Long Island – New York Fishing Report – July 16, 2020

Montauk’s the place to be for almost everything: Big bass, blues, porgies, sea bass and fluke.

Long Island Sound is still holding large stripers as well.

Great week for sharking.

Quality weakfish in the peconics.

Great action on the party boats.

Below: Incredible drone footage by the author showing a giant bluefin tuna carving a bunker out of the herd close to shore. 

Paul at River Bay Outfitters in Baldwin just returned from a two-hour drive to the Housatonic River. There he got into some phenomenal smallmouth bass fishing. He averaged about 15 fish an hour, and those fish were taking anything! Poppers, streamers, whatever, it didn’t matter. The water was low, the fish were hungry, and the weather was perfect. It’s Paul’s favorite time of year there.

Back home on LI, guys have been fishing the sweet water in the parks and doing well. The early morning has been more productive than any other time during the day. The water gets so hot on these sunny 80-degree days.

Justin was in the shop when I called, and he told Paul he’s been smackin’ fish in the salt along the North Shore.

Paul’s been hearing about lots of freshly arrived small cocktail blues all around Long Island in the bays.

The saltwater scene has become most productive during the night time, as is typical this time of year.

It seems like the big Gulp swimming mullets in pink shine and white have been doing the lion’s share of work.

There are lots of fluke inside the bays. The catch ratio is higher than it is offshore, but it’s mostly smaller fish inside.

Bass are hanging inside around the bridges. Guys are targeting them successfully with clams.

Some guys are still targeting tuna way off. John McMurray has been laying the smackdown on them.

Party boats are also pretty far out, picking away at sea bass.

Some kingfish are being taken from the ocean beaches. Clams, worms, or squid should do the trick there.

Many fishermen are heading east to capitalize on the good porgy bite that persists.

Bay Park Fishing Station in Oceanside heard only one report this past week from the fluke grounds.

Last Thursday, Anthony Jeannetti and Mike Anthony of “9isfine” hit the Hempstead Reef with Bay Park clams, spearing and squid on hi-lo rigs. They had two keeper fluke, going 21 and 23 inches. They also scored six ling.

Bill at Chasing Tails Bait and Tackle in Oakdale says the bay is loaded up with bass, blues, weakfish, fluke, kingfish and blowfish. 

The bass are feeding heavily on clams and bunker. They’re taking poppers, bucktails, SP Minnows, swim shads, and Mag Darters as well. 

As for the blues, there are lots of fish around in the cocktail to chopper size. Some bigger ones are still hanging out too. They are hitting all of the same lures as the bass are. The local docks are getting beat up by good sized bluefish. Those fish are taking chunks and zipping off. 

Fluke are getting bigger every day. The flats are stacked with fish taking bucktails and spoon rigs, as well as the classic squid and spearing combo. Tip the bucktails with a Fat Cow jig strip or a Gulp! soft plastic for some added action to your presentation. Bigger Fluke are being caught on big bucktails outside on the reefs and wrecks. Some solid Sea Bass out there are providing a mixed bag. The sea bass bite is off to a great start, with lots of fat knuckleheads coming up over the rails. There are plenty of 2-4 pounders. Clams or jigs will bring them up. 

The surf-side fluke bite is heating up. Here’s Steve with a surf-caught summer flounder from a recent trip with the author.

Weakfish are running the tides and taking Fin-S soft plastics and bucktails. Pink and white are the colors of choice, and the lighter the tackle, the better. We have been having a lot of luck on Z-Man JerkShadz. 

The town docks are loaded up with kingfish and blowfish, they are eating clams off the bottom. Some keeper blue claw crabs and tiny snapper have already been spotted as well.

Captree’s Laura Lee has been beating up on thousands of seabass since Monday. Every trip results in hundreds of fish caught, and a full boat limit kept. Other fish are plentiful as well, especially porgies and fluke. Each trip usually has fluke going up to about 6 pounds.

You’ll catch all the usual suspects, such as dogfish, sea robin, porgies and ling. Mackerel have entered the scene in good force. A stargazer was taken one trip, and a pinfish was boated on another.

