The Gershwin Breakout Quarantine Blues

“I loves you Porgy.” If bluefish could sing, those would be their lyrics.

After a suffocatingly tedious shelter in place springtime, a month long invasion of tiny trashy sea-bream—baby porgies, in the vernacular— finally attracted big, marauding bluefish into the calm and pastoral tidal marshlands of Eastern Long Island. For surfcasters, May suddenly became a melodramma di mare.

Things got going right on time—Mother’s Day weekend—albeit slowly. Success came to The Faithful in the form of rat-size bass in the rolling surf at Montauk’s Ditch Plains, and 5 to 8 pounds chopper blues plucked out of the swift-moving tidal channel feeding Accabonac Harbor.

SMOKER CHOKER: LeeBob and Broadway Baby Ryder with the erstwhile pool fish of the month.

Then came a rogue snow squall. The action shut down for a few days, leaving the boys with plenty of nuthin.  But by mid-month, they were back in the high cotton. The blues fed relentlessly on those bony little bottom fish. They hit on all tides, and all times of the day and night.  “We could see them finning and if you didn’t get a blow up on your plug on every cast, it was operator error,” said Shubert Alley exile, LeeBob. LeeBob fished different sessions with his Broadway Babies Ryder and Avery. He laid claim to the pool fish of the month—an 11 pounder that nearly choked my smoker box—until Verizon Charlie horsed in a 12 pounder in Montauk on Memorial Day weekend.

VERIZON CHARLIE GETS THE BLUES: Sometimes within 10 fit of shore.

The fish were keen to just about anything thrown at them. But large, loud surface plugs scored the alligators size blues with the most fanfare. It was easy to get their attention with a fast moving pencil popper, which they’d swipe with their tail and then turn a 180 to bite down hard on the lure. You didn’t even need to set the hook; the fish did it all themselves. The blues erupted on the water surface sometimes as close as within 10 feet, according to Verizon Charile.

On a few days Bucktailing Billy Black fished the pre-dawn tide, through brunch, and returned for a late afternoon to sunset session.  Fish-on the whole day through.  “It was classic,” he said with a touch of disbelief.  “You could catch more fish with a metal lure, but I wanted the thrill of the top-water hit.”

BUCKTAILIN’ BILLY BLACK: Chopper blue to the right, extraction pliers to the left.

On—and sometimes off—throughout the month’s schizo weather of summer-like days interspersed with stormy, windy, cold ones, the porgy-gorging blues provided much appreciated quarantine relief on the beach. I even joined in one evening for a bit of “equipment testing (this not being my official fishing season).”  I brought enough treats to trade The Faithful for donations to my fish smoker.  Blueberry cake by the BW, and a few eggplant sandwiches fulfilled my side of the bargain. The season’s first batch of smoked bluefish filets turned out smokey-dokey, if I say so myself. Thank you, gentlemen.

Late May and early June is not exactly summertime, so the fishing is not easy.  And we all know that bluefish and bass are a sometimes thing.  So for the rest of this springtime, I am keeping my distance from the surf as usual, but remain always on the alert for a fish call from the beach. And when it comes, I will respond with no hesitation: “Oh, Lawd, I’m on my way.”

SMOKEY DOKEY: First fresh batch of the season.
FISH ON! Broadway Baby Avery lands an Accabonac bluefish. Click here for video.
SPRINGTIME SURPRISE: Surfcasters, paddle boarders and chopper blues turned pastoral waters into a melodramma di mare.

Comments are closed.