can be caught at night with eels on various reefs or live or chunked bunker during the day or the south side of Fishers, also during the day with a tube and worm. And, last but not the least, porgies are biting well and 2010 is shaping up to be a good year for crabbing.

Captain Howard Beers at Hillyers Tackle told me they are seeing and getting reports about more keeper fluke in local waters but in the next sentence said the bluefish have yet to arrive in The Race in summer abundance. Bass catches are so-so at best now in The Race during the day on artificial lures, better after dark drifting eels on a three-way rig at Valiant Shoal, the Sluiceway or Outer Bartletts.

Fluke drifters also saw a moderate increase in numbers of black sea bass on their rigs as well as hits from larger porgies. Blue crabbing is fair to excellent in the Niantic River. Every once in a while one of the locals brings some jumbos in the shop for the crew for an excellent dinner.

Roger over at J&B Tackle reported he made some trips over to Block Island for excellent numbers of fluke with about one in six big enough to keep. And, best of all there were no pesky dogfish bothering his baits. One evening the bass were on top at Sugar Reef, right behind boats dunking chunks on lead line. The fish though seemed much more interested in hitting lures that looked like squid than chunks on the bottom, said Roger.

Their charter boat trips to The Race alternated between some that were a t-o-u-g-h struggle to some that were excellent, all caught now on three-waying bucktails or eels. Porgies are getting thicker in our home waters and sea bass numbers on the rise for those drifting fluke baits off the Rhode Island beaches.

Over at Bob's in Uncasville, Red observed the water in the Thames River is pretty warm right now and bass reports have dwindled down to almost nothing. Porgy numbers though are picking up, as is the blue crabbing. He is hearing about more keeper fluke in our local waters but still maintains the ratio of keepers to shorts is 25 percent.

There is moderate interest in black fishingnow that the season is open but more than one fishermen stayed home in front of his air conditioner rather than venture out in the record-breaking heat.

Dave at A&W Marina reported good numbers of porgies from the state pier and fluke from Harkness to Ocean Beach. Some of his boats are catching keepers, some losing too many rigs on the bottom. One slip customer came in with a 4-pound sea bass but wanted all other details kept quiet.

Captain Jack Balint said overall the Watch Hill Reefs were pretty slow for the casting boats trying during the day. They did however catch some school bass around Barn Island, Mystic River and off Ocean Beach. If you're looking for blues, you might try the mouth of the Thames on the afternoon tide or maybe Plum Gut.

Tubes and wormers caught some bass on the south side of Fishers Island and fluking was best off the Dumplings or down to Misquamicut with some sea bass thrown in as a by catch. Porgies are showing up about anywhere there are rocks and the blue crabbing looks like it will be one of the standouts this summer.

We close with a report from Al Golinski. He and his wife Emme (together they have 28 past and current records with the International Game Fish Association) have been catching bass on live or chunked bunker on the Watch Hill Reefs or down around Race Point or Valiant Shoal. Numbers were good with sizes to 40 pounds. One day they released about a dozen fish 15 pounds and under in addition to keeping some bigger ones in low 20s through 30 pounds. Al caught his bunker in a nearby river, getting up at 3 a.m., using a gill net for 15 to 20 baits by the time the sun came up.

Tim Coleman is The Day's saltwater fishing columnist. He can be reached at thewreckhunter@aol.com.

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