Phil at Cow Harbor Bait & Tackle in Northport says there are still some nice sized bass around, close to shore. The surf guys have been picking away at some here and there. The water warmed up a lot, which typically pushes them out. Phil thinks the abundant large porgies are keeping them local. There are slot sized bass close to shore.

Rich Der Aris caught this 5.4 pound sea bass aboard the Montauk Viking.

Peanut bunker finally showed up. Adult bunker can be found in the bays still. Guys are seeing sand eels to the east, in the Smithtown area.

Cocktail blues showed up in good numbers, as did the snappers.

Anglers targeting sea bass are heading across the pond to the rock piles and wrecks near Connecticut. Phil recommends bring 3 or 4 sleeves of chum if you want to make a day trip out of it.

The fluke bite is still a bit spotty for a lot of boat guys. If you’re down to mess around with some shorts, you’ll find plenty close to shore feeding on the smaller baits like peanuts and spearing.

Dave Flanagan of “North Island Fly” says the early morning is the hot ticket this week. He’s been putting his clients on stripers and blues then. Many of them are 6 to 8 pounds, but they’re seeing some fish well over ten pounds. A few big bass are coming in just before sunset, and in the early mornings, to feed on the bunker schools.

A lot more bait showed up in the past two weeks, from micro fry to adult bunker. They’re hanging close to shore and in the back bays and estuaries. Dave’s hoping for an early start to pelagic season. He reckons we could start seeing some in early-mid August.

Steven at Wego Fishing Bait & Tackle in Southold says nice bass have been getting pulled from the Sound surf. Guys are doing well on darters, mag darters and SP minnows. Super Strike lures are the #1 choice for anglers targeting larger fish.

There are nice porgies and seabass on the Sound side as well. Guys are finding the Plum Gut grounds productive for these fish.

Bass and blues are hitting on the outgoing at the Race and the Gut.

The porgy bite in the bay area has been putting up some nice fish.

Some real nice weakfish came in this morning, from 24 to 26 inches. The guys who caught them have been nailing weaks in the areas around Jessups, Noyac and Greenport.

Snapper blues showed up.

The blue claw crabs have been very plentiful this year in the creeks. It’s been a while since it’s been this good.

The offshore boys are getting after the tuna, and lots of guys are starting to go shark fishing.

Last but not least, the FLUKE bite finally started to heat up in Montauk! Steven says it lit up this week, and it’s about time!

Jeff at Whitewater Outfitters in Hampton Bays says offshore has been untapped recently due to turbulent waters. Prior to the blow, the blue water bite was fantastic.

The canyons are slow, but there is life out there.

The fishing inshore has been pretty awesome on the other hand. The bass fishing in Montauk is as good as it gets right now. There are lots of big stripers, and plenty of boats are harvesting slot fish.

Fluke fishing in the bay is good. The ocean has been quieter on that front. Triggerfish are also biting in the bay, as are schoolie striped bass.

The only story from the peconics is some decent sized porgies.

Kenny at Tight Lines Tackle in Sag Harbor says the peconic waters are getting exceptionally quiet. There have been a whole bunch of reports from anglers striking out in that warm water. One guy was chumming off Cedar Point, and didn’t find a single porgy. That is a pretty dismal sign.

Another guy in the shop fished just under the Sag bridge and caught two of the biggest porgies he’s seen in a long time (that’s interesting to me, because I’ve only known the bridge to hold small ones).

The water in the back bays is getting hot, so productivity is taking a sharp dive.

Kenny recommends fishing anywhere east of Gardiners.

Fluke reports are very poor, and have been.

The sea bass bite to the east is producing. There are lots of reports of guys getting their legal limit which, at three fish, isn’t very difficult. Guys jigging are doing well, and the guys using bait are catching too. Bait actually seems to be producing smaller fish though.

One angler hit the Gut and caught a bunch of small bass, but no keepers. He said there were plenty of bluefish there.

Kenny’s buddy Damien has been fishing up at Shagwong this week, where he’s been finding gator blues to shred his lures.

Rick from Harbor Marina of East Hampton reports:

Strong winds and tide made for tricky conditions over the last week or so. When the conditions cooperated, the fishing was actually pretty good. More slot and schoolie bass were in the mix along the Fishers Island chain, and in Montauk. It feels like we are entering mid-summer conditions.

When the moon tide and recent strong winds were not fighting each other, there were/are some nice fluke and sea bass to be caught. Porgies were also making their presence felt during recent bottom fishing trips.

Rick did receive some scattered reports of both bluefin and yellowfin being caught along the 40 fathom curve.

Looks like a nice weekend ahead, and Rick will definitely be getting out on the water.

Montauk’s Viking Fleet had a great week so far, boating large sea bass on the regular. On Monday, Rich Der Aris took the pool with a 5.4 pound knucklehead.

On Tuesday, fluke showed up en masse to feed. Sand Trokel from Sag Harbor took the pool that day with a 4.75 pound flatty.

They’re finding large porgies under the lighthouse. Yesterday’s pool went to Ben Nanarjan who boated a 4 pound porgy.

This morning’s bite was tough to start, but once they found the calm water, the fish started biting. First place pool went to Glenn Behrens from Oakdale with a 4 pound seabass. Edible pool winner was Dillon Donovan, who caught a 3.5 pound seabass.

David at Westlake Marina in Montauk says this has been shark week. There aren’t very many big ones, but a bunch of threshers came to the docks. Guys were also stumbling upon some awesome mako action, but they were all undersized. 

The charter boat “Fisherman II” brought a 209-pound thresher to the scale just yesterday.

Sea bass has been great, and kind of a saving grace for those looking to bring home some meat. I say that, because word is the slot-stripers have been tough to come by. David got out the other day and caught many stripers over and under the slot limit, but not a single harvestable fish. They hit the sea bass grounds afterwards and quickly got their meat.

The fluke scene has also been tough to date. It’s hard work to find your keepers.

The bass bite has been good around the point, but some guys are heading to the SW Ledge and Block to look for bigger stripes. Eels are still doing great. A lot of guys are pulling Shutes with wire. Most of the recreational guys are snapping bucktails and drifting eels. You’re gonna have to catch quite a few fish before you find something to bring home for dinner.

Chris from Double D Charters in Montauk says striper fishing has been phenomenal, with plenty of slot-sized fish and some trophy sized fish being photographed and released.

Black Sea bass and porgy fishing has been incredible, with some knuckleheads up to four pounds!

Fluke fishing is back on part with what it should be. Blue and white colors are kicking butt. Double digits are hitting the scales and winning party boat pools.

Shark fishing is as good as it gets. Makos, blues, hammerheads, and threshers are giving anglers the fights of their lives. Now is the time to go!

Long Island Fishing Forecast

You’re in for some good fishing this week.

The east end has unquestionably reached the “epic” level. It is like “nat geo” live, daily.

If I had larger cojones, I’d launch my kayak and hook into one of the massive bluefin I’ve seen close to the beach. Or maybe one of the enormous thresher sharks. I am content on shore, however, simply observing the action. Tuna are launching clear out of the water. Dolphins and whales are acrobatically feeding upon the enormous bunker schools from a half-mile to a half stone’s throw. I’ve been snagging-and-dropping bunker that regularly lose their tails to gator blues.

And then in the evening when the work day’s over, I head down to the beach to watch an acre of shad blitz upon the spearing and peanuts that have overwhelmed the shoreline. I’m fishing my jigs just underneath them to hook up with schoolie stripers. The early rising anglers are lucking into those gator blues and larger bass.

What a beautiful place we live.

Get out there and enjoy it. It won’t last forever.

I’ll be uploading some footage of huge thresher sharks tormenting these nearshore bunker schools soon. Make sure you’re subscribed to my youtube channel (@SouthForkSalt) to be notified when it’s live!

Tight lines everyone. Have a safe and enjoyable weekend.


1 thought on “Long Island – New York Fishing Report – July 16, 2020

  1. Mike Walsh

    How about Suffolk on Long Island Sound for surfcasters off beach or piers? Mainly Smithtown, Stony Brook, Port Jeff, mt. Sinai. Thanks

